They told me to meet them at 7am at the boat, which was located at the Narrows Inn Marina, and they would show me the ‘ropes’ of Halibut fishing in Ketchikan.The first thing we did was eat breakfast. Haha!! Yep, it’s an important step in preparing to go Halibut fishing, apparently! Mmore halibut fishing tips - eat breakfast!!! Developing the plan of the day, discussing places to try, & discussing the gear each person came with – all while savoring a fantastic breakfast of pancakes & eggs at the Narrows Inn Restaurant – is an important part of the planning process!
Once we were on the boat and heading out of the marina, Captain Don looked over all of the gear and began assembling the halibut hooks. Who knew there was such a science to the way the hook was assembled?! The round-shaped halibut hook, the favorite of many Halibut fishermen, is tied to the bottom of the line with a one to three foot bait leader leading to the lead ball weight (1-2lb). Be sure to read the Halibut Fishing Tips below for more information on halibut hooks.
The fishing rod we used was a sturdy, 6-7ft halibut rod, American style, one designed for Halibut Fishing – balanced, powerful, & lightweight. A sturgeon rod can work but will be a little light in the tip which can really tire you out after a full day of Halibut fishing. We also used 60lb braided Dacron test line. Strong as steel but lightweight!
We headed out toward Guard Island and when the guys decided we were in a good spot, we dropped our lines. Halibut fishing is pretty different than the fishing I have done in the past.The bait is placed on the hook, usually herring, salmon heads and guts, octopus, cod and crab though be sure to check out my halibut fishing tips for the best bait! Then you simply toss the line over the side of the boat and open up the bail on the fishing reel to let the weight fall down to the ocean floor. Once the weight hits bottom, you close the bail, and...wait! Every little while (30 seconds or so) you pull on the weight and let it fall back down on the floor. Halibut are attracted by scent and bouncing the bait will send the scent and vibrations out in all directions indicating there is food nearby.
Halibut are bottom feeders so you must drop the hook to the ocean floor. They prefer deep waters, 200 - 300 feet deep, with piles of rocks and ledges to live on. If you study your marine charts & use a GPS, you will have no trouble locating ‘perfect’ halibut holes. Luckily for me, I was with professional charter boat captains with their GPS’ loaded with their favorite halibut holes!