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Thread: PWS halibut bottom structure ?

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Question PWS halibut bottom structure ?

    Do most of you that can actually catch halibut in PWS focus your fishing on Mud, Sand/Shale, Sand, or Rocky bottoms in PWS.

    I am working over my charts to identify spots to try for both halibut and rockfish, but am having difficulty finding the butts (well, sometimes the rockfish too). What type of bottom structure are you most successful on?

    I have a cabin out at Port Chalmers over the 4th of July so I am looking in that area, but also am trying to mark some spots to check in closer...I don't have the right boat to get out to Montague very often, nor can I afford to spend that kind of fuel bill consistently.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    A note about fishing PWS (assuming out of Whittier) When you are close to the glaciers, the water is silty and the majority of the sound is very deep water. For structure to hold halibut and rockfish, you need baitfish and current to move the baitfish to the halibut and rockfish. What that generally means is to consistantly catch a decent number of fish, you have to burn some fuel and get well into the sound to where bait fish are being carried to the predatory fish you are fishing for. The converse seems to hold for shrimping which seems best close to the glaciers in silty water.

    Yes, some fish are caught in passage canal and wells passage, but if you want good fishing action as opposed to soaking bait for hours and maybe catching 1 fish, run well into the sound. I haven't found bottom type to matter that much between rock, shale and gravel, it's more the configuration of the bottom i.e. shelfs, pinnacles and cliffs that I look for. Also think about what the current and tide is doing in relation to the structure you are fishing.

    With that said, pick put 1/2 dozen likely spots and fish them. A spot that is great one day can be poor the next day, week, month or year. Also be aware that longliners can clean out a halibut hole. I went to a known good halibut spot last year, there were about 1/2 dozen boats fishing the spot and almost no one was catching fish. We had two hookups and only landed one fish. I'd heard the long liners had cleaned the area out 2 days prior.

    Honestly if landing fish is your priority, Seward is a much more productive port for the day boater.

    I haven't had a chance to fish Port Chalmers but the terrain is much different than the Western Sound. The water is much shallower, and there are kelp beds. I've heard the fishing over there can be excellent but haven't had a chance to take a long range multi day trip over there.
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    Member c6 batmobile's Avatar
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    I cant speak for whittier since I dont get out there much but most of my success with halibut is on sandy/shale bottoms near drop offs/ledges etc as stated above. Tide also has a big part in it as well. If your moving a lot of water the fish are going to try and hide out the current.
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    Between the Smith Islands, the needles, Seal Island and the like are all within reach there and all produce some good fishing. Or just run down to the southern tip and find a drop-off adjacent to shallow water.


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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    I have fished the needles several times. Some days are poor others are not.Those are the areas that I am looking at AK2AZ. I won't have enough fuel to poke down to the southern end of Montie though. I am planning on 50 miles per day once at the cabin.I might go out next week and do some shrimping, fish scouting, and look for a blackie. I will look into some new spots.

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