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Thread: Whittier halibut

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    Default Whittier halibut

    What are the chances of catching butt close to Whittier? I can't go out too far I'm running a 19' inflatable. I'm not asking of cords just looking to see if its doable to bring home a couple chickens from the passage canal? I've heard rumors of one of the bays being ok. Any advice is welcome!

  2. #2

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    What type of inflatable do you have? I ask because I run an 18' RIB and go everywhere anyone else does. As for Halibut in Passage Canal...it would likely be slow or none at all. I have never personally caught a Halibut inside of Perry Island.


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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    There are a few that are caught close in to harbor each year - sometimes near the unloading dock where the salmon tenders are pumped out - but don't expect much. If you have the gear to fish deep, I'd head for the middle of the bay and fish as deep as possible.

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    I fish up passage canal often when the weather is coming from the east. There are resident Hali they stay up,towards Barry arm. As a matter of fact when you enter Harriman where it bottle necks down there is a moraine under water that comes close to 3 fathoms at low tide. Use that structure to your advantage. When the tide is coming in fish on the nw side and when it's going out fish the south side.....I often sound big bait balls in the spring there and a guy could also mooche up some kings too. When fishing there early season till may be ware there of ice that the wind can blow out and make for some interesting ice berg dodging

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrgsholly View Post
    I fish up passage canal often when the weather is coming from the east. There are resident Hali they stay up,towards Barry arm. As a matter of fact when you enter Harriman where it bottle necks down there is a moraine under water that comes close to 3 fathoms at low tide.
    Barry Arm and Harriman Fjord are a long ways out of Passage Canal and require travel quite a ways down Port Wells to access.

    To the OP - if you consider exploring outside of Passage Canal, do not take the weather in Port Wells lightly. That can be the worst stretch of water in the entire Sound if conditions are right.

  6. #6

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    Yeah I have the aluminum floor in mine it's 19' long 8' wide running a 50hp Tohatsu. Thanks for the info guys. I've been in passage a few times and I'm comfortable there in good weather so I think I'll keep exploring it and try to find a good spot. I'm thinking about poking around shotgun a bit this year. If its calm seas I might try the deeper areas like Brian M suggested. Harriman looks a bit too far for me I'd be on it like a bulldog on a porkchop if I had a big ocean boat but I'm small potatoes LOL.

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    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    Heck, with that size inflatable, you could get into good halibut fishing. On good days of course, but the bottom of Perry or Lone islands are good fishing middle to late summer.
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    Patience is the key. Long soaks. I have picked up a lot of halibut within 30 miles of Whittier but not a lot of halibut in one day, some days nadda. We don't need a lot to stock the freezer for the winter. With the fam we only need a few decent sized fish and then we boaterhome for the majority of the summer. When the guys want to 'fish' we end up running south just to get into some consistent action.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wild4ak View Post
    What are the chances of catching butt close to Whittier? I can't go out too far I'm running a 19' inflatable. I'm not asking of cords just looking to see if its doable to bring home a couple chickens from the passage canal? I've heard rumors of one of the bays being ok. Any advice is welcome!
    Was poking around the north entrance to Culross Pass ..... along the cliffs .... pretty easy run from Whittier .... with a halibut rid and a big bait (hunk of salmon and a couple of herring), trying to drop a line where the depth was around a 100 feet or so. One or two boat lengths farther out and the water dropped to 300 feet and more ..... very quickly. Thought maybe I'd find a ling along the steep underwater cliffs. Thought I hooked the bottom ..... acted like it was hung up. Then it took off. Never caught a halibut in deep water before ..... and this guy kept the line screaming and just kept diving. Didn't seem like there was any anything I could do to stop him. My senator was loaded with Dacron ... for Cook Inlet ... and just doesn't hold enough line for that depth. Just before the spool ran out ..... he turned around and started climbing. Could hardly crank fast enough to keep up. When he got to the surface he shot out of the water like a king salmon ...... out about 100 feet from the boat. Was ready with a harpoon at first chance I got so he wouldn't head down again ..... and managed to get a dart into him. Went about 100 pounds ........ took so long to get him in the boat ..... we missed our tunnel opening.




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    Member breausaw's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reminder; I need to get a harpoon this year.
    Have a friend who picked up a 180-200lb butt across from the harbor a couple years ago, mid to late July I think.
    I personally have had no luck halibut fishing within 50 miles of Whittier, my crew and I are not patient fishermen. Will give it the old college try for an hour or so than do something else, go for a hike, pull the shrimp pots, do some beachcombing or go exploring some cove with the dink.
    I do plan on trying some deeper drops (+500) closer in this year in hopes of ripping some flat fish lips.
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    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    I'm with you. I'm wanting to try a little bit closer for halibut and venture out a lot farther too. I'm gonna try to skip the in between areas this year. I've heard too many stories of big halibut caught close to Whittier and I want to try it. And I've never made the run out to Monty either. So this summer is going to be an experiment for me.
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    Going to get off subject again but. For those of you that soak lines close to Whittier whats a normal time frame to get a hit on a bait 1hr 2,3 ? Was just going to anchor up this spring while pots are soaking. I have about 20lbs of herring in the freezer so I thought I'd chum while enjoying the scenery . I know a guy that catches big halibut early May up towards College fjords.(Non guide) I talked to him several times at the harbor last year when they were unloading fish. Thats just to far for this rookie to try. Still learning the ropes out there.
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    i have had good luck around Perry island, even the north side of which has produced some nice yelloweye. around 300' may be a bit much for some but im young and dont mind. i usually attach a chum bag 10-15 feet above the anchor with a herring oil soaked rag along with whole and cut up herring

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    Roger, let me know sometime and maybe we can hook up with both boats and take a longer trip. Last year was my first year and I spent most time in Seward. I want to try WHittier a little more this year.
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    Wild4AK,

    With a 19' x 8' aluminum RIB/50hp Tohatsu I'd say to get a 6-10hp kicker, windscreen/full canopy, pick your weather and then go any darn place that the big boats go. I spent three years bombing all over PWS in a Mk III Futura and 50hp Tohatsu. You can, too! Get a Cruising Guide, GPS/Sounder, good anchor and a sleeping bag and you're ready for overnighting. Hook up with others on the Forum as the fastest way to learn where you can and should go. Have plenty of respect for the weather, for the nets of the commercial guys trying to make a living, and get a radio.

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    The closest I've caught a butt was at Pigot Pt.. Thats just the end of Passage Canal. I've had very nice days there trolling for salmon and I know people catch butts there as well. I have also found some nasty confused water there. As posted before, have weather respect and explore far as u want!!

  17. #17

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    Thanks for all the info!!! I'll hunt around inside the passage and if its real good weather/seas then I will slowly venture to other areas as well but I can be stubborn I just know it in my bones there is a chicken hole not too far from the harbor and I'm going to find it. I am set up for deep water so that don't bother me at all its a good work out lol. Again you all have been great with the info. I'll keep you posted on what I find.... or don't find and if you see a big red inflatable with the tohatsu putting around like its lost just give a chuckle and a wave I'm just butt hunting!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger View Post
    Going to get off subject again but. For those of you that soak lines close to Whittier whats a normal time frame to get a hit on a bait 1hr 2,3 ? Was just going to anchor up this spring while pots are soaking. I have about 20lbs of herring in the freezer so I thought I'd chum while enjoying the scenery .
    As I posted in one of the threads that I responded to, in PWS, treat the islands like a boulder in a river. Trout don't lay in the main current fighting for their next meal, they lay behind a rock/boulder and when a food source drifts downstream they just slip out into the mail current and grab food as it drifts by. They use as few calories as needed to get their food, the same applies to the fish (especially big halibut) in the Sound!!! On incoming tides, I'm on the northern sides of islands/points and on outgoing tides I'm on the southern sides. It's a like big eddie and fish are hiding there waiting for their food sources. I also pound my spot with what I call "bait bombs". As soon as I get my lines down I start dropping them and I drop them EVERY 30 minutes until I'm confident that I have a good scent trail going. Sometimes that can take a couple of hours. I know I have a good scent trail when I start hitting fish.. I almost never go to one of my spots and don't connect with a 100lb + fish and I fish within an hour of the launch.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy82Hoyt View Post
    i usually attach a chum bag 10-15 feet above the anchor with a herring oil soaked rag along with whole and cut up herring
    I used to use a chum bag tied off to the anchor chain until a couple of years ago. We dropped anchor with the bag attached and after about an hour I noticed that we had drifted about 40' from my spot. The tide had not swung and the seas/wind were calm. The next thing I knew we had line screaming off one of my 40W reels, I knew right away that we had a salmon shark on because it was running away with no halibut head shake so we torqued the drag to break him off. After we limited on halibut, when I pulled anchor it was confirmed when all that was left of my bait bag was the nylon cord that tied it to my chain. The cord was cleanly cut like a knife was used. The best I can tell is that the reason we drifted was because the shark was lifting the anchor while eating the bag.
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    Big brown how do you do your bait bombs? That sounds like a great idea!

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