Monster fish – Alaska Halibut
Ok, I said before that I didn’t like fishing. Tried it once and all I got was sun burn and a sore butt from sitting on my boat. Admittedly it was a small boat and I did not know what I was doing. But I always found fishing to be boring. My friend goes all the time and there are days he tells me he spends hours on the water only to come home empty handed.
This fishing looks FUN!
Of course, these monster fish like the Alaska Halibut are nothing to sneeze at. Just looking at the pictures I can’t help but think: wow that must have been an exciting time. Imagine fighting with that thing and all you have is a pole and a string [ I know fishing rod but still].
The more I look at these stories the more I want to jump on a plain fly over to Alaska and catch me one of these monster fishes. Anyone have some extra money they can lend me – I’ll give you the fish I just want the pictures and the story of a life time.
So far here are some tips I picked up... Always have to bring me down with the technical stuff...
Monster Alaska Fish
Going Alaska Halibut fishing can be the highlight of any avid fisherman’s trip. These fish will give anyone a challenge to first bait them and then bring them onboard. You will find them in rich abundance along the coastal plains of the state. If you like sport fishing for halibut, follow these tips:
Stout tackle is preferred for these large, strong fish. Most sport anglers use a heavy-action 5-6 foot rod equipped with a reel capable of holding up to 300 yards of 60-100 pound test line.
The most popular method uses circle hooks baited with herring, fished on the bottom with cannonball weights up to 36 oz. on a slider. You can also use only the head, tail, fins, or viscera of sport-caught salmon as bait. Lead-head jigs and other artificial lures are also effective for halibut, but baited circle hooks are recommended to minimize injury and mortality of small released fish.
Halibut that are small enough to be lifted aboard can be gaffed. Avoid using a gaff with a straight hook. Stick the gaff in the fish behind the gills and above the gut cavity and pull the fish into the boat in a continuous motion. Be ready to subdue the fish with several good whacks above the eyes and bleed it by cutting a few gill arches, the caudal peduncle (narrow part in fron of the tail), or both. Never gaff a halibut you intend to release.
Very large halibut can be shot in the brain with a .22 caliber pistol or small shotgun, but make sure you have control of the fish before doing this. The brain is located just behind (toward the tail) the upper eye. Large halibut can also be harpooned or stuck with a shark hook attached to a bullet buoy. The harpoon head must penetrate the fish completely in order to hold reliably. Large halibut can also be subdued without bringing them aboard by tying them to boat cleats with a tail loop and another loop of rope through the mouth and gills. The fish can then be bled outside the boat.
#2 When to Fish.
Success rates vary widely from vessel to vessel and from day to day, but good catches are made from mid-May through mid-September throughout Alaska.
Many believe the best Alaska halibut fishing is just before, during, and after high slack tide. This is the easiest time to keep your tackle on or near the bottom. Use modern, small diameter lines to minimize stretch and drag when fishing deep or in heavy currents.
#3 Halibut Charters.
Charter anglers, on average, have higher success rates than unguided anglers. Charter boats are available throughout the state. Although ADF&G cannot recommend a particular charter, charter boat associations and local chambers of commerce maintain lists of charter boats. You can also search the Internet for individual businesses.
Full-day trips are the norm, but many operations offer half-day trips at a reduced rate. Bait, tackle, and lunch are generally provided. Processing and shipping of your catch is based on weight, and is sometimes arranged by the charter operator.
You should always be prepared for a cool, damp day on the water. Wear layers of good outdoor materials such as wool or fleece. Bring rain gear or a waterproof shell for rain and spray. Long underwear, light gloves, and rubber boots or shoes are a good idea also.
Most anglers 16-59 years old must have a current year’s Alaska sport fishing license. There are two exceptions for Alaska residents:
Alaska resident anglers 60 and older must have a free ADF&G Permanent ID Card.
Alaska resident disabled veterans (50% or greater) must have a free ADF&G Disabled Veteran’s Permanent ID Card.
Resident and non-resident anglers younger than 16 do not need a sport fishing license.
The open season for Alaska halibut fishing is February 1-December 31.
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