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Thread: Halibut Bottom

  1. #1
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    Default Halibut Bottom

    What is the best type of bottom to catch halibut? I have heard a sandy bottom is best, I have heard a rocky bottom is best. Please, some of you experts fill me in as to what is the best.

  2. #2

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    It depends on where the food is, which can change from week to week, day to day, tide to tide, and hour to hour. I generally won't drop a hook if I'm not seeing food on my fathometer. I've caught them right out of kelp beds, gravel, rock, sand.... Anything but mud. Read your fathometer and your charts to determine bottom type, and it will help you sort it out before you ever drop a hook.

  3. #3

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    Rocks, and around the rocks are a good place to be looking. It depends on your method of attack though. If you're drifting with bait or jigging, rocks can be tough as you get a lot of incidental bycatch of the floating variety once they come to the top. If you drift over sand in the open ocean, then you get a pile of 9lb halibut to deal with, and that isn't good for the resource at all. Some of the more productive areas I've found a good grade of halibut would be plateaus, with jagged rock outcroppings. I think they lay on the harder plateaus top, and use the outcroppings as a place to ambush a variety of feed. When I'm drifting, lets say in an area that's 240ft with rocks, I'll find rocks that come up to 185 on the sounder. Those "peaks" will be full of rockfish, yelloweye, and ling. Grab your limit of those, but then you're done on the "peaks". Then, you need to focus on finding that 200-210ft plateaus that is in those areas. Jig/drift those areas and you occasionally grab a yellow eye, but you'll most likely grab some 40lb + halibut. If you're looking for a good ol' chicken hole, filled with 12-20lb halibut, I find those often in the valleys between the plateaus. Now, fishing inside waters with higher current flow, and fishing shallower water.. that's a whole different ballgame.

    But, by far the best place to halibut fish is where their is no halibut under the boat. Anchor your boat in a spot void of any fish, and then let your scent call in the bigger fish from the rocky areas. By do so, it prevents you from catching 10 rockfish you don't want, and 30 (9lb) halibut. Easier on the anchor too. It can take 30-50 minutes before you get your first bite, but once they start rolling in, it's fast action fishing. Once you identify some good sized plateaus, aim you scent towards them. You'll be very happy with the result.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by 270ti View Post
    Rocks, and around the rocks are a good place to be looking. It depends on your method of attack though. If you're drifting with bait or jigging, rocks can be tough as you get a lot of incidental bycatch of the floating variety once they come to the top. If you drift over sand in the open ocean, then you get a pile of 9lb halibut to deal with, and that isn't good for the resource at all. Some of the more productive areas I've found a good grade of halibut would be plateaus, with jagged rock outcroppings. I think they lay on the harder plateaus top, and use the outcroppings as a place to ambush a variety of feed. When I'm drifting, lets say in an area that's 240ft with rocks, I'll find rocks that come up to 185 on the sounder. Those "peaks" will be full of rockfish, yelloweye, and ling. Grab your limit of those, but then you're done on the "peaks". Then, you need to focus on finding that 200-210ft plateaus that is in those areas. Jig/drift those areas and you occasionally grab a yellow eye, but you'll most likely grab some 40lb + halibut. If you're looking for a good ol' chicken hole, filled with 12-20lb halibut, I find those often in the valleys between the plateaus. Now, fishing inside waters with higher current flow, and fishing shallower water.. that's a whole different ballgame.

    But, by far the best place to halibut fish is where their is no halibut under the boat. Anchor your boat in a spot void of any fish, and then let your scent call in the bigger fish from the rocky areas. By do so, it prevents you from catching 10 rockfish you don't want, and 30 (9lb) halibut. Easier on the anchor too. It can take 30-50 minutes before you get your first bite, but once they start rolling in, it's fast action fishing. Once you identify some good sized plateaus, aim you scent towards them. You'll be very happy with the result.
    Its answers like that, that make this site great. Thanks 270, that is awesome stuff.....

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    Without trying to twist up the OP's thread - how can you tell what the tide is doing at depth? do you put a light jig down and see where it takes your lure? I fish in PWS a lot and I find myself wondering (when planning where to look for the day) which way the water is actually moving.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    Without trying to twist up the OP's thread - how can you tell what the tide is doing at depth? do you put a light jig down and see where it takes your lure? I fish in PWS a lot and I find myself wondering (when planning where to look for the day) which way the water is actually moving.
    In the sound i've found that the current will sometimes run 2 or even 3 directions from top to bottom. I used to gillnet one place where the tide would be running like the tide was outgoing but the water would be rising on the rocks !

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sockeye Charlie View Post
    Its answers like that, that make this site great. Thanks 270, that is awesome stuff.....
    +1 to what he said. That kinda 'focuses' alot of the fishing experiences we've had in our summer trips, and makes alot of sense, thank you!

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    Now, fishing inside waters with higher current flow, and fishing shallower water.. that's a whole different ballgame.
    Can someone elaborate on the nuances of fishing "inside waters" and how it differs from what 270ti described?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    It depends on where the food is, which can change from week to week, day to day, tide to tide, and hour to hour. I generally won't drop a hook if I'm not seeing food on my fathometer. I've caught them right out of kelp beds, gravel, rock, sand.... Anything but mud. Read your fathometer and your charts to determine bottom type, and it will help you sort it out before you ever drop a hook.
    Interesting your "anything but mud" comment. I have a "go to" spot in PWS that always produces halibut for my longline. I will lay 30 hooks and always get at least 3-6 butts. It is MUDDY, MUDDY, MUDDY. My ground line is covered in silty mud.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaFishTerminator View Post
    Can someone elaborate on the nuances of fishing "inside waters" and how it differs from what 270ti described?
    I haven't been able to pattern halibut very well on the inside waters. Might be that I focus most of my attention on open water though. Seems that they move a lot on the inside and the time of the season really makes a difference. Bigger fish on average though. Most of the spots are "trial and error" that I have. Some really good ones too. I can't explain why they are there though. The fish on the outer coast and off the beach are much more predictable.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by tlingitwarrior View Post
    Interesting your "anything but mud" comment. I have a "go to" spot in PWS that always produces halibut for my longline. I will lay 30 hooks and always get at least 3-6 butts. It is MUDDY, MUDDY, MUDDY. My ground line is covered in silty mud.
    Interesting! With us, mud bottom yields ARROWTOOTH, ARROWTOOTH, ARROWTOOTH.

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    Member Anythingalaska's Avatar
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    Rocky bottom is the best halibut bottom habitat. The rockier the better. That being said, halibut can be found in a variety of bottom/habitat. Like others mentioned; even on muddy bottoms. I don't think the halibut congregate and stay in a muddy habitat, but areas that they migrate through may be muddy. There is an area I troll in the summertime that is 30 fathoms deep mud bottom, and has produced halibut. About the only thing I target on muddy bottoms is crab.

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    Thanks for the information. The wife & I will be fishing in the Petersburg area in late July. I am going to try & test both types of bottom. Any additional information will be welcomed. Daniel

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    Daniel, where you're going to be fishing they spend a lot of time fishing a few bays of the narrows where the commercial guys crab. THe bait in the pots attracts the halibut and in turn fisherman. 30-50 feet of water. Slow but productive fishing typically. If you get a decent reliable boat, you can also try Level Island on the South End of the Narrows. FIsh the Sumner side, 100-250 feet. Good drift. Be careful, check your boat for all safety equipment before traveling that far. Last yet a skiff from an operation up there ended up adrift for a day or two before they found them. Have fun.
    Mike
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