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Thread: Max depth for jigging Halibut?

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    Default Max depth for jigging Halibut?

    So your drifting along in 200ft of water and it is getting deeper. Your lines starting to get a bit of an angle to them and now its 300ft. Do you keep jigging and see where it goes or pull up and try another pass?
    I have been pulling the plug and making another pass at 350ft.

    16 ounce jig and standard reel

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    Member Raptor_1's Avatar
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    I was fishing with J&J Smart Charter a couple years ago and we were dropping 5 pounds into 380ft and doing pretty well
    Alaska: We're all here cuz we're not all "there"

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    How sucessful you are in a deep drift depends on the tide, the wind, and your stamina. I have caught butts in Seward at slack tide in the bay in very, very, deep water. As soon as the boat starts moving due to tides and winds you can't keep your jig on the bottom. Nor, can you tell if your jig is even on the bottom. At that point it is far better to fish for something else, or drop the hook in a known area and soak some bait.

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    Default 5 Pounds!!

    Wow that is alot of weight! Were you drifting or at anchor?
    were you jigging 5lbs?

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    Default Very,Very deep?

    Quote Originally Posted by T.R. Bauer View Post
    How sucessful you are in a deep drift depends on the tide, the wind, and your stamina. I have caught butts in Seward at slack tide in the bay in very, very, deep water. As soon as the boat starts moving due to tides and winds you can't keep your jig on the bottom. Nor, can you tell if your jig is even on the bottom. At that point it is far better to fish for something else, or drop the hook in a known area and soak some bait.
    How deep is very,very deep?

    I get you point on not knowing if your even on bottom. That is a good gauge on when to pack it in and stop drifting.

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    Default Every Place Can Be Different

    SC - We jig across humps and plateaus to test them for halibut and have caught halibut all the way down to 70 fathoms (420 feet). As long as the slope you are drifting across is not too steep we give it a try at least to see if there are any flat ones down on the sides of a hump. If the results are 'slow to nothing' we generally haul them back once we pass 350 feet but have run into good production deeper than 350 feet on enough prospecting drifts to not write off a slope if it is the right kind of gravel habitat.

    According to my logs our best production depth range while drift-jigging has been 200 to 300 feet so we keep to this range when we start to try out an area. We have found some nice butts in depths between 80 and 200 feet but usually start deeper because of scrap fish in those depths. But you figure that out right away after you haul a couple of them up to the surface (we keep a few sculpin, arrowtooth, or P-cod for bait in case we plan to anchor and want to soak some chunks on 16/0 circle hooks). Good luck!

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    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    I have jigged and caught halibut in Res Bay at 525 feet of water. It really wasn't much fun but we did catch them. I think the depth limit is proportional to the amount of arm pain you want to feel. I was catching halibut in 760' of water last summer too...with power assist reels....

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    Member Larsenvega's Avatar
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    Here's a link to some helpful info regarding halibut from ADFG. Pretty interesting stuff if you haven't seen it before!

    http://www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/statewide/halibut/

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    I fish out of Homer alot, and it is hard to stay on bottom with a jig in much deeper water than about 200' unless it's dead slack. I don't fish jigs heavier than 16oz though.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

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    You'll never "catch" me fishing in more than 200' of water for halibut.

    Any method - PERIOD. Just no need to. I can always find 'em "shallow" from the end on May onward.

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    The deepest I have caught halibut was at 370 feet (two in one day quite a ways out of Seward). Typically, I get the majority of them at depths between 120-180 though. Drifting in extreme currents/tidal swings is not one of my favorites for sure. We tend to pull into an area to test the drift path, then position ourselves to drift up and over targeted structures and such (shelves, holes, other oddities, etc.). If the drift is too extreme, out comes the trusty anchor and 600 ft of rope. I don't usually like to anchor, but it beats drifting around all day without any consitent hookups!

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    My son and I love to jig and the largest jigs we have seen are 24 ounces. I can understand getting them deep during slack tides and NO breeze at all.
    But other than that its pretty much impossible to keep them on the bottom at any where near 300 feet or deeper.

    Are you guys using jigs heavier than 24 ounces? If so, where are you getting them?
    Tennessee

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salt Chukar View Post
    How deep is very,very deep?

    I get you point on not knowing if your even on bottom. That is a good gauge on when to pack it in and stop drifting.
    400-500 feet. It sucks, but there are fish there in the right spots. But I don't drift and jig that deep....maybe 240 tops

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    My co-worker got a nice 50# halibut in ~400 feet last summer in reserection bay. I don't think he want's to repeat fishing that deep. It was at the end of the day so I just let the boat drift. All I could manage to catch were lingcod. They were nice lings, but it was May, so they all went back

    I'd much rather fish 100-200', but may have to give a couple more go's at deeper water this year, when the conditions are right (i.e. not getting bites shallower)

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salt Chukar View Post
    How deep is very,very deep?

    I get you point on not knowing if your even on bottom. That is a good gauge on when to pack it in and stop drifting.

    winter fishing in Valdez we have run 900 foot with electric reels to do the job... and done well,
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

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    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    You don't need to be in 300,400 or even 500 feet of water to catch big halibut. The biggest halibut we have caught out of our boat were 130#, 80# and 75# all in less than 120 feet of water, except for the 75, which was in 180 feet of water.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salt Chukar View Post
    Wow that is alot of weight! Were you drifting or at anchor?
    were you jigging 5lbs?
    We were anchored and jigging about 20 miles off the beach at Ninilchik. It was a very, very long day and we were all very sore by the time we were done but it was worth it for a freezer full of halibut!
    Alaska: We're all here cuz we're not all "there"

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    If I can't hit bottom with a 24 oz jig, then I'll re-evaluate what and where we'll be fishing for. And I greatly prefer fishing 8-16 oz jigs.

  19. #19
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pike_palace View Post
    You don't need to be in 300,400 or even 500 feet of water to catch big halibut. The biggest halibut we have caught out of our boat were 130#, 80# and 75# all in less than 120 feet of water, except for the 75, which was in 180 feet of water.

    That really depends on the time of the year too Pike... during the deepest part of winter. they tend to go deeper with the food supply, i read a study some years back that kinda made sense of it all.. thermal layers, salinity rate and wintering grounds of bait fish and crab.

    It is the turning? in the spring that brings them back to shallower waters with the runs of Herring and salmon for food.

    but i went to the sea life center last year and sat and watched them swim in the tanks.... and wondered how much they really know about them.. perhaps it was the tank, but those things don't sit still at all...
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    Vince, most people go fishing for halibut in summer time, which is what I was assuming. But your right, in winter they'll be so far down I wouldn't want to waste my time trying!
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

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