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Thread: bottom types for halibut

  1. #1
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    Default bottom types for halibut

    I'm studying charts for a new area and noticed SH for shell bottom. I know sand and gravel are both good. Are they usually the best in most areas ? How would you guys rate 'shell', 'mud', 'soft', 'hard' bottoms ?

    Thanks to all the helpful guys on here.

  2. #2

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    I've caught them on just about every bottom type except mud/soft bottoms. Gravel and sand are definitely my first picks, but hard bottom isn't bad either if there's bait around. Harder to stay connected to, but some of the fastest action can come next to bull kelp beds, especially on the up-current side. Problem is, they're pretty good at diving back into the kelp when you hook them. Bring lotsa spare gear!

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    Member tlingitwarrior's Avatar
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    my go-to spot for my halibut skate is a muddy bottom, but I've caught them just about everywhere. The biggest halibut I've caught on rod-n-reel was 280 pounds and I got it on a pinnacle where we fish lings.
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    Hey mapman,

    Here is an excerpt from a study done back in '05 by some scientists in Glacier Bay. You can find/read the whole document which includes some charts, graphs, etc of their catch data showing the size of halibut caught in relation to the type of sediment they preferred by copy and pasting "Discovery of 100–160-Year-Old Iceberg Gouges and
    Their Relation to Halibut Habitat in Glacier Bay, Alaska"

    It was informative reading to me. In a nutshell TlingitWarrior's post is spot on. Hope this helps your research.

    The nitty gritty of the document: (3) Four types of seafloor geologic habitats were identified—(1) bedrock, (2) gouges with sparse fine–sediment
    cover; (3) gouges partly filled with fine sediment; and (4)gouges nearly to totally covered by the fine glacial flour
    (clayey silt).

    (4) Pacific halibut caught in the study area were divided into two size-groups. Large halibut, more than 100 cm in
    length, preferred an unstructured seafloor of soft, fine sediment, where they likely burrowed into the substrate to wait
    for prey. Small Pacific halibut, less than 100 cm in length, that are much more active pursuing their prey, preferred the
    harder substrate of bedrock and coarse sediment prevalent in the unfilled ice-gouge complexes.

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    good info. I like a gravel bottom. If I drop my gear and my weight gets stuck in the mud, I move on. Similarly if I'm jigging and I feel my weight bouncing on rocks or boulders I move on. A nice gravel/sand bottom has always worked well for me. usually I catch a lot of skates in the muddy stuff, and lots of sculpins in the rocky stuff.
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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    Personally, I enjoy rock piles more than I do soft bottom. The average size fish goes way up, although the fishing is usually slower. You also have a shot at getting into some Lingcod.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

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    What about the SH shell bottom ? Any comments on that one ? Thanks.

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    I haven't seen anything special about SH bottom, myself

    My experience may be a bit different from a Drifter/Jigging, but from lots of time commercial longlinging, where the gear is down for a while, the single most effective and profitable tip I recieved, was from a guy who had caught as many Halibut as about anyone at the time in the comm fisheries, (like many 100,000lb trips in 24hr opening periods, pretty phenomenal)
    this is where something like a 40lb average over the long run is ideal,

    He said, "It's ALL About Hard Bottom, the deeper the Red on your color sounder, the better."
    so this is like bedrock, or very dense Black Gravel,

    I've found that tip very productive, both for searching out the 40lb avg. schools, and also the Large Lunkers, sitting in the rock piles in summer

    Just my opinion, go for HARD, SOLID RED on the Sounder

    Then if you're looking for Jumbos, laying in ambush near rockpiles, (shallows in summer)
    they may be laying in the sand, right at the edge of said hard bottom area,
    waiting to swoop up and strike at the stuff hanging in the rocks

    But you are right on, studying out the bottom composition,
    add topography to the total picture, and you're gonna nail 'em
    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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    find a spot in Cook inlet that is SH bottom and you will find what you seek. For that matter - S SH M RK P etc.....caught em all places.

    Never fished the OZ though even though i like the area

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    Fish the kelp once you learn you will not do it any other way!!! if you want to learn fast take a charter that will fish the kelp from Anchor point back to Homer Bluff ask and you may get the fishing trip of your life in 30ft of water or less. Try to book for the largest tide change you can. Try Reel fun Charters out of Homer it will be the best money you have ever spent!!!

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    Member ocnfish's Avatar
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    Don't forget FOOD .... if you run across a big bait ball it is usually being persued by salmon and a few big halibut ... Outside of that I always do well on the three underwater hills northeast of cape Clear out at Montague .... tons of rockfish and ling though, got to ignore the hits on the way down ... use whole big hering and get it to the bottom ... good things will happen ...

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    Hey MGH55, Since it sounds like YOU know how to fish the kelp, would you care to share?

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    I will give you this, chum bags off your downriggers and lots of Pro Cure Butt juce and herring oil. Drop anchor and don't move. That is use twice the anchor and twice the chain you think will hold your boat.

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    Member tlingitwarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MGH55 View Post
    I will give you this, chum bags off your downriggers and lots of Pro Cure Butt juce and herring oil. Drop anchor and don't move. That is use twice the anchor and twice the chain you think will hold your boat.
    Its all about getting that scent down there. Here's a trick I've been using for years. I get a bunch of those oil absorbent pads used for cleaning up auto oil, you can get at Shucks or NAPA. I cut them in quarters, then soak in a five gallon bucket of herring oil. Every 5th hook on my halibut skate gets one of those pads attached to the ground line. Those pads really get the scent out there. Easy to use for sport gear as well, just find a way to attach to your line, probably close to the weight.

    Warning, that oil gets all over the deck of the boat and man that is some slick stuff and hard to clean up.
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    mgh55 - I was going to PM you but can't until you get some more posts apparently.

    Anywho - do you see some of the smaller zodiacs anchoring in that area?

    I have talked to a couple guys that said they anchor and nail the butts in that area - they put in at deep or anchor ck. I have not tried to anchor my little zodiac in those ripping tides but i am going to give it a try this year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MGH55 View Post
    I will give you this, chum bags off your downriggers and lots of Pro Cure Butt juce and herring oil. Drop anchor and don't move. That is use twice the anchor and twice the chain you think will hold your boat.
    I second this, I never go for halibut without my chum bag. Also, try using a tampon. Soak the tampon in herring oil and tye the string to your snap swivel. Obviously the tampon absorbes alot of herring oil. This worked so well that the problem was trying to keep them from eating the tampons!
    Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly

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    Default Funny !!!!!!

    "the problem was trying to keep them from eating the tampons"

    I don't care who you are--that's just funny stuff.
    Have you tried putting a hook in that tampon ?
    Last edited by Mark Collett; 04-21-2011 at 19:16. Reason: to Quote or not to Quote

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    Watch out in small boats, when the tide is ripping make sure you can drop your anchor if needed logs or kelp can pull your bow under fast so keep a look out! The best part of fishing the kelp is learning!!!! Try the new Pro Cure bait fish oil and inject your baits in the past I have used over a gallon of butt juce and oils in one day. You have to keep the baits fresh and the chum bags juced up.

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    Member idakfisher's Avatar
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    This is so interesting. So, how close to the kelp do you want to anchor? And what side of a big tide do you want to fish or does it matter?

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    Learning the Kelp is the fun part. Go look at the kelp at low slack to see what is where. Then think where you should you should be at what stage of tide then try it if it work great if not, think what might and give it a try! That is what makes it so fun. Just a note a halibut in the kelp will be twice as fat as one from off shore and be almost black if been in the kelp for long! Think of light gear 11ft of water and a 200lb halibut + a 410 = Somke on the water!!!

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