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Thread: Halibut Help

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    Member fishingyoda's Avatar
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    Default Halibut Help

    I am hoping you guys can help. I am very new to this, as in I've been out 4 times ever all this summer. I was wondering what type of structure you guys halibut fish in? Big drops? Flat tops? Totally flat bottoms? Depths? I'm having a hell of a time catching anything over about 15lbs out of Whittier and we've been going out to the knight island area. Most of the halibut we have caught have been ping pong paddles. I'd sure like to be able to justify spending the time and money a little better.we've tried fishing along ledges in about 100-250ft drifting and also very gradual slopes but can't seem to get into very nice fish. I know I asked a similar question not to long ago. I was on a charter a few weeks back but they only put 2 fish in the boat. Do you fish the top of structures and anchor or fish the bottoms? I could really use some good knowledge here on halibut. I seem to be great at slaying yellow eye but not doing too hot on halibut. Thanks and you can pm me or reply.

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    I've had the same problem. I tried for years to figure out how to catch halibut out of Whittier without much success. I gave up on Whittier and choose to put a few more miles on the truck and way less hours on the boat by fishing out of Seward. The difference in cost overall is a wash, but the success rate for halibut out of Seward is greatly increased.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    If you're looking to justify the cost of time on the water out of Whittier with halibut, you may be disappointed with some regularity. I grew up spending my summers on the Sound, and while I can tell you where to catch large halibut from depths of 1,200-2,400', I still don't know where to catch them with any consistency on a rod and reel. The beauty of the Sound is the scenery, the whales, the solitude (at times), the shrimp, and the silvers. For halibut, it's a patient man's game, and any fish at all - even ping pong paddles - is a bonus if you're not running out all the way towards the edge of the Gulf.

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    Member fishingyoda's Avatar
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    Brian I appreciate that and am aware of the general concensus on Whittier not being the best halibut spot. If it were my boat I'd drag it to Seward or homer and give it a go but I'm mostly curious if I'm doing it wrong where I'm looking for halibut. Really I'd be tickled pink if we could get a couple 30-40lbers on the boat

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    I've not fished Whittier, but everywhere else I've gone the keys are gravel bottom and food. Sure they'll venture onto other bottoms for food concentrations, but they are pretty particular about bottom type most of the time. Flat rock can be okay and sand is certainly good. But fuggedaboud mucky bottoms. If I can find bottom terrain that funnels food over gravel bottom, I'm pretty sure of finding halibut there. That's not Whittier, but if I went there and was searching like you, those would be my keys.

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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Go south....till you hit the gulf. Then you will run into more consistent fishing.
    There's a reason all those charter operators run down towards the needles or the southern end of Montague.
    BK

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    Member Arctic Hunter's Avatar
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    Both sides of Knight Island and south down to Montague are always good....that's at least 50-70 miles though....last two weekends out netted us a total of 22 butts, ranging from 15-20lbs with a surprise 110lber on the east side of Knight fishing a pinnacle for Rockfish....lots of chickens this year, more than I've ever caught in the past. I usually hit them on the drift at dropoffs between 150ft-300ft. The key is to just assume your out to catch anything but Butts when your dropping your line, that way it's always a bonus when u get one and you never come home disappointed.
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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I've found that to consistantly get into halibut out of Whittier requires running well out into the sound, i.e. Montague, Green Island, etc. I can get into rockfish and the occasional ling closer in, but butts require burning more fuel and covering more miles. The best structure seems to be flats that drop off, gravel bottom, and good current to bring bait fish to the butts. You're going to have to put in the time to figure out how to fish the terrain, and drifting vs. anchoring depends on the tide, current and wind. I prefer to drift, but sometimes I have to anchor to hold a position. Which side of a flat to fish depends on how the tide is running.

    I prefer catching to just fishing, and hence I've found to do so in the sound requires one being willing to burn some fuel and cover some miles. Even for a day trip I plan on covering 100 miles r/t and burning 30+ gal of gas, and my boat is relatively fuel efficient. Sport fishing simply doesn't pencil out over buying fish in the stores. You have to learn to love the experience. My first year was very frustrating, but I've learned to enjoy being out on the water and not being so driven to limit out on fish. The funny thing is I've managed to get better at catching fish while not being as concerned about doing so.

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    Member BigBrown767's Avatar
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    Obviously you want to look for the flats as well but this is a copy of a reply to another thread I made. We boated 11 halibut in 2 days and kept 7, the smallest being 40+.

    Here's a sampler video that my daughters boyfriend made of our overnight trip that we returned from yesterday, he says it's a little tease of the movie that he'll make at the end of the season.

    The best way to catch halibut in the sound is to have patience! Sometimes I'll have to put down a scent trail for a couple of hours before the first bite. Drop bait bombs every half hour and think of the islands in the sound as a rock in a river. A trout doesn't lay out in the middle of the current, he sits behind a rock and when food come downstream he slips out, eats and slips back behind the rock. The same applies to the baitfish and halibut. Think of the direction of the current and where the fish would likely expend the least amount of energy for their meal. Tight lines!


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIyS0fICC_Q&feature=plcp

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    Member fishingyoda's Avatar
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    That's a cool video! Trust me I enjoy fishing every time and that's not what I'm getting at but I would like to be more efficient at it. I appreciate the info. We defiantly don't have a problem burning gas and have been going out to the islands that's why I'm asking about structure. I just figured I was looking in the wrong bottoms

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    Member AKBighorn's Avatar
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    It's been said many times, if your looking for regular halibut catches Whittier is not the place to go. It's really that simple. Homer and Seward will and do produce way more halibut than Whittier area ever will. There is a huge difference in bottom, structure, food, etc that Whittier just doesn't have. That's not to say you can't or won't catch halibut because you can but you will not run out less than an hour and limit in an hour or anywhere close to that with any consistency. Look at how many charters there are running out of the different ports, there is a reason and its not the size of the town. I won't run out to Montague in my boat because its too far period but the charters go there regularly. Sounds like you have two options- go further than you have been if you really want to be efficient at catching butts or accept it for what it is.

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    Member AKBighorn's Avatar
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    (edit) Sorry for the double post, there was an error in the database so I thought it didn't take.

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    That's a cool video! Trust me I enjoy fishing every time and that's not what I'm getting at but I would like to be more efficient at it. I appreciate the info. We defiantly don't have a problem burning gas and have been going out to the islands that's why I'm asking about structure. I just figured I was looking in the wrong bottoms

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I believe halibut can be found consistently out of Whittier, but the problem is most of the bottom is so much deeper than other ports, most people aren't willing to fish that deep. If you're willing to fish 300-1000+ feet (I'm generally not) then you might be getting into fish more consistently.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    If you're willing to fish 300-1000+ feet (I'm generally not) then you might be getting into fish more consistently.
    Absolutely correct. As I noted above, I know of consistent halibut grounds, but they're all deeper than 1,000' - some are around 2,000'.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    Absolutely correct. As I noted above, I know of consistent halibut grounds, but they're all deeper than 1,000' - some are around 2,000'.
    Point me in the right direction...I`m willing to go as far as 1,200 without electricity!! I do so love a good fish challenge.
    I guess I need to break out the charts again.


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    Member fishingyoda's Avatar
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    that depth sounds rediculous but I think Id also try it. Maybe we should do a poll and see who has the balls to fish that deep regularly...

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    Mise well try for giant squid if you're going that deep. or Kraken.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaFishTerminator View Post
    Mise well try for giant squid if you're going that deep. or Kraken.
    Thats not funny I've tangled with a kraken before...

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishingyoda View Post
    Thats not funny I've tangled with a kraken before...
    Haven't we all.

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