Halibut Kayak Fishing is a Thing
Would you ever try halibut kayak fishing?
In my opinion fishing in the Bering Sea for halibut is an adventure in itself… Include a sea kayak and hook into a big halibut and you definitely have an adventure! Andrew Barnes did just that!
This last season Andrew and some friends went sea kayaking and dropped a line in the water off of their home on Kodiak, Alaska. With a heck of a fight and a deep water gaff by a good friend of his Andrew ended up with this awesome fish for the table!
What a catch and what a unique way to get it done!
How to catch halibut from a kayak.
Start with outfitting your kayak with at least one forward rodholder. Seeing your rod tip will tell you a lot about what is going on at the end of your line. I also recommend using a rod that has a sensitive tip. Several manufacturers assign the number 270 to the ideal stick for the job. I also find this seven-foot, twenty-pound class rod to be a great match up with super-braid line. The lack of line stretching will make every bottom tick visible at the tip and at the same time this rod offsets the lack of stretch when fighting any sizable fish.
The main technique for halibut fishing is basically sit and wait. Make sure you have some type of drift so that your bait is being dragged along the bottom, and make sure you have enough weight so that your bait stays on the bottom. Focus on 40-60ft. Then sit back and wait.
The most common way to rig up for halibut kayak fishing is a simple carolina rig with a leader of about 4 to 5 feet from the hook to a swivel, then an egg sinker of about 2 to 3oz above the swivel. Weight should be determined by depth and current, but 2 to 3oz should cover most situations. A bead is optional between the swivel and egg sinker to keep the sinker from sticking to the knot. This rig allows the angler to freespool the fish while it’s chewing on the bait without any resistance of a weight on the fish.
The other rig is a reverse dropper loop which has a torpedo sinker on the dropper loop and the hook on the tag end. I feel this rig is better suited for bottom bouncing type of situations where you’re actually slow trolling across the bottom and letting the weight drag or bounce along the bottom. 3 to 4oz is suitable for this rig.
Artificial lures can be more efficient than live bait because they give you the ability to cover more water. Soft plastic lures with a leadhead of 1 to 2oz are perfect. If you’re drifting live bait, you can cover more area by fan casting a swimbait as you drift. Let the bait sink to the bottom, then give it three to five quick cranks and let it drop back to the bottom. As soon as you feel it hit bottom, repeat. Most hits will come right as the bait is about to hit bottom again, as if the bait falls right on a halibut’s head, so be ready. Large plastic grubs are also effective with this technique.
If you’re going to keep it, gaff it. Remember, halibut have bony heads, so a belly or shoulder shot works best as long as upward pressure is maintained. Once a line is through the mouth and gill, kill the fish before bringing it into your lap.