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Thread: Halibut stringers

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    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    Default Halibut stringers

    I saw a boat out this weekend that was putting their catch of halibut on a stringer in the water. I typically put them in a big cooler, or a fish hold if they are big. Halibut are slow to die, so they seem to beat around a bit even after they are bled out. It looked like he was tieing them through the tail but I was not sure. Does anyone on here handle halibut like this? I ideally would like to have them bleed out in the water and then go straight to the filet table and reduce the mess. I guess I could try a stringer through their gill plate, but I worry about them thrashing their way out and loosing the fish. Any ideas are appreciated.
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    Member Soundfisher's Avatar
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    I keep all of my fish it the water, with the gills cut, until I am ready to clean it. This includes rock fish. salmon and halibut. I have several different size rope that I use for stringers. I leave them hanging on the side of the boat tied off on the cleat. This includes all halibut including the larger, up to 220 pound fish that I have caught. Cleaner, safer, and colder plus I think they bleed out better. They dont thrash as much as you think after bonking or shooting them. I just go through the gills and out the mouth. I have NEVER lost a fish by them getting their way free. I have though, forgot a couple little guys one time and left them hanging while I moved spots. Those ones got loose!

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    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    I used to do the same. Tied them to a stringer over the side. Mostly because I had a small boat with no fish box. Then I heard that it could be illegal and considered to be keeping them for a later release so I stopped. Now I just use the huge fish box in the floor and never looked back.
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    Member ramhunter's Avatar
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    I always cut gills and hang them on a stringer in the water to bleed out, been doing it for 25 years!...Never have heard that it was illegal?...but who knows anymore, there are so many rules!
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  5. #5

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    We have a fish box 4' long built into the deck. If the halibut is too big or the box too full, we hang them over the side. We keep a stock of 6' lines coiled on the boat- a braided loop in one end and a monkey fist in the other. Bash their heads, cut the gills, loop them through the mouth and gills over the side so they bleed out well. Best I've found is to tie them off to a cleat so their head is just under the water. Let them hang down too far and they tangle and generally cause trouble.

    Our boat is a 20' open skiff, and in my eyes it's still not big enough for halibut to be sliding around and slime/blood everywhere. Just not safe for anyone up and moving around, in my book.

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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    I do the same as Soundfisher. I made a stringer with a piece of 12" aluminum bar attached to one end as it makes it easy to thread it up through the gills and push out the mouth versus a limp line. Slit the gills and let 'em bleed out in the water.
    I too have forgotten to pull them in before driving off and lost a couple black bass.
    Never heard of a law prohibiting a person from tying them off on a stringer, especially once I have cut the gills.
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    Member ramhunter's Avatar
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    The only trouble we ever had hanging Halibut on a stringer was years ago, my brother and I have a 150 pound Halibut on a stringer off a 16 foot Lund, when a huge bull sea lion figured it was going to be his Halibut!...after a very exciting 10 seconds of my brother and the bull playing tug-a-war, my brother got the Halibut into the boat!
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    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    I do the same with large halibut, althgouh I keep them live, 5/16" line through the jaw. Everything stays live until I can bleed and keep on ice. I bleed everything else out in my livewell then when the water is cleared I transfer fish to ice. Large halibut stay live until I head for the dock, then bleed out right before I pull anchor. I do the same on rivers, just bleed them out before I head for the truck, I've always been of the mindset that live fish stay fresher than dead fish.

  9. #9
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    While I have done it with bigger fish I don't make a habit of it.
    One thing to consider is the water on the surface may not be as cool as we think. Also the sun is beating down on your fish all day long.Even though they may be just under the surface a brown halibut probably absorbs quite a bit of heat from the sun.
    On most fish I cut gill rakers then bonk and into the fish box. This has always given me good clean fillets. sometimes I throw some ice in the fish box if it is a real hot day.
    A friend of my dads keeps extra Harpoon tips onboard and he harpoons them and uses a line off the harpoon to secure the fish to the boat one fish per line. Seemed to work well for him on his smaller boat.
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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkmail View Post
    I do the same as Soundfisher. I made a stringer with a piece of 12" aluminum bar attached to one end as it makes it easy to thread it up through the gills and push out the mouth versus a limp line. Slit the gills and let 'em bleed out in the water.
    I too have forgotten to pull them in before driving off and lost a couple black bass.
    Never heard of a law prohibiting a person from tying them off on a stringer, especially once I have cut the gills.
    BK
    Same deal, I use a piece of dowl with a length of 3/8" line and an eye spliced on the end. Cut the gills, run the rod through the gill plate then cleat it off. I use a 160qt cooler with 50#'s of ice as my fish box. I put rockfish and salmon in a 5 gal bucket to bleed out, when the bucket is full or the bite slows they go in the cooler. Now that the kids are old enough to drive I can fillet the fish on the way back to port and dump the carcusses as we go.
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  11. #11
    Member L. G.'s Avatar
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    The only downside I know of is that, in some locations, seals and sea lions have learned about the free meals hanging alongside boats . . .

  12. #12
    Member JR2's Avatar
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    Once while keeping multiple fish on the same stringer there was an accidental release of a very nice 30+lb king... my heart sank watching that stiff dead fish sink out of sight.. and it was not my fish but I was the one who lost it. On our boat I keep the dead stuff in the fish hold and let them bleed out in there too, that is what macerator pumps are for.. pumping the goo overvboard. I also tend to spray them with cold water every time I go in to add another fish.
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  13. #13
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    I usually bleed the fish out mostly in the water and then they go into the fish hold if they will fit and I put glacier ice and some seawater into the fishhold if I am close to ice.

  14. #14

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    Exactly what I do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Soundfisher View Post
    I keep all of my fish it the water, with the gills cut, until I am ready to clean it. This includes rock fish. salmon and halibut. I have several different size rope that I use for stringers. I leave them hanging on the side of the boat tied off on the cleat. This includes all halibut including the larger, up to 220 pound fish that I have caught. Cleaner, safer, and colder plus I think they bleed out better. They dont thrash as much as you think after bonking or shooting them. I just go through the gills and out the mouth. I have NEVER lost a fish by them getting their way free. I have though, forgot a couple little guys one time and left them hanging while I moved spots. Those ones got loose!

  15. #15
    Member Blue Thunder's Avatar
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    Question, how do you secure the line to the dowl and have it hold to the dowl?
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  16. #16
    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    If you use an aluminum rod, just drill a hole in the middle and run the rope thru it. Just like a Kenai Keeper.
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    How many have seen this video? http://www.ktuu.com/videogallery/762...in-Alaska#gl-0 I've seen sea lions steal fish, but this changed my mind about hanging them overboard
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  18. #18
    Member Milo's Avatar
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    Only thing I ever had grab my halibut hanging on the stringer was another halibut, and the one on rope went 80lbs. The second fish wasn't a whole lot bigger. My wife freaked out because it was her fish!
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