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Thread: Halibut tides?

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    Default Halibut tides?

    Which is the best time to fish for halibut. Low, High, or either. I am going to ketchikan in the fall and going to do more halibut fishing this year. We are trying to figure out the best way to do it up there. On the oregon coast we just drag the bottom or I have targeted them trolling with down riggers.

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    Member akgun&ammo's Avatar
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    best time to fish is when yer fishen'

    just like best time to work is when [the boss is looking ] I mean when you're at work

    due to our schedules, you just can't afford not to fish when you got the time,
    Chris
    Last edited by akgun&ammo; 03-08-2014 at 23:17. Reason: can't spell

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    It just depends on the time of day they are and what's most convenient. But imo either one works just as good.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    If there's a rule of thumb for me, it's "the bigger the tide change the better the fishing." Best way I know to look ahead days or weeks to decide when to schedule fishing days. Stage of tide and time of day can vary with location, but if you're dealing with a little bitty tide change, you're likely to be scratching for fish wherever and whenever you go.

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    Thanks, we are fishing ketchikan for a week september 18th thru the 26th so we will have some time each day, the we have to figure out if we anchor or drift

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    If there's a rule of thumb for me, it's "the bigger the tide change the better the fishing." Best way I know to look ahead days or weeks to decide when to schedule fishing days. Stage of tide and time of day can vary with location, but if you're dealing with a little bitty tide change, you're likely to be scratching for fish wherever and whenever you go.
    Strangely enough, all tide books contradict what you're saying (though let me be clear I'm not discounting what you said). The best time to fish for halibut is just before, on, or after a slack tide. In addition to that, it's best to fish for bottom fish during a small (neap) tide, as it's easier to keep your lure/bait on the bottom fishing.

    I would say bigger tides would be more important for salmon fishing.

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    Kinda makes you wonder about the tide books, doesn' it?

    Ever ask the publishers how they came up with their fishing forecasts? I can only report what happens on my boat and others I know. No publishers in the whole bunch of us.

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    Member Dan in Alaska's Avatar
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    Location makes a big difference. Where the water is deep, on the North Gulf Coast, the tide currents aren't nearly as strong during the spring tides (full moon and new moon) as they are in the shallower waters of Cook Inlet. I have found the best fishing out of Seward and PWS to be during the spring tides, when there's more water moving. In Cook Inlet, however, the currents during a spring tide can be so ridiculously strong that you can't hardly fish. In Cook Inlet, the neap tides (quartering moons) usually provide better fishing.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anythingalaska View Post
    In addition to that, it's best to fish for bottom fish during a small (neap) tide, as it's easier to keep your lure/bait on the bottom fishing.
    I do believe that is the only reason they put the BIG BOLD halibut next to those neap tides............because you can fish it longer. But it doesn't mean the fishing isn't good during big tides as well. Only halibut fishing I have done is in CI, and I don't let big tides deter me from fishing halibut. I've been known to use as much as 64 ounces to stay on the bottom but I'll still catch fish.

    It also has a lot to do with weather you're drifting or on anchor. During big tides, like in the CI, if you drift, you're bait is likely to fly by a fish before it even sees or smells it.........lol. I've always had far better luck anchored up. But if you want to fish for awhile it can be a pain staying on the bottom.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in Alaska View Post
    Location makes a big difference. Where the water is deep, on the North Gulf Coast, the tide currents aren't nearly as strong during the spring tides (full moon and new moon) as they are in the shallower waters of Cook Inlet. I have found the best fishing out of Seward and PWS to be during the spring tides, when there's more water moving. In Cook Inlet, however, the currents during a spring tide can be so ridiculously strong that you can't hardly fish. In Cook Inlet, the neap tides (quartering moons) usually provide better fishing.
    On the high tides in CI you have an hour or two you can set on the bottom in deep water, but when the tide starts to really running and you can't hold the bottom anymore, I always headed to my favorite kelp bed. Fishing was considerably slower, but quality halibut can be had. Setting in the kelp off the bluffs. over closer to Anchor pt you could occasionally pick up a feeder King.... However, you could end up catching a few skate too..

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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    The tide book should say, the bigger the dot, the EASIER the fishing, not better, and imo that is only cook inlet specific.

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    I have no experience fishing the CI. I do have considerable experience fishing SE Alaska on anchor. The best fishing is the small tides. The reason is that you can fish the whole tide. On a large tide you are only able to fish it 1 to 2 hours before the tide change. The reasons are twofold. One, it is difficult to get the anchor to hold. The second reason is that even if you get the anchor to hold, you have to fish 3 or 4 lbs of weight which for me is not a good time. If I am fishing a big tide other than the change I look for an area with less current and I drift, fishing jigs. For the record I fish 70 miles NW of Ketchikan.

  13. #13

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    When it comes to halibut fishing, I must do things a bit differently. Big tides are kinda a pain in the butt, and doable. Middle tides are the best by far. Small tides and tide changes are my enemy. :-) Tide interfaces can screw me up too if one happens to come under me. I've had wide open halibut bites shut right off when an interface comes and shift what direction my scent is moving.

    I love to start halibut fishing, right after the tide starts moving after a tide change. In or out, makes no difference other than you need to position yourself to put your scent exactly where you want it to go. How do you determine that? Trial and error and a pile of days on the water compounding your knowledge of what it takes to have no bad days. This is where experience trumps luck 100x over. Big tidal flow can be a bit intimidating though as you also have to watch big kelp islands flying at you at 3mph and getting your lines/anchor rope all fouled up. If I use 3lbs to get to the bottom and still have a 45 degree angle on the halibut lines, some good things will happen though. Halibut have no problem moving to get food in big tides. I had a nightmare last summer that I slipped out of the boat in a big tide and was getting sucked away by the current, while my clients just stood there and watched. My wife said I just about hit the roof when I woke up.

    But, a nice moderate, 2lbs in 220ft of water tide flow is about perfect. Nice 45 degree angles, and it always works out for me.

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    Member redleader's Avatar
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    I like 4 ounces in 30' on a big tide.

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    In cook inlet, I like 12 ounces on a big tide (on shore by a fire, in my hand)....

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    In SE there are many areas with less rippin tides that the CI guys experience. In Juneau I rarely use more than 16 oz for my bait rigs and never more than 12 oz on my jigs.....usually 8 oz. I only have a few spots where current blows me off the hole and what 270 said is spot on as far as the current in all other scenarios, just be cognizant of where your scent is going (i.e. off or onto the shelf) and position yourself accordingly. The other thing I noticed around here is they bite when they want to, and a great day can often be a half hour when a school comes in and you limit out and release what you want for the boat, and action was slow on either end of that. I have rarely put this on track with tides and I think it has more to do with the random encounter in a good area of roaming fish.

    Fish em if you got em.....and I wouldn't avoid a day because the tides are not this or that.

  17. #17

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    One thing I was thinking about is that you can avoid big tides by anchoring out of the main tidal flow. For example, on big tides, going out on the "flats" where the current is just screaming doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I try to tuck in a bay where I knew there's fish, but the entire ocean isn't moving at Mach 5 around me. Flip that around for the small tides.. If you want scent to move, pick a narrow ocean entrance and anchor up. You'll have 2 to 3 times the tide flow compared to being off the beach.

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    Cmon guys, things aren't even fun if you aren't sailing 5# weights out the back of the boat, about 3 times the depth of the water.
    just so you can skip the rocks on the bottom, thats fishin!

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    Quote Originally Posted by POLE BENDER View Post
    Cmon guys, things aren't even fun if you aren't sailing 5# weights out the back of the boat, about 3 times the depth of the water.
    just so you can skip the rocks on the bottom, thats fishin!
    Been there.......Well maybe not quite 5 pounds, but close........lol
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by POLE BENDER View Post
    Cmon guys, things aren't even fun if you aren't sailing 5# weights out the back of the boat, about 3 times the depth of the water.
    just so you can skip the rocks on the bottom, thats fishin!
    That only gets fun when you hook a huge skate and it gets tangled up

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