Our Halibut openers are set for a couple days per week during May and June. Each week varies but it’s typically one week day and one weekend day per week.
We have found on our Halibut fishing charters, that putting big Halibut in the boat means having the speed to hit multiple spots and not spend allot of time chugging along slowly from location to location. Our charter boat, the “Liberty Gun” has a cruise speed of 40mph!
You can crank the Halibut up by hand, or use the electric option. We have Shimano ForceMaster 9000 electric reels. Electric reels also have handles/cranks, so if you want to reel the fish up, that is no problem.
The biggest advantage of these reels when Halibut fishing is that you don’t have to crank the lead up to check your bait, just press a button. Getting the gear up quick means we can regroup and get setup fast and go through the drift again, not spending time cranking by hand. This means more time fishing and landing fish. If you want standard conventional gear instead of electric, then we also have high quality standard Shimano reels available.
You want the highest quality rods, reels and tackle, so do we, and that’s what we use. We don’t cut corners on anything. We know this trip is special and important to you, and we want you to be happy and come back fishing with us.
Shimano reels, Lamiglas rods, Owner & Mustad hooks and the best Halibut and bottom fish gear available are what you will find onboard our boat.
We prefer to not anchor the boat. This allows us to move over the Halibut holding spots using a slow drift that is controlled by keeping the boat in reverse, while making sure the lines are straight up and down. This presents the baits to multiple fish allowing us to go to them rather than making them come to us.
The drift technique works well and if we’re not getting bit we can quickly move to another location and not waste time retrieving an anchor.
We use circle hooks because the Halibut stay hooked, rarely losing them. These hooks embed in the corner of the Halibut’s mouth and stay there.
The key to using circle hooks is letting the fish eat the bait. It’s common to hear me say “Wait … wait … hold on … let him eat it.” Once the rod is bent over and the fish is pulling, it’s time to start cranking the reel against him, no need for a hook set ever. Setting the hook with circle hooks is actually counterproductive.
The other advantage of circle hooks is that the Halibut don’t take the hook deep, so this is better for fish needing to be released because they don’t experience the physical trauma of being gut hooked.
We drop the bait to the bottom and come up a few cranks. We can hold the rods making sure the bait stays close to the bottom, or fish them in the rod holders occasionally checking bottom. Once they start to get bit, the key is to just wait until the fish is pulling hard and then cranking against them which drives the hook home.
It’s a super simple technique which puts allot of fish in the freezer!
In deep water, where allot of our big Halibut are found, the primary way that these fish locate their meal is by smell. We employ a combination of great baits plus scents to make sure that we have a strong scent trail for them to home in on. Herring, squid, shad, octopus, sardines, salmon parts, and a variety of scents make for some baits that BIG Halibut can’t turn down!
Our Halibut trips are often combined with Lingcod fishing (if time allows). The best time for catching Lingcod on a Halibut trip is during May.
The Lingcod catching out of Ilwaco is fantastic!
Your catch is filleted and vacuum packed as part of your trip once we get back to the dock.