How to Catch California Halibut
Growing up fishing the coastal San Diego area, we targeted many different species of fish. None were more valued a catch than halibut. Its strange beauty, powerful muscles, and desirable fillets entice many fishermen into learning how to catch California halibut.
Can you find the halibut in this picture?
There are good reasons why anglers love catching halibut. There are as many reasons why they can be so hard to catch. With the right setup and proper technique, an angler stands a much better shot at hooking and landing these fish.
Nice specimen caught at Batiquitos Lagoon. Carlsbad, California.
Knowing how to catch California halibut will take a little research. Let’s better understand the fish!
Qualities of California Halibut
-Halibut are predators
Halibut are flat fish that camouflage themselves on the bottom. As they grow, they develop both eyes on the top half of their body. This gives them the vision they need to ambush unwary fish.
-Halibut have razor teeth and hard mouths
The razor sharp teeth of a halibut are designed to provide lethal bites to prey. They must be handled with care when caught. A halibut’s mouth is full of bone structure making a good hook set more difficult.
-Halibut are strong
Once a halibut reaches adulthood, you’d better be ready for a fight. Halibut are known for long runs, and strong head shakes.
-Halibut thump the bait
While halibut can be known to have an aggressive strike, the opposite is often true. They are known to thump a bait once and sit.
One of my favorite ways to catch halibut is to fish saltwater lagoons.
-Use an inland coastal rod
-Use a baitcasting reel
-Don’t skimp on line weight
-Choice of jig matters!
Pick a jig you’re comfortable fishing of course. I do suggest single tail grubs in orange or white colors. Other variations will work. I typically use fish traps (rubber fish) with a 3/8 ounce lead head (weight with hook built in).
We began by learning a few things about California halibut. This info will help us develop our technique.
Halibut jigging techniques
The point is, don’t keep casting to the same spot. Don’t cast to obvious traps like weeds or high rocks. Do cast everywhere you can.
-Learn the bottom
Cast and let your jig sink to the bottom. Occasionally a fish will bite as it drops so be ready. Bring the jig up off the bottom by raising the rod tip. Let the jig sink again and repeat. Try varying speeds.
-Remember the thump
Don’t be fooled by a soft bite. If you feel a thump, steadily increase your reel pace to set the hook.
-Play the fish
Any halibut of decent size stands a good chance of getting free. Playing the fish will minimize this so go with the fish. Walk the way its going if you can and set your drag semi tight. Never let your line go slack and practice will make you better.
Enjoying fish caught by your own rod and reel rounds out the pleasure of fishing. Thank you readers! Help create this community! Share a story here. Give some knowledge. Ask any question. Send to…