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Thread: halibut bait bombs?

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default halibut bait bombs?

    Ok, next July I'm taking my pastor on a DIY fishing trip to Thorn bay. He had never been to alaska and wanted to go with me this year so I've had to look at doing thing a little less on the expense side.

    I would love to hear some the the details of how you use one. Please share the details if you can.

    What kind of bait you use>

    Do you use and put down frozen?

    How long do you sit on it?

    How much?

    Do you use the brown bag method?

    Do you use a mesh bag on a down rigger?

    At what point in the tide do you use?

    Any additional thoughts or inputs would be greatly appreciated?
    Semper Fi and God Bless

  2. #2

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    1. Herring, salmon guts, salmon (heads, bellies, tails, collars), pink salmon, dog salmon. Fresh is best. Hit up a lodge for scraps if you can as the charters come in. Ask the operation you are with to save you all fillet scraps for a few weeks prior to you showing up. They might do it.

    2. Anchor if you can. Trust me. Give it at least 2 hours in a good tide. If you don't get a halibut in 2 hours, go try another area with fresh bait. Get down as much scent as you can. Keep it fresh by pulling one rod up at a time every 30 minutes to add new fresh bait.

    3. Never used a mesh bag on a downrigger. I attach my chum bag to my anchor if I can anchor. I use the same mesh bags they sell to use for shimp/crab pot bait. My buddy freezed his "bombs" in the freezer around a rock and does ok. Anchoring works better.

    4. I like to have at least 2 hours remaining in the tide.. but I like to anchor up at the beginning of the tide. If you have all day, if you get down enough bait, you can fish through a few tides on a good "bomb".


    My other "thoughts" would be to check to see if the boat is equipped with an anchor and at least 600' of line and buoy. I've never fished out of Thorne Bay, but I imagine they have some good sized 'buts over there. What size boat are you getting?

  3. #3
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    I use the same stuff as 270ti But also use some hooligan at times. Usually cause it is cheap and plentiful.
    I chop it up with a knife but sometimes use an old meat grinder I bought for making chum. I usually add a cup or two of herring oil to the mix.
    I use the brown bag method. Drop a bomb or two as soon as you are anchored and see what happens.I prefer a little tidal movement to get the scent spread out but I always just drop them as soon as I get to where I want to fish and get the anchor setup.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by tboehm View Post
    Ok, next July I'm taking my pastor on a DIY fishing trip to Thorn bay. He had never been to alaska and wanted to go with me this year so I've had to look at doing thing a little less on the expense side.

    I would love to hear some the the details of how you use one. Please share the details if you can.

    What kind of bait you use>

    Do you use and put down frozen?

    How long do you sit on it?

    How much?

    Do you use the brown bag method?

    Do you use a mesh bag on a down rigger?

    At what point in the tide do you use?

    Any additional thoughts or inputs would be greatly appreciated?
    As a lot of people here know, my preferred method for catching halibut around Homer is drift fishing. I prefer to drift through likely halibut habitat and if I catch something I keep doing the same drift over and over again. And if I don't catch anything in a drift I go back to the first starting point, move over 50 to 100 yards or so and do another drift. I just prefer being more interactive than just sitting there for as much as a couple of hours NOT catching anything hoping that eventually I will catch something. Especially with clients. IMHO there's nothing more painful to me than having clients on board just sitting there for a couple of hours not catching any fish. But it's a personal thing and everyone has their own opinions on the subject.

    My absolute favorite bait is salmon. But you have to be careful using salmon because in some places in the state some species of salmon, and/or parts of salmon, are either legal or illegal to use. As always, be sure you know the regs for where you're going to be fishing. I've never fished anywhere near Thorne Bay so don't know what is or isn't legal there.

    But the two baits that I use predominantly if salmon isn't available are squid and octopus. I soak my squid/octo in Pro-Cure "Brine and Bite" which toughens it up considerably. I also started experimenting this summer with Pro-Cure's "CHARTREUSE GLOW UV BAITFISH OIL" and the jury's still out on its effectiveness. It's made from herring, anchovy and "other baitfish oils", so you'd think it would be a big help in attracting fish. It sure seemed to work better than just plain bait, but I wouldn't absolutely swear to it just yet. At the depths you typically fish for halibut UV light is the only thing that will reach that deep and in theory the "CHARTREUSE GLOW UV BAITFISH OIL" will "glow" and attract halibut.

    And don't discount jigs. I also was brushing it onto my jigs as well and it seemed to be pretty effective in that application as well. Even without the UV enhancer I found at times that jigs can be an even better halibut "bait" than bait. Theoretically speaking it would seem that a jig bouncing up and down and "swimming" through the water seems to excite them more than a nebulous piece of bait. Maybe excites their predatory instinct?
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
    http://muttleycrewfishing.com

  5. #5
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    I use the same stuff as 270ti But also use some hooligan at times. Usually cause it is cheap and plentiful.
    I chop it up with a knife but sometimes use an old meat grinder I bought for making chum. I usually add a cup or two of herring oil to the mix.
    I use the brown bag method. Drop a bomb or two as soon as you are anchored and see what happens.I prefer a little tidal movement to get the scent spread out but I always just drop them as soon as I get to where I want to fish and get the anchor setup.
    Is yours frozen? How often do you drop another? I've been told that you are looking at least an hour for action after the drop, is that what most of you guys expect?

    You say that you prefer some tide action to spread the scent. Do you prefer one side of the tide to the other? How much earlier to that tide target do you start fishing and end fishing.

    I'm sure that many of these are common knowledge for those of you that are guides or major junkies or even old salts but I would like to hear different schools of thought and learn as much as possible to try to make sure that the pastor has an over the top experience.

    Thanks again for the help and insights.
    Semper Fi and God Bless

  6. #6
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Dave - I appreciate the advice and your input. I've watched your posts over the years and glad that you are a member.
    Semper Fi and God Bless

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by tboehm View Post
    Dave - I appreciate the advice and your input. I've watched your posts over the years and glad that you are a member.
    Thanks. I appreciate the appreciation!
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
    http://muttleycrewfishing.com

  8. #8

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    Tide movement is everything. No tide, and no scent trail. In or out, it doesn't matter, except it dictates what direction your scent will be moving. I love the big tides. When it takes 3lbs of lead to stay on the bottom in 220ft of water, I know good things are going to happen.


    Get a chart, and predict the general area you think the halibut will be. When looking at charts, I look for 200-300ft flats, with several rockpiles. That depth has been the most consistent for me, but I am going to venture out to the 300-450 range next year just to see. A diverse bottom is good too. Anchor or drop you chum bomb in an area where the tide (current) will carry your scent over the area where you think the halibut will be. If it's a 2kt current, your scent is moving along at that rate. As your chum releases scent, it will basically make a scent line, that the halibut will detect the scent and come right into your bait. It's how they feed. They come in from very long distances to your chum. It's an extremely effective way to fish, as it lets you draw fish in from very large areas. Keep your baits fresh, and keep them coming.

    As far as time goes.. It depends. I've had 150lb fish jump on in 10 minutes of being on anchor. Other days it takes 30 minutes. Not sure how long it will take you on the Thorne Bay side. You might be on anchor for 4 hours for 1 100lb fish.. who knows? The days are long, so you have that on your side. But if that's what it takes, it will be worth it, that's for sure. Look over your charts and look for areas you think they might be. Structure is good, too much structure can be problematic. I knew of one guy who would anchor up off of major points in 60-80ft of water. He didn't catch a whole lot of little halibut and had plenty of waiting, but the ones he did catch averaged around 80lbs.

  9. #9
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tboehm View Post
    Is yours frozen? How often do you drop another? I've been told that you are looking at least an hour for action after the drop, is that what most of you guys expect?

    You say that you prefer some tide action to spread the scent. Do you prefer one side of the tide to the other? How much earlier to that tide target do you start fishing and end fishing.

    I'm sure that many of these are common knowledge for those of you that are guides or major junkies or even old salts but I would like to hear different schools of thought and learn as much as possible to try to make sure that the pastor has an over the top experience.

    Thanks again for the help and insights.
    I really think each spot is different as far as tides go. One area may prefer the incoming and one the outgoing and in some spots it doesn't really seem to matter.
    Basically I head out in the morning drop a couple of chum bombs( if I decide to use them) then start fishing. I like to fish in the morning and try to get my limit sooner rather than later. That way if the weather turns bad I can just head in. We sometimes leave ourselves one fish to catch hoping for something bigger than average and fish until we feel like coming in or until it starts to get bad weatherwise.
    I used to drift a lot but now I mostly anchor up and I definetly prefer anchoring. This is just my opinion but anchoring seems to work better for me.
    While anchoring I am drawing the fish to one central location. They can key in on the scent we are spreading from our baits and chum and more easily hone in on it than if it were moving.
    I like to fish spots that have produced for me in the past so I know I can usually find some fish in the area.
    Last summer I was fishing with my wife and her brother. We had been anchored in a normal hotspot for 20 minutes without a bite.
    I chopped up some herring into 1" chunks added a cup or so of herring oil to the bag and dropped it to the bottom and released it. Within 5 minutes it was fish on and stayed that way for the next several hours. It was maybe 5-10 minutes between fish until we left that spot to head in.
    Were those fish headed for us anyway? Who knows but once we had them keyed in on our location they hung around until we decided to leave.
    We were subsistence fishing so we left with 20 fish between 18 and 45 pounds. We realesed quite a few smaller fish. Her brother caught most of the smaller ones but also got quite a few keepers.
    If there are fish around and you are anchored where they can get a wiff of your scent they will find you. Dropping a chum bomb or a chum bag/sack certainly will help especially when fishing areas new to you.
    As far as frozen vs fresh cut they both work. Sometimes I will cut bait in advance of a fishing trip and freeze it. Especially if I am also prepping crab bait at the same time. I like a ground bait for crabbing so oftentimes make a little extra and use it for the halibut.
    I would think a chum bag/sack would work better frozen than a chum bomb. With the chum bomb you are dropping a large scent wad you are hoping they will find and munch on the bits. Keep them small as you want them to get a taste not a meal.
    The chum bag on the other hand is something where you want a slower release of the scent from the big wad you have dropped and they follow it right up to your bait.
    The massive scent explosion from the bomb/bag really helps vs just having a couple of baits soaking.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

  10. #10
    Member FishGod's Avatar
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    I employ both techniques with consistently good results. For my chum bombs (brown bag method), I use small chunks of unfrozen sardines. For the chum bag I use a pillow case for a slower scent release. I don't want to confuse the halibut with too much scent. The mesh on a pillow case seems to be the perfect fit. I'll throw whatever scraps I have handy. Whole skeins of salmon eggs have proven very effective. I also soak a sponge in herring oil and throw that in the bag as well.
    Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly

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    Anyone just soak oil absorbant/cleanup rag pieces in herring oil and tie that onto your fishing line?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    Anyone just soak oil absorbant/cleanup rag pieces in herring oil and tie that onto your fishing line?
    I use tampons soaked in herring oil, which halibut seem to love. This summer I ran out of cured salmon eggs while king fishing and we just soaked a strip of rag in the juice and it worked VERY well.
    Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    I can't thank everyone enough for contributing to this. How big are your bombs? How much weight do you put in a scent bag? Where are you getting the oils and what are you spending on them? If I'm traveling out of ketchikan to thorn bay is it worth trying to bing some of this stuff with us?
    Semper Fi and God Bless

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tboehm View Post
    I can't thank everyone enough for contributing to this. How big are your bombs? How much weight do you put in a scent bag? Where are you getting the oils and what are you spending on them? If I'm traveling out of ketchikan to thorn bay is it worth trying to bing some of this stuff with us?
    I usually fill a paper lunch sack 1/2-3/4 full. I then tie it to my fishing line with a couple of half hitches.
    then I send it to the bottom with whatever size weight it takes to get it down quickky attached to a corkscrew swivel on the end of my line.
    After it soaks for a couple of minutes I give it a couple of quick jerks which rips the bottom of the bag out spilling the contents.
    I buy the herring oil at Sportsmans warehouse for ~$35 a gallon.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

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    Todd, another thing to think about for a DIY trip is to go on a charter, counterintuitive I know but it'll pay dividends. Not so much for spots but techniques. You'll learn more in a day on the water with a local charter fella than you can from 100 inquiries on a forum or photos for that matter. Just a thought, a successful trip should result ;-)

    Gooch
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    Member Milo's Avatar
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    Default Brown Bag

    I had my best charter in several years this fall. The captain was a big believer in the brown bag method and it sure seemed to helped. There was a modest current running but when the fish showed up, you knew it.

    I know I'll brown baggin it myself next spring.
    Death is like an old whore in a bar--I'll buy her a drink but I won't go upstairs with her.

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gooch View Post
    Todd, another thing to think about for a DIY trip is to go on a charter, counterintuitive I know but it'll pay dividends. Not so much for spots but techniques. You'll learn more in a day on the water with a local charter fella than you can from 100 inquiries on a forum or photos for that matter. Just a thought, a successful trip should result ;-)

    Gooch
    Gooch - I think that you are right and was planning that very thing. But the one thing that I have learned is that this forum is a wealth of knowledge and that there are many professional guides here. Many of them do different things, and I have found that when going out with a couple of different guides, I have asked them about something that another guide was doing and they hadn't heard of it. A prime example would be the paper bag trick. So I am trying to learn as much as possible. I know that many of my question may have been asked prior or may seem stupid or even elementary. I also realize that some of these things maybe considered trade secrets and you get those when you pay a guide. I really plan on doing both and have a lot of respect for those that are struggling and doing so. Again I do appreciate the help and the insights from all. What I would really like to hear about any videos that may have been posted showing the actual rigging. If you have the knowledge and ability please considering posting some.
    Semper Fi and God Bless

  18. #18
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milo View Post
    I had my best charter in several years this fall. The captain was a big believer in the brown bag method and it sure seemed to helped. There was a modest current running but when the fish showed up, you knew it.

    I know I'll brown baggin it myself next spring.
    What did he put in the bag and how much?
    Semper Fi and God Bless

  19. #19
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    Default halibut bait bombs?

    I miss the days when you'd put down a herring on a hook and catch a halibut. Just saying.....

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    I usually fill a paper lunch sack 1/2-3/4 full. I then tie it to my fishing line with a couple of half hitches.
    then I send it to the bottom with whatever size weight it takes to get it down quickky attached to a corkscrew swivel on the end of my line.
    After it soaks for a couple of minutes I give it a couple of quick jerks which rips the bottom of the bag out spilling the contents.
    I buy the herring oil at Sportsmans warehouse for ~$35 a gallon.
    How much oil would you suggest for a week of fishing for a group of 4?
    Semper Fi and God Bless

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