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Thread: Halibut fishing is not all it's cracked up to be.

  1. #1
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    Default Halibut fishing is not all it's cracked up to be.

    I fished with a charter out of Seward yesterday for Butts. First time Halibut fishing. We left the dock at 7am and endured a grueling 3.75hr boat ride (one way) to the SW tip of Montegue Island. Slaughtered them! The boat was limited out in an hour and fifteen minuets (15 ppl). There wasn't anything caught over 20lbs. All small chickens. Fished with 1/2 a herring, in about 130 feet. I also caught 2 gigantic ling cod. Had to throw them back as the season doesn't start till July (i think). The second the last person limited out, we started back. I'm not complaining and I did stock the freezer. I'm greatful for the meat, and I love the taste but not much skill or sport involved is there? I'm not real impressed with the entire experience. Seemed more like a harvest than a fishing adventure. I realize I was with a guide and he's made this look easy. I will never claim that I could do what they do with any success. Still, I'd rather fight a silver or a King on a fly any day. Thoughts........

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    i can agree somewhat with your point of view. There isn't a lot of sport involved in Halibut fishing. However I would think that your trip was sub-par to what can be a very enjoyable day out. When I go halibut fishing go places that are no more than an hour from my home. I don't get fancy with my rigs. I have a spreader bar with a cannonball weight and a chunk of bait. I know people use jigs and all sorts of other stuff but in the end those are more to satisfy the angler not the halibut. But I have a lot of fun, I take a picnic throw a line over the side and wait. Sometimes you wait awhile sometimes you don't get to eat the picnic till the ride home. I would give halibut fishing another try. Go in a boat with no more that 4 people, preferably close friends and make a day out of it. Those 15 person trips don't appeal to us sportsman types.

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    Member Tight Lines's Avatar
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    I always fish Halibut out of Yakutat and have a much better experience. Fish in 80-100ft of water and have catches of up to 215#. Average is about 80#. Half hour out and 4-6 hours on station with numerious lings, red, & Yellow cod to go along with the Halibut. Best day ever, 4 guys bringing 1100# of fish to the dock. Of the 15 or so trips I've only had one bad day (too rough to hold anchor) went inside some islands and troled for Kings with three limits, so it wasn't all bad .


    DD

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    Member big_dog60's Avatar
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    Your for the most part right. halibut fishing at least with a guide is pretty much boat out drop a line in the water then reel up the halibut when it bites. It is not the same as fighting silvers or kings but I enjoy getting out on the water and I like halibut meat so I enjoy it.

  5. #5

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    If you hook a big one its more about muscle and reeling technique. Wait till you get one most of the way up and it starts stripping line running for bottom!!! Not so easy then.

    Heavy weights, circle hooks and big bait does lessen the "skill" need to catch the fish. Finding the fish can be the biggest challenge. One of the problems I have seen are people not keeping the bait on the bottom. This can be a challenge in heavy currents or when drifting.

  6. #6

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    Sounds like your trip was somewhat of a wash and you landed in a chicken patch. On the other hand, we went out Sunday and managed to get 7 between the 4 of us (the bite was very off and on, lots of waiting and chatting). 1 chicken, the rest between 40-85 lbs. Also caught a few rockfish and a huge skate.

    Skill?? Definetly some involved... We probably had a little over a 50% hook up rate. We missed a couple huge bites that doubled the rods over. We also had a few that weren't hooked well that popped off early. I didn't think there was a whole lot of skill to it until this weekend. It's more challenging than catching salmon anyway.

    The boat ride you went on would have worn me out. That's a long time to go one way to only fish for an hour.

    If you give it another shot, go later in the season, or try the Deep Creek/Homer area. The drive is longer but you don't have to go out nearly as far. The tides are stronger out there though and make for a shorter window to fish.

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    I am wondering, what did you expect bottom fishing to be?
    Tennessee

  8. #8

    Default Smaller Rod bigger Fish

    Guess you haven't tryed to land a 125# Halibut on 17# test line in 120 feet of water on a Lamiglas Kenai Special with a Abu Garcia 6500. Took almost 2 hours and no skill!
    Thought it would of been a record, nope 212# is the record but boy oh boy yummy any way.
    Throw some back wait for bigger butt!

  9. #9
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    That skill is artificial. You created that level of difficulty by yourself. Halibut themselves don't take much skill to hook. Regardless of your line or rod type they will eat what's on your hook. You don't have to try many techniques. But they are fun anyway

  10. #10

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    Jigs are more fun. One of the things I like about halibut fishing is that you never know what you're going to catch or how big it will be.

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    Member AKArcher's Avatar
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    Default In Seward as well yesterday...

    My rant/rave thoughts...

    Your boat ride was 3.75 hrs due to the 15knt winds out of the SE and 4-5' choppy seas.... and the reason you harvested only chickens and didn't sit and soak for bigger fish with 15 people on is because of the front moving in(earlier than fore casted). You all limited, that is 30 fish in less than 2 hours. I guarantee you that there wasn't a single private boat out where you (or I ) were yesterday.

    I know your captain and crew personally, and they work their tails off to get their customers the BEST experience possible. I will say this, you could have been turned around at the cape and been told that you weren't going out today because we will probably only get chickens and it will be a rough turn and burn trip with a partial or full reimbursement. Now how many of the 15 people on that boat would have been satisfied? When the boat isn't chartered by one big group...you can't please everyone.

    Sorry, had to get that off my chest.


    Now my constructive thoughts...

    When chartering a halibut trip, you are at the mercy of the captain unless you charter the whole boat. If you want the whole boat, get a big group of people for the bigger boats, or go after a smaller (six-pack) boat and rent it for the day. You then will have more say in what type of fish(size), how long to sit, and when to give up on the big ones and fill the limits. Everyone wants the "big" halibut and they want to work for it. I was lucky enough to get one nearly 250lbs last year, my 3rd year of fishing for them. This weekend I brought up two 60's (first and last fish of the day) and about 15 chickens(all released). The boat was an exclusive charter (one big group) and we opted to stay for bigger fish ignoring the wind/seas/rain....

    If you want just meat, go on a charter, if you want to have a great time whether you get big fish or not, do an exclusive with your buddies. No...exclusive charters don't mean big fish, just means you have a little more say...
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

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    as a deck hand i deal with this everyday. People always want the huge ones and it doesn't always happen. Well with 13 out of the 15 people never having wet a line, they could care less if they get a 200 or 10lb fish. we do not like the hog hunters that get on our boats becuase they expect o catch a huge fish. if your interested in that get a private charter

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    I'd rather cast jigs to rockfish than sit for halibut any day however at $10/pound butt charters can make sense eeconmoically
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  14. #14
    Member big_dog60's Avatar
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    When I go out I always want to catch a big fish but I realize that these charters have a bigger responsibility to get every one fish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skydiver View Post
    Jigs are more fun. One of the things I like about halibut fishing is that you never know what you're going to catch or how big it will be.
    Perfect answer! I agree with you 110%
    Tennessee

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    SnoWolfe and AKArcher:
    I guess I was expecting the unrealistic. As I said it was my first time. You could tell this guy was a very experienced guide. He knew exactally where to take us to produce fish. That's the business he's in. Using everything in his power to produce fish. And my goal was to fill the freezer and he acomplished that.
    It would have been nice to hook the next world record, but I wasn't intrested in catching big fish. I've been told that anything over 60lbs is more prone to being gritty and wormy.
    However, I (and the 7 ppl on board that were puking over the rail ) would have rather spent more time soaking a little closer to the dock than in transit. I like what Tight Lines said. "Half hour out and 4-6 hours on station with numerious lings, red, & Yellow cod to go along with the Halibut." That sounds like a day of fishing to me!
    So, let's make this Crystal Clear. My guide was great!!!! The sport of halibut fishing is what I think is a little more off a harvest rather than a sport.

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    Default charter cost

    My thoughts are when you pay $200 plus tip for a halibut fishing experience (add more if you bring a family member), you want to be able to do just that... fish for halibut. I think 3.75 hours one way on a boat is way too long for a paid charter, although I do understand charters can't control the weather. I think if the conditions are that bad, the charter should have given the choice to the customer if they wanted a refund or were willing to go out still. That said, when I'm out on a halibut charter I too want the big one! Who doesn't? My last trip I took I later regreted keeping my first smaller halibut. We easily caught our limit that day, and the chance to pull up the big one was gone. Looking back, I would almost rather keep one 20 pound halibut and take the rest of the allowed time in the charter to try to catch the "big one"... even if that means I only leave with one for the day. That way you stay fishing, and don't simply leave on the boat ride home because everyone limited out.

  18. #18
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    EMU I want fish in the 20-60lbs range, personally I've never found halibut all that exciting and when I go after them I'm looking for meat, not thrills.(did ya hear that Marcus? ) In fact the only way I've been able to spice up halibut fishing so far is to fish them from a kayak!

    I view halibut the same as walleye back in Michigan excellent table fair but hauling up a log is hauling up a log no mater how big it is.

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    One more thing, at over $3.00 a gallon I think the captian would like to fish a little closer as well. They are not going that distance for their health and surely not the health of their pocketbook. Sounds like a good day with lots of fish. We always want big fish but a day of questionable weather, a limit of 30 fish, all average size is not too bad. The captain could have stayed closer and caught half the fish, (maybe) came in early due to the weather and called it a day. Sounds like a good captain that did what he needed to do to have a boat full of fish and hopefully happy fishermen!

  20. #20
    Member sgtpunisher's Avatar
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    im really sorry to hear about your experiance. i went on a charter thursday and had a great time. we did not limit out and some did not catch at all. so its what your looking for. the captains know where to go to get the chickens. they also know where to go to get the big ones. its a trade off. the chickens flock together, the big ones come in ones and two's. the cahrter i went with was saltwater safari out of seward, we did not go far , mabey an hr out and some folks landed three in excvess of 100 pounds, granted not all caught fish that day. so you might talk to the charter before going and let them know what you want.

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