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Thread: Anchor or Drift for halibut/bottom fish

  1. #1

    Default Anchor or Drift for halibut/bottom fish

    Any thoughts on whether it's best to anchor or drift when fishing for halibut? I've always anchored, but it's a bit of a pain, and I've seen a couple of mentions that at least a few guys on this site tend to drift. Are weather and tide a factor?


  2. #2
    Member jojomoose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011


    I drift most of the time due to the hassle of bringing the anchor up with the buoy. I get lucky so there is no need most of the time to fool with it. When I don't get the fish I want, or they arent biting i go with the anchor right before slack tide. Build my scent fog with a chum bag tied to the anchor and fresh bait every 15-20 minutes. then once the tide starts to go again right after slack i will hopefully lure some in.

  3. #3


    Usually we anchor for halibut as a matter of preference but drift for rockfish. But this year has been different for some reason. We simply haven't caught a halibut while at anchor, even with a chum bag on the anchor and long waits in the right spots. They still seem to be really scattered this spring, which is later than usual for our waters.

    Bottom line, do what works. Much as we prefer anchoring, it's not working for us right now.

  4. #4
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    I prefer to drift when fishing saltwater, no matter the species. That said, current and wind conditions can make drifting effectively very difficult. That's exactly what I experienced fishing Tuesday, the wind kept blowing us off even when we ducked into some passages to get into calmer water.

    So I figure it's best to keep your arsennal of techniques as broad as possible and drift, anchor or use your kicker to control your drift as the fishing dictates.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

  5. #5


    Thanks for the comments! Motor mooching for rock fish suspended in the water column is a no brainer, (and so much fun!), but I haven't had any luck fishing deeper than about 150 feet if I'm not anchored. I must admit though that I haven't paid much attention to the tides. Anchoring and chumming works, but often we're just aiming for a limit of chickens before we go chasing something else.

  6. #6
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Kenai Peninsula, Alaska


    From my experience, in the Cook Inlet, I've always done far better on halibut while anchored up. But I know those that only drift and catch fish. The last few years I have been drifting and have caught fish, but not like I used to while anchored....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!


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