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Thread: Drift or Anchor for Halibut in Cook Inlet?

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Default Drift or Anchor for Halibut in Cook Inlet?

    I did a search but didn't find a whole lot of answers so I thought I would make it a poll this time.

    For years all I ever did was anchor and always did pretty well. But as I've gotten older and knowing that research shows that most accidents happen while being anchored up, since I got a different boat a few years back, all I've done is drift. I've still caught fish drifting but not like I used to anchored up. But I know people that ONLY drift. I only fish halibut in CI and as most of you know the tides can be a real pain, so this year I'm really trying to decide if I want to go ahead and buy a bunch of rope and start anchoring again or just keep on drifting?

    With the cost of going out halibut fishing these days....gas, bait, food etc..., a guy really wants to try and do the best he can when he's out there. So I'm mainly curious as to what most of you do to get your best results?

    Again, I'm just speaking about halibut fishing in Cook Inlet.

    Thanks.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Well I tried to make it a poll, but it obviously didn't work....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member theultrarider's Avatar
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    With the exception of one trench, I fish 100% percent on anchor. Make sure to keep a sharp knife near tbe anchor rope. And instruct everyone on board to cut it the second someone goes overboard. Dont fish out the tide to the point that the tide is really ripping hard. When you can't stay down with 2's its time for me to pull anchor anymore. Not too bad then. Wait longer and it gets exciting.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    The only time I ever drifted for Halibut, was when the currant from the big tides got too strong. Or, I'd pick up anchor in the middle, and move into a kelp bed and anchor back up.. We've always caught fish drifting but nothing like we would on anchor.. I sold my "halibut boat" back in 2000 because my knees were going south on me, and a time or two one of them would suddenly give out, and I came close to taking a cold bath.. Now, However, I went in halfies with the younger Son and he can do all the grunt work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    so this year I'm really trying to decide if I want to go ahead and buy a bunch of rope and start anchoring again or just keep on drifting?
    Thanks.....
    Don't you mean...line? Rope is for cowboys!

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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    You forgot a very effective method... Trolling.
    a nice slow troll with a big hoochie off the bluffs will get you all the halibut you need.
    I like to troll until I get a few hits, then stop and jig. Never fails.
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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by homerdave View Post
    You forgot a very effective method... Trolling.
    a nice slow troll with a big hoochie off the bluffs will get you all the halibut you need.
    I like to troll until I get a few hits, then stop and jig. Never fails.
    I have to say that's one method I haven't tried yet. What depth of water are you usually trolling for them in?
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  8. #8

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    I don't anchor in Cook Inlet anymore. Too much of a PIA and then a friend got stuck and almost lost his boat. I always felt that anchoring was more effective but now I just drift. The advantage is I don't need the heavy weights, just a little jig with some enhancement. I still catch plenty of halibut.

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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    I have to say that's one method I haven't tried yet. What depth of water are you usually trolling for them in?
    50'-80' for the most part. If I am running two downriggers the one 10' off the bottom gets the halibut. I have found a hoochie and an Abe & Al metal flasher better than herring.
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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by homerdave View Post
    50'-80' for the most part. If I am running two downriggers the one 10' off the bottom gets the halibut. I have found a hoochie and an Abe & Al metal flasher better than herring.
    Thanks Dave.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member Jack in Alaska's Avatar
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    Speaking of launching...........does anyone know what the launch fee is going to be at Deep Creek this season??? New owners.

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    drifting is a PITA, as far as i am concerned, it is effective, and good for exploring new bumps and troughs, hard to drift with more than 3-4 people unless your people really know what they are doing. I am an anchor only kind of guy, really like to get close to where i think the fish are, and let them come to you. gonna be interesting this year finding a 29" hole!
    and FWIW, Dave is spot on with the trolling, that can be very effective.

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    If you are worried about anchoring when there is strong current just use a large buoy on your anchor line, then run a tag line to your bow so you can just drop it if need be. That is how power boats rig for anchoring in rivers, and you can get your anchor back later. It is also good for when you hook a monster and have to chase it.

  14. #14
    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    Default Drift or Anchor for Halibut in Cook Inlet?


    Got this one drifting in 60' of water. Using a 1 1/2 oz barbless jig and a 6" screw tail grub. Right at #50 on the scale.


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    dump the anchor every time!!

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    Working as a deck hand for ten years and fishing at least 3 times a week all summer for most of my life, I can say that we have tried every method of halibut fishing known to man and anchoring up has always proven better. Granted drifting is great for finding a hole, but anchoring has always produced more fish for us.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by polebender jr View Post
    Working as a deck hand for ten years and fishing at least 3 times a week all summer for most of my life, I can say that we have tried every method of halibut fishing known to man and anchoring up has always proven better. Granted drifting is great for finding a hole, but anchoring has always produced more fish for us.
    ARGHH....I knew this was going to be the answer. Got to be reliable with both pole bender and Capt Nemo on the same page. Ok, not to hijack this thread, but is it because the scent field gets distributed further? It seems like when you drift, you cover more ground, but you also drift along with the scent field minimizing the dispersion area. In some ways, I would think an artificial would be just as effective as bait in this case.

    I really don't want to deal with anchoring from a kayak. Do you think HomerDave's method of using a down rigger and slowly moving along will almost be as effective since it will keep the scent field more dispersed with the current? I realize every time you check the bait you would start a new scent field, but I am hoping to use larger baits like king heads and try for the big one this year. What I have been doing is when I bait check, I drop immediately down in a close location and try and backtrack over where I was, even doing a few circles to "connect" the new scent field with the old one.

    The halibut can't know if the bait is stationary or not I wouldn't think. They must just pick up the scent and move towards it. So just getting the scent field distributed farther seems like it would be nearly as effective... thoughts???

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    Kardinal, you could just troll big herring or small pinks around by the kelp and get more halibut than you could ever use. I think you could anchor by using buoy and hanging off of it with a line you could drop when you hook up on that monster

  19. #19
    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    I think it's worth noting that my methods work for me, but I never soak bait, always use artificials, and am never looking for more than a meals worth of fish at a time.
    Alaska Board of Game 2015 tour... "Kicking the can down the road"
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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I think when it comes to soaking bait, anchoring is the way to go. When using jigs, lures etc, they work well whether anchored or drifting provided the drift isn't too fast.
    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.

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