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bottom types for halibut

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  • 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
    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!
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

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    • #3
      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.
      In 1492 Native Americans discovered Columbus lost at sea
      _________________________________________________

      If I come across as an arrogant, know-it-all jerk, it's because I am

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      • #4
        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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        • #5
          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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          • #6
            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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            • #7
              What about the SH shell bottom ? Any comments on that one ? Thanks.

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              • #8
                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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                • #9
                  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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                  • #10
                    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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                    • #11
                      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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                      • #12
                        Hey MGH55, Since it sounds like YOU know how to fish the kelp, would you care to share?

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                        • #13
                          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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                          • #14
                            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.roud:
                            In 1492 Native Americans discovered Columbus lost at sea
                            _________________________________________________

                            If I come across as an arrogant, know-it-all jerk, it's because I am

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                            • #15
                              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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