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Thread: Halibut Baits and Curing

  1. #1

    Default Halibut Baits and Curing

    What are you favorite halibut baits?
    Do you cure your baits before going out so they stay on the hook better? Do you cure your baits to make them more effective (besides staying on the hook better)?
    How do you cure your baits if you do?

  2. #2
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Salmon

    OK, this is controversial perhaps, but what I like to do is take any of last year's salmon (such as snagged, bruised up "Fishin' Hole" silvers which aren't as appetizing looking through the vacpac), cut them into chunks, and put them in a marinade of salt and herring oil. Sometimes I mix in such other agents as garlic, anise, or WD40. Let it sit in a sealed container in the fridge for several days, and you have some primo halibut bait which stays on the hook way better than herring.

    In fishing two hooks; one with herring, and one with salmon, the halibut seem to prefer the salmon.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Default

    In my years of experience longlining for halibut, absolutely nothing works better than gray (pacific) cod. Nothing. It makes me cringe when fishermen throw these back and they float off. They're great eating, but at least use them for bait. WAY better than herring!

    A close 2nd is salmon bellies. I always keep my bellies when sport fishing for salmon, and often will cut the bellies off the carcasses of other people's fish as well.

  4. #4

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    I thought I had read a thread a while ago (can't find it in a search) where some "cured" thier herring in salt to help "thoughen up" the herring to stay on the hood better. Anyone...

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Default

    Not merely controversial to use your sport caught salmon for halibut bait, heads carcus and bellies are ok, but the fillets are illegal.

    I understand the thinking that you aren't going to eat it so use it for bait, but beware of the legal ramifications.

    Personally I'll buy herring and put it in a bucket of salt to firm up, and I'll use salmon heads. I really prefer jigging to bait and will soak the bait in herring oil.

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Yes

    Yes, when the herring were able to be caught off the city dock over here, I would place 10-12 per gallon bag, some pickling salt and put it in the freezer. The pickling salt really toughened the fish up making it a lot firmer.

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    Default ? salmon bellies legal?

    I know most of us may not eat salmon bellies, but when I look at the regulations I read game fish (salmon) fins, head, tail, and entrails may be used for bait. Could you get ticketed for using salmon bellies?

    I read that tampons soaked in herring oil release scent slowly to help catch fish ( I suppose you should avoid the "stay free" brand!). I already purchase nail polish for my trout beads, so I might as well go all out at the cash register.

  8. #8

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    How much salt do you use per gallon of water to toughen up your herring? Is the type of salt something to consider? Sea Salt, regular table salt...

  9. #9
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Pickling

    Pickling salt. About 1/4 cup per 10-12 herring in a gallon bag. Enough water to just cover the herring. Not an exacting process but it works.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Uhh... yeah...

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    Not merely controversial to use your sport caught salmon for halibut bait, heads carcus and bellies are ok, but the fillets are illegal.

    I understand the thinking that you aren't going to eat it so use it for bait, but beware of the legal ramifications.

    Personally I'll buy herring and put it in a bucket of salt to firm up, and I'll use salmon heads. I really prefer jigging to bait and will soak the bait in herring oil.
    ... bellies and heads. Yeah, that's the ticket.

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    Default no bellies

    Sorry, bellies are technically illegal too. Head, guts, & fins are it, if using sport caught fish for bait.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default If the administrator/moderator said it...

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    ... A close 2nd is salmon bellies. I always keep my bellies when sport fishing for salmon, and often will cut the bellies off the carcasses of other people's fish as well.
    It's good enough for me!

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Default

    Ha! I don't think that excuse is going to fly with the enforcement folks, sayak! That being said, I've told Fish and Wildlife Troopers what I was using the bellies for and never got a sideways glance over it. The intent of the law restricting what can be used for bait is to prevent people from wasting fish, yes? Well...if people can litter the riverbanks with belly-intact carcasses, why wouldn't we be allowed to take said bellies and use them for bait? Hmm...

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    Default The regs

    Here is what the regs say:

    Use of sport-caught fish as bait: (1) Whitefish, herring, and other species for which no seasonal or harvest limits are specified in 5 AAC 47 - 5 AAC 75, as well as the head, tail, fins, and viscera of legally taken sport fish, may be used for bait or other purposes. (2) Herring and other species of fish for which no seasonal or harvest limits are specified in 5 AAC 47 - 5 AAC 75 may be used as live bait, except that live fish may not be used as bait for sport fishing in fresh water. (3) Live bait may be possessed, transported, or released only in the salt waters or the regulatory area in which it was taken. (bold type in original, but not important for this discussion)

    The relevant statement says: ".....as well as the head, tail, fins, and viscera of legally taken sport fish, may be used for bait or other purposes"
    As I read this, you can use head, tail, fins, and viscera of legally taken sport fish as bait. I don't see belly strips in that list.

    Which also means that whoever took the cover photo in this month's 'Fish Alaska' magazine needs to read the regs. That looks alot like a salmon belly strip hanging off that circle hook........

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Default

    belly strip = fins just all on one piece. Salted herring seemed to work ok and gray cod works awesome
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Member AKBighorn's Avatar
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    Question

    Ok, I'm doing something wrong or you guys are nuts. I have caught cod and used it for bait along with herring or hooligan. If they get the hooligan or herring off the hook they don't come back for the cod yet you guys rave about how good cod works. I don't get it nor have I caught a halibut on just cod so what's up with all the thumbs up for cod?

  17. #17
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Default

    I can't say that we do anything special, AKBighorn. Cod just works, at least in Prince William Sound. If we fish a longline of 50% herring and 50% cod, literally 95% of the halibut will be caught on the cod. No exaggeration. Furthermore, the larger halibut (40+ lbs) will be caught exclusively on cod. Pollack doesn't work nearly as well, but man, there is just no beating pacific cod in my experience.

    As for the salmon bellies, I think that AKPM is on to something there that the belly strip is really just a connection of multiple fins.

  18. #18
    Member SoggyMountain's Avatar
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    Default Nuked it!

    You guys are all on the money in my book. The trick is to use what works. A halibut in Juneau may not have the same preference as a halibut in PWS. I've noticed this big time with salmon. A lure that works on one stock doesn't seem to interest another. What gets NAILED here, may get IGNORED there.

    If I am fishing herring, I salt it in a bucket with a good cover of rock salt and a splash of sea water. Water to keep it moist, salt to firm it up. A dried out herrring looks like something that fell off of grandpa.

    I think Brian has an argument for soak time. If you long line, you need bait that will hold. The best brined herring doesn't seem to hold the hook for long when fish, including halibut, rockfish, flounder, sticklebacks, irish lords, yellow eye, and crabs are down there picking at it. A tough skin like cod, octopus, and salmon leftovers not only make it hard for the fish to release it, they are hard for a person to unhook too!

    I like Sayak's marinade a lot! That will be on my list of things to do. I often sandwich my herring chunks between tougher baits, but I think the marinade might eliminate that procedure. I'll give it a whirl!

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