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Thread: PWS halibut/cod fishing for newbies

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    Default PWS halibut/cod fishing for newbies

    I am going to be heading down there the second week of may on a bear hunt and will have halibut tackle with us. I have never fished for them and am basicly going to do nothing but kill time in a productive manner hopefully trying for them. Is there any good fishing for anything in the jacks bay area? I am really up for fishing for anything and like i said we are there to bear hunt but in the middle of the day if we are not napping i suppose we might as well try. So thanks for any and all info given. Also what is the refered bait to us down there. Thanks again and if no one wants to share that type of info i understand, people treat there fishing spots like sheep hunting spots. thanks

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    read the charts, look for structure, use herring
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    I presume you are going to have a boat? will you have a depth/fish finder in the boat? Yes, there are halibut and rockfish in Jack's Bay, and you can catch some smaller rockfish from shore, they are everywhere and plenty to have fun with. Halibut are spotty but there, I don't know about cod in there, probably. Bait of choice would be herring, may be with some squid or octopus on the hook too. Also, metal or curly tail jigs. Fish on the bottom. Tell us more about what kind of boat you will be in and how it is equipped! Don't forget you need a license!

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    we will be in a 21 foot woolridge alaskan with a depth finder. the closer to jacks bay the better as we dont want to run our selves short on gas. i might have to look into some jigs, what type of fish are most likely to catch and would they be worth keeping. I dont know anything about ocean fishing. Again thanks for any help you can give me.

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    Bottom fishing is easy. Look for bait balls on your fish finder. They will appear as clouds near the bottom or mid water colomn. The bait balls will attract predator fish such as lings, halibut, and rockfish. Use cut herring on a circle hook with a good bit of weight. If you are jigging, I like the ten and fourteen ounce kodiak custom jigs. Kodiac Custom has a website. It's worth checking out. Once you get out there, bounce your jigs or your herring where the bait fish are, and you'll catch something. Just be patient and enjoy a beer while you wait for the bite.

    Good luck!

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    I highly recommend getting some of the biggest chrome buzz bombs. They are my go to jig out there when fishing light gear and you never know what you will dredge up from the depths.http://www.buzzbombzzinger.com/buzzbomb.html
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    They have given you good advise.

    I will add some additional thoughts.

    You want to get a current tide book the best times for bottom fishing are the high and low slack tides as you can get jigs or bait to bottom easier then.

    Spend some time sharpening your hooks. Sharp hooks are necessary to get good deep hook sets.

    What type of line and weight line are you planning on using?

    If running spectra line use heavy mono or flurocarbon leader as a shock asorber and as something to get a hold of to boat the fish with out cutting up your hands.

    You will need a heavy long handled gaff and if you halibut up a harpoon with a float is a real good idea.

    Don't bring a live halibut aboard they will beat the **** out of you ,your boat and anything on deck.
    Shoot them in the head with a pistol or cut their gills and let them bleedout before bringing aboard.

    Have fun, I will warn you ths can become addictive.

    I know I came up here 32 years ago on vacation and moved up here 2 weeks after getting back home.

    Regards CDCIN AK, Doug

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    Generally in that water around Jack's Bay you won't need jigs that heavy, even 2oz leadheads will get to 150', but I like about 5-7 oz jigs. But, you can have some 10 oz and even 16 oz with you for deep water or strong current. Especially if you fish during slack tides, though, you won't need them that heavy. You will without a doubt be able to catch rockfish when you are in Jack's bay, and likely halibut. Remember you cannot keep lingcod until July 1. You might also get kelp greenling, and maybe cod. All are excellent eating, all the rockfish have white, firm fillets, great in a skillet with butter or deep fried.

    If you catch a halibut under 3 feet long, don't worry about shooting it, it's the 40# plus you want to shoot, if you can. Draw a line through the eyes (in your mind, not literally) and shoot 1/2 inch behind that in the middle between the eyes! Wait till you have a close, accurate shot, no use shooting a bunch! If its a big gun (.357, .44 etc) use the .38 special or .44 special loads with super hollow points, and low powder loads, don't want to be shooting those magnums in the boat and kill everyone's ears!

    Lacking a gun, whack the halibut good in the head, then tie a strong rope or heavy braid fishing line from the mouth/gills to the tail, and bend the halibut a little as you tie it tight, then it can't thrash around.

    THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT! All rockfish have varying degrees of painful poison in their spines...it won't kill you or even make you very sick, but you will experience extreme pain if you take a fin spine in a finger joint or under the nail, or swing one into your shin! Don't try to grab a flopping fish. When you fillet them, be careful not to be pushing on your knife to insert it, and then it goes in quick and your knuckles go right into the spines...it will put you on your knees!

    It's OK to hug a halibut

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    Fishing is a really good way to gain the patience to spot a bear. Keep you eyes on the hills when you are soaking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cap'n Ron View Post
    Generally in that water around Jack's Bay you won't need jigs that heavy, even 2oz leadheads will get to 150', but I like about 5-7 oz jigs. But, you can have some 10 oz and even 16 oz with you for deep water or strong current. Especially if you fish during slack tides, though, you won't need them that heavy. You will without a doubt be able to catch rockfish when you are in Jack's bay, and likely halibut. Remember you cannot keep lingcod until July 1. You might also get kelp greenling, and maybe cod. All are excellent eating, all the rockfish have white, firm fillets, great in a skillet with butter or deep fried.

    If you catch a halibut under 3 feet long, don't worry about shooting it, it's the 40# plus you want to shoot, if you can. Draw a line through the eyes (in your mind, not literally) and shoot 1/2 inch behind that in the middle between the eyes! Wait till you have a close, accurate shot, no use shooting a bunch! If its a big gun (.357, .44 etc) use the .38 special or .44 special loads with super hollow points, and low powder loads, don't want to be shooting those magnums in the boat and kill everyone's ears!

    Lacking a gun, whack the halibut good in the head, then tie a strong rope or heavy braid fishing line from the mouth/gills to the tail, and bend the halibut a little as you tie it tight, then it can't thrash around.

    THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT! All rockfish have varying degrees of painful poison in their spines...it won't kill you or even make you very sick, but you will experience extreme pain if you take a fin spine in a finger joint or under the nail, or swing one into your shin! Don't try to grab a flopping fish. When you fillet them, be careful not to be pushing on your knife to insert it, and then it goes in quick and your knuckles go right into the spines...it will put you on your knees!

    It's OK to hug a halibut
    Ron, you forgot the most important part...shoot the halibut WHILE ITS STILL IN THE WATER!!!!! For the most part, this seems like common sense...but more than one halibut has been shot while laying on the deck. While it's still an effective way to calm the fish down, shooting a halibut that is already in the boat is really bad idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cap'n Ron View Post
    If you catch a halibut under 3 feet long, don't worry about shooting it, it's the 40# plus you want to shoot,........
    Lacking a gun, whack the halibut good in the head, then tie a strong rope or heavy braid fishing line from the mouth/gills to the tail, and bend the halibut a little as you tie it tight, then it can't thrash around.

    THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT! All rockfish have varying degrees of painful poison in their spines...it won't kill you or even make you very sick, but you will experience extreme pain if you take a fin spine in a finger joint or under the nail, or swing one into your shin! Don't try to grab a flopping fish. When you fillet them, be careful not to be pushing on your knife to insert it, and then it goes in quick and your knuckles go right into the spines...it will put you on your knees!

    It's OK to hug a halibut
    I Heartily Agree with this caution on Rockfish, Be Careful around those spines,
    "Little Fish, Big Painful Punch, waiting to reach out and get ya" You'll never forget it,....
    Don't kick them either, even just a foot shuffle, you'd be amazed how far those spines will go into your foot after plunging right through your boot

    I have to Respectfully Disagree with the idea that you have to shoot a 40 lb Halibut, to keep it from hurting you.
    Now a 250 pounder could be trouble on tight sportfishing deck,
    but anything under 100 lbs, which is a huge fish, you're probably not going to run into many over 100# anyway,

    in my opinion, the idea of trying take the fight out of a fish with Magnum Handguns, while it is hanging overboard, fairly crazy,...
    when you can just yard them aboard and hit them above the eyes, with the back side of any good gaffhook, quietly stunning them,

    I know a lot of folks think this is necessary, but I've put way too many Halibut quietly asleep with a billy club,
    also have had plenty of fish under 100lbs thrashing around your legs, they're not going to hurt you,
    they'll scare you some, if they get going on the deck, but it's all bark

    Skip the loaded weapon, and guests, " Everybody, cover your ears now" that's just not necessary
    Possibly really risky in the hands of an inexperienced guy all wound up about his fish, forgetting all about the guests, etc.

    In truth, even the really large 200plus pounders are easy to stun with a gaff, Really Easy,
    and aren't going to break your leg or anything like that, unless you decide to get underneath one for a while,
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Member captaindd's Avatar
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    Rock fish strings are painful but they can lead to blood posioning and that can be fatal. My favorite gun for shooting halibut is a ruger 10 shot 22. Works great on big halibut and for sinking cans when someone drops one overboard by accident. I perfer using a bag stick on big halibut but not every one has one.

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    Thanks for all the replies. I am getting really excited about the trip now. I am not a big fisherman, i love it but if i have to choose i am going to choose hunting every time. This trip i get to do both at the same time, Does it get much better then that. My wife will not be mad if i bring back a couple halibut fillets, she would actually be really happy about that. How deep and what type of structure am i looking at finding or looking for in jacks bay for fish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    I Heartily Agree with this caution on Rockfish, Be Careful around those spines,
    "Little Fish, Big Painful Punch, waiting to reach out and get ya" You'll never forget it,....
    Don't kick them either, even just a foot shuffle, you'd be amazed how far those spines will go into your foot after plunging right through your boot

    I have to Respectfully Disagree with the idea that you have to shoot a 40 lb Halibut, to keep it from hurting you.
    Now a 250 pounder could be trouble on tight sportfishing deck,
    but anything under 100 lbs, which is a huge fish, you're probably not going to run into many over 100# anyway,

    in my opinion, the idea of trying take the fight out of a fish with Magnum Handguns, while it is hanging overboard, fairly crazy,...
    when you can just yard them aboard and hit them above the eyes, with the back side of any good gaffhook, quietly stunning them,

    I know a lot of folks think this is necessary, but I've put way too many Halibut quietly asleep with a billy club,
    also have had plenty of fish under 100lbs thrashing around your legs, they're not going to hurt you,
    they'll scare you some, if they get going on the deck, but it's all bark

    Skip the loaded weapon, and guests, " Everybody, cover your ears now" that's just not necessary
    Possibly really risky in the hands of an inexperienced guy all wound up about his fish, forgetting all about the guests, etc.

    In truth, even the really large 200plus pounders are easy to stun with a gaff, Really Easy,
    and aren't going to break your leg or anything like that, unless you decide to get underneath one for a while,
    KodiakRain: now, I know you are a fine commercial fisherman fishing solo way out there, in a fine, biggish boat and you like your peace and quiet and don't have to worry about anyone else. Well, I've had our limit of halibut in a 14' boat, 35-100 lb fish and me and my 8 year old, and beating those halibut didn't accomplish much; sure they were stunned but then they woke up when all was quiet and calm and buckets and rods and oars etc. went flying everywhere. Besides, it is FUN to shoot them when you do it correctly. I shoot everything 40# and up, and it's part of the experience. I've had a friend 6'5" beat a 40# halibut with all their strength, even taking a big boot off and trying that after the gaff and small fish whacker didn't work. Besides, if you are going to ruin the cheeks anyway, may as well shoot it and have some fun Yeah, I know that anything under 100 lbs is not going to hurt us, but we might lose some gear, and it's fun and no harm to tell those stories about broken legs and knocking people out of a boat...and it might actually happen in a 14' skiff!
    Last edited by Cap'n Ron; 04-06-2011 at 01:49. Reason: read it again AFTER I posted it, of course :)

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    I admit, it does sound fun,
    and the "Vigor" of a freshly sport caught fish is a fair bit more than one caught deep and hauled up hydraulically,

    It is all about finding just the right spot to hit them,
    (the secret: find the temple, it's there really, instant results, no matter how big)
    and that takes practice to find,
    and the idea of pulling them into a 14ft boat, does sound pretty hairy,... no matter how small

    Ok, you got me, that just hits me strange, the shooting Halibut thing,

    and for a new guy,
    rolling pitching boat,
    excited family running around,
    everybody shouting,
    THEN BLAM

    Still don't think they'll hurt ya tho, at least until someone decides to jump overboard for the oars that just went flying,...
    now that is a good point, I can see it for sure, could get real crazy real fast.

    Ok, I'll concede, fire away,
    but the fun of hauling a live fish aboard, might just rival the shooting, especially for the boys,.....who get to be "Bonkers"
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Member Cap'n Ron's Avatar
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    Quote:"How deep and what type of structure am i looking at finding or looking for in jacks bay for fish."

    Well, that would be 30' to 300', and rocks, mud or sandy smooth , well maybe not the mud but that's because I don't fish there ! Rule of thumb is a mound, small gravel or sandy bottom, but we've caught our biggest (244lb) not that far from Jack's bay over rocky structure in 85' of water; people have different favorites but it's different in Jack's bay than out in the Gulf or the entrance by Montague. In the bay, I would fish underwater ridges separating bays, fish the bays, try different depths, 150' is a good average. Usually one side of a bay is where the fish move, and that is usually the side where there is the most current. If you are hooking a bunch of yelloweye (limit is still 2 I think...) MOVE to another spot. Sometimes though you will catch a lot of copper rockfish where there are halibut though, and they have a limit of 2 also...and it's hard to release them from more than 60-80 feet deep and have them live. (search the forums, endless threads on this topic)

    Sometimes you can get a good drift along a shore line and by watching closely, you can keep on the bottom and cover some varying depths. Jigging works great for this, but bait will too.

    Sounds like any fish caught will be a bonus for you, and you should get some at least, and you never know when or where a big halibut will hit. Have fun hunting and fishing, and if you get something with either, that's icing on the cake!

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    Yep, boys and fish bonking go together well, Kodiakrain! good reply, I enjoyed it! We all hunt in the family, so are pretty calm and experienced around firearms, but I agree, not a good thing if everyone is excited and someone is waving a big pistol around...and you gotta hit them in the right place.

    Next up...big halibut this summer, and the boys are in charge of bonking it, or maybe my wife )

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    Thanks for the replies guys. I cant wait, the way you guys make it sound we should have a tough time not catching anything. I know it's fishing and hunting but no matter what happens, god willing we will be there having a amazing time making some killer memories. I cant wait to even take pictures of the area. I am going to enjoy every part of the experiance, in my older age i have learned to slow down a bit and enjoy the scenery not just being so focused on the taking of game. i cant wait to go and i will make sure to document the entire journey on film and share when i get back. Thanks again guys.

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    Mac87 go to NOAA chart 16700 (you can google it) and it will show you bottom contours of Jacks bay. I'll give you two hints. On the North side of the bay is an island and snooping around that island in 120-190' of water may be entertaining. Another idea which has paid off is looking at the fathoms on the chart (1 fathom = 6') in the middle of the bay the bottom rises up and the shore narrows. It is about a 1/2 mile long venturi. During incoming or outgoing tides you can drift through that venturii and a few hundred yards either side. Drop a large jig or jig a bait. That way you'll cover alot of ground (and can watch alot of shore) and let the tide move you along. I have made many of those drifts (takes about 30-40 mins) then fire up (kicker is perfect for this and saves gas) run back up/down the venturi and do it again on a little different track. You may find this very entertaining and productive. I hope that helps. If you see a green/white boat alongside just wave. I'll wave back. Good luck on the bear too.

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    Thanks for the guidance. I have been out three times from Valdez and have yet to catch any butts. Maybe soon!

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