Alaska is a magical place where memories are made. Whether it is the amazing scenery, the inviting people, the wildlife or the fishing there is something in Alaska for everyone.
If your an outdoors person then fishing has got to be on the top of your list for things to do in Alaska. Alaska has a huge variety of both fresh water and salt water fish. We have bottom fish such as Yellow Eye, Ling Cod, Greys, Picasa and the list goes on. Of course Salmon is the main fish that comes to mind for most people. But did you know that there are 5 types of Salmon in the Alaskan waters? Alaska has Pinks, Chums, Sockeye, Coho and of course the King Salmon. In addition there is Greyling, Char, Pike and Rainbow Trout in the fresh waters.
Right up with Salmon in popularity is the Alaskan Pacific Halibut. Halibut can be found off of most of the Alaskan coastline from the southern tip of SE Alaska to the furthest reaches of the Aleutian chain. These fish grow to 400 lbs or more and fish over 200 lbs are fairly common. Nick named Barn Doors these fish roam the bottom of the ocean floor scavenging for food.
To catch these monsters you need to simply drop a suitable bait or jig to the bottom and give it some action. Halibut fishermen tend to drift when fishing and need to keep raising their bait off the bottom so that it keeps up with the boats drift. There will be no question if you have a Halibut that has picked up your bait, as it will feel like you have hooked the bottom, when you feel this sensation set your hook hard!
Now comes the fight, you will quickly understand why these fish have the nick name Barn Door because this is that its going to feel like you are reeling in off the bottom. With bigger fish you might get it up close to the boat only to have it swim down to the bottom again and you start the reeling process all over again. This may happen multiple times throughout your fight.
Once the fish is at the boat you and your captain will determine if you are going to keep your fish or not. There are certain “slot” limits set by the department of Fish and Wildlife on what size halibut you can keep and how many. Bringing the fish in the boat is no easy matter if its over 100 lbs. With the smaller fish you can gaff them and drag them over the side, for the larger fish you may use a harpoon to help bring the fish in the boat.
Typically you will get 50-60% of the fishes weight in boneless fillets. So a 200lb fish will give you about 100bs of meat.
Like I said in the beginning, Alaska is a wild and wonderful place and it has something to do for everyone. But if you a partial to the outdoors and enjoy fishing then including a Halibut fishing trip or two during your travels should be on your list.