Fishermen Brian Mattson and Doug Corl snagged this whopping 396-pound (180kg) halibut while out fishing in southeast Alaska on Sunday.

Mattson told local radio station KFSK tha they used a winch to bring the fish up onto their boat, the Day Spring. "[It] just kept coming and coming," he said and then we knew it was big."

A large crowd gathered at the dock when Corl and Mattson brought the fish on for processing at Petersburg Fisheries Inc, AP reports. Among them was Levy Boiter of the International Pacific Halibut Commission, who said: "This is definitely not the average fish."

"Didn't even know it was on until we saw it from the surface," Mattson told KFSK, who said they landed the beast without breaking a sweat. "Put the shark hook on it, used the winch to bring it up and didn't even make a move whatsoever, it just came right in nice and easy."

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Gigantic though it was, the fish fell short of breaking the world record for halibut fishing. That was set in 1996 by Jack Tragis - also in Alaska - who landed a 459-pound halibut off Dutch Harbor.

The men used a winch to bring the fish up onto their boat. Photo / AP
The men used a winch to bring the fish up onto their boat. Photo / AP