Observations of a Minnesota guy...
People around here seem to go armed for the big stuff. I've been watching charters, and even private boats - and most people seem to use the 4-5 foot "pool cue" and huge baitcast reels. Everywhere i go, I talk to people - out on the water, and especially at the cleaning stations - so I see what they are catching and the tackle they are using. Most halibut caught (85-95%?) are "chickens", but I have seen a few in the 50-80 pound class, and have heard of a couple that came in over a hundred pounds (but that seems to be pretty rare). Their evidence shows up occasionally in the dumpsters.
In my opinion, the heavy gear kills the fun of it. You can hardly tell if you have a chicken on or not. You basically sit there at the business end - and reel up your fish. So what I have been doing is using my bass and musky gear from Minnesota to catch my halibut, rockfish, cod, pollock, irish lord, etc. Granted, I haven't run into the monster yet, and no doubt when I do, I will have my hands full - but I am having a blast catching halibut (so far) up to 50 pounds, and even a skate that was 75 pounds or more - without too much trouble.
The same dilemma happens when we fish muskies at home: You can either fish with an extra heavy nine foot rod and saltwater reel with 100 lb. test and drag your fish in in 60 seconds - or, you can use lighter gear - say a medium sized ABU or Shimano baitcaster with an 8 foot medium rod, and have your fight last five minutes with the same net effect (if you know the limits of your gear, you generally can land the fish most of the time).
So the question is, am I nuts to be doing this here (I have a small craft, and am fishing Katchemak Bay, mostly)?
I guess from where I stand, I will have all the enjoyment of actually feeling and fighting the vast majority of the fish that bite - and then when that big one comes along, I will either deal with it (it will take longer), or I will be bested by the fish. I guess up front, I can accept that.
What's the thoughts and experiences of "those in the know"?