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Thread: Half day vs. Full Day Halibut Charters

  1. #1

    Default Half day vs. Full Day Halibut Charters

    A friend and I are thinking about taking a halibut fishing charter from Homer. Price is definitely an issue so we're seriously considering taking a half-day instead of a full-day (or overnighter). With a limit of 2 halibut pp, wouldn't the half-day trip be sufficient? Would we likely catch our limit? I assume the full-day charters target waters with larger catches so would size be the main setback?

    I found a couple places where a full day charter costs twice as much as the half day charter. I think I'd rather take two half-day charters to try to catch two limits. Doesn't this make sense?

    Then there is the overnight trip where you try to catch your limit before and after midnight. That one sounds pretty cool too...

  2. #2
    Member big_dog60's Avatar
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    It depends on the charter but most I've been on set you on a chicken hole and every one is done in about 3 hours. A lot of the time full day charters are only half day any ways.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I've only been on one halibut charter ever (I fish them commercially most years, but last year our boat was out of commission and some visitors wanted to catch halibut, so...), and it was on a half-day charter out of Homer. Lots of small fish, with the largest one on the boat pushing maybe 30 pounds. The average size was somewhere around 15-20 pounds. What blew me away was how many 6-pack full day charters were fishing the same chicken hole. I was under the same assumption as you, that the more expensive full day boats go farther to catch bigger fish. While I'm sure this is sometimes the case, don't assume that to be true in all cases.

    At the end of the day, I was mostly happy with the half-day charter. Everyone caught their limits and then some. My only complaint is that the captain of the boat was a bit pushy when it came down to the last 3 or 4 people catching their second fish. I was turning loose lots of fish, as I didn't want to keep anything under 20 pounds. Most clients kept the first two they pulled aboard, but hey - I payed for my 6 hours, and I wanted to use it. In the end I kept two right around 22 lbs. each, relenting on the 2nd one when I was the last angler fishing. We pulled into port almost an hour before the scheduled time. For the money, though, I thought it was a pretty good way to go about it, especially if you have anyone in your group that might be prone to seasickness.

    If I had a full day charter that assured me that we would go farther to target larger fish or maybe target other species (ling, rockfish, salmon, etc.) I would consider a full day, otherwise there is little point in paying twice as much to fish the same hole.

    -Brian

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    Member mod elan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_dog60 View Post
    It depends on the charter but most I've been on set you on a chicken hole and every one is done in about 3 hours. A lot of the time full day charters are only half day any ways.
    It does depend on the charter. And leaving early when paying for a full day is BS! I'm out to fish and enjoy myself. Not winch up a couple keepers and head home. If you are looking to get as many halibut as you can for the money, then you are on the right track taking two half day trips or the overnighter depending on it's cost.

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    Member fishmaster's Avatar
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    I would consider going out of anchor pt. or ninilchik. The fishing grounds are not as far and they usually target bigger fish. My experience has been that the half day charters that take 12 or more people out of Homer are for tourist and are most likely a Chicken Charter. You need to ask a lot of questions, If you want to target bigger fish let them know before you book. I would ask others for reccomendations as many charter operators really work their tail off to find the big fish but a few will want you to keep your first 2 fish so they can limit everyone out and get back to the dock. Just my experience.

  6. #6

    Default Deep Creek is the place for half days

    I second the suggestion about going out of Ninilchik or Anchor Point. We just got back from fishing there yesterday. I fish Deep Creek regularly, and there are some great charters that are very reasonable, like Chihuly's charters. They do go out to where the fish are, and is usually not near as far as you need to go out of Homer. We caught fish in the 40 to 70 pound range, my wife brought one in that weighed 107 pounds, and a 300 pounder was caught near us.

    The only difficulty there (or anywhere down that area) is the driftnetters are now active, and some are real jerks. We were anchored away from any other boats by at least a mile, and 2 came full speed within 50 feet of us to hit us with their wakes. They were just traveling past, and didn't stop anywhere near us, so they did it on purpose. They both kept going until out of sight. One of the boats had 3 in the bridge and they were clearly laughing as their wake hit us. We were well out of any drifters range, and in no way in anyone's way. That was just totally uncalled for, but from what I hear, this is normal with a few of the commercial guys. I am sure some of the sport fishermen are jerks to the commercial guys, but we were minding our own business and enjoying the day.

    I was neutral on the sports versus commercial rift down there, but the captain of the "Lady Lee" and the other one I couldn't see the name sure changed my mind. There was no excuse for their actions. None. Their actions will get someone hurt or killed.

    This is the first time in fishing that area for over 20 years that I have ever had any problems with anyone on the water. Won't stop me from going there, but did open my eyes to a big problem I ignored before......
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

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    I agree with Hawken, We have some real jerks out there (read my post "a close call is a free lession") I have to tell you I am fed up with these A holes. If we could get some of these people on video, maybe the Coast Guard would do something before someone gets hurt or killed. I am sure that the folks that insure these boats would be very interested in seeing the video also. A video camera is standard equipment on my boat since my last near death erxperience with a charter boat
    Last edited by fishmaster; 07-06-2007 at 00:17. Reason: additional information

  8. #8

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    The trick with the full day charters is to book one that will get you into the type of fishing that you want to do. If you want bigger fish...tell them. Also, many of the full day boats will take you for Halibut first (if that's what you are after) then when you get your Halibut, depending on what else is hitting they will take you to their favorite salmon, rockfish, or lingcod holes and give it a shot. I have a couple of names to drop if you are interested just send me a PM.

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    Default my last charter

    On my last charter the captain was cool we asked for a chance to catch a large butt. he took us to a spot that was know for larger butts. he fished us a good part of the morning did a cool chum job with a fish bomb I called it. He fished us with bait and a jig. I was the one who was willing to try the jig and it worked out well for myself as I was the one who caught a over 100# butte couple of nice lings a few yellow eyes and black bass I was slaying them that day. After that we finished in a chicken hole all were still over 20 # it was a great day and I did tip the captan well he did a great job and answerd a ton of my questions by the way the charter was out of seward it was the fish house I think the captain was josh on the provider as the others said talk to your charter and ask it never hurt to ask I'm learning that peaple on this network are a wealth of info by the way I'm a new boat owner myself reason for doing a charter I like to learn from the pros:]

  10. #10

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    if you want flat fish, do the overniter! Basically it's the same price as a full day charter and you're coming in with two limits of fish.

    If you want to target big fish, be prepared to go home empty handed. The shorter the charter the less the chance of getting into quality fish or barndoors! I can put you on my bestest mark and we could hammer fish till your arms are sore, or we can scratch! Just something to think about.

    I'd like to think every capt in the fleet works their tails off trying to do the best they can for you day in and day out, unfortunatly that's not the reality of things. First hand references are hard to beat!!!

  11. #11

    Default Reported violations

    Fishmaster, I reported those 2 incidences to Ak, Fish and Game and to the Coast Guard. It was totally uncalled for and dangerous. Everyone that has such a run-in should report them.

    Tradbow is right. If you target the big ones, be prepared to be skunked, as they are not guaranteed to be where you are. I have fished for days and pulled in nothing over 20 pounds. I have also dropped bait twice in one spot and caught 2 over 100 pounds, one was 170 pounds. You never know until you try. If you get into small ones have faith, as the next bait drop could land you a 300 pounder.
    It's a chance whenever and wherever you go. I have caught halibut in the 100 pound class in 40 feet of water and also in 400 feet of water. Just depends on them. One of the best places I caught and catch halibut is on the Gulf of Alaska side of Hinchinbrook Island.
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

  12. #12
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Default

    There are some great all day charters in homer. I have been fishing with silver fox charters out of homer and never had a bad experience
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    let me retype that. i have been fishing with them since 1983 there sorry guys
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

  14. #14
    Member nrc's Avatar
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    Default From a rookie

    Couple of points as someone who's lived here a grand total of 6 weeks..

    "Chicken Charters" are not necessarily a bad thing.... _IF_ you know that is what you are signing up for, and you are cool with it. I did a half day out of ninilchik, with a great crew and everyone limited out in about an hour, biggest fish 50lbs, average ~20lbs. I caught 5, kept 2, and came home with 30lbs of fillets. I also did the drive back to Anchorage at 10 pm instead of 2am, and I was ok with that

    For my money (at that time) that was fine... I had a friend up from OR, and the better odds of limiting out and coming home with a box of meat meant that we were gonna make some compromises.

    Now...

    OTOH, if you want big fish - and are willing to put in the time, weather, waves, (and run the chance of not actually catching anything at all) then be clear with the captain and hopefully they will be honest with you. I say hopefully... There are lots of good guides on these forums and lots of good references to help you find someone who will shoot straight with you.

    Last and not least - if you want the closest thing to full control of the boat - Round up 6 people. That saves the captain the hassle of having 2 or 3 different parties with different priorities.

    Now ya'll all go out and catch some fish today - Our stuff arrived from down south this week so I'm going to be unpacking boxes for the next 48 hrs....

    Nate

  15. #15
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Full day they will go out far and target big fish

    Half day = CHICKENS!!!!!!!!!
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

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    Personally I don't care much for Halibut but I'd rather eat a "chicken" than a big fish. The meat quality is much better. Since the enjoyable fishing period for Halibut is centered on slack tides I'd say a half day of Halibut fishing is more than enough. If you want a full day charter spend half the day Halibut fishing and the rest of the time fishing for Salmon. I'd much rather do that than drone along all day on a long boat ride. Besides, the long range boats are too big. I'd rather fish from a six pack boat.

  17. #17
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    A few of you have mentioned doing half-day halibut charters out of Ninilchik - who provides this service? I've looked online and only see a couple of half-day charters out of Homer. Any ideas??

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    Member nrc's Avatar
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    Default afishunt

    Brian -

    I did my half day out of Ninilchik with 'afishunt' charters. iirc, the afternoon boat left around 3pm.

    http://www.afishunt.com/charters/halibut.htm

    Nate

  19. #19

    Default Ninilchik charters

    Try Chihuly Charters in Ninilchik. (907) 567-3374. Outstanding charter that works for your fish. Some charters there don't care if you catch any or not.
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

  20. #20
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Alas, both of those recommendations run $185 per person. I know that this is not an unreasonable rate, but I'm in the position of trying to find something more affordable for my in-laws on a fixed income. They offered to take my wife and I out with them on a charter, but I'm simply not OK with them laying down nearly $800 for a day of fishing for the 4 of us.

    I've layed down a deposit on renting a boat out of Homer so that we can do it ourselves, but they're replacing the outboard and it may not be ready in time (July 14-23). We'll probably just look into doing a half-day charter out of Homer for $90 each if that's what it comes down to. Not as enjoyable on a huge boat, but for half the price it is more within the range of their budget constraints.

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