Alaskan Angler Breaks State Record With Cartoonish-Looking Rockfish

Keith DeGraff

An Alaskan angler went out to try and catch some black cod, and though he didn’t end up reeling in what he set out for, he still managed to pull in a fish worthy of a Kodak moment.

Keith DeGraff was deep water fishing off the coast of Alaska when he felt something substantial start tugging on the line. Without being able to see it, he first thought it was a halibut, but was surprised to see what it actually was as he pulled it out of the water.

The fisherman described the scene to Saltwater Sportsman as:

“I was immediately disappointed, because the way it was fighting, it felt like a halibut. With a thousand feet of line out, it can be hard to tell. This one pulled drag. I got it up about 75 feet and he took 40 feet.

I’m fishing on pretty big gear, so for a fish to pull drag, I knew it was a decent size, which made me think it was a halibut between 30 and 35 pounds.”

What DeGraff caught instead was a shortraker rockfish, and its massive size easily landed the angler with a state record. The standing record was a 39.1 pound rockfish that was caught in 2013, and it was pretty clear without even weighing it that it had a chance to break it.

DeGraff brought the fish back to the remote location where he and his fiancé and some friends were staying and unofficially weighed in the rockfish at 48 pounds. However, the unique catch wouldn’t be able to be weighed officially for another three days, so in order not “taint the meat,” DeGraff ended up bleeding the fish.

Once an Alaska Department of Fish and Game official was available to weigh the fish on a certified scale, the shortraker rockfish weighed in at 42,4 pounds.

The number still beat out the previous state record, but fell short of the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) record of 44.1 pounds. If only DeGraff could count the unofficial weight he recorded…

Shortraker rockfish generally live in waters that are around 500 to 1,500 feet, so it was a good thing that the Alaskan angler had enough line to reel in the deep water fish and almost beat out the world record.

DeGraff still managed to land a state record rockfish, and was able to update his Facebook profile picture to him showing off the massive catch. I don’t know about you, but to me the thing looks like it’s straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.

Take a look:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock