Halibut fishing

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Well-known member
Sep 28, 2005
I was watching a fishing show the other night where the host of the show went out on a charter boat for halibut.  They launched out of the Berkeley.  Just outside of the marina, in about 12' of water they dropped the poles and dragged them off the bottom.  Soon after they started catching halibut up to 25 lbs.  Is it this simple?  I have a pontoon and would never dare take it out in the ocean but the water here seemed pretty calm and if it ever did get rough I would be able to rush back in quickly.  Is there any skill to catching these things or is it as simple as dragging along and waiting for a bite?  Thanks in advance.
I haven't fished for halibut, but I'd think you just need to find out what the right bait is and the time of year when they're in the bay. There's a good bait shop not far away from the Berkley marina and they'd be able to help.

You could launch the pontoon boat at the Berkley marina, fish just outside the breakwater and, as you say, duck back in if it gets rough. You should be fine in the mornings and will probably have more problems from boat wakes. Be aware that the wind gets up pretty good at Berkley in the afternoon. I once had the pleasure of playing dockmaster and docking (sterning in) 80 boats there at the end of the day on a fishing tournament weekend. The broadside wind made it a tough job!
Like Tom said, in late afternoon you get the results of the wind waves off the deeper bay area across the Berkley flats.  This can create some nice three to four foot mini swells, probably more than you want to deal with in a pontoon boat.  Mornings would normally be fine.. I have never fished the flats for halibut, but it was always on my list of "to do someday".
Only time i fished for Halibut it was in Alaska and we went about 2 hours out but the fishing took about 30 minutes to limit out.  Very simple but some cut herring on the bottom and wait for one of those babies get it.  They can get really big though and I dont know how close in they migrate.
I have only fished for halibut here in Alaska and the best spots are out about 10 miles from Homer. We use cut herring on circle hooks and jig them off the bottom. The biggest I have caught is 240 pounds, but the best eating ones are around 30 to 50 pounds, and the halibut cheeks are best. Recipes to follow if so desired. I have lived here 26 years.
AlaskaRaider said:
, but the best eating ones are around 30 to 50 pounds, and the halibut cheeks are best. Recipes to follow if so desired. I have lived here 26 years.

Homer was  one of my favorite places. While there,  Terry caught  halibut in the 20 to 30 lb range and I have it frozen .  Yes, please send recipes.  I have had a coule of failures that made the fish too mushy. A couple others done on Geroge Foreman grill were pretty tasty.

I will second AK Raiders comments and add try cod with a herring chaser. Cod is very tough, you don't have to check bait as much, a lot easier on you.Oops, only if your in deeper water does that count. Second, better halibut fishing is generally further out, but I have caught them as close as a 1/4 mile off of Deep Creek,theres a hole off of the radio tower to the south. So they definitely do come in close but knowing where/when in close is key, so I wouldn't want to bank on being able to say"I can catch as many as I want close in, I don't have to go out like those other guys". Definitely a quick trip and hope for some luck kind of thing,up here anyway. Third, I tried two things: the Trophy Torch and Smelly Jelly. They both do actually work. Not like magic, but chances are definitely better on a slow day. So it's not always as easy as pulling up and dropping line(though I have been there). Sometimes you anchor, sometimes you drift and bounce, sometimes you cut bait, sometimes you jig. Always it's about location and timing.

Chris Batin wrote a book called How to catch trophy Halibut. Mostly AK but if I remember correctly there were some Oregon-Washington-California sections in it.
My wife bought a book called Just for the Halibut chock full of good recipes. Both available anywhere in AK or outside you could try Borders Amazon.com WalMArt.com etc. Occasionally the prices on bookstuff at WalMart.com is shockingly lower than Amazon. Check both. There is also a good website called halibut.net you will find useful. I haven't been there in a while, but if I remember, it's a little more west coast oriented than Batin's book, but not as deep.
My wife takes a lot of trips, so sometimes I have to fend for myself. Thank you, Chef Boyardee. However, I use this for a single mans, or is it geographical bachelors, meal. Good for two days.

1 halibut "roast" about 2inches thick skin removed.
Shot with spray butter to taste.
Take aluminum foil and make a pan big enough for th fish. Lemon garlic parseley etc. to taste.
Place fish in pan and lemon  garlic etc topside.
Cover with another piece of foil and pinch edges together till they feel airtight.
Put in top rack of dishwasher on "Pots and Pans" cycle. No heated dry.
Remove and eat. Some people tell me you can get that lemon flavor by using lemon scented soap, but I ain't going there.
That 'dishwasher recipe' is quite creative!

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