Trophy Halibut Tactics & Tip Sheet

by John L. Beath

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  1. Watch for underwater hydraulic relief zones. Humps, bumps, depressions, valleys, & rock piles. These are the best areas to search for halibut hideouts. Don’t start fishing until the bottom looks right. Raymarine’s new Dragonfly sonar unit with CHIRP technology dramatically increases your view and understanding of bottom contour. Their new “Down Vision” gives anglers a “Picture-like” view of bottom.
  2. Set your depth sounder to record the bottom 40 ft instead of a top-to-bottom view. Watching the bottom will help identify habitat.
  3. Use fresh bait and a good quality scent to increase the scent field.
  4. Change baits every 30 minutes and add additional scent to the bait.
  5. Maintain contact with the bottom. Tap your weight on bottom every minute and then raise it 4 to 6-feet off bottom to increase line of sight.
  6. Try to make your bait or lure come alive with gentle jigging motions.
  7. Circle hooks work well when using bait and fishing deep. Don’t jerk.
  8. When using barbless J-hooks set the hook and maintain pressure.
  9. When possible, use an artificial light source near your bait or lure.
  10.  Choose lure colors that reflect UV, glow or fluoresce.
  11.  When possible, anchor on hot spots or likely looking areas.

Top Lures

1.      FAT Squids – Halibut Can’t resist these life like lures!

2.      Point Wilson Darts, Stingers & leadheads with FAT Squids

3.      Leadhead jigs with Tails or twin skirts

4.      Brite Bite Leaders (Octo Leaders & Alaskan Slider rigs) White or Glow Hoochies over bait

5.      Z2 Super Squids & Squiddy Squids

Top Baits

1.      Herring

2.      Squid

3.      Octopus, Sand Dabs

4.      Sardines, Mackerel, Anchovies, Shad, Tuna Bellies, Shrimp

5.      Salmon bellies, heads & guts


Top Bait Strategy

1. Use Brite Bite halibut leaders or FAT Squids combined with your favorite bait. The combination of the upside down glow skirt or lifelike squids with bait drives halibut crazy! Remember to check your bait often & add scent to attract more halibut! Chum on your line or downrigger too.


2. Attach a chum bag to your downrigger and lower to within 8 feet off bottom. This sends a massive scent trail down current to attract more halibut when anchoring.

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