General Tips to Improve Your Halibut Fishing Trip

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There are a number of different common fish that are found in a beautiful place like Alaska, and one of the single most well-known and frequent is the halibut. A lean fish with a sweet taste, halibut is found in numerous areas around the globe, and is one of the most plentiful species we have here in Alaska.

At Pybus Point Lodge, halibut fishing trips are one of our specialties. Pybus Bay is absolutely chock full of big, healthy halibut, and we offer guided fishing tours featuring our fleet of fishing vessels and the very best fishermen in the state leading the way. While taking advantage of all the expertise of our fishing staff is the single best tip we can offer you on maximizing your halibut fishing experience and catching a good haul, here are some additional themes that are known to increase the success of a halibut fishing trip.

Use Chopped Herring Fillets, Not Steaks

As many experienced halibut fisherman are already well aware, this fish loves to eat herring -- and therefore, herring is one of the most popular bait formats. However, the truth is that the halibut prefers herring fillets over steaks. This fact gives fishermen a little bit more flexibility with regards to picking out their bait.

Whatever you do, don't choose salted or smoked herring when you're mostly-deserted island fishing in Alaska -- these are far too strong for what can be an extremely finicky fish. Instead, choose fresh fillets with a mild odor.

To get the most out of fresh herring without drastically increasing the overall smell factor and adding more airborne debris to your halibut fishing spot than you might like, go for diced or minced pieces of herring instead of the regular fillet variety. Chopped up bits of herring are easier to keep reeled-in, and they lead the halibut right toward your bait.

What's more, chopped herring has a much stronger smell than regular fillets. Halibut fishing is all about getting your fish as close to your bait as possible quickly -- so choose accordingly based on your needs.

In addition, be sure to replace your bait roughly every 20 minutes or so. Halibut have a tendency to eat as quickly as they want, and (especially if your fishing spot is known for harboring large fish) you could lose the opportunity to reel in a big fish if your bait isn't on standby.

Try Salmon If Needed

If your herring bait isn't working as intended, you may consider trying out salmon as bait instead. In fact, many will combine salmon and herring as their bait, which will cover the full range of halibut -- some are known to ignore one bait or the other, but very few will ignore both.

Utilize a Chum Bag

Generally speaking, the majority of halibut in Alaska are caught at anchor, or when the boat is in a resting position. This helps the boat stay anchored to a location that might be in close proximity to a known halibut hole, allowing for optimal levels of fish in the water.

One ideal tip for halibut fishing at anchor: Use a chum bag to create a scent trail that attract halibut to you. Scent is the single largest sense halibut use when they're trying to locate food, and chum bags are a great way to set the hook faster.

You can make your own chum bag with natural substances like salmon oil, or you can purchase one from Pybus Point Lodge -- just ask our front desk staff and they'll be happy to help out!

Keep Your Hooks Sharp

This tip is one that applies to all fish, but particularly to those with strong mouths like halibut. If your hooks are dull, they will require too much pressure to penetrate the skin of a large fish, and you're going to have a hard time reeling it in.

Take your hooks out after you've fished for a while (or even while you're fishing) to see if they need sharpening. You'll feel resistance on the line when trying to get into the fish -- know that this is a sign that your hooks might be dull and need to be sharpened.

Stay Patient

Another thing experienced halibut fisherman can tell you: This fish isn't in a hurry. Catching halibut takes some time -- you should often allow the halibut to eat a little bit of the bait before you set your hook, for instance. Circle hooks for halibut fishing are often used to help limit fish-loss incidents, but even with these, we recommend waiting until the tip is bent over and the fish is nearly taking the line before driving the hook into the mouth.

Another thing experienced halibut fisherman can tell you: This fish isn't in a hurry. Catching halibut takes some time -- you should often allow the halibut to eat a little bit of the bait before you set your hook, for instance. Circle hooks for halibut fishing are often used to help limit fish-loss incidents, but even with these, we recommend waiting until the tip is bent over and the fish is nearly taking the line before driving the hook into the mouth.

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REVIEWS

65% OF OUR GUESTS ARE RETURN CUSTOMERS

Discover why people like you can’t stop talking about Pybus Point Lodge. More than 30 years ago, Pybus Point Lodge opened as a simple fishing camp, drawing a devoted following in spite of basic accommodations. With new owners and experienced captains and crew, our corner of Alaska has become an unbeatable all-inclusive fishing and eco-tourism resort.

Andrea Tate

Incredible Experience!

Pybus Point Lodge has some of the most stunning scenery I’ve ever seen. I mean absolutely breathtaking! In addition to the amazing fishing, I hiked to a beautiful secluded lake, soaked in some hot pots, saw several waterfalls, went whale watching, saw bears and all kinds of wildlife and marine life. As a photographer, photographing a wedding under a waterfall will remain a highlight of my life.

Shirley Johnson

Pybus Point Lodge - WOW!

We had the best time! This was our first visit to Pybus, but it definitely will not be our last. The stunning scenery, amazing fishing experience, and the joy of meeting new friends – all outstanding! We did not want to leave!!! If you are thinking about this trip – don’t think any more, just book it. You will not regret it!!!

Sharon Hedding

Trip of a Lifetime!

We had such an amazing time the staff was so wonderful and the lodge was fantastic! capt Joe was so helpful and always doing what ever he could do to make each day special. a special thank you to both Scott and Jody for taking the time to make us feel like family. can't wait to go back next year

Jason Nielsen

Wonderful and Magical Place

We had an amazing business retreat to Pybus Point Lodge.  Everything was top notch... the fishing, the staff, the boat captains, the food, the accommodations, and especially the scenery.    I really liked that Pybus took care of everything from start to finish. Chef John is an amazing cook. We had delicious hot meals the entire trip.  The cabins were amazing and very comfortable.  The fishing was awesome and that’s coming from a guy that doesn’t fish that much.

Brandon Foote

We brought home 100lbs of fish!

My wife and I spent a week at Pybus Point this Summer. We had a beautiful, private room overlooking the bay and our own new, ensuite, private bathroom. What an amazing place for couples to get away together. We set our own breakfast time, met our boat captain after, fished the day along, and returned to clean up and enjoy a nice dinner at the restaurant. Next time Alaska is on the trip list, Sherrie and I will go together, and it will be to Pybus Point!

Kent Danjanovich

Fun in Alaska

This was my first trip to Pybus Point. I stayed in one of their new cabins. The accommodations were incredible, the view onto the bay in the mornings was stunning. I loved the staff and the food was really very good. All of this and they have new boats to take you out onto fairly calm waters to fish. The fishing guides were great. Overall a great experience. Definitely going back.

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