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Thread: drifting for halibut

  1. #1

    Default drifting for halibut

    I know most folks fish on anchor, but does anybody drift for halibut? I'm heading out with a friend who doesn't have an anchor. We're going to troll for kings down in Kachemak bay a bit, but figure we might also give some early halibut a shot. I'm wondering if drifting you can get away with a lighter weight since you're moving with the current (although I guess that could be impacted by wind direction/speed). Any tips from anyone who does this?
    "The Gods do not subtract from the allotted span of men's lives the hours spent in fishing" Assyrian Tablet 2000 B.C.

  2. #2
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default No Anchor??

    Not to change the subject but: Without an anchor your in deep (or shallow) trouble if you have an engine failure. One of the first things the Coast Guard is going to say is: Have you deployed your anchor?

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  3. #3
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Default

    I like it because it lets you cover more ocean bottom thus have a better chance at finding fish. I'd go down current of flat island and drop into ~80 feet of water. GOod luck!
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    Default Bad Deal! Want to be DEAD!

    I use to (I now go to PWS) drift all the time in Cook Inlet. You can cover a lot of ground, especially when the tide is roaring in or out! You tend to loose more gear too than anchoring.

    Don't risk your life out there! Is spending a few $$ for a rope and an anchor worth your LIFE?

    Think again and GO GET AN ANCHOR!

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  5. #5

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    Don't skimp on chain either. Good heavy chain makes hookup quick and the anchor will stick better.

    As for drifting, it works well. Bounce your weight off the bottom. More off than on or you'll lose a lot of gear in rocky areas.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Drifting work's well, and ditto's on not going out with someone that doesn't have an anchor. Honestly I can't see going out in the salt without two anchors.

    Seriously consider against going out with folks that don't have the minimal USCG required safety gear, marine VHF, not to mention a couple of anchors, and survival suits.

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    Drifting works very well. But you may be surprised how faster your bait drifts than your boat moves.
    Sometimes I have to either tie on 4-5 pounds of lead or use my kicker to help my boat maintain the same speed as what we are offering to the fishes under the water.
    Tennessee

  8. #8

    Default calling him now

    Thanks for all the posts! Guess I'll be calling my buddy and "suggesting" that he get an anchor before we head down. We'll probably try drifting anyway, but definitely don't want to be unprepared when it comes to safety.
    "The Gods do not subtract from the allotted span of men's lives the hours spent in fishing" Assyrian Tablet 2000 B.C.

  9. #9
    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowwolfe View Post
    Drifting works very well. But you may be surprised how faster your bait drifts than your boat moves.
    Sometimes I have to either tie on 4-5 pounds of lead or use my kicker to help my boat maintain the same speed as what we are offering to the fishes under the water.
    Now that a good idea using your kicker!

    ALASKAN SEA-DUCTION
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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Drifting v. anchored

    You can emit a scent trail way better by staying anchored. In fact you can hook a chum bag right to your anchor chain.

    Also, I've noticed that it is harder to distinguish beteen hits and little snags as you bounce along on a drift. Hits are unmistakable when you are anchored. When you drift you may loose more tackle.

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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AKBassking View Post
    Now that a good idea using your kicker!

    When we drift for 'buts, a lot of times we end up dragging some sort of sea anchor to fight the wind. A couple of 5 gallon buckets or one of the manufactured sea anchors works wonders for keeping up with the tide if the wind is pushing another direction.
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    there are 2 issues with drifting in the salt... first of all you will get snagged occasionally and it may take a while to decipher the difference between a nibble and your sinker dragging on the bottom; i see guys setting the hook on a dragging weight all the time. The second issue is that with no GPS you will have an impossible time trying to get back on top of the fish if you drift in and out of a hot spot. you think you know where you're at, but with no point of reference you're more lost than you know out there.
    Mark W
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    fishing isn't about life or death... it's more important than that.

  13. #13
    Member AKBighorn's Avatar
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    Default

    I'd have to agree with everyone on this one. Mark has some good points to, its a big sea out there. My first time out from Homer, we actually headed for halibut cove I beleive it was. Tossed the anchor and started fishing. Long story short I never was able to retrieve that anchor nor the chain, rope, or bouy that was attached. The bouy had one of those one way dohickies on it so when I used power to pull on that rope it sent my bouy under the water never to return. Finally cut the rope and took my loss. Not a cheap learning experience but the point is as was already stated, 2 anchors isn't a bad idea.

  14. #14
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    Default I love drifting for halibut!

    I've done it for years in the Sound. We've got a couple spots that we'll make a couple passes over, catch some fish, and then move on. If the tides are running strong use the above mentioned method to "backtroll" with your main or your kicker. just use the angle of your lines to gauge your proper speed.

    if it's a real rocky or snaggy terrain you can do just as well with your bait a couple feet off the bottom. they'll come up and slam it!

    by all means take an anchor, but have fun drifting.

  15. #15
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Default

    I like to drift. My biggest fish last year came from drifting. Also on strong tide days drifting allowed me still to use 2 pound weight and maintain it on the bottom.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  16. #16

    Default My 2 cents

    I use both methods. I like to anchor when i find a good hole, mark it on the GPS as well. To me there are two avantages of drifting; one is you can fish more area and find the fish. Second is that during big tides, since you are drifting with the tide you can keep the bait on bottom without using 7-8 lbs. The down fall is you snag bottom and lose gear. Either way good luck in Homer, let us know how you do. Think i'm headed to Valdez this weekend.

  17. #17

    Default Drifting for Halibut

    A couple questions for you guys that drift for Halibut.
    1. do you look for sandy bottom to prevent hookups?
    2. what depth is good, or too deep for drifting?
    3. is a very strong tide a bad idea for drifting?
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

  18. #18

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    I mostly Halibut Fish on anchor, but if I am fishing deep (300+) I will drift. I just don't like dropping anchor any deeper than that. GPS is a must though, in order to drift back through the hot spot. Or if its on the evening tide and I am just to tired and lazy to drop anchor I will just Drift till its time to go home.

    C.F.

  19. #19
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Around the Anchor river and Deep creek areas, 175' seems to be my magic number. Find a dropoff where the upper edge is around 170-180' and try to drift along the top of the ridge. Usually works for us.
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  20. #20
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildog View Post
    A couple questions for you guys that drift for Halibut.
    1. do you look for sandy bottom to prevent hookups?
    2. what depth is good, or too deep for drifting?
    3. is a very strong tide a bad idea for drifting?
    Sandy bottom is prefered. It's a rocky bottom I keep the weight about about about 2 feet.

    150-300 is what I have drifted in.

    Anchor in a strong tide you will have one heck of a time keeping your weight on the bottom.
    Drifting you can keep it on bottom and won't have to go asa heavy weight like you would if you were anchored.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

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