HASTINGS, Minn. (WCCO) - If you ask 16-year-old Kate Curtis if she's an avid angler, she'll give you a smile and a chuckle.
"I enjoy it but it's definitely not my first idea of fun," Kate admits.
That's funny coming from someone who has landed bigger fish than most of us ever have or could even dream of. Call it what you want, but don't call it beginner's luck.
Prior to a recent family vacation to Alaska, Kate's last fishing outing was with her father at a resort north of Grand Rapids. That's where she hooked into a giant tiger musky, stretching the tape at over 50 inches and weighing in at 34 pounds.
Not bad for someone who isn't that thrilled about casting a line.
"It was about as tall as me and weighed 34 pounds. I won the fishing contest at my cabin," Kate said.
But on the family's recent trip this past August, the family went out on Captain David Bayes halibut charter out of Homer, Alaska. It's known for tremendous halibut fishing and the 10-hour charter didn't disappoint.
Everyone caught fish, from ling cod to rockfish to nice 30-pound halibut.
Then it was Kate's turn at the reel.
About six hours into the charter trip, things got a little unusual for the young angler.
"My pole just kept bending and bending and bending. The guide said you might want to reel up a little faster," she said.
Nearly a half-hour later, Kate's arms were like rubber. She'd been reeling and reeling, and still the fish was nowhere near surfacing. That's when her dad, Paul Curtis, took over and reeled for another 30 minutes to bring the giant fish to the surface.
Suddenly and quietly, the huge shadow of the massive halibut darkened the ocean waters. Alongside the boat and still in the water the 88-inch, 375 pound halibut was measured and photographed. And according to Kate's dad Paul, the fish was then released in true conservation fashion.
"The guide estimated it would lay about 4 million eggs a year, so it's an egg factory. The best thing to do is let it go," Paul said.
As for her advice to other anglers, Kate may have one simple trick.
"I don't really have any secrets. I guess they know I'm going to release them!" Kate said.
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