The Living Magazines

Hyde Park Living .....Hyde Park, Oakley, Mt. Lookout, O'Bryonville and East Walnut Hills
Wyoming Living
Indian Hill Living
Fort Thomas Living

Monday, January 1, 2018

Hyde Park Couple Shares a REEL Fish Story

by Grace DeGregorio

Mary “The Halibut Queen” and Joe Brinkmeyer with the fish that took an hour to reel in - a giant 70" halibut weighing 170 pounds

What do you dream of doing in your retirement?  Do you want to travel?  Do you want adventure? Do you want to share time with a loved one?  Do you want to do something completely different from your daily life?

Mary and Joe Brinkmeyer of Hyde Park said an emphatic “YES!” to all the above.  According to Mary, “Joe and I have had  more fun in retirement discovering new adventures.  We have been catching fish. We have fished in Sarasota for mackerel, sea trout and snook; on the Great Lakes for salmon and walleye; in Tennessee mountain streams for trout; and our greatest adventure for the  past eight years has been deep water fishing off the coast of Sitka, Alaska for halibut and salmon.”

Mary and Joe Brinkmeyer
Upon their mutual retirement Mary, former administrator of The Summit Country Day School, and Joe, formerly in textile sales,  wanted a hobby they could share.  Joe explains, “Mary wanted to do fly fishing, which we did in national forests. She often was the only woman in those excursions, and we had to walk through heavy woods to the rivers.  We decided to try deep water fishing.”

Joe learned about fishing in Sitka from a man who grew up there.  “The weather is rainy, windy and cold, so we go out in a boat with a cabin where we spend time on the way to the fishing grounds.”   The couple initially went out in the charter boat that carried four people so Mary could be introduced to the sport.”  When it became an annual trip, “Three years ago I arranged the charter for just the two of us and Captain Mike and Captain Eric.  I felt Captain Mike would be good for Mary.  He’s more into the experience and says, ‘We will catch fish!’  Mary fell in love with the sport!.”

Mary sitting on her halibut cooler, enjoying listening to the Country & Western music that seems to attract the fish!
The Brinkmeyers normally fish 10 hours a day for two days in Sitka at depths of 300 feet. The best fish in the area are coho salmon and halibut. The first year, Joe says, “the fish weren’t biting.”  Then Mary suggested putting Country & Western music on the sound system, “and the fish started biting!  Some say it’s luck, some say she’s skilled - but it’s a fact that every year Mary catches the most halibut.  Captain Mike calls her ‘The Halibut Queen’!”

Mary more than lived up to her title this past summer.  On the first day of their charter, they left at 6 a.m. and were fishing for salmon.  Joe explains, “It was slow going, so Captain Mike suggested we try for halibut and moved further out.  Immediately we caught two cod - a good sign because sharks follow cod, and halibut follow sharks.”

Joe caught this gorgeous coho salmon
Mary, who sits on a cooler enjoying the C&W music while watching her line, all of a sudden saw she had caught something.

“We saw she needed help,” says Joe, “so we started reeling it in to the white line - the part of the line close to the fish.  We had two hooks on the line - one at the bottom and another about a foot above with salmon guts that are good halibut bait. A 30 pound halibut was on the top hook, but  we knew there had to be something else on the line.”

Yes there was - a 6', 170 pound giant halibut!

A video captures the tremendous effort it took for everyone - the two Brinkmeyers and the two captains (“A team effort!” says Mary) - to get the fish out of the water and onto the boat.  It took an hour to accomplish. “It was the largest catch of the season of our charter,” beams Mary.

A friendly humpback whale, a rare find so close by a boat - Joe says every whale has a different signature tail.
The Brinkmeyers respect the regulations regarding the number of fish caught and the allowed weights - they paid the premium amount for the giant halibut!  From their 2017 expedition, “We took home 150 pounds of fish!” Mary laughs.

The couple enjoy other activities when not fishing in Sitka.  They’ve toured a refuge for orphaned bears, learned about the indigenous Tlinglet Nation, shopped and photographed animals they’ve encountered in the wild.  

A couple of curious black bears at an Alaskan refuge for orphaned and injured bears
So what do YOU dream of doing in your retirement?  If you’re like the Brinkmeyers, you want to be active, explore, try new things and - most important - make happy memories together to last the rest of your life. 

Do you have plans for YOUR retirement?  Or are you living out the plans you made before retiring?  Please email to tell us your story you think readers might find interesting for a possible future article in our magazine.  We’re also looking for photos of activities in which you participate and/or travel photos from trips you’ve taken (please provide captions).  Thanks! 

A glorious bald eagle swooping for rockfish

No comments:

Post a Comment