Tips on how to land a big halibut.

Setting Up A Halibut Rig

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Though every fisherman has their “secrets” to catching the biggest or best fish, there’s a few tips we’d like to share with you that will help you when trying to catch a Halibut.

What type of swivel should you use?

The first item is the type of swivel to use. What we recommend is a 3-way swivel. 3-way swivels have, you guessed it, 3 rings. One attaches to your main line, one attaches to your bait, and the last attaches to your sinker (weight). If your are fishing in spots that may have lots of rocks, branches or   other debris that can cause snags, it’s important that the sinker line is lighter than the hook and main lines so that in the case of a snag, only the sinker line will break. The main benefit to a 3-way swivel is that you can have your sinker line setup on the bottom ring, keeping your line in place as the weight sits on the ocean floor, while you have your hook/ bait line on the middle ring keeping it elevated off the ocean floor. When halibut have to come up off of the ocean floor to bite their bait, they tend to take a more aggressive bite as to make sure they secure what they’re putting in the effort for. 

How heavy of a sinker should you use? 

We typically use a 2 and a half pound sinker. This weight will handle the most common currents underneath really well but if your line is taking much longer to hit bottom, meaning the current is taking the weight with it, then we’d recommend bumping up the weight 1 to 3 pounds heavier. The important thing is, as long as your sinker is on the bottom, you know your bait is always where it needs to be.

What bait should you use?

When it comes to bait, there is a plethora of choices you can make from octopus, salmon, herring and more. We actually use a combination of pink salmon and herring, though any sort of scent is good because to halibut, scent is the first attractant that will get them. Due to this, we also recommend putting a few squirts of herring oil on your bait. Like humans though, halibut can have somewhat of a sweet-tooth and the herring is like a snickers bar for them, meaning that will be the first bite they go for. With your bait chosen, we’ll say you’ve chosen herring and pink salmon, you’ll want to double-hook a half piece of herring on first, with a salmon steak beneath that and VOILĂ€!

How far down will you be dropping your line?

Halibut are bottom feeders and because of that, unfortunately for the fisherman reeling it up, they swim at depths anywhere from 100 to 300 feet down. The average depth for the spots we fish in Alaska are typically in the 120 to 180 feet deep range. A good tell for how strong the current is, while dropping your line, is how much angle the line has from the tip of your pole to the water. Typically you’ll want your line straight up and down making a 90 degree angle with the water, otherwise you may find yourself having to let more line out each time the current moves your weight, in order to stay on the bottom of the ocean floor. An important tip, while your line is at the bottom and your enjoying the beautiful views of Alaska (if you’re fishing in Alaska of course), give your line a few tugs to bounce the weight on and off of the ocean bottom assuring that you are still touching bottom. If your pole continues to bend without abruptly halting as the weight does when hitting bottom, you’ll need to let more line out.

Join Us For Some Exciting Halibut Action

We here at Alaskan Anglers Inn, LOVE fishing! We love it so much that we enjoy the opportunity we have at our lodge in Gustavus to share the great thrill of fishing with everyone who visits. Whether you’re a first timer, or an experienced fishing veteran, we’ve got a spot for you. We’ll show you first-hand how we setup the above halibut rig as well as other tips and tricks that will help you land the biggest, tastiest fish you’ve ever caught! If you’d like to learn more about booking with us simply click here, and our team will answer any questions you have!

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