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Thread: Need some help choosing a Halibut Charter

  1. #1
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    Default Need some help choosing a Halibut Charter

    An acquaitence of mine, Mike Lane from Lousianna, is looking to book a charter to specifically target halibut in the 200 to 400 # range. Mike owns an outdoor forum, rodnreeldotcom of which I am a member too and my son and I have fished with Mike, who has also been to Alaska previously.
    I am going to send Mike a link to this topic so he can introduce himself and give some more detail as to what his objective is.
    Chris

  2. #2
    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    Go look up Capt. Mike Swan on doing a long distance halibut charter. You'll get some big fish. www.spiritcharters.com
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

  3. #3
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    Default Try Dutch.....

    I can't give you a charter, but if you're looking for halibut in the 200 to 400 lb range (no small feat), my guess is to try someone out of Dutch Harbor. The western half of the Alaska Peninsula is probably the best halibut grounds on earth.

    And likely the worst weather on earth too......

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    You can travel teh state over, but will not exceed the fishing in Yakutat. I caught a 325# halibut two years ago over Labor day in 55 feet of water. Had three or four over 200# last year! It is incredible. Lots of fishing in less than 100 feet deep, 1# sinkers, 30 mins from the dock. We have it all

  5. #5
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    Default Big Fish. Big Hopes.

    Dutch Harbor is a strong contender based on my research.
    Yet Yakutat appears to be coming forward with promise.
    I've been to neither location.

    Trust the locals when they chide in, and always, always, do your research to support your decision.

    When it's over, let us all know...

    Rosenberg/Florida
    "Two decades researching and defining fishing opportunities in the Last Frontier!"


  6. #6

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    I agree that dutch is probably the best but Kodiak is also a good bet.

    Like yakutat if you come at the right time you can catch some big fish in shallow water. The owner of the kodiak custom lure caught a 420 pounder in 90 feet of water (it's the biggest halibut ever caught on rod and reel, not officially ifga because they shot the fish and took turns reeling it in) in izhut bay off afognak. Also had a customer flying out who showed me a pic of a 332 pounder that was caught in 50 feet of water in larsen bay.

    Last year a i witnessed someone targeting halibut with a fly rod fishing 30 feet of water hook a fish that was pushing 200 pounds

    so in that respect its hard to beat kodiak or yakutat as it's much easer to land and fight a big halibut in 100 feet instead of 200

  7. #7
    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kodiak Commando View Post
    The owner of the kodiak custom lure caught a 420 pounder in 90 feet of water (it's the biggest halibut ever caught on rod and reel, not officially ifga because they shot the fish and took turns reeling it in) in izhut bay off afognak.
    I believe there was a 459# fish caught near Unalaska in 1996.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

  8. #8

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    ur right pike palace i stand corrected.

    a 459 pounder was caught in the afformentioned region, which along with the fact that i belieave a few 500 pound halibut have been caught commercially around the chain supports the assesment that dutch harbor is number one for the big fish.

  9. #9
    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    Default The reallity of the request

    Having fished up here commercaily since 1982 and as a charter operator since 1995, I will bet you that your friend can come up here and fish anywhere he wants to and still not catch a halibut over 200 pounds. Just the simple fact that there are not very many huge halibut in the ocean.

    To come up here to target 200 to 400 pound halibut is to set yourself up for disapointment. That is like going Marlin fishing and targeting a grander or fishing for Yellowfin Tuna and targeting a super cow over 300 pounds..or fishing the Kenai River of King of 70 pounds........Big halibut got that way by not being caught.

    If you listen to what these guides ( who are all looking for business) are saying on this thread - Our fishing is the best -we caught a 400 pound fish and four over 200...That is in the one of the very best places in Alaska - with a skilled guide and probably the result of 60 or more days trying to catch big halibut. That leaves you with the idea of about 1 day in 30 that one person out of 4 - 6 catches a big halibut like that. so the odds would be about 1 angler day in 200 that you catch a 200 pound halibut in the best place in the Alaska. Maybe.... 1 in 3000 to catch a halibut between 300 - 400 pound.

    If you can live with those odds and don't mind spending hours waiting, I would suggest trying Yakutat, Gustavos, Kodiak or Dutch Harbor. Good luck!!

  10. #10
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pike_palace View Post
    Go look up Capt. Mike Swan on doing a long distance halibut charter. You'll get some big fish. www.spiritcharters.com

    Is that the same Mike that used to run the Brazen (sp) out of silver fox charters back in the early 90's
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

  11. #11

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    Yes it is chuck.....he caught some nice big fish last year......
    BONEYARDBAITS THE BEST HALIBUT, ROCKFISH GRUBS ON THE PLANET....''06'' WORLD RECORD LINGCOD ''08'' HOMER HALIBUT DERBY WINNER''. BOTH FISH CAUGHT WITH BONEYARDBAIT GRUBS WWW.BONEYARDBAITS.COM

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    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Thanks Baits. He fished me for 3 or 4 years in a row in the 90's. I loved fishing with him. Great guy. I always had a blast on his boat. I was wondering where he went. I knew he left Silver Fox. I had some VERY good trips with him. Had an average one too but the fun was non stop. He used to run us out pretty far back then too. I do know we fished around the barrens a couple of times. did well too.
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

  13. #13

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    A true 200lb + halibut is a big fish, and doesn't happen as frequently as people like to think it does.

    All lodge owners/charter operators will have pictures of fish racks with a few monster halibut hanging on it, with 60-150lb fish filling in the rest of those hooks. But, that's a once in a career day for those captains. That's why they have it on the front page of their website.

    To improve your odds, come later in the season. Find an area where big fish can be caught in the protected waters as well as out in the big water. Big/rough water can kill a big halibut dream quickly if all the big fish are sitting miles offshore and you happen to show up when it's blowing 30kts.

    And, you need to understand what it takes to find a really big fish. I can't tell you how many guys I've guided who wanted a 200lb fish, but wanted it in the first hour of fishing. They start whining after 1 hour of waiting for that big bite because they talked to someone on the plane who caught a big fish in the first 5 minutes of fishing. And, you are going to have to cut some big fish loose waiting for that 200lb fish. A 100-200lb hali is much bigger than most realize (especially when looking at it under the water) and it'll take some discipline to release a fish like that.

    And, most importantly, find a captain who is willing to wait for a 200lb halibut and be willing to come back to the dock empty handed if one doesn't show up.

  14. #14
    Member Stickle Back's Avatar
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    If you want to catch a BIG fish and want to have the "best" chance of doing it, there are a few tips to consider;

    1. Book the whole boat: If you expect to come up to AK with any charter and get a guaranteed "CHANCE" of a big fish, you better take the whole boat, that way the captain can cater to your needs and only your needs, not the needs of the other 5 people on the boat that may, or may not care about the 200+ slab, which brings me to the 2nd factor.

    2. Not alot of Chances: When I was a charter captain, I used to remind people that every "big" fish bite that occured was most likely a fish that will not make the picture. For example, if there were 10 "big" fish bites and only 3 of those bites turned into a fish, the picture at the end of the day will have 3 big fish in it.......when it comes to really big fish, you may only get 2 bites all day, you get the idea of the odds.

    3. Expect to try more than one day: Like AKCAPT said, the fish of that size are not as plentiful as all the pictures on websites say. When I was a Captain, I really wanted someone on my boat to catch a fish over 300 pounds....it never happened....

    4. Any port has the chance to catch a monster: I fished out of Seward AK as a captain, but also heard of the big fish that came out of Homer. I have also heard that Dutch Harbor has monsters, but when I have been in Dutch Harbor, all Ive seen come out of the charters are big cod and regular sized halibut (not saying that there are not many monsters out of dutch, just stating my observerations.) For the price of a plane ticket and hotel room at the Grande Aleutian, you could have 2-3 exclusive trips at one of the closer ports.

    These are just my observations that I made as someone that was once in the industry, I am sure that there are alot of charters out there that can get you what you want, just wanted to throw these ideas out to you before you make your decision.

    Good Luck,
    Ben

  15. #15
    Charterboat Operator kodiakcombo's Avatar
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    Default big halibut

    In 1998 I had this group of 9 deer hunters, 6 were dropped off for deer hunting in the early morning and the reamining 3 were taken fishing. The next day they rotated and at the end of the trip everyone took a buck, everyone landed halibut, some landed king salmon. The last group of fishers said "if you put me on ling cod and I catch one, i'll book a halibut trip with you next year" not more than 5 minutes of jigging in November and he landed a ling cod, he booked a trip for August 1999.

    The afternoon these guys arrived we trolled up our limit of king salmon, that evening I asked them to support our little wrestlers by joining the local halibut derby(later they admitted they thought they were being scammed $20 for the entry fee)

    The next day they were adamant about not going to the chicken hole, they wanted big halibut and said they fished Dutch and yada, yada, yada. Well for big fish you anchor and wait....and wait...50minutes goes by and no bites!! then radio blasts "Jeff and thing going on?" No I reply." Well slide on over we have bite going on here" Any big ones? I reply. 90s the other captain says. My 2 anglers hear this and say " I would like to catch a fish! any fish!" I say "lets give 5 minutes"

    one guys slumps over in disgust and the other puts his rod in the rod holder and goes into the cabin and lays down. The guy on deck gets what looks like a little nibble, 15 minutes later a monster halibut bigger than anything I've ever seen is next to my boat!

    I replicated some harpoons with deer antler tips from what I recently saw in a museum, well they are normally made from ivory. My deer antler tips did not penetrate the gill plates, I cut a hole in the halibuts lower jaw and slide a carabiner and snapped it in and we had her! Then she started shakin the stern of the boat where I had tied the carabiner to the cleat, I thought the cleat was going to get ripped form the boat so I tied a bouy to the end of the rope.

    It was 8 feet long and wieghted 315 pounds according to a commercial salmon tender that was anchored near by. We were in 135ft of water

    Several in the 150-235 were landed since then but the biggest since then was a 300# plus that maxed the scale on the dock in 2008 from 50 feet of water.
    Providing trips for multilpe species for over 20 yrs
    www.kodiakcombos.com

  16. #16
    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stickle Back View Post
    If you want to catch a BIG fish and want to have the "best" chance of doing it, there are a few tips to consider;

    13. Expect to try more than one day: Like AKCAPT said, the fish of that size are not as plentiful as all the pictures on websites say. When I was a Captain, I really wanted someone on my boat to catch a fish over 300 pounds....it never happened....

    These are just my observations that I made as someone that was once in the industry, I am sure that there are alot of charters out there that can get you what you want, just wanted to throw these ideas out to you before you make your decision.

    Good Luck,
    Ben
    This is coming from a guy, who when he was a captain caught more big halibut, year after year than anyone. Captain Ben caught at least 75 halibut over 100 pounds a year( double that some years). Never caught a 300 pound halibut.....That should put in perspective how rare the really big ones are....

    Me, 14 years of guiding - over 1400 days on the water halibut fishing ( back when fishing was "like the old days") I have seen three halibut over 300 pounds brought to the my boat. a Couple of dozen over 250.....Thats it....On average a couple really big ones a year( 250+)....for a 100 days....

  17. #17
    Member Mel Roe's Avatar
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    Default Make it fun

    While everyone really wants to catch a monster fish, the epmhasis really should be about having a good time fishing and enjoying the scenery.
    Every day on the water brings the possibility of a big fish but like AKCaptain says there are greater odds you will not catch one over 200lbs. Most of the big fish caught on my boat were by people who really did not start out the day wanting a big fish, they were there to have fun. Kodiak does land a lot of nice fish and the scenery is absolutley awesome. My advice is do not go out on a boat that guarantees you a fish over 100lbs unless they are willing to give you your money back. Good luck and enjoy Alaska while you are here.

  18. #18
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    If you can believe a captain's log, as presented for the 1997-2006 statistical years, then this link is definitely worth reading:

    http://www.orioncharters.com/catch.htm

    Enjoy!

  19. #19
    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    I have been fortunate enough to witness two fish over 200# come up in the last 3 years. One was 204# and caught just barely outside of Kachemak Bay in 120' of water. The other was 341# and won the 2006 Homer halibut derby. Sometimes it's just the luck of being in the right place at the right time. It can be great in the worst of places and bad in the best of places. If you put in your time on the water though odds are eventually you'll get a nice fish.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

  20. #20

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    chuck he has a really nice 36 ft bertrum www.spiritcharters.com he is a great guy that goes the extra mile...he is a ole silverfox fisherman
    BONEYARDBAITS THE BEST HALIBUT, ROCKFISH GRUBS ON THE PLANET....''06'' WORLD RECORD LINGCOD ''08'' HOMER HALIBUT DERBY WINNER''. BOTH FISH CAUGHT WITH BONEYARDBAIT GRUBS WWW.BONEYARDBAITS.COM

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