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Thread: halibut fishing capital of the world ??

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    Member redleader's Avatar
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    Default halibut fishing capital of the world ??

    The halibut fishing in the Homer area has been poor as far as average size fish goes and after reading Homer news latest paper promoting the killing of large breeders and that scientists say its ok?? Give me a break with the large females being less then 5% of the population removing them means fewer large fish available for anglers so if a scientist say's it's ok go ahead and shoot yourself in the foot until all your toes are gone, they forgot to mention we have fewer large fish and need to go further to find them due to overfishing and too many charter boats and the derby, maybe it's time to realize catch and release on large halibut is a better alternative.

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    Member redleader's Avatar
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    less then 5% of the halibut population are larger fish.

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    Member coho slayer's Avatar
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    Homer's claim to be the "halibut fishing capital of the world" are empty words anymore. I don't bother with Homer anymore. Had much better luck and better fish out of Seward, and it's a lot shorter drive.

    I personally think it got fished out by both the charter fleet and the commercial guys fishing basically the same grounds for years and years. To me it's a prime example of the fact that halibut are really pretty easy to over-fish.

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    [QUOTE=coho slayer;986656]Homer's claim to be the "halibut fishing capital of the world" are empty words anymore. I don't bother with Homer anymore. Had much better luck and better fish out of Seward, and it's a lot shorter drive.

    Not sure where you are fishing out of Seward but all the times I've been out of there we fished off Montague and it was over a three hour drive EACH WAY. Never again, unless you're going South but the only time we did that when it was too bad to go North we got skunked (this was on a charter) !! I never went much more than an hour each way out of Homer. No doubt the fish are getting smaller. Time to start restricting the commercial guys out of there. This new catch share program is a farce though. Once again the sport fishermen are getting the shaft while it's business as usual for the commercial guys that control 80% of the catch. Obnoxious. If that isn't enough, then they poach and lie like this crook Fuglvog that worked for Murkowski after they make and pass regulations hoarding the resource for themselves when it should belong to all of us and be alloted accordingly. With all the money sport fishing brings into the state (1.6 Billion dollars) this cozy arrangement between politicians and commercial fishing is an out rage and needs to be exposed.
    Sorry to get off on that tangent but this stuff gets my blood boiling.
    Emo

  5. #5

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    I know this wasnt started as a charter bashing thread, but since we are talking over fishing and K-Bay, I'll speak up. Last month I was out in the Bay fishing spot I've been fishing forever and along comes one of those huge Delta 1/2 day halibut charters. Could they find a different area to fish? No. They literally had to anchor right next to me and it seemed like 20 fishing lines went into the water. We were so close that I could smell the perfume of the passengers. If that wasn't bad enough, after about 45 minutes, his buddy, another huge Delta anchors up right next to him. Lets do the math (15 passengers X 2 fish X 2 half day charters per day x 2 boats x 100 days per year = 12000 fish for just one charter outfit). I really didn't think about how ruthless these charters are and the number of fish they are taking until then. I REALLY REALLY hope they get knocked down to 1 fish and we lose some charters!

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    The catchy phrase "Halibut Fishing Capital of the World" actually came about due to the volume of halibut off-loaded in homer by the commercial fleet, back in the early 80's... Of course the Chamber of Commerce and the Charter industry were happy to use it to their advantage... This half day charter business actually came about because of the market factors... When the price of fuel shot from $1 up to nearly $5 a gallon, charter companies had to raise their prices... but many clients balked at prices going from $150 to nearly $300... So the simple solution to stay in business was to cut the price in half as well as the trip.. Half day trips can't afford to burn up the clock going too far out, so of course they head to the nearest known LCCR (last chance Chicken ranch)... So you can blame it on the charters all you want but it really boils down to the economy...

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    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    I must have missed the part where it said "trophy halibut fishing capital of the world".

    It doesn't say anything about size. Homer still has PLENTY of good sized Halibut out there. Are they harder find? Yes. But they are most definetly still there. Fickle weather is what keeps it going.

    There are places out of Homer where you can catch Halibut, all day, if you can stay on bottom. I can't say that about Seward or Whittier, but I haven't fished there as much.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

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    Member coho slayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pike_palace View Post
    I must have missed the part where it said "trophy halibut fishing capital of the world".

    It doesn't say anything about size. Homer still has PLENTY of good sized Halibut out there. Are they harder find? Yes. But they are most definetly still there. Fickle weather is what keeps it going.

    There are places out of Homer where you can catch Halibut, all day, if you can stay on bottom. I can't say that about Seward or Whittier, but I haven't fished there as much.
    I've been fishing for halibut up here since the early 80's, not as long as some, but long enough to see a pattern emerge. We used to almost exclusively go out of Homer. You could catch decent (and no, I'm not talking huge, or "trophy"...)halibut almost anywhere you stopped and dropped a line. We used to go out in front of Seldovia in about 100 feet of water and just drift along and we'd generally limit pretty quick. Can't seem to find any halibut there anymore. The run to Flat Island used to guarantee an easy limit of good-sized fish if you could keep your bait on the bottom.

    Last time I was out there all we could find were 10lb fish and we had a long-liner pull up next to us and lay his line right across our bow.

    Yes, going out of Seward can require a good run for the bigger fish, but you don't have to go all the way to Montague to catch fish. You can usually limit out within the bay just fine if you know where to look, plus you can catch rockfish and salmon all at the same time.

    I dunno...I have seen the fishery in Homer go from great to kind of mediocre, and it coincided with the huge boom in charter and personal vessels specifically targeting halibut. Was that coincidence, ocean conditions beyond our control, or did we have something to do with it by over-fishing? I don't know, but I can speculate the charters had at least a role in things. You mentioned how far the charters in Seward go, but they run just as far out of Homer, too. The Chugach Islands are a common destination now for the bigger boats, and it's not because it's pretty out there, it's because that's where the fish are more concentrated. (option to get Lings helps, too)

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    Gustavus would easily be the Trophy halibut capital of the world, IMO.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emo View Post
    Time to start restricting the commercial guys out of there.

    Once again the sport fishermen are getting the shaft while it's business as usual for the commercial guys that control 80% of the catch.
    Time to start restricting the commercial guys? Business as usual?? With all due respect, those statements don't reflect reality at all. The commercial catch has been cut dramatically in the past few years while the sport and charter catch have continued to grow. If you don't feel that the allocation between usergroups is fair, fine - that's a reasonable argument to make. To suggest that it's business as usual and that it is time to start restricting the commercial catch (thus suggesting that they haven't already faced severe cuts) is not at all accurate and flies in the face of the very real restrictions that have already been handed down. The 3A quota was cut by 27% this year alone for the commercial sector and the 2C quota has been cut by over 75% over the past four or five years. As the stock has declined, the cut in catch has been borne solely by the commercial fleet until this year when 2C (Southeast) charter clients were restricted to one fish under 37". To date no changes have been made to what sportfishermen can catch in Southcentral.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    Time to start restricting the commercial guys? Business as usual?? With all due respect, those statements don't reflect reality at all. The commercial catch has been cut dramatically in the past few years while the sport and charter catch have continued to grow. If you don't feel that the allocation between usergroups is fair, fine - that's a reasonable argument to make. To suggest that it's business as usual and that it is time to start restricting the commercial catch (thus suggesting that they haven't already faced severe cuts) is not at all accurate and flies in the face of the very real restrictions that have already been handed down. The 3A quota was cut by 27% this year alone for the commercial sector and the 2C quota has been cut by over 75% over the past four or five years. As the stock has declined, the cut in catch has been borne solely by the commercial fleet until this year when 2C (Southeast) charter clients were restricted to one fish under 37". To date no changes have been made to what sportfishermen can catch in Southcentral.
    Question for you Brian and all Commercial Halibut Fisherman. As you have read on this forum, many of us Sportfisherman are in high favor of releasing Large Halibut as they are our breeders. I personally wouldn't keep a halibut over 100 pounds. How many Commercial Fisherman are willing to release a large breeder if she is still in good health? I bet not very many since your paid by the pound. Then there are the Derbies to catch the largest fish. Businesses make money over kill our breeding stock. Over time, our entire fishery will be depleted. Then What? Maybe its time, we as fisherman take a stand as ONE and protect our breeders and keep our fishery healthy instead of thinking about instant gratification and money.

  12. #12

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    Chico,

    You have to consider that if the comm fish guys release all the big ones, that they'll have to catch 10x the amount of halibut to get the same #'s. How many halibut do you want them removing from the ocean?

  13. #13

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    Homer as the "halibut fishing capital of the world ??" In terms of numbers of boats and people, sure. No question.

    In terms of catch? Next topic.

    One thing to think about- with all those people and all those boats, are the commercial guys going to bother with the same waters or go elsewhere? I kinda suspect they're nowhere near the sport mess. I sure wouldn't waste my time there.

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    Member redleader's Avatar
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    I don't see comm boats fishing near homer, what I do see is the abundant charter boats heading out daily, the ones who target large halibut and lings need to keep going out further as they clean out the fish and the ones who stay close mainly bring in the ones with the diapers still on them, I know there are exceptions just my observations. Then you have the derby paying prizes to kill the biggest fish, the mindset of the area seems to be to kill the big fish then the local paper writes a big article about the halibut proclaiming it's ok to kill the large fish, it's no wonder the quality of fishing has degenerated quickly. I believe the sooner the chamber and charter boats start promoting catch and release on large fish the better and it will go a long way to improve the fishery and that a large halibut could be caught and released multiple times providing anglers higher catch rates on large fish. I also promote the release of large lings, they are awesome fish that are easily fished out. As a sportsman who has invested his time and money to the Homer area I believe the best thing at this point could be for the Halibut commission to follow suit with the southeast with a size limit since the locals can't seem to figure out how to take care of their fishery.

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    Could any of you experts tell me how many comm longliners release halibut over 100lbs? Its not the locals that are in control its the feds and north counsel and people like our senators fisheries advisor, looks like he might be in need of some soap on a rope!

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    Quote Originally Posted by redleader View Post
    As a sportsman who has invested his time and money to the Homer area I believe the best thing at this point could be for the Halibut commission to follow suit with the southeast with a size limit since the locals can't seem to figure out how to take care of their fishery.
    Are you advocating a size limit for ALL sportsmen, or just the ones without boats who need to utilize a charter?

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I can't imagine that many commercial boats release large halibut, but they also don't target them. In my fairly limited longlining experience and in talking to many fishermen over the years, commercial vessels target numbers over size. There are certain areas that have greater numbers of halibut in more moderate sizes, and those areas are preferable in the sense of a higher pound per hook result. The average size on the commercial vessels I've fished on and am familiar with is usually around 22-25 pounds dressed with very few fish over 100 pounds coming over the rail. Sport boats that target large halibut usually are willing to sacrifice numbers of fish for size. That's not a trade-off that makes sense to a commercial vessel, even for a higher price per pound.

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    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Brian M;987334] ...is usually around 22-25 pounds dressed... QUOTE]

    Is that 22-25# of fillet? Very cryptic statement. A 22-25# fish is different than 22-25# of fillet.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

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    In most cases in life you have those that make excuses for everything and can come up with 100 reasons why they can't do something rather than one reason why they can. I personally hate the words "I can't". IMO, I don't think anyone should willfully keep a halibut over 100 pounds as we all know she is a breeder. Commercial fisherman that recognize a healthy 100 halibut can with effort cut the hook. If she is too far gone, then harvest her. Its a matter of ethics and values. Wil that be abused, of course it will as there are a few folks that have no morals, values or ethics. We all know who they are over time. By letting her go, she will live to see another day, lay eggs and make many babies. As well as all sports fisherman can take a picture while she is in the water, cut her loose and if they want a mounted fish or tail, one can be easily done as a reproduction. For the Derby fish, do away with the biggest fish. Tag more fish, catch one closest to 50 pounds or what ever. Give a 500 dollars to everyone whom catches a Halibut and releases her over 200 pounds estimated and witnessed.

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    [QUOTE=pike_palace;987364]
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    ...is usually around 22-25 pounds dressed... QUOTE]

    Is that 22-25# of fillet? Very cryptic statement. A 22-25# fish is different than 22-25# of fillet.
    I'm sure he's talking gutted. That's the way they're landed and the fisherman never sees them after that. Everything is logged these days, and I bet that's as accurate an average as there's ever been.

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