Halibut Fishing in Alaska

Produced by Marcus Weiner

Halibut fishing in Alaska is generally conducted in two ways: jigging and fishing with bait. This video by Fish Alaska magazine Publisher Marcus Weiner gives the basics of how to jig when halibut fishing in Alaska. 

The video shows you the tools and tackle needed to catch bottomfish with a jig. Many people are interested in halibut fishing in Alaska, and this video will show you the gear, demonstrate the technique and illustrate it successfully in action as Marcus catches a halibut with an AhiUSA 12-ounce Assault Diamond jig.

What are Bottomfish?

Bottomfish consist of halibut, lingcod, and a multitude of species of rockfish. Common rockfish species that are caught include: black, dusky, yelloweye, tiger and China. In all there are over 30 species of rockfish in Alaska. Of the variety of bottomfish, halibut are the most popular.

When halibut fishing in Alaska, it’s a smart idea to put the boat on anchor, set out a chum bag, soak bait on circle or J-hooks on some rods, and have anglers jig on others. Jigs make a sound as they pound the ocean floor, as well as a create a disturbance in the water that bottomfish can feel, and it causes them to investigate. Some anglers choose to add bait to their jigs when halibut fishing in Alaska, and this can cause extra scent to disperse. Bottomfish feed by scent, sight and sound, so by bouncing jigs and soaking bait, saltwater anglers that are halibut fishing stand the best chance at bringing these fish over the rail and delicious white-meat fillets home to enjoy in many scrumptious meals. 

Modern jigging rods are lightweight, fast-action and can be paired with lighter saltwater conventional reels, especially when fishing in water under 200 feet deep. An example would be the Temple Fork Outfitters Sea Hunter TAC SHC 6050 (6-foot, rated for 40- to 50-pound-test braid, weighs about a pound) with Okuma Metalloid M-5II (weighs about a pound) and KastKing 50-pound-test braided line. This whole setup weighs a few ounces beyond 2 pounds and can handle flatfish to 100 pounds with no trouble.

Halibut fishing in Alaska is great fun, and yields excellent table fare for months to come. This video will teach you how to jig for bottomfish and help increase your success when hunting on the saltwater.