Halibut are one of the most sought after fish on the Pacific Coast, due to their enormous size and exceptional taste. However, catching a halibut is not always easy because locating these deep-water fish can be a challenge and the waters they are located in are frequently rough, and at times, treacherous.
Following a few key tips will greatly improve your success on the water, when halibut fishing.
Powerful boat: One of the most important tools in halibut fishing is a good boat. A boat that can handle rough water and is equipped with a powerful motor is essential to getting to the water where halibut are found.
Deep fish: Halibut are found in deep water, typically near the bottom or mid-level. Halibut are commonly caught in water that is more than 100 feet deep, up to 600 or 700 feet in depth, sometimes deeper. So go deep and look for rocky structure, a favorite of halibut. Using a GPS system is one of the best ways to locate the fish.
Heavy rod: Halibut are enormous fish and it takes a heavy rod to bring one to the surface. A heavy-action 5-7 foot rod, with a high capacity heavy reel is ideal. Line should be about 100 lb. test, but some anglers go as high as 120 lb. test. In some conditions, especially when halibut are found in shallower water, it is possible to use 40-80 lb. test.
Big bait: Since halibut are such large fish, they want a large meal. Live bait is the way to go with halibut. Octopus, herring, cod, crab and squid are among the top baits. Make sure to use a large bait to attract the largest halibut. For example, when using herring, you will want to use a herring about 12 inches in length.
Jigs: When halibut are not taking live bait, jigs are the next best option. The Point Wilson Dart, Dungeness Deep Stinger, Mooch-A-Jig and Bead Diamond are among the top producers.
Changing bait: An important factor in live bait fishing for halibut is to change your bait often. Keep it fresh by switching it out every 20-30 minutes. Some baits, such as herring, get soft quickly. It is also important to move the bait up and down, every few minutes, to help the scent of the bait travel through the water and attract the halibut.
Take a charter: If you are new or inexperienced when it comes to halibut fishing, one of the best things you can do is to take a charter. This is a great way to learn the basics of halibut fishing, while also experiencing some success.
Catching halibut can definitely be a challenge, but following the basic strategies of halibut fishing can significantly improve your odds of success.