Halibut are the flat-faced monsters of the fish world. Sometimes tipping the scales at upwards 300 lbs., halibut are like flounder, but much, much bigger. Going after these big fish requires some serious tackle, but the fight and the tasty flesh are worth the effort. Halibut rigs come in a variety of configurations and which one you'll choose depends on the conditions in the area you'll be fishing, but since these big guys live on the bottom, that's where you'll want your bait to be.
A heavy-duty jighead -- in the 1 oz. to 3 oz. range -- with a 10/0 hook and dressed up with a brightly colored plastic grub is a good when going after trophy-sized halibut. Use heavy-duty line and a pole between five and six feet in length. For extra enticement, use curly-tailed grubs and tip the hook point with a gob of cut herring -- the extra smell will drive halibut wild. Drop the rig right near the bottom, jig it up and down and hold on.
Two-hook Bottom Rig
Halibut spend most of their lives laying flatly on the ocean floor waiting for unsuspecting prey to swim by. When something does pass their way they slurp it down and resume laying on the ocean floor. A two-hook rig with a heavy sinker is great way to get your bait where the halibut are. Use a snap swivel attached to you main line to clip into a three-way swivel. Off of this swivel attach two pieces of 200 lb. wire leader material. To one of these attach your hook. The second piece -- it should be hanging straight down -- attaches to a second three-way swivel attached to two more pieces of wire leader. Again, attach a hook to one piece of the wire and to the other piece attach a heavy sinker. Put a piece of cut bait on each of your hooks and go fishing.
Popular with bass fishermen, but on a smaller scale, the Carolina rig is also a great setup for catching halibut. Attach a hook to a long piece of leader material, wire or heavy-duty monofilament, and use a swivel to attach the leader to the main line. Place a large, sliding egg sinker on the main line and add a glass or plastic bead or two between the sinker and the swivel. Cast out the rig and let it go to the bottom. It can be fished statically without movement or retrieved by bumping it along the bottom.
Slow trolling is another good strategy for catching halibut. By trolling baits at slow speeds, the rigs are allowed to get deep and stay near the sandy bottom where halibut like to hang out. Similar to other halibut rigs, the bounce-ball setup uses swivels to attach a long leader to the main line, as well as connecting a heavy sinker on a separate piece of leader material. This sinker, when trolled, will slowly bounce across the ocean floor. On a separate piece of leader trailing behind, attach a dodger, or flat piece of bright metal to add flash and movement. Behind the dodge attach a jighead with a plastic minnow or grub on it. Again, the key with this setup is to troll very slow, like, two or three mph.
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