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Thread: Halibut Fishing depths; Ninilchik vs Seward

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    Member Derby06's Avatar
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    Question Halibut Fishing depths; Ninilchik vs Seward

    Bottom Line Up Front Question.
    Is Halibut fishing water depths on average alot deeper in Ninilchik or Seward?

    Background:
    My dad, his buddy, his brother, and my brother come up every year first week of Aug for salmon and halibut Fishing. (I am the tour guide...lol) We always went to Homer but my Charter there closed up. Last year we went to Ninilchick with another charter I have used and realized it was easier fishing for the older guys than homer was. My dad is in his 80's.
    We are thinking about going to Sewrad just to mix it up, but if the average fishing depths are much deeper than Ninilchik, my brother and I think its best to stick with Ninilchik.
    My gut tells me Seward is ALOT deeper, but not sure. What say you guys?

    Thanks in advance.

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    Most of the halibut out of Seward are deeper than Ninilchik by a good bit (200-300 ft mostly), but the current isn't as bad as out of Ninilchik so you can get away with lighter weights. Another consideration though is the distance to the good halibut grounds. It's a 3 hour run out of Seward for most charter operators. Halibut can be found closer in but most of the charters run out to where they know they can find the fish. I do know of one captain, Nik with Crackerjack, that finds fish in relatively shallow water so if your dad can stand the long run, you might try to hook up with him. If you're coming up in August though, you might ask if he'll be fishing shallow or deep. You can't do any better than with Crackerjack IMO.

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    Member Derby06's Avatar
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    Thanks Fish Wish. Yea, the long boat ride consideration I had forgot about. That was nice about Ninilchik too. So far, I think you are confirming my thoughts.
    We don't mind the long boat ride, but when in Homer we spent the night and had fish processed and packaged. Sewrad and Ninilchik are closer to base camp (Russian River camp ground), so we just head back and process ourselves. Long boat rides cuts into that time quite a bit. Thaks again for mentioning that / reminding me.

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    Are you chartering or do you have a boat. We consistently catch halibut in under 50 ft of water from ninilchik to anchor point since we fish kayaks. Charters obviously run out a ways but if you have your own boat that shallow water halibut off cook inlet can be a .

    I think a good captain if you were the only guests would have options for Ya. I know I've seen Josh show off huge fish out of Homer where he caught them in under 20ft of water I think!


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    Member Derby06's Avatar
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    Charter--Too cheap to buy a boat...lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derby06 View Post
    Charter--Too cheap to buy a boat...lol
    Isn't that the dang truth! In the past, every time I bring up buying a boat, I get the lecture of loan payments equaling something obscene like a dozen charter trips a year! Maintenance? Forget it! haha.

    That's why I LOVE my kayaks. Let's just say I would be major league bummed if private limits went to five halibut a year since I fish solo out of a kayak for my entire family's fish including my parents.

    Maybe some of the charter captains can chime in on their shallow water options. I know in the eighties when I chartered a bit more with guests, I made the switch from Homer to Seward because it was a lot shallower....400 feet versus 200 ft and a lot less current. But for day to day fishing and excitement, it's hard to beat the shallow halibut in Cook Inlet.

    And as a side note, 2010 to 2013 I bet the average size halibut I caught in Cook Inlet was well under 10 pounds with 15 pounds being the average size keeper. In 2014 fishing the exact same places with same gear, I think the average was a lot closer to 20 pounds and the keepers averaged closer to thirty pounds. Tiny sample size, but hopefully the size at age class issue is perhaps moving back more toward normal?

    Call Josh (Capt Nemo) on this board at Brooks Alaska Adventure. I bet he has something good to tell you about shallow water halibut fishing.

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    early season halibut easy to fish shallow as there a lot more fish inside, august not so many, but that is not to say that there are not fish available,
    still fish available in the 30-50' range if you are willing to wait and not catch a ton of fish.
    i am talking deep creek to homer, FYI

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fish Witch View Post
    Most of the halibut out of Seward are deeper than Ninilchik by a good bit (200-300 ft mostly), but the current isn't as bad as out of Ninilchik so you can get away with lighter weights. Another consideration though is the distance to the good halibut grounds. It's a 3 hour run out of Seward for most charter operators. Halibut can be found closer in but most of the charters run out to where they know they can find the fish. I do know of one captain, Nik with Crackerjack, that finds fish in relatively shallow water so if your dad can stand the long run, you might try to hook up with him. If you're coming up in August though, you might ask if he'll be fishing shallow or deep. You can't do any better than with Crackerjack IMO.
    Agreed. especially with the recommendation of Crackerjack (or ProfishNsea, who they book with). I've fished all 3 locations on charters, and all I can say is you must have caught a small tide on your Ninilchik outing. We quit fishing there as my wife couldn't take cranking up 4 lbs of weight against a ripping tide. granted, maybe WE hit a couple big tide days, but overall we've found it easier fishing out of Seward, hands down. I think tide rip has a LOT more to do with fishing comfortably than depth.
    As for the run...yeah, if you get a bumpy day it gets long. But it's also fantastic scenery, especially out of Seward. Look at it as a plus, not a minus.
    And since you're staying at the Russian Seward would be my choice, hands down, especially in August.

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    Member FishGod's Avatar
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    I vote Seward. My three biggest halibut out of Seward were caught in 60-100 ft of water the last week of July. We were fishing submerged mounds off of Montague all three times. As mentioned, the scenery in Seward is more aesthetically pleasing and there should be a crap load of silvers in Seward during your time frame.
    Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    The simple cure to get away from the 2Lb to 5Lb weights necessary to keep the bait down in Lower Cook Inlet is to pick up a free tide book, and pick a date or dates with the smaller tides. (Smaller tides have the bigger fish symbol.) the 2015 free walmart tide book indicates the slowest tides the first week of Aug would be from the 6th through the 9th. Seward doesn't have the big tides to contend with that Cook Inlet does, consequently you can fish deeper with less weight out of Seward. Either place with a reputable Charter should get you some good fishing.

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    Thanks to all. What Old John said is what I always do. Fish the smaller tides, but not the ones that are so small there is no scent movement. I had all but made my mind up for Seward, but looks like we are re thinking that and might just give Seward a try.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derby06 View Post
    Thanks to all. What Old John said is what I always do. Fish the smaller tides, but not the ones that are so small there is no scent movement. I had all but made my mind up for Seward, but looks like we are re thinking that and might just give Seward a try.
    With any charter, tell them what your expectations are and how they can accommodate you, such as your preference for shallower water.
    Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derby06 View Post
    Thanks to all. What Old John said is what I always do. Fish the smaller tides, but not the ones that are so small there is no scent movement. I had all but made my mind up for Seward, but looks like we are re thinking that and might just give Seward a try.
    There is an advantage to small tides in that you can drift if the spot allows. Obviously more tinkering around but I try to anchor as little as possible, which is easier to do in SE.

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    How about finding a area that is 100 to 200 deep and use your downrigger to drop your bait and wait for the fish to pop it off the clip?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iwanttofish View Post
    How about finding a area that is 100 to 200 deep and use your downrigger to drop your bait and wait for the fish to pop it off the clip?
    I've tried that before and hooked a large halibut. Lost the fish as it wrapped around the down rigger cable because we could not crank it up quick enough.
    Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly

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    On the Huntress we fish channels, Eddy's and back Eddy's and mid range reef structure.. We stay between 18 and 80 feet, never drift always anchor every time..

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    Quote Originally Posted by FishGod View Post
    I vote Seward. My three biggest halibut out of Seward were caught in 60-100 ft of water the last week of July. We were fishing submerged mounds off of Montague all three times. As mentioned, the scenery in Seward is more aesthetically pleasing and there should be a crap load of silvers in Seward during your time frame.
    Are we calling Montague "Seward" now? I'm confused?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bkbaker View Post
    Are we calling Montague "Seward" now? I'm confused?
    South end of Montague is about 60 n. miles from Seward and about 90 n. miles from Whittier. Seward is the closest harbor to the good halibut grounds off Montague.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derby06 View Post
    Thanks to all. What Old John said is what I always do. Fish the smaller tides, but not the ones that are so small there is no scent movement. I had all but made my mind up for Seward, but looks like we are re thinking that and might just give Seward a try.
    Your going to have plenty of tidal movement in Lower Cook Inlet regardless of how small the tide is... That I can garoantee...! But either Seward or Homer are a good choice... with a reputable Charter..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iwanttofish View Post
    How about finding a area that is 100 to 200 deep and use your downrigger to drop your bait and wait for the fish to pop it off the clip?
    letting a 2 LB to 5 Lb weight drop 100, 200, 300 feet is not problem... It's cranking the bloody thing back up that is the killer...

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