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Thread: How to find halibut, rockfish, and ling

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    Default How to find halibut, rockfish, and ling

    Got my first boat this year and I'm new to saltwater fishing. I will probably start with jigging and will be fishing mostly out of Whittier. If you can give me some tips on what to look for I would really appreciate the help.
    "What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you."
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    Member ocnfish's Avatar
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    For rockfish & Ling .... 'structure is everything' use your sounder to find underwater hills and peaks and then drift these areas realizing that you are going to lose some jigs. Also ... if you spot a 'baitball' on the sounder, then ... pelagic rockfish, halibut and salmon will attack the food and your jigs.

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    Member kodiakbound's Avatar
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    To steal a line from Terry Rudnick's book "How to catch trophy halibut"

    Structure+food source+time of year=fish

    find any 2 of those and odds are good. All 3 and odds are great
    Experience is a hard teacher because you get the test first and the lesson afterwards.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Out of Whittier, to consistantly catch fish you need to be willing to burn some gas and cover some mileage, especially for halibut.

    But before even heading out, spend some time looking at charts of PWS. Look for areas where it goes quickly from shallow to deep, and areas that get a decent amount of current. Protected waters generally aren't as productive as those that are more open, but there are some underwater pinnacles in bays and passages that can be productive. If you're off the tip of an island and the charts show what looks like an underwater cliff or pinnacle, then drift over that area with your jigs. If the charts indicate a muddy bottom, odds are fishing will be poor.

    My first season I was given some suggestions of areas to fish, and I did poorly. Then I decided to try and prospect my own areas by looking at the charts and fishing fishy looking areas. I've been much more succesful when finding my own areas to fish than fishing other peoples spots. Also, spots that are hot one day or year might not be so great the next. I think a combination of tide, current, water conditions and commercial fishing can dramatically affect how productive a spot is.

    Just make sure you bring extra jigs, as drifting over rock piles is going to cost you some hardware. I've found some spots take more tackle than others.

    If you don't already have charts, it's worth going here and printing the appropriate 16700 series.

    http://ocsdata.ncd.noaa.gov/BookletC...kletCharts.htm

    Or online

    http://www.charts.noaa.gov/OnLineViewer/16705.shtml
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    Excellent advice from Paul that I would back 100%. I used to fish K-Bay by just going out and fishing a spot for 15 minutes or so and if I didn't catch anything move a mile or so and try that spot. Etc., etc. I wasted a lot of gas and time that way until I started to look at the chart and try to decipher fishy looking spots. Now I have a few favorite spots I fish constantly that produce for me pretty much all summer long. I don't think you can stress too much how important land time studying charts can be. And especially when you're looking for the kind of habitat you're looking for.

    I don't fish out of Whittier any more, but if you look at the Gore Pt. to Anchor Pt. chart (16645) you can see a prime example of beautiful ling/rockfish territory. Out around the Chugach Islands and to the northeast there are a ton of places where you can see pinnacles and big drop-offs that are absolutely classic. That's why it is such a popular area to head for. Look for the same thing in PWS and you should do OK.
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
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    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    You find pinnacles or rocky area your chances are good something is down there.
    I jig fish only. You will go through allot of jigs. You don't need face expensive lures.
    One thing I do with p line jig is remove the treble hook and attack a stinger hook to the top of the lure.
    This helps not to snag as much.
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    Gary Keller
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    Thanks for the advice.
    "What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you."
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    Be patient! Especially when halibut fishing and you are at anchor. Those fish will follow the scent trail up if given time.

    Low slack into the flood tide is my favorite time.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

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    For lings, if they are there, It won't take long for them to bite. They are very aggressive fish. I hit a pinnacle and fish it for a few drifts.
    If nothing I move on to the next pinnacle.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
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    I'm also a newby from fishing from my own boat. I'm looking for a bottom that is rocky and maybe a large pinnacle or cliff? What about a flat bottom? Is this not productive? Just asking!!!
    If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip?

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    Member ocnfish's Avatar
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    Two thoughts ...

    Thought #1 If your sounder finds a 'bait ball' the bottom does not matter fish there, big predators are close by.

    Thought #2 ... if there is a difference in tide flows, one faster one slower it is a good line to fish on, I have caught my biggest halibut in these conditions ... but you have to be patient.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thewhop2000 View Post
    I'm also a newby from fishing from my own boat. I'm looking for a bottom that is rocky and maybe a large pinnacle or cliff? What about a flat bottom? Is this not productive? Just asking!!!
    Depends on what you're fishing for. Rockfish and lings like to hang out around pinnacles and rocky drop offs. But halibut aren't quite the same. They will often times be hanging out on soft bottoms such as sand or gravel.
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
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    Member thewhop2000's Avatar
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    Thanks, I'll be putting it to the test!!!!!
    If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip?

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    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    The halibut that I have caught on pinacles where just off of them......
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

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    If you want to consistantly catch fish out of Whittier you need to go to the entrances. Thake your pick, Hinchinbrook or Montague.

    You can and will catch fish closer, but for consistancy, the entrances can't be beat.

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    Agree... Now of days that's $$$$$$
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

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    we use to keep a boat in whittier and fished almost every weekend from april to oct. it was a slow trawler so we could not go far due to its speed found good halibut at times on the flats off the south end of culrose passge, out beyond the island there. another place was between west and east bay, just a few hundred yards off the peninsula there, you can find a uncharted flat area about 200-250 ft down, we would anchor there, i've caught halibut over 100 lbs in both places. we anchor and fish, using bait, liked silver heads the best for big ones. across from west bay, off hidden cove, there is a big flat area we fished quite a few times, looks good but never caught anything of size there. i've never caught a ling out of whittier. but have been successful out of seward. feel free to ask, sold the big boat and now river fishing, lot better fishing in the sea. fish the more moderate tides, especially at slack tide. on the big tides the water runs to fast to be as effective. Bud
    Wasilla

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