View Full Version : How do I fish for Halibut in Monterey Bay?

05-08-2006, 08:27 PM
With salmon being soooooo slow I was wondering if and when I should consider Halibut. *I usually go out of Moss. *I need help with locations, methods, rigs, and bait. *Do I need to spend 300$ on a bait tank? *Please ramble on since I need all of the help I can get.

05-08-2006, 08:34 PM
well north of moss at the beachs in 30-60ft of water is
a good start.....
and there have been a couple of fish speared in town
in just 12ft of water......
there here, its just that noone has targeted them yet....
I have fished them on the way in the last 3 times and
hook one and lost it.....broken line....crap
teach me to use an old 3 way set up....lol
and baits for me....
squid, fish traps, jigs.....all work great..

05-10-2006, 11:36 AM
Live smelt (aka halibut candy bar) or live shiner perch will greatly increase your chances for success.

05-10-2006, 02:37 PM
It doesn't need to be expensive or complicated, I've used a 5 gallon bucket as a "Bait tank" to keep a few baits alive.
You can use a three way or a slip rig with an egg sinker and as for the bait I usualy catch my own live stuff with Sabuli rigs, but often use frozen anchovies (The cheap bagged kind) when I can't get live.

Smelt works as do shiner SP, herring, anchovie, tomcod and even lizzard fish.

Weight is just what it takes to bounce the bottom, hooks I prefer are the Gamatsu octopus types in 1 1/0 and 2/0 depending on the size of the bait.

I also rig them stinger style as in one hook snelled on and the second hook 4-5 inches back on a Palomar knot I tie these up as single leaders on 20# test and keep them on a card. I fish fairly light for halibut and prefer 12-15# line so the traditional Mooching gear is perfect.

I prefer to fish the tides and I like to hit it 2 hours before high tide and fish through 2 hours after, big flooding tides are not too productive here as it's just too darn much current.

Halibut thoughts...
The secret to halibut is not to rush them, use finnesse, I set my drags at three pounds and then I don't mess with it the rest of the day.

Most nice butts are lost right at the boat so have the gaff handy, have a plan ahead of time, don't horse the fish and never ever lift its head out of the water as you will make it go nuts and it will do all sorts of neat stuff like dive very rapidly away from you. (Did you remember to not mess with the drag and keep your big fat thumb off the spool?)

There are guys that regulary catch trophy size butts on 8 and 10# line, by trophy I mean 25 to 40# fish and some die hards use 6# line.
There are some great tutorals on most of the fishing sites and all you need to do is a search.

Do your homework and pound some sand and you'll be "Kicking butts" before you know it.

Oh yeah a favor, on the little guys don't bring them aboard, just pop the hook while they are in the water and let them go that way, they are somewhat delicate and if you net a short fish and split its fins or tail it will get rot and die, same thing with breaking the slime coat.

The legal limit is 22 inches and that's only a 5-6 pound fish, just a baby. I don't bother to even think about keeping them untill they are at least 25-30" long.
Remember if you are getting the little guys the big ones are there too and it's just a matter of paitence.

read this also


05-10-2006, 04:40 PM
Most all of my halibut have been off bouncing jiggin spoons 1oz to 3oz on any sandy area just off the kelp beds. Rarely get live bait in Monterey side. Biggest for me was a four footer on a 1 oz gold jig. In a kayak. (My secret hole)

05-13-2006, 06:43 PM
TJ I found an old plastic barrel to fabricate a bait tank out of. It was free and its easy to plumb it yourself. You will spend alittle on the pump but not near $300.Go to nccoastalfishing.com and look up livewells it shows how to do the plumbing.

good luck