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Outdoor Journal

Just for the Halibut
by Tim Rozewski

Regardless of the weather, your strength, or the size of the halibut, you will get a workout!

As a young boy I looked forward to the annual trout opener where Grandpa and I would brave the cold and hope for the year's first fish. Now, my fishing buddies and I look forward to a lot of opening seasons, none more exciting than the annual Halibut opener. In Oregon you have several options. You can fish South of Cape Falcon inside of 40 fathoms for the first few weeks, or you can fish North of Cape Falcon and fish all depths. After a few weeks, you can fish all depths South of Cape Falcon on designated days. The trick is not only knowing where to go, but being well prepared.

But just because you know where you want to fish for the these mighty predators, it doesn't guarantee success. You will have to endure much in a hard days work to reap the bounty of this coveted flesh. Often one trip a year is enough for the average fisherman. Those seasoned veterans who take a couple of runs per week after these fish, they are just plain tough.

Golden rules of both the ocean and halibut fishing. Get the bait your really want, and get plenty of it. Watch the weather and be prepared for it to change once you are on the pond. Know your favorite spot, but have two backups as well? Bring your rain gear. Bruises on your legs, knees, and hips are inevitable!

If you don't have your own boat, as most of us do not, not to worry. There are several quality charters along the Oregon coast that specialize in halibut. Do your research and be prepared to spend a long hard day to get your fish. Oregon allows one fish per day per person this season. That fish must be at least 32 inches in length. If you can hold down your lunch, then bring a hardy one, your arms will become numb and you'll need the energy to maintain your new found sea legs.

Whether you have a boat or go on a charter, here are a few of our tips for a successful halibut trip.

  • When using bait, the bigger the better. We buy the biggest herring we can find.
  • Keep your bait on the bottom!
  • Take some knee pads, you'll be glad you did!
  • If you get into sharks, or too many rock fish, move to deeper water (Plan B ;)
  • If you have a deep sea rod holster/belt, bring it or ask the captain if he has one on board...remember the bruises I mentioned?
  • Take your motion sickness pills earlier than one hour before...I suggest one the night before and one when you wake up!
  • Try to at least do some light, upper body, weight lifting for a few weeks prior, cramps are not fun on the rolling ocean.
  • Lastly, don't stand down wind of any gasoline fumes on the boat....we're not chummin' for sharks here :)

The average Oregon caught Pacific Halibut weighs about 25-35 lbs (as shown in these three photos).

However, if you hunt long and hard, you can find the big "picnic table's" that accompany the migration to Oregon waters!

Enjoy!

~Good Fishin' - Tim

Contact us for more information about Oregon's Halibut season!