My halibut career began in Neah Bay, Washington where we targeted very precise locations with herring baits on spreader bars or with jigs that weren’t tipped with any bait at all. We drifted through our spots and the halibut bite tended to turn on in response to specific tidal phases. Location meant everything.
The offshore strategy in Southeast Alaska is quite different. Yes, we target precise locations, but rather than drifting we anchor and send down four baits that accomplish two goals: 1. Attracting halibut with smell and 2. Getting bites. The pattern includes sending down “gut bombs” made up from the entrails of salmon for scent. Generally we put them on the stern rods. On the bow we send down more refined strips of pink salmon, herring, and other more “normal” looking baits. The halibut often eat both the gut bombs and the nice strips, but there are times when they forgo the gut bombs. Still, we keep them going down for their powers of attraction. This pattern of two gut bombs and two more carefully presented strip baits seems to work much better than four of either.