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Thread: Fishing Gear for Ocean Boat

  1. #1

    Default Fishing Gear for Ocean Boat

    Hello all,

    My friend and I just purchased a used 2858 Bayliner (28 Ft) to take our families out in this summer. It's a year 2003. We'll probably head out of PWS mostly, but may drive the boat to Homer or Seward at least once this summer.

    I'm looking for suggestions on how to outfit the boat for fishing in the salt. I've fished Alaska with a fly rod for the last 15 years, but I'm at a bit of a loss on what to get for ocean gear. We want a good set up that will get us started fishing the salt.

    Here's my short list of gear so far:

    4 halibut rod/reels with line
    4 salmon rods/reels for mooching/down rigger fishing with line
    2 down riggers
    misc hooks, jigs, etc.

    We are willing to get good gear that will serve us well for several seasons of use. I'm interested in hearing from anyone regarding brand names or types of gear that are particularly well suited for fishing in PWS. For example: Are jigging style rods perferable for PWS or should we think able getting the classic heavy halibut rod even though from my understanding we'll often be targeting rockfish and lingcod? Also where is a good place to purchase such gear? I've been to B & J Commercial recently and they seem as good a place as any and they've always treated me well.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Default Lucky You

    IM so ready for a 26-30ft boat.
    I have spent a very good part of my life fishing alaska.

    Lets say you plan on fishing 5 poles in the salt.
    I would buy two rods set up to fish bigger gear and deep holes.
    Then buy two poles in the medium range.
    Last two rods would be something that can be used for salmon and or lighter bottom gear.

    Shimano makes a very good range of stuff. as far as brand name etc. I would just look around and find stuff on sale of do the research if it's not. Craigslist has a few deal on used gear. Type in halibut and hit search.

    Hope this helps.
    Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

  3. #3


    I like to have a few jigs to fall on for halibut. But mostly use circle hooks with herring. I am not to experienced myself so I use what the charters were using when I went out with them. And when I want new stuff I pop into the local tackle shops and try their recomendations for the local waters and the time of year. They usually have a good idea what is working at particular times.

  4. #4

    Smile many choices...

    My son-in-law has a couple of 6' 6" G Loomis Muskie rods that he brings aboard our boat for halibut, lings etc. and he bought me a G loomis Bucara rod that is similar. He has a medium sized Shimano Tekota reel on his rods and I recently picked up a Avet MXJ 6/4 for mine and spooled 300 yards of 65 lb. braid on it. I also have a couple of 5' 8" Shimano TFC-58HXX jig rods with Avet MXL 6/4 reels. I prefer using lighter gear when not anchored and fishing for ling cod, yellow eye and rock fish Since most halibut are under 60 lbs. you can use these set ups for them also. There are cheaper options available. For Alaska I think the lower gears, in the 4.0 range are better for bottom fishing since we are mostly vertical jigging and not casting lures like the warm water guys, so we want cranking power rather then speed. When I am "meat fishing" and soaking bait for halibut I will use a big 2 speed reel on a 5' 6" rod. But for fun and jigging I will always opt for the lighter gear spooled with 50 to 65 lb. braid and 6 to 16 oz. jigs.

  5. #5
    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Yellowknife, NWT


    As for downriggers, after 20 years chartering on Lake Ontario I favor the Big Jon Captains Pack Electrics. I have also used Walker and I currently have a pair of Canons on my own boat.

    The biggest advantage about the Big Jons is the arm swings up and this makes ball retrieval a snap. Just raise the ball to within a couple of feet of the end of the rigger grab the arm and lift up and towards you and the ball will swing right into your other hand. It sure beats leaning over the side or using other types of retrieval methods.

    If you want to save money and don't need electrics the Canon Uni Troll manuals will work well for you. If you can get away with a shorter boom the Canon Easy Trolls will save a few more $$$$.

    Big Jon Captains Pack

    Uni Troll Riggers

    Easy Troll Riggers

    My release of choice is the Canon Off Shore releases. The way they are designed being on a cable helps to show when you are dragging a shaker around. They have also helped me tell when you have a light biter grab and swim with you. I usually make the cable longer (extend it to 18") when the original starts to show signs of wear.

    As for rigger balls I will use just about any as long as they weigh 10 or 12 pounds. Do not go any lighter. If I were fishing riggers in Alaska with the tides there I would use heavy Pancake weights as they cut the water much better with their streamlined shape. Cabelas has a 13 pounder that would be excellent.

    If you have any more rigger questions just ask.

  6. #6
    Member hoose35's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Soldotna, Alaska, United States


    I think the Penn Senator 114 reels are the mix of value and quality. You can spend a lot more on a reel, but I have 4 of them and they have held up pretty good, and they aren't too expensive. I have also bought cheaper halibut reels, but they do not last long. Use braided line such as power pro or tuff line, I like 60-80 lb test. For salmon rods, I like the shimano scimitar rod with a tekota reel. I use 2 penn downriggers, they are the only brand I have used so I can not say which ones are the best, but I like the Penns

  7. #7


    Thanks for the replies so far. I really like the information on what brands to look at. Yesterday at the Sports Show I looked at some Shimano reels and they did feel like quality setups. I'll also be looking at Penn Reels and they rods suggested so far.

    Keep 'em coming.

    Thanks again.

  8. #8
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    I started using the lighter jigging rods last year, and have pretty much lost interest in the traditional pool cue but rods. I'll keep one on the boat for gluttons for punishment. With a jigging rod you can fish all day w/o getting worn out. That goes double for the wife and kids. I went with seeker blue lighting inshore rods, tackle repair on Arctic carry them. B&J carries similar style rods from various makers. I think the seekers are better quality for not much more $. But B&J is favorite tackle shop, knowledgable people, great selection. The jigging rod was plenty for this 40# PWS ling

    As for reels, I like a 2 speed spooled with 50# braid. The thinner line allows you to use lighter jigs and keep on bottom better when the tide starts moving. Avets are great but a bit spendy, Shimano tld's aren't bad and I believe Okuma has a reasonably priced two speed. When your fishing deep, the high speed allows you to quickly retrieve your jig and you gear down for the big fish.

    For salmon I use some Shimano medium bait casting rods with some older Penn level winds and 20# maxima mono. They also work well for shallow rockfish.

    I carry a variety of jigs from 3 oz to 24 oz, but mostly fish 6-16 oz for rock fish, lings an butts. The butterfly style work great, as well as point wilson darts, crippled herring, lead heads etc. The 3-4 oz work great for salmon and rock fish. I also use hootchies for mooching with 2 or 3 oz banna weights, and buzz bombs for silvers and rock fish.

    Just learn what structure tends to hold the different species so that if the spot your fishing isn't producing you can move out to one that does. In general I've found I'm most successful by moving well out into the sound, and if I'm not getting a bite within 30 minutes, I move on to another spot.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    In my experience, here are your fishing scenarios:

    1. At anchor for halibut
    2. Drifting/jigging for halibut and bottomfish
    3. Drifting/jigging/mooching for salmon
    4. Trolling for salmon

    For #1, get two 4'-6" to 5'-6" heavy rods (50# - 80# rating or thereabouts) with the heavy duty aluminum reel seats. For reels, a cheap and durable way to go is a Penn 320 GTI levelwind. The bigger 330/340 aren't necessary as the 320 has an identical drive gear and drag system, and you don't need the larger reels' spool capacity with spectra. Spool with 65lb or 80lb spectra. Other reels to consider that are cheap(er than Avets): Penn 114H, Penn Baja Special, Shimano TLD Star 15/30, etc. You don't need a big hairy reel for halibut - spectra line has done away with the need for big spool capacity. 2-speed is nice for cranking heavy weight, not necessary for fighting fish. If you're using 3lb weights in cook inlet, you might want a 2-speed. What you need is a robust and compact reel. The Penn 114H and Baja Special are actually a little too big for this work, but they're indestructible.

    For #2, get two 6'-6" to 7'-0" rods with robust metal or graphite (fuji) reel seats, and a 20# - 50# rating or thereabouts (maybe a touch heavier). For reels, lots of good options exist. Daiwa's SL-X20SHA is a nice little number for around $100, with very tough innards and a nice handle. Shimano's TLD Star 15/30 would be a good choice again, with even tougher innards. Avets would be fine as well. The high speed gearing on the daiwa and shimano reels mentioned means you get some big hairy drag discs. Spool with 50# spectra. Can be used with lighter weights hanging bait for fish scenario #1, or for bouncing jigs in fish scenario #1 back in the tide in your bait's scent trail.

    For #3, your standard river fishing setups work well here. An 8'-6" cork-handled graphite salmon rod rated for 10-20 or 12-25 line works fine, with an abu garcia 6500 C3 or similar reel. If you spool with spectra, which is nice for jigging and mooching for sensitivity, step down in reel size to the 5500 series. Same guts, narrower spool. For line, spool with 15-20 lb mono or 30# braid. Don't give away the advantage of skinny braid by using 40# or 50#, despite what the tackle store employees say. 30# is awful strong stuff.

    For #4, you want a 8'-6" to 10'-6" downrigger rod with a levelwind reel. Lots of options here. I have Shimano Talora rods and Shimano Charter Special reels. Penn 320GTIs would be a bit cheaper, and every bit as good (if not better). Spool with 20# mono. Any heavier and your line will blow back too far behind your downrigger due to the line's drag in the water.

    Lots of crossover possibilities here - if you're mooching herring for silvers, any of the combos for scenarios 2, 3, or 4 will work fine.

    For electric downriggers, the gold standard for west coast of canada and washington is the Scotty. They are very robust, and are not limited in the size of weight they can pull. They work great with 15# cannonballs.

    For manual downriggers, I like Penn.


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