Techniques for catching halibut are pretty straightforward. Simply put a slab of bait on a giant hook, attach a huge sinker, and send it to the bottom. When a big halibut inhales the morsel, you’ll know it soon enough.
Naturally, there’s more to it than that. First you have to find out where the creatures are feeding and which stage of the tide is best. Tide can be all-important in the halibut game, and the best skippers know exactly when and where the ‘buts will bite best at different stages of the tide. In some spots, the current can be so powerful that it’s impossible to keep a bait on the bottom, even with a three-pound sinker.
When a good spot is located, the boat is usually anchored and baits are fished directly below. As the current moves the bait, more line must be let out to hold bottom. When the angle of the line becomes to great, the bait must be reeled in and dropped again.
For the brutes, we say this: lift a few heavy things — coffee tables, chairs, dumb-bells — before attempting to throw your back out on a Pacific halibut.