How to Catch Giant Halibut in Ketchikan

Catching Giant Halibut In Alaska

Infamously known to anglers around the globe are the iconic photos of giant barn door halibut. As illustrated, old pictures depict hanging tails up on a crane hoist. Fish so big the pictures depict a grown man laying side by side and being dwarfed by a “barn door” halibut. It’s an iconic picture seen time and time again and widely circulated on all media outlets. 

For instance, newspapers, magazines and online blogs show halibut up to 450 pounds. Dreams of hooking a giant Alaskan halibut is all some can talk about. It intoxicates them upon their arrival to Alaska. So the scene is set on the vibrantly rich fishing grounds of Alaska.

In this article we’ll discuss what it takes to succeed in catching a giant halibut in Alaska. Furthermore we’ll discuss the tactics and quipets from personal tales of landing massive halibut. 

How to catch giant halibut in Alaska. Big baits equal big fish!

How To Catch Giant Halibut: Ketchikan, Alaska

Giant halibut aren’t easy to come by. Which means some days the hunt is all of just that, a hunt. While other days may seem wildly successful. Especially, understanding that when one sets out to catch a big halibut, it can resemble more of a trophy hunt. For instance, waiting and waiting and putting in your time in. Finally, when the conditions align, you’ll get your shot at a big halibut. 

Patience Pays

As mentioned, one of the key ingredients to catching a giant halibut in Alaska is patience. For this reason, we recommend our Ketchikan halibut fishing charters to stay vigilant but be patient. Especially when the big one bites! Don’t rush the hook set and make sure to reel down until the circle hook draws tight.

Big Bait Equals Big Fish

So catching a big halibut is what you want?  For instance, catching a high volume of smaller halibut, cod, rockfish and sharks isn’t what you’re searching for? In this case, I have the answer for you! Big baits such as a whole cod or salmon will deter the smaller fish from grabbing hold. This in turn will give you the proper time to soak a large halibut bait. As a result, one can expect to wait longer for that giant halibut to come along. 

Fighting a giant Pacific halibut from the depths is exhausting work. Make sure to secure yourself and always keep tension on the line.

Heavy Duty Fishing Tackle

In order to successfully land a big halibut one must be properly prepared. As an example, one will need heavy duty deep sea fishing reels and rods with 100-200 pound test braided line. Ketchikan halibut fishing charters prefer to rig with 200 lb fluorocarbon leader for catching big halibut.

Big Halibut Fishing Rig

First, catching big halibut in Ketchikan requires the right kind of halibut fishing rig. For this reason, we use anywhere from 200-400 lb test monofilament leaders. Halibut fishing charter rigs with 12/0-16/0 offset circle hook work best. Furthermore, halibut have a tendency to shake violently when hooked. Hence the heavy leader along with a large circle hook. Consequently, this decreases your probability that the massive halibut won’t cut the line with its teeth.

Technique For Catching Giant Halibut In Alaska

Now you know the tackle, equipment and bait to catch a monster halibut in Alaska. Next, there’s nothing left to do besides set out in search. As I mention, big fish aren’t necessarily everywhere. So prepare to wait it out with a big halibut bait.

Once you hook up to that barn door halibut, be sure to secure yourself in the boat. Furthermore, have the drag adjusted accordingly. Lastly, let the fish take the bait with patience and your job is to reel down without jerking the rod up. The circle hook will slide into the corner of its mouth as designed.

Halibut fishing in Alaska during the summer months is red hot! Make sure to book a trip from May through September to catch a halibut.

Fighting A Giant Alaska Halibut: Tug Of War

Talk about a real game of tug of war! Giant Alaska halibut will give you the fight of your life. For instance, you’re attempting to drag up this monster from the depths of the deep sea. After initially hooking into a big halibut, you’re going to experience one heck of a drag peeling run. In particular, you can’t stop the fish. Big halibut will freight train down, using all their power to take the line off the reel.

So you must always keep the line tight. Because at any given time a big halibut can produce violent head shakes. On the other hand, halibut can also change direction in an attempt to dislodge the hook. Keep constant pressure while securing yourself on deck and be sure to not let your guard down. Any slack in the line will increase your chance of losing this once in a lifetime catch!

The Plan

For one thing, there could be a whole book about the trials of landing giant barn door halibut in Alaska. Conquering and subduing an enraged monster into the boat is no easy task. At the moment it can be a chaotic scene, but for these reasons having a plan and a person with vast experience will aid tremendously.

Catching barn door halibut in Alaska and using a harpoon, gun or tailor to get them aboard.

Landing Giant Barn Door Halibut Alaska: Harpoon, Gun, Tail Rope

First, we will discuss harpooning a big halibut. A harpoon tip attaches to a metal shaft that is thrust into the fish, hence piercing the fishes body.

Furthermore, and prior to harpooning, one will have the harpoon tip line secure to a float ball. This will allow the harpoon tip to slip through the halibut and the float ball to go over the side. Lastly you’ll work the secured halibut to the boat for gaffing.

Conversely, the other option is to shoot the halibut with a small caliber handgun. Whichever method you choose works effectively well. The main point is to never bring a giant halibut in the boat alive! For example, there’s plenty of stories about giant barn door halibut causing human injury and even death. Not to mention, bringing a live halibut in the boat is sure fire way to wreak havoc on the boat and equipment.

Big Halibut Ketchikan, Alaska

Now you’re in the know on how to catch giant halibut in Alaska. As a result, I do hope you follow your pursuit. There’s nothing quite like hooking into a fish larger than a grown man and wrestling them up from 200-400 feet. Personally, I release many large halibut as they are of the breeding size and not the best to eat.

For this reason, I treat them generally as a trophy sports catch and release. If you’ve ever dreamed of catching a monster barn door halibut in Alaska, then be sure to contact us to book your Alaska halibut fishing charter. We run specialized trips for giant halibut.