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Thread: Halibut on Fly

  1. #1
    Member Floridascuba's Avatar
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    Arrow Halibut on Fly

    I saw an article in a previous Alaska Fishing Magazine about someone that fly fishes for Halibut on fly. I know of a couple spots in 45' of water that produce halibut and thinking I want to break out my 12wt and give it a shot. And particular fly I should use? I seem to recall he was using a heavier than normal fly to help it get down. My fly line is a Teeny sink Tip.

  2. #2

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    Can't help ya here but it sounds pretty awesome. I have always wanted to try bank fishing for halbut but never knew where to start and to do it on a fly would be even funner. I think I would start with zonkers, octopus, and Dolly Llama (they work for everything)...all nicely weighted of course. Definitely keep us updated.

  3. #3
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Floridascuba View Post
    I saw an article in a previous Alaska Fishing Magazine about someone that fly fishes for Halibut on fly. I know of a couple spots in 45' of water that produce halibut and thinking I want to break out my 12wt and give it a shot. And particular fly I should use? I seem to recall he was using a heavier than normal fly to help it get down. My fly line is a Teeny sink Tip.
    There's an excellent section on fly fishing for halibut in Gunnar Pedersen and Rene Limeres's book, "Alaska Fishing". If you don't have that book, I highly recommend it. By far the best book on fishing in Alaska you'll find anywhere.

    At any rate, they recommend the following patterns:

    - Squid
    - Calamari
    - Crab
    - Herring
    - Baitfish
    - Halibut Flesh Fly
    - Deceiver
    - Sea Snake
    - Sandlance
    - Seaducer
    - Tarpon Fly
    - Whistler

    Some of these patterns are illustrated in the book, but no patterns are given. Some are fairly common saltwater flies, while others are variations from common patterns.

    Will Rice's "Fly-Fishing Secrets of Alaska's Best Guides" has a lot to say about saltwater fly fishing for salmon and rockfish, but I didn't see a lot in there on halibut. I could have missed it though. It's discounted in our store, and $11.95 might make it a worthwhile read.

    Finally, Chris Batin and Terry Rudnick's book, "How to Catch Trophy Halibut" contains a section on fly-fishing, however it doesn't offer a lot of direction on specific patterns, instead suggesting that the main thing is to use large patterns and get them deep (no surprises there). This starts getting into the area of tactics, which, if I were to make any recommendations besides trying to fish later in the year when fish can be found in shallow water, it would be to chum up a wolf pack of smaller fish, which can be brought up near the surface by baitfish or chum. That could give you some great action at or just below the surface. Here's an example of what I'm talking about. Smaller fish, but still a lot of fun.



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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Floridascuba View Post
    I saw an article in a previous Alaska Fishing Magazine about someone that fly fishes for Halibut on fly. I know of a couple spots in 45' of water that produce halibut and thinking I want to break out my 12wt and give it a shot. And particular fly I should use? I seem to recall he was using a heavier than normal fly to help it get down. My fly line is a Teeny sink Tip.
    We do quite a bit of it for yucks when conditions are right. Just a about any fly is going to work, so long as it's weedless (we do a mono loop between the eye and the bend). Lots to hang on in typical halibut bottom, and it's tough to regulate just how deep you are with a count down due to currents, etc. Use the weedless loop and relax.


    Best flies for me for profile and ease of tying are Deceivers, with green over white best and plain white second best. Don't be tempted to go bigger than 3/0 on the hooks, because even with a 12-wt it gets hard to set the bigger hooks with so much sinking line out.

  5. #5

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    Qdm


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  6. #6

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    Hmmm....butt forum posting...like butt dialing a phone...pun sort of intended.

    That's new.

    Definitely going to give this a try off deep creek. Will try bigger fishy flies but I may also try bigger versions of the "crab" flies you see for permits and such in warmer water.

    None of it I think will qualify for fly fishing records due to a lot of the rules but it should be a blast. I have converted on of my larger fly reels to straight braid for down rigging and mooching silvers. I will likely be using lead core line as my fly line on a second spool. I think casting is kinda limited. I guess I'm fly fishing and catching vs fly casting so that's ok....right?


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    We're using Rio Leviathin Lines and the equivalent from SA. They're right at 9 IPS, which is getting close to lead core. Best thing about them, they're "density compensated" or some such. Bottom line they sink flat and fast and tend bottom well. Lead core tends to kinda plunk onto the bottom and root around there rather than skim it. Dunno if that's the right explanation, but our catch rate went right up when we switched to the Rio especially.

    Other fine points- Use a 5 gal bucket for a stripping basket. You can wedge it against the rail or into the corner and it's easy to use while keeping your line from snagging on every little thing while casting.

    If the current is running at all (we usually fish anchored), once you get the line to the bottom do a little "horizontal jigging." I.e., pull a strip of line toward you when retrieving, pause, and let it settle back. Repeat. It lets you stay down deep a whole lot longer between casts. We cast up-current far enough so that the line reaches bottom about the time it is passing the boat. Then we "dead drift" it close to bottom and past the boat, with those strips and pauses until it's straight down current behind the boat.

    Hit's won't feel like "strikes" with a distinct tug. The fly just stops or you feel tension. That's another reason for the "horizontal jigging"- So you can feel when a fly is picked up.

    Not much luck drifting except on the tide changes. It's just hard to know if you're even close to the bottom.

  8. #8
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    We're using Rio Leviathin Lines and the equivalent from SA. They're right at 9 IPS, which is getting close to lead core. Best thing about them, they're "density compensated" or some such. Bottom line they sink flat and fast and tend bottom well. Lead core tends to kinda plunk onto the bottom and root around there rather than skim it. Dunno if that's the right explanation, but our catch rate went right up when we switched to the Rio especially.

    Other fine points- Use a 5 gal bucket for a stripping basket. You can wedge it against the rail or into the corner and it's easy to use while keeping your line from snagging on every little thing while casting.

    If the current is running at all (we usually fish anchored), once you get the line to the bottom do a little "horizontal jigging." I.e., pull a strip of line toward you when retrieving, pause, and let it settle back. Repeat. It lets you stay down deep a whole lot longer between casts. We cast up-current far enough so that the line reaches bottom about the time it is passing the boat. Then we "dead drift" it close to bottom and past the boat, with those strips and pauses until it's straight down current behind the boat.

    Hit's won't feel like "strikes" with a distinct tug. The fly just stops or you feel tension. That's another reason for the "horizontal jigging"- So you can feel when a fly is picked up.

    Not much luck drifting except on the tide changes. It's just hard to know if you're even close to the bottom.
    How deep are you usually fishing?
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    Member Kodiakfly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    How deep are you usually fishing?
    I've boated halibut on IGFA-legal fly gear down to 200'. I've used Teeny 750 and the Leviathan. BrownBear is accurate in that I also prefer to anchor, rather than drift, though I've read of guys fly casting on drifts. I like to anchor and use the same method he does, other than when I get vertical I pull it up through the water column and pick off other species doing that! I'll get it back up and make an actual fly cast again and pay out line until I "should" be on or near the bottom and wait for something to happen.

    For flies, I've pretty much always use white and black. No need to get crazy on it. I will be doing more off the rivers this fall than I have in the past. I use a 16 for the deep dredging and a 13 if I'm shallower and casting more.

    I've got a trash can mounted on a seat post on the front of my boat for a stripping basket, though in deeper water the retrieve is so long, I have time to reel in spare line and not let a bunch of backing get in the way, so it's not a huge deal. But it's nice to have a place to put line...especially in any kind of wind.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    How deep are you usually fishing?
    Usually no deeper than about 80'. If you look at the IGFA regs for fly fishing, you're not supposed to fish any deeper than the length of your cast. No simply lowering a weighted line to depth. I'm not usually after IGFA hats and pins, but some of the guys I fish with care a lot about them.

  11. #11
    Member Kodiakfly's Avatar
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    I'm not an IGFA guy either, and in no way do I care about records. But I "stick with IGFA" in the sense that I don't use weights, or even weighted flies, no scent, no downriggers, etc... I've fished that deep, beyond IGFA regs, because I've been in boats with my friends fishing conventional gear and they're in 200' of water. In my own boat, I have freedom to fish were I like.

  12. #12

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    I was about to start a thread on fly fishing for Halibut when I came across this thread. Great Info. Does anybody know of a charter that does Halibut fishing with a fly rod? I would love to do it at least once.

    Thanks Much

  13. #13

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    Randy Wells at Seward Fish Co. has done some Halibut Fly Fishing trips out of Seward. Check him out online www.fishsewardalaska.com or call 907-947-3349. I also think Andy Mezirow at Cracker Jack Charters does some fly fishing trips as well out of Seward.
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