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Thread: drifting or anchor for halibut

  1. #1
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    Default drifting or anchor for halibut

    I fished last year in cook inlet out of anchor point. And we always anchor to catch our fish and did very well. Then I talked to someone and he told me he never deals with putting and anchor down and catches all the halibut he wants. Does anybody have an opinion on drifting for halibut?

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    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
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    I had always trolled and drifted for 'butt until I met some guys 10 years ago out of Anchor who.... well... anchored!

    Now I use a good mix of the two... if you're catching white bellied fish - sandy bottom - anchoring works well... find a hill, set the hook, and catch your fish. Here in SE we catch quite a few red-bellied halibut on rocky reef structure. When we're reef fishing, I'll usually get a good drift setup and go for it that way.

    A bit depends on the experience of your anglers too. It's easier to get gear fouled in the rocky bottom while drifting, so I think most charters tend to anchor just to preserve their gear... it's also a bit of a workout on a lumpy day. Most of the 6-packs here in Juneau won't do the extra work needed to drift... they want to just set the hook and relax while you fish.

    -Case
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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    I do a combination of both. I fish strictly in PWS. I have a few spots that I anchor on a shelf and soak bait with success. It takes a while to bring the fish in, but once they find the source of the scent (sometimes takes an hour) fish start hitting the box. Like Case said, you lose a lot less gear while on the hook, too. When I drift fish, I am usually pulling jigs over structure and bait balls. This is where a top shelf fish finder pays for itself. PWS is a hungry place. Find the bait & structure and you will find the fish or soak along a big drop on the hook, and bring the flatfish to you while you enjoy a cool beverage.

    Case, tell me a bit about these red bellied flatfish. I have caught butts with red along the centerline. Is this what you are talking about?

    Pete
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    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    I usually anchor and just wait. Drifts work well if you get into some fish and can pinpoint them. Patience is key though.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

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    Perfer to drift simply because I am lazy and detest the chores of anchoring. If you pay attention to your GPS when you catch a fish and redrift the same area it can really pay off. Drifting is also a little easier on the squeamish people in the boat.
    However, If you have the patience to anchor and sit for hours I bet it would be more productive.
    Tennessee

  6. #6

    Default Halibut Drifter

    Working around the tide schedule, I prefer to drift. Partly because I don't want to be up on the deck dealing with an anchor and rode. Sometimes the anchoring fandango requires me to go back and forth between deck and forward cabin to arrange the line. If it's lumpy, climbing around on a wet deck, hanging on to railings, especially when your out by yourself, ...... well, enough said.

    I try to avoid fishing the periods of extreme "flushing" that distinguish Cook Inlet from other areas. But, even then it's easier for me to drift with less weight than cranking up even bigger pieces of lead required to hold bottom when anchoring just to check your bait during fast tidal flow.

    The day's experience is much more enjoyable for me when I just bob along, hit the fish, mark the spot with a GPS, drift through, reposition and drift again....and not have to deal with anchoring up at all. Sure, when its windy you'll be blown off your spot, but when anchored you'll be feeling the bumps, too.

    I can see why the charters anchor up, saving snagged gear, line tangles and focusing on the experience of their clients.

    As far as hooking up with a flat fish, Cook Inlet is the corner of "First and Main" in the halibut universe.....anchoring or drifting, we're out on the water and it can't get better than that.

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    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    I do what I can to hold on the bottom the best. Also I try to avoid to anchor in rocky area
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

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    Thanks for all the input. I am looking towards another great summer fishing out of Anchor point. Last year very time i fished for halibut i anchored and did very well. This year I will try drifting and see how it works for me.

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    Default In July and August...

    we drift for halibut and mooch for salmon at the same time. It's a real hoot to keep the silvers away from the halibut lines until someone get them out of the way! Sometimes we drop a sea anchor (drift sock) off the bow, that really slows the drift, and makes another challenge for the silver fishers! Fishing the silvers takes the boredom out of halibut fishing

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    Default Be careful

    There have been many days that I've had lines in the water for halibut and silvers at the same time. However, last year I guy I know got a ticket for having more lines in the water than fishermen on the boat. I didn't realize that was a problem; I don't do that anymore.

    Just thought I'd throw that out there. I wouldn't want anybody else to get ticketed out of not knowing.

  11. #11
    Member Cap'n Ron's Avatar
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    Default Right on....

    yeah, we know that about one line out per fisherperson, but good to remind everyone

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    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spoiled one View Post
    ...Case, tell me a bit about these red bellied flatfish. I have caught butts with red along the centerline. Is this what you are talking about?

    Pete
    I'm talking about the white bellies of the halibut which are scraped up and pink/red from all the scratches. Fish living/swimming over sand don't tend to have this, but fish caught over rocky/reef structure tend to have pink or red bellies - at the very least they've got lots of scratches on the tough white hide.

    (Interesting religious side-note I learned last summer... seafood may be blessed "kosher" if it has scales. Since halibut just have skin and slime with no scales, it can never be kosher.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Boater View Post
    There have been many days that I've had lines in the water for halibut and silvers at the same time. However, last year I guy I know got a ticket for having more lines in the water than fishermen on the boat. I didn't realize that was a problem; I don't do that anymore.

    Just thought I'd throw that out there. I wouldn't want anybody else to get ticketed out of not knowing.
    We're a bit more conscious of lines in the water here in SE, where the law of the land states that no vessel may fish more than 6 lines. We often have high-abundance years where anglers may use 2 rods apiece when targeting kings, but we can still never exceed 6 lines per boat at any time.

    Should be interesting in OR using 8, 10, 12 rods trolling for tuna! ;-)

    -Case
    M/V CanCan - 34' SeaWolf - Bandon, OR
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    Member Cap'n Ron's Avatar
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    Default Case

    Now that you mention it, we've caught several large halibut in less than 100' of water in rocky terrain, and they had red bellies, and even though we processed them right away, they had some blood bruising in the flesh, probably from the fight...

  14. #14
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    Default drift

    I too fish exclusively PWS and drift ONLY. I take advantage of the larger target area, and the fishes propensity to attack out of not hunger but territorial aggression. I don`t wish to wrestle with the anchor and study my charts to negotiate a long drift over uneven terrain with jigs. This works well for me with Butts/lings/all kinds of ground fish. After limits of those are had, I chase the salmon de jour of the month. This method works really well for me.

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    Default Anchoring.

    I have tried both and had far more luck on the hook. It seems to me that Halibut take a while to follow the scent trail. I usually limit out in short order after a hour or so soak. Have also had good luck chumming while on anchor as well. I will still drift if the weather is rough or if my passengers start getting green around the gills. I tend to have far fewer stags while on anchor as opposed to drifting.

    Tight Lines.

    Steve
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    I think the fishing around the anchor point area is much better while anchoring. I fish out of homer and have gone up towards anchor point a few times and always had better luck on the hook. I only drift if the current gets too strong and I need more than a 3 pounder to stay on bottom. I have also been out on charters in homer, and we always did better while anchored.

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    Member FishGod's Avatar
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    Anchoring with a twenty pound chum bag gets it done every time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FishGod View Post
    Anchoring with a twenty pound chum bag gets it done every time.
    20 pound chum bag? What's that, just a bunch of fish heads and a rock in a bag, or is it something more high-tech?

  19. #19
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    Pillow sheet stuffed with "stuff" from the cleaning tables. Heads, guts, clam remnants, eggs etc. We then pour a gallon of herring oil in the mix. Close the end with a knot. Attach parachute chord or 100# test or even small diameter cable near the knot. We've used an O ring on the anchor line, or just attach it to your down rigger and send it down. Pretty simple, but very effective.

  20. #20
    Member BigBrown767's Avatar
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    Default drift...

    I drift and anchor both but when I anchor I use a chum bag tied to my chain or I send down a "bait Bomb" (preferred). It's basically a brown paper bag tied shut with a small diameter cotton line. I throw a rock in the bottom that I grab from the beach, a bunch of goodies that'll put down a good scent trail and not feed them too much and then soak it all with with herring oil. The bag will biodegrade (as will the cotton)and put down a drifting scent trail where pieces are constantly being taken adrift with the current. I like all my bits to be about the size of a quarter so nothing will fill up the big guys. The largest pieces are reserved for my hook! I'll also drop the bomb to the bottom and mark my spot with the GPS when drifting and just keep repositioning and passing over the same spot (really effective with jigs). When I use the bag with the anchor I use a nylon mesh laundry bag that can be purchased at Wall-Mart for a few bucks. It even has a zipper to hold all your goodies so you don't have to try untying a knot with wet material. The other nice thing is that because it's mesh you can see how well your chum is holding out without opening it when you move from time to time. I take a section of 550 cord and make a loop through the mesh to put it on the anchor chain, easy on-easy off.

    Tight lines!
    BB

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