There are many reasons to fish for halibut. For one, it holds a variety of nutrients that are good for the heart. Another reason would be that catching one of the largest flatfish species out there sounds like an inviting challenge to take on. However, even though some anglers don’t mind sticking to their lures, others prefer to fish with bait. Some say that it adds to the experience, while others vouch that it’s more effective in making halibut spike.
Halibut season falls from May to September. In late spring, halibut start to move to shallower shelves close to the shores during late spring. As that time comes closer, prepare your tackle box with these live or preserved baits for your next halibut fishing trip.
Maybe some anglers are just looking for baits to supplement their lures or prefer a more authentic fishing experience. Live baits increase the chances of halibut striking. Here are the best ones for halibut fishing.
Squid and Octopus
Because of its tough meat, the octopus can stay on the hook with little to no reinforcement from extra hooks or strings. However, be mindful of the size of your pieces. If it’s too big, halibut might get a nibble instead of a bite. Unlike octopus, squid is softer. They’re easy to get taken by other fish. Some extra hooks, string, or bait bags should do the trick.
Another delicious bait for halibut is salmon. Any part of the salmon will do since it’s delicious for halibut in any case. But the heads and bellies are the usual parts used as bait. Removing the head is pretty straightforward. But a rookie would appreciate some advice on how to remove the belly from the salmon’s body. The belly is usually pale because of the high-fat content. Slice through the fish and cut lengthwise, from the head to the tail. Be sure to use a sharp knife as salmon skin is tough. Salmon is often attached to lures, hooks, and others since halibut can never say no to it.
Another irresistible live bait is herring. Halibut fish love herring, but they can be costly depending on the size you decide to get. However, herring is a soft fish. Besides being an irresistible bait, its softness makes it easy for other fish to get a chunk from it before reaching the halibut. Sometimes, even the halibut can easily steal the bait if it’s not secured well onto the hook. To combat this, for the bait into a ball and wrap it in a piece of mesh. Afterward, use a string to tie and secure it. You can also opt to brine it before using it as bait so that it hardens.
Where Are the Best Fishing Spots for Halibut?
Halibut are bottom fish, which means that they are usually found at the bottom of where the kelp beds, reefs, and deep trenches are. Anglers can opt to go for charters for better guidance. These fishing charters bring anglers to halibut hotspots, making fishing site-seeking a little less of a hassle for anglers. From providing gear to shipping your catch home, charters can do these for anglers but, of course, for a price. These are some perks of packages for fishing tours.
What Is the Best Method for Fishing Halibut?
When it comes to halibut fishing, two methods stand out the most. There’s drift fishing and anchoring. With the help of a sinker, the lure or bait is suspended to the bottom. In drift fishing, the sinker’s purpose is to provide the bait weight so that it stays near the bottom, where the majority of halibut may be caught.
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Drift fishing differs from other types of fishing in that it involves motion. The boat sets the sinker in motion as it drifts with the tides, suspending the bait or lure. This gives halibut the impression that a live fish is passing by, which might cause a rise in their appetite. Meanwhile, anchoring is the opposite. There is little to no movement since the boat will be in one place.
Although the way the bait is presented by drifting is easier and more common than anchoring, the latter is often found to be the more effective method. Once the fish have been discovered, anchoring is generally the most effective approach because the halibut’s great sense of smell can detect baits’ scent once it’s dispersed from one place. This draws them to the source of the scent. Two anglers fishing with their baits are better than one. The more anglers there are in a boat, the stronger the scent of the bait.
Some anglers prefer using live bait over-relying on lures alone, and that’s valid. Other anglers need bait to supplement their lures, and that’s valid too. Whatever the reason is for using genuine bait, as long as it enhances the fishing experience, that should be a good enough reason to use them. Feel free to experiment and mix and match to see which bait the halibut in your area love the best.