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Thread: bang sticks, firearms for halibut?

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    Default bang sticks, firearms for halibut?

    I've never used nor carried a bang stick but have had a heck of a time landing large halibut, even with a harpoon. I usually tire them out, harpoon them, allow them to bleed as much as possible and then quickly get them in the fish box but I'd prefer to kill them asap. It's partially that I don't like the thought of them suffering, dying slowly that is, but also that they could hurt someone or cause damage flopping around on the boat.

    I know some folks shoot them with a conventional firearm or may use a bang stick. Do firearms or bang sticks kill them immediately? What are the pros and cons to a bang stick vs. firearm? And which caliber (or shot size) is the most effective?

    Thanks in advance for your advice.

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    Member tlingitwarrior's Avatar
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    I like a 410, just picked up a new rossi just for it.
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    Ditto on the 410, I don't need it often but comes in handy when you do. I have looked at the bang sticks on line and would have probally gone that route in the same caliber if I didn't already have the 410.

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    For years I used a ruger 22 to shoot all the big halibut. I work really good. I tried the 410 and did not like getting sprayed with salt water. I purchased 357/38 bang stick and it works really good. Hit the fish a couple of feet under the water very little noise. I purchased the bang stick from Fish Central in Valdez.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Firearms kill halibut immediately if they are shot in the right spot. They have also accounted for fish being lost due to lines being shot, and have put the occasional hole in the bottom of a boat. I think the bang stick is a much better approach.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captaindd View Post
    For years I used a ruger 22 to shoot all the big halibut. I work really good. I tried the 410 and did not like getting sprayed with salt water. I purchased 357/38 bang stick and it works really good. Hit the fish a couple of feet under the water very little noise. I purchased the bang stick from Fish Central in Valdez.
    I actually enjoy the splash. Reminds me that I just went through a battle!
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    Default How to?

    Quote Originally Posted by captaindd View Post
    For years I used a ruger 22 to shoot all the big halibut. I work really good. I tried the 410 and did not like getting sprayed with salt water. I purchased 357/38 bang stick and it works really good. Hit the fish a couple of feet under the water very little noise. I purchased the bang stick from Fish Central in Valdez.
    Thanks for the input. I'm still trying to imagine how the bangsticks are used and if people feel they are safer than a firearm.

    How exactly does the bangstick work? Is there a safe mode? Can they inadvertently go off? If you use them with a submerged fish, can the water surface set them off as you jab the bangstick at the fish? Where do you strike the fish? Does one round usually do it?

    Thanks again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    Firearms kill halibut immediately if they are shot in the right spot. They have also accounted for fish being lost due to lines being shot, and have put the occasional hole in the bottom of a boat. I think the bang stick is a much better approach.
    I used a 22 revolver for years, but unless you hit the halibut in exactly the right spot, you more than likely will just make them madder... I then went to a .410 snake charmer.. and close worked very well as a sedative for anything up to 300 lbs... (never caught anything over 300....... yet) One trip to Homer, with a couple of bro-in-law I forgot to take my .410.. 1st B-i-L hooks into an 80 lb hen, and when he gets her up to the side of the boat, I realized I didn't have any thing to sedate her with.. So I stabbed her in the gills 2 or 3 times and b-i-l held on while she bled out before we attempted to boat her... This worked pretty well for B-I-L #2 as the blood trail attracted another hen that went about 90lbs..

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    I have had to repair the decks of 4 diffrent boat from bang stick because the fish got off and the person/persons forgot to put the safety pin back in the bang stick and slammed it down on the deck cost of repair $150.00 Laughs priceless. I like the 410 it puts them all to sleep, just put the gaff under the fish shoot and lift. And I have never killed a grouse with a bang stick.

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    The barrel on the bang stick unscrews and you insert the bullet and screw it back on. There is a steel pin that the shell hits when the barrel of the strikes an object. To prevent accidental discharge there is a hole that a safety pin fits.

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    Every charter boat I've been on carried a snake charmer. Being short, stainless, and a .410 they seem perfect.
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    As long as you keep the barrel of the snake charmer out of the water that is the ticket. Many guys have short snake charmers from the one time the boat rocked and they fired with the tip in the water.

    My brother was a charter captain for 6 years and he used a bang stick for a few of those years, until the one day that he forgot to put the safety pin back in and the thing tipped over and fired against the cabin of the boat. Put a nice dent in the boat and scared the poo out of him. He then switched to my snake charmer and I got it back a few years later and about 6 inches shorter that it should be...

    I would use the snake charmer, they work good and make the fish hold still. My Dad uses an old .22 revolver and shoots anything over 40 lbs just to calm them down.
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    You can't beat the .410 Snake Charmer..... an inch or two behind the anterior eye and that fish is dead. No flopping, no beating it to death with a bat, nothing. Stone cold.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JR2 View Post
    As long as you keep the barrel of the snake charmer out of the water that is the ticket. Many guys have short snake charmers from the one time the boat rocked and they fired with the tip in the water.
    I've been using an old 20 gauge New England Firearms singleshot for the past few years, and other than being rusty all the time, it worked perfectly until two weeks ago in Homer. I'm pulling up a nice fish and get her to the boat. My buddy grabs the shotgun and the line and pints the gun at her head. Just as he's pulling the trigger the boat rocks towards the water on his side of the boat, the barrel dips into the water, and he pulls the trigger. The fish stops moving (perfect placement on the shot) and he brings the gun back into the boat, where we see that the barrel has peeled back about three inches perfectly in four pieces, just like the Elmer Fudd cartoons. I'd never seen that before, and it took a while to stop laughing.

    I'll be replacing it with a bang stick . . . Gear Shed in Homer has a good assortment.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    So long as you'd end up with at least 18" of barrel, I'd wack off the banana peel with a hacksaw, take a few swipes with a file and call it the but blaster mk II
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

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    I bought a 410 bangstick head and base from budssbangsticks.com.
    I glued it on a 6ft wood round stock with 5200 sealant.
    I thought the premade bangsticks were to short.
    I wraped the wood with cord and resined it.
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    Paul, it was a kid's model shotgun, so probably only had a 20" barrel to start with, which made it easier to handle with one hand (It knocks the crap out of your wrist though, a problem since I mangled mine up last year). The bank stick should be a better solution . . . . for me.

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    In that case, it'll make a great wall hanger

    Unforunately, I haven't had the problem of how to dispatch triple digit buts Maybe this year. I do usually have a 9mm on board, so that would get the nod.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    For our first big halibut, we shot it (had no no problems, but just imagined if 1) kids were aboard, 2) a guest wasn't paying attention, 3) water was worse; such that we didn't need someone with a gunshot or a hole in the boat) and then decided that we didn't need to shoot halibut anymore.

    We also bled our halibut (figured that was sufficient to end their suffering) and were more concerned with their flopping on the boat.... so we just hog tied them (line through the gills and tied off to the tail) while they are in the water. I would suggest a second or third harpoon tip and or device to help lasso the rope over their tail.

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