Halibut Fishing and Halibut Care

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Petty Officer
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Halibut Fishing and Halibut Care

Post by jdp53 » Mon May 21, 2018 10:23 am

Hey everyone, we dropped a ton of cash and tried our luck for halibut for the first time on opening day and managed to catch one, a pretty nice 50# halibut. We were pretty excited as our expectations were pretty low but we are planning on going out again and since then I have had a few questions come to mind, both legal questions and general questions. My legal questions are:

1. Do we report the catch to someone other than to our catch card? (I saw on the WDFW website that they had a count on fish caught but we were never asked)
2. If we catch a fish, are we supposed to wait to fillet the fish and discard remains until we get home so if we get checked they can weigh the fish?
3. If we are fishing with two rods on board, can we keep both lines in the water until we catch our limit or must we only have one line in the water with one limit left?

My general questions are:

1. When anchored and jigging (we were in around 80 FOW), how do you avoid getting tangled with the anchor rope? We didn't have any issue with getting the fish caught it in, but we tangled up a couple of times jigging off the bottom.
2. When gaffing a halibut, does it matter where you gaff it to get it on board as long as it is a place where you can bring it aboard?
3. Does it matter if herring are frozen or thawed and is there an advantage to either? We didn't have any issues with losing bait, just wondering for scent or hooking up issues.

I know some of these questions sound a little odd, but I am new to halibut and want to make sure I am doing things legally first off as well as properly from and angling standpoint. Going out again Sunday, and it I have luck I will post a report giving thanks and props to those who help.

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Re: Halibut Fishing and Halibut Care

Post by Onmygame » Tue May 22, 2018 1:48 pm

To your general questions -

1 - Not sure there is a benefit to anchoring. Drifting over the halibut grounds seems to be the norm, removes the possibility of tangling in an anchor line and allows you to cover more ground. It is best to keep your motor running for a variety of reasons when in the salt.

2 - In the gill would be my first choice - and any fish of size should be hogtied before bringing aboard. This is something you don't want to learn about the hard way.

3 - What did you catch the 50#er on? My first choice is always fresh over frozen, though it isn't always possible to acquire. Also note that there are other baits used on halibut that are non herring and quite effective.

You might consider spending a bit of time on Youtube watching halibut fishing videos, as well as using the search function on this and other sites in both reports and forums - all can be very informative.

The best of luck.


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Re: Halibut Fishing and Halibut Care

Post by jdp53 » Tue May 22, 2018 9:58 pm

Thanks for the tips Onmygame. We were using whole 9" frozen herring with a hoochie covering it on a spreader bar. Dropped anchor in 80 FOW and hooked up after around 15 minutes. Only had one herring setup in the water at that time, the other two lines were set up with jigs and herring scent. Beginners luck I guess!

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Re: Halibut Fishing and Halibut Care

Post by hlindsay » Wed May 23, 2018 12:48 pm

#1 if ask answer the fish checker, other wise just report on your card.

#2 Clean or portion fish or shellfish while in
the field with the following exceptions: It is unlawful for an angler to fail to retain proof of compliance with species, size, number, weight, sex, or wild or hatchery origin restriction, if such restrictions apply, until the angler is ashore and has finished fishing for the day. For all rockfish species and for fish with a length restriction, anglers must retain the fish carcass until coming ashore to comply with the above rule. This does not apply if the catch is in the process of being prepared for immediate consumption.

#3 In Washington waters where a saltwater license is valid, each angler aboard a vessel may continue to deploy angling gear or shellfish gear until the daily limit of fish and shellfish for all anglers aboard has been achieved.

other than answer #1 I just cut and paste from the regs, so it some one knows different on #1 for halibut speak up.

I do find it interesting that they say "continue to deploy angling gear", Not continue to fish. So I guess it is up to you how you handle it on your boat. Does the person that needs a fish use two rods or do they mark a fish some one else catches. I have seen it done both ways and I don't think the game dept. wants to know.

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