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Halibut ChartersHalibut Fishing in Alaska

Halibut fishing is a very fun and exciting fish to catch. They can be very large and aggressive and can give you a worthy battle that will make you think about baiting up and catching another one. In this section we will describe the baits, seasons and techniques that have worked very well for us over the years with Black Rock Charters.

Halibut Charters

Halibut charters in Alaska are everywhere, lucky for you, Black Rock Charters is here for your fishing needs. We take care of everything from the booking of rooms, boat and activities to ensuring you travel arrangements are in order, to your first cast! Book your Halibut Charter with BRC today!

 

Alaska Halibut Fishing Season

The best time to start catching Halibut is May through September. Halibut are a migratory fish which helps ensure their survival and numbers. During the summer time, the Halibut will spend their time in the Shallow waters of the straights and bays feeding on the abundant bait and marine life that inhabits these waters. When the water starts getting colder and the bait fish start leaving, so do the Halibut. They will head back out to the depths in the Gulf of Alaska where the food source is more prevalent.

Halibut Charters AlaskaWhen fishing for the Alaskan Halibut, there are several factors to consider. One of the most important factors is the tides in your local waters. Having an understanding of the tides and the effects they have on the patterns of the halibuts feeding and daily travels is key to having a successful day of Halibut fishing. Many locations we fish will only be available to fish on slack tides. Meaning when the incoming tide or outgoing tide has reached its potential and the water slows to a near halt and then starts flowing back the other direction. During these times of slowing and slack water is a good time to take advantage of locations that normally have too much tidal movement to either anchor in and keep your gear on the bottom or even too strong normally to drift through. Depending on location, Halibut will only bite on certain times of the tide because of the currents along the bottom and how it pushes bait into areas where halibut will come feed. The Guides at Black Rock Charters are very experienced and knowledgeable of these conditions and know just how to place you as the fisherman in ideal locations to catch numerous halibut and possibly your trophy halibut of a lifetime.

Halibut Fishing in AlaskaHalibut Bait

Halibut are primarily predatory fish. They will scavenge as well, but they are very aggressive and many different baits work well when fishing for Halibut. Most of the time when fishing for Alaskan Halibut with Black Rock Charters we catch our own bait in the mornings before heading out to the Halibut fishing grounds. Jigging for Herring and Pollock are the 2 primary baits we catch and use for Halibut fishing. Fresh bait cannot be replaced with anything else. It is top notch compared to any frozen purchased bait that you can buy. Often while Halibut fishing we will catch Cod fish, Octopus, and small bottom dwelling rock fish that all work very well for Halibut bait as well. Pink Salmon is a very good Halibut bait also. Slicing up fresh Pink Salmon and putting long fillet strips on your hook is a very tempting bait for Halibut. The oils from these fresh baits such as Herring, Pollock or Salmon leaches out into the water and currents and will draw in the Halibut from great distances. Another good bait and technique is using jigs to catch Halibut. A jig can be very effective especially when tipped with fresh bait as well. The action and movement of a jig as it dances up and down on the bottom will drive an aggressive fish such as the Alaskan Halibut crazy. These are the primary baits we will use while fishing for Halibut, but there is other baits and techniques that we will use at different times depending on conditions and time of season. A quick list of what Halibut will feed on consists of Herring, Pollock, Cod, Octopus, Squid, Sculpins, Crabs, Salmon, Eels, and large Halibut will even feed on small Halibut as well.

Halibut Fishing Gear

Alaska Halibut FishingRods: G-Loomis 40-60 lb 6’6” fiberglass pelagic series rods. You want a fishing rod that has the back bone to haul in a 300lb fish yet has the flexibility and feel to enjoy a 20 -30lb Halibut as well.

Reels: Shimano TLD 20 Reels, plus we use Avet 2 speed reels at times as well.

Leaders: Generally we use a cord type material that will stretch a little and is around a 250lb strength. Halibut are not line shy.

Hooks: Mustad 16/0 Circle hooks is the primary hook we use. Once in awhile if we are rigging up a large bait we may attach a larger J-hook as a stinger hook placed low in the bait.

Halibut Fishing Tips and Techniques

When fishing for Halibut in Icy Straits and Glacier Bay as we do with Black Rock Charters, we have to consider the tides on a daily basis for our location and timing of when we get to our spots. 90% of the time we will anchor up to fish for Halibut. We like to fish where there is some current and decent water movement to work the baits on the bottom and keep the fish traveling and searching for food. If the water slows too much the bite will generally slow and die off as well. It is then time to move and look for more current to anchor up in and send out the rods.

Halibut Fishing AlaskaIf we are fishing 4 rods we will generally run 4 baits off the boat and wait for the action to start. If we have an eager fisherman that is willing to work a rod for awhile, then we will pull one of our bait rods and rig it up with a large grub tail Jig tipped with a small piece of fresh bait. We will cast the jig rod off the back of the boat behind the bait lines and work that rod up and down keeping it in contact with the bottom the entire time. This is a very successful technique especially when you have lots of scent in the water with three other bait rods. Occasionally we will drift with jigs and maybe a bait rod or two. The idea of this is to cover lots of ground while working the rods up and down along the bottom. It can be a tricky way to fish as you drift over rock piles and other uneven conditions along the bottom which can result in lots of hang ups and line breaks.

Halibut Fishing Lodges

How do you find the right lodge?  Do you want a big city just like the lower 48 with bars, night clubs, big hotels, and stop lights?  If so pick a lodge in Anchorage, Juneau or Fairbanks, for that matter just go to New York and order fish at a restaurant.  If instead, you are looking to get away from the madness of daily life, and want to retreat to a town that is designed and built for charter fishing in Alaska.  You should come to Gustavus, and stay with us at Great Chinook Lodge, it is a decision you will not regret.

Halibut Fishing Stories

After 16 years of Charter Halibut and Salmon Fishing in Southeast Alaska, we have seen some pretty amazing things. Instead of giving you our best story of all time, we will share accounts of several jaw dropping stories of crazy fish, and endless fun while fishing with Black Rock Charters in the Icy Straits of Alaska.  Oh yeah...if you want to hear our best story of all time you will need to book a Charter Fishing Trip with Black Rock Charters.

Pacific HalibutHalibut are a very aggressive fish when it comes to wanting a meal, they are know to taste and try just about anything that comes to the bottom of the ocean. So when you have a halibut that reach sizes of 100 plus pounds you never know what they may want to eat. In one instance the Quicksilver was anchored up Halibut fishing and one of the guests had a small halibut about 10 pounds on hooked and was reeling it in.  Halibut under 35-40 pounds in Alaska are often called "Chickens." The guest reels it up to the surface and there was some current so the chicken halibut was behind the boat a little ways, as the quest continued to reel it towards the boat to where we could see the halibut on the surface. All of the sudden, right behind the chicken surfaced a 300 pound Halibut with this little chicken in his sights as the next meal. We were all so surprised to this huge halibut swimming freely on the surface, chasing after this little halibut. I told the fisherman to slow down the reel and leave it in the water to see if the monster halibut would try to eat it. At that moment the huge halibut sucked the little halibut right into its mouth all the way up to the gills and holds tight with its mouth clamped around the chicken, but eventually it just slides down the body of the little halibut cutting up the skin, and finally let go.  For a few seconds it just hung out on the surface, I threw in another rod with bait and dangled it near the large fish but no luck. The Monster Halibut of the deep just faded back into the depths of the ocean and was never seen again.

Monster Alaskan HalibutA few years later, a very similar experience took place only about a mile or two from the previous story. However, this time the results were a little different. A fisherman was reeling up a chicken halibut, and I thought nothing of the situation as we bring lots of those up through out a normal day of fishing. I kept coming over to look and see if it was close and if I could release it. After the 2nd or 3rd time of looking over the side of the boat I thought I saw a large white flash under water, I thought it was strange to see a flash that big. But, I just shrugged it off and thought nothing of it.

Finally here comes the little halibut up to the surface, I reach over the side of the boat to grab the leader so I can shake it off, and all of the sudden a monster halibut shoots out from underneath the boat breaking the surface with its mouth chomping and splashing water, trying to eat this chicken halibut. It totally caught me off guard to the point where I jumped backwards and yelled out something that I would never admit to again. After I regained my composure, I leaned back over the side and something that never happens while fishing with circle hooks, actually happened. The little chicken halibut shook itself off the hook and got away, when fishing with circle hooks you will understand that just never happens.

So I can’t believe this fish just flopped off the hook, fortunately though, the bait was still on the hook. At that moment the giant halibut was literally twisting and turning just feet from the side of our boat looking for something to eat. Once the small fish came off the hook, the monster halibut turned on a dime, and inhaled the bait/hook and took off for the bottom like a freight train. The rod was doubled over with the reel screaming out line. I asked the fisherman “Do you got him?” and he replies back saying “ I Got Him!”. About 25 minutes later we got the beast back up to the surface and landed him.  That was by far one of the most exciting ways I have ever seen a Halibut caught!  We call it the bait and switch...

AK Halibut Fishing TripThere are so many strange instances while fishing for Halibut we could go on and on with stories. For instance, we have had Halibut that hit the bait so hard and fast that it snapped the rod holders right off the boat. I have had to dump our anchor and chase them down with the boat to avoid getting spooled, and had them jump out of the water and race along the surface. I had one halibut that was so big I never got it off the bottom, even after 4 guys had pulled on it, they gave it to me and I pulled as hard as I could with arms shaking and leg on the side of the boat and it would still double me over and start ripping line out. Finally the line broke, but goes to show those monsters of the deep are out there.

We have pulled up chicken halibut that are all bloodied up and missing fins from giant Alaskan halibut that have grabbed them while we were reeling them in, we had some Orcas (Killer Whales) grab our halibut and play with them, after that the fish comes up with giant teeth impressions all over its body. We have battled sea lions many many times for our halibut, we usually lose, but once in a while we get the fish back. We have had times when the bite is so hot and furious that every rod had a fish on at the same time over 100 pounds. We have had Monster Alaskan Halibut grab 2 or 3 baits at one time and get hooked by all of them and still rip line out of all the reels like its nothing. There are so many unexpected things that go on each and every day while Halibut fishing that is always an adventure. Even after all these years on the water, we are still shocked and excited while fishing for Halibut in Icy Straits of Alaska. Book your Alaska fishing adventure with Black Rock Charters and maybe you will have your own story to tell when you go home.

Halibut Recipe

Halibut is so versatile and mild, that is why I think it is so popular with so many people for eating. Beer Batter deep fried halibut Is probably one of the all time favorites for lots of people including myself. Halibut Alyeska is a very good dish as well. Its baked in a dish with butter coating the bottom of the dish and covered with a sour cream and mayonnaise mixture, sprinkled with cheddar cheese and chopped green onions on top. You bake that till its golden brown on top and you are in for a real treat! Smoked Halibut is very good as well, with cream cheese and crackers or using it in a pasta dish. I also like making a smoked halibut spread as well that is a favorite amongst friends and family. However you want to make your halibut, its hard to not like it. The number one key to cooking halibut is to not overcook it. Halibut will dry out very quickly once it is done and then it will lose all its flavor and wonderful texture if its overcooked. So just cook it until you barely see any clear in the middle of the fish and then pull it off the grill or stove and it will finish cooking itself by the time you get it to your plate and you will have perfect Halibut every time. Enjoy!

Halibut Photos

Click to view our complete gallery of Alaska Halibut Fishing Photos

Alaska Halibut Fishing Trip

Halibut Charter Alaska

Fishing Halibut in Alaska

Monster Halibut Alaska

Family Fishing Alaska

Halibut Charters AK

Pacific Halibut Fishing

Halibut Sport Fishing Alaska

Halibut Sportfishing Alaska

 

 


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