Jigging: Practical Application for Halibut
Alright - the jigging thread has my attention. Based on my one summer's worth of experience so far out of Seward, it's no big trick to locate a rockpile and/or haystack of rockfish, drop jig gear (soft tails or Darts or Stingers or Krippled Herring or whatever), and hang as many blacks and yelloweye as you want (more, probably). It's actually problematic to anchor near these haystacks because they'll wander over to your meat baits and you'll have to pull anchor and move lest you catch too many yelloweye. At least that was my experience on my 1-2 trips each to Cloudy, Elrington, and the big reef SW of Montague.
I'm not all that interested in lings or rockfish from a number-or-volume-of-fish-caught perspective, as they don't freeze as well for me as halibut. Nice to have a couple to eat that week fresh, but that's it for me.
I hung enough halibut by anchoring with soaking bait to keep me in whitefish for the winter, but I'm always interested in improving my catch rate and average fish size. I'm well versed in utilizing chum bags and whatnot, but I'd like to bump the catch rate up on my lighter jig gear versus my pool cue halibut bait rigs.
I don't get out there enough to do a LOT of experimenting, but in my mind, a drift across a big reef like Elrington or Montague jigging iron and plastics can't be as effective as anchoring and laying stink. Maybe I'm wrong. So what then is the answer? Any structure I see or drift over on the sonar is buried in rockfish and I can't get through them to anything big on the bottom. I've tried the jig walk while anchored but haven't done any good (mostly because my anchor fishing was slow, too, but good enough to get a few). What's the answer for getting halibut on jigs?
im no expert
but first you are gonna have to keep the little stuff off your jigs. that would mean big gear to me. 8 to 16 oz jigs depending on what the circumstances are. you will still have lings take the bait and bigger yelloweyes but thats ok, you will keep the pesky little ones off. any other way to keep the lings and rockfish at bay is gonna be to stay out of them areas and focus maybe on sandbars next to a rockpile far enough away to keep the rockfish at bay. lings are no problem as they release easily but too many yelloweyes can be a problem.
Deep is good
I prefer to set up base on an outgoing tide that takes me into deeper water. It is so much easier to just let a little line out as it gets deeper when compared to reeling in. Also, going deeper to shallow is way easier on the pocketbook as you are going to lose a lot of stuff if you do it. I have caught some really nice butts east of Seward over the years jigging.