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Thread: chicken holes

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    Member akriverrat's Avatar
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    Default chicken holes

    about the only real productive spot i have in prince william sound for halibut produces 10 to 15 pounders all day long with the occasional 20 pounder. i caught a 90 pounder there two seasons ago and i believe my buddy has caught a few 60 pounders over the years. so what i am wondering is should i find a new hole to target bigger fish or should i put on a bigger hook and bait and wait out the little nibbles for the occasional hog. when little halibut are many are there many bigger ones around? i know another guy that only catches bigger halibut but there are many hours apart. he really pulls in some hogs but i am more into the eating size (50-60 pound range would be perfect) what would you guys do?

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    One idea - try using grey cod (pacific cod) for bait if you catch any. When commercial fishing for halibut, if we get into a patch of small halibut we will only catch the large ones on cod - they won't bite on the herring-baited hooks.

    Of course, sometimes there are only small ones around, but if there are bigger ones present a big slab of cod can be the ticket.

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    New member AKDSLDOG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akriverrat View Post
    about the only real productive spot i have in prince william sound for halibut produces 10 to 15 pounders all day long with the occasional 20 pounder. i caught a 90 pounder there two seasons ago and i believe my buddy has caught a few 60 pounders over the years. so what i am wondering is should i find a new hole to target bigger fish or should i put on a bigger hook and bait and wait out the little nibbles for the occasional hog. when little halibut are many are there many bigger ones around? i know another guy that only catches bigger halibut but there are many hours apart. he really pulls in some hogs but i am more into the eating size (50-60 pound range would be perfect) what would you guys do?
    Will PM you with a very under fished spot to hook up with the butt.

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    New member AKDSLDOG's Avatar
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    good butt's?
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    If I want to get into big halibut, I usually stop by the fish cleaning station and get a fresh salmon carcus or more with the heads still attached for bait. Your buddies will catch little guys all around you all day long with herring, but it there is a big Momma down there in your area you're more than likely going to have her on your hook if the conditions cooperate. But sometimes they do take a herring. Many times I have soaked salmon heads for like ever and finally (6 hours later) had a big halbut take my offering. Other days, soaked and soaked and soaked.....at least those pesky little sharks don't steal your bait. But, I have also caught big halibut with just a herring. They are strange sometimes like that.....

  6. #6

    Default What's up with herring?

    The 2 threads mentioned that typically small butts bite herring while the bigger ones usually don't? On all our Deep Creek butts, over the past 8 years, we're typically using hole or cut herring with the odd cod thrown in the mix, but herring 90 percent of the time; we've caught the little guys all the way up to 130 lbs. on herring. Not sure about you guys, but butt's over 70 lbs. to 130 lbs. seem big to me! What could it be about the herring that big ones shy away from? I'm not being a nay-sayer, just want to be educated here and learn something.
    Jim

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Haliut

    My three biggest halibut have been on herring and cod.

    100 pounds - 1/2 of a herring
    110 pounds - a 18" cod that had taken a 1/2 herring and the halibut took the cod. Both were on the same hook.
    144 pounds - 1/2 of a herring

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Jim - The big ones will certainly bite on herring, but given the choice they prefer cod.

    All I can say is what my experiences have been. On commercial fishing trips we will start will all herring. If we catch some cod, those get thrown back on as bait on later sets. Whenever we have cod on the line, the average size of the halibut goes up significantly. This is true every time, without fail. Yep, we've caught large fish on herring, but we catch more of them when we use cod.

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    Member akriverrat's Avatar
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    thanks for the tip akdsldog. ill keep that one in mind for the next time im in homer. the 90 pounder i caught was on a variety pack of herring and the guts of a smaller halibut with herring oil squirted inside and out. had to soak for about a half an hour and there was some pecking from the littler ones for a while before the bigger one took it and ran. i havent caught many cod in prince william sound. we caught a couple 12 to 14 inchers last year and that was a first. i seen some talk about black cod fishing on these forums and might look into that for this coming season and use the bellies and heads for bait. anyone else catching grey cod in prince william sound on a regular basis?

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    Member jmg's Avatar
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    I like the smaller halibut for eating as well, preferrably in the 30-40 pound range. I don't really chase the barn doors as I like to fill the freezer and eat it all year long. If that is your goal as well, I think the 15-20 pounders are fine, BUT, and this is a big BUT, that is if the hole you are fishing is close. I live in Anchorage. I would certainly not drive to Seward, Homer, etc. and pay $200 over and over to get 15 pound fish. It would be far more economical to buy it at the store. If I lived in Seward, had my own boat, and there was a run less than an hour away to get 15 pound fish (x2 per day), with the occasional 25-60 pounder thrown in, I'd do that. Moneywise it might balance out, but the fun and scenery would be worth it. But to repeatedly go on $200 boat rides is not quite as fun.

    I wish I could find a spot in Seward within a mile of shore or so to paddle my kayak to that would produce 15-20 pounders all day long.

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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akriverrat View Post
    thanks for the tip akdsldog. ill keep that one in mind for the next time im in homer. the 90 pounder i caught was on a variety pack of herring and the guts of a smaller halibut with herring oil squirted inside and out. had to soak for about a half an hour and there was some pecking from the littler ones for a while before the bigger one took it and ran. i havent caught many cod in prince william sound. we caught a couple 12 to 14 inchers last year and that was a first. i seen some talk about black cod fishing on these forums and might look into that for this coming season and use the bellies and heads for bait. anyone else catching grey cod in prince william sound on a regular basis?
    We catch a lot of the grey cod in one of the passages. Hint: We can see the Gulf. If you find cod you will find halibut. They just seem to go together. I have caught big halibut (over 100lbs) on everything from buzz bombs, jigs, herring, to cod. My experience has been big bait consistently take big fish. Mainly because the little ones do cannot or choose not to take a big slab of cod. Put your time in soaking big baits along steep drops in the sound and you will catch fish. It may take a while, but they will come. This has been my experience.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default FYI

    Just FYI. A halibut has to be 45-50+ inches in order to span for the first time. So those little 15-20 pounders never reproduce.

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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Default PWS butt

    We've landed many halibut in PWS, from chickens to barn doors, on all types of baits. Herring is our staple bait along with scraps of other fish and herring oil as many have posted already. We also use Mustads' scent's on our rigs and this stuff works! Often, we will rig one rod w/a salmon head for the big boys while we fish the other rods with herring pieces. It's my experince that big fish will come in, but it may take a while as Spolied One mentioned. Our biggest last year was 150 lbs, but 40-80lb'ers are common.
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    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    I think the commercial limit is 32" so they have a chance to spawn once before killing them. with that said, fisheries managers say that by taking fish smaller than that you are not damaging the overall biomass because they have not even contributed yet therefore they are not really counted...something like that

    Ak Brownsfan ....Just the facts....I am sure you understand this reasoning and can explain it better.

    As far as catching bigger fish....get a cod or salmon carcass and find a rock pile and drop your anchor and spend the day.....Maybe you will get um and maybe not. That is what fishing for big fish is all about.

    The good news is that there are a ton of smaller halibut around PWS and the North Gulf Coast. you are better off spending part of your day "swinging for the fence" and then pull in and pick up some smaller ones if the larger fish don't cooperate. that way you are not catching 50 small halibut just to keep two at the end of the day.

    While we all have our own take on the halibut resource, the fact is that we all should do what we can to minimze injuring too many small ones as they are the future of the resource.

  15. #15

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    I'm new to halibut fishing and was wondering what the proper set-up for rigging a salmon carcass/head would be. Do you just put the appropriate size circle hook through the top and bottom jaws and then put the whole thing on the bottom and wait? Do you jig it (seems kind of pointless). Also any tips for increasing hook-ups of bigger fish using this method?

    Thanks,

    Armo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Armo_Ak View Post
    I'm new to halibut fishing and was wondering what the proper set-up for rigging a salmon carcass/head would be. Do you just put the appropriate size circle hook through the top and bottom jaws and then put the whole thing on the bottom and wait? Do you jig it (seems kind of pointless). Also any tips for increasing hook-ups of bigger fish using this method?

    Thanks,

    Armo
    I always just use a large weight (depending on the tide) and basically copy what you will see for halibut fishing on the display wall at Sportsman Warehouse. Also, I use a huge circle hook when fishing for the big ones and just stick it through the top of the jaw inside the mouth of the carcass. From my experience it doesn't matter that much where it is as long as it doen't easily come out. Then, I wait. Often times my wife will fish the salmon head pole while reading a book. Fish will come and nibble, fish will go....I fish the other pole while my wife fishes that one. We don't attend to it unless it is completely doubled over as there is no need to really set a circle hook. Once we think for sure you really need to let them chew on it, as often times they are just sampling and if you mess around with your pole they are prety quick to figure out something isn't right, so they leave. Once we are sure, she starts reeling it in. After about 15 minutes she always ends handing the pole to me and have the duty of cranking it the rest of the way up. But, we have fun. Just like it has been said, sometimes you catch a biggie, and sometimes you don't. However, it is pretty often (sometimes several times daily) that we catch halibut on this set-up in the 80-100 pound range - often times far more. One other thing, I can't remember ever catching one under about 40 pounds on a salmon carcass; yeah they nibble and sometimes even sit on it, but they have never hooked themselves as yet. When the spiny dogfish are thick, this set-up is all that we use. Sometimes we have one down deep and another pole set up for salmon when our son gets bored to tears.

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    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    I found that using jigs as produced bigger fish for me then herring.
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    Member AKArcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska Gray View Post
    I found that using jigs as produced bigger fish for me then herring.
    A buddy of mine that runs a boat out of Seward caught a 356lb slab o' meat on a jig...

    If the fish are in the area... give me a jig.


    That being said... I landed my biggest *238lb*on a salmon carcass.
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

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    Member akriverrat's Avatar
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    good replies everyone. i learned some good points from this thread and thank you all. i think how ill play it is how i did last time, ill set out one pole for the big one and pick and choose from the smaller ones that are worth keeping. i have a hard time hanging out for too long with no action on the pole. from my experiance that its not so much the type of bait as long as its fresh but the size of the bait and hook to keep the smaller fish off. herring, octopus, cod, salmon, black cod, should all make good baits even though some might be more dominant over another according to location. jigs might work better in an area where there are lots of shellfish ( crab ) and action might work better than scent. jigs i have had luck with on lings but not too much with halibut. and personally i lose intrest jigging if my efforts dont pay off in the first half an hour or so depending on weather and how im feeling on my extended weekend. thanks again for all the replies so that everyone can share expeirances ( thats what forums are for ) and i wish everyone a great 2008 fishing season.

  20. #20

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    well big fish.

    What I found from my few years skippering now, was that there are some big fish near those chicken holes. Being a walleye fisherman seeing structure is like lindy rigging for eyes. It does take time to figure out an area but once you do things really seem to look up.

    Those drops are nice, but so are some other things. Rock piles that were mentioned if you can find good ones, or rock piles in a big flat if you can find it. Pinnicales, or even big flats in a big rocky nasty area will hold fish. Basically you'll have to feel it out. If it's a big flat nasty area, find a hump bump hole or pinn, and you'll likely find fish.

    Definatly go to the cod. I havent had much luck fishing for them, but it seems when we are near them (usually fishing near someone I know most of the time), the halibut are there.

    Long soaks fist size baits or so.

    Save your guts, gills, heads and collars....in SE we can use sport caught pinks and chums. Pinks work extremely well!!! Fillet them out, cut them into hunks and go to down.

    Basically I start with guts and gills, changing baits every 15 to 20 mn one at a time so there is always fresh bait down. It doesnt matter if I'm going to jig or strictly bait fish I start this way for the first 30 mn to an hour to see how things are going.

    I have a super sized mooching rig on standby in case a light lipper comes around, basically 2 big 10/0s tied egg loop style onto 250lb mono on a spreader bar. This is a KILLER rig when you know you've got a big fish down there. DO NOT throw it down just for kicks, you'll kill chickens, as they typically will take it deep. The bigger fish for some reason dont swallow it like the small guys do and you can still release if you want to. Instead of chunking up a bait, I'll cut a strip of pink or chum, or a hole herring. Typically I like to keep my hands on this rod (the clients not me) and slooooowly lift up and down just to bounce the lead just a bit. Basically to feel for the take. Then get read, and when the fish goes...reel like a mad man and hittem when you're tight. If he starts to swim off with it, point your rod down and follow it just a bit and then hittem letting the fish take the slack out. It is truely a KILLER rig for tight lipped barndoors.

    I also love jigs but find most of my clients are not physically up to jigging for a full afternoon on the hook, or tend to tire mentally in the first 30 minutes of no hits. The bulk of my big fish come on jigs though, I would say 60-40 jigs to bait. But the bait brings them in.

    Lastly this past year I switched from mustad 16/0 to owner 12/0s (which contrary to what you'd think are bigger then the 16/0s!) And really believe I stuck more fish using them. The ticket for me was the amount of bigger fish that got stuck as opposed to the 16/0s mustads. It really sucks to know its a big fish hit (and sometimes those big girls hit it ever so softly), only for the hook to not take. If it were me and I wasnt looking for a big barndoor, I'd try the 10/0 owners and never look back. I still get some awfully small fish on the 12/0 owners though so I know the little ones can take it. And if you're chickening out, jigging them up is a blast unto itself.

    I cant tell ya where to go, but wish ya the best!

    oh I might add, my personal ever best was stuck mooching for kings. A 150lb flattie on a cut plug using 20lb leaders

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