Bay / Harbor Finally, a Halibut 8/8

Halibut Howie

1987 Cabo 216
May 22, 2003
1,027
1,315
San Diego
Name
Halibut Howie
Boat Name
2004 Sailfish 2100 Bay Boat and 1987 Cabo216
It's been over a year since I caught a halibut and not for trying. I gave up fishing for halibut in San Diego Bay after striking out many times. I went to fishing for rockfish and lingcod instead. But yesterday I had friends in from Colorado with two kids under 12. Their mom gets sick in the ocean so I took them to where I would I use to catch many bass while looking for halibut, by Peohe's restaurant. With lunch there after we finished. The bait barge only had monster sardines, longer than your hand. So, I cut them up for bait on little spinners for the kids. NADA so went out in the channel from there and actually had a halibut on for a while with teeth marks up to the gills.

Kids were bored by now so took them on a cruise to the navy boats on the other side of the Coronado bridge. The navy kicked us out, so we headed back to the Peohe's area. I stopped on the way there to check out an old halibut spot I use to catch many halibut when the power plant in the south bay was operational. The back bay to me shutdown once this happened stopping the warm water it expelled. Use to catch bonefish in this area. I was not expecting to get a bite, but it was 10am so we needed to kill time for lunch. By now the kids were tired of catching nothing and just wanted to play with the bait in the tank. So, the men took over. To my surprise Chris gets a good bite and pulls early and is left with a mangled bait. Over the next hour and 5-6 drifts Chris finally listened and let the halibut run and chew on the bait to a count of at least 100 before setting the hook. In comes a 29" halibut weighing in at 12.5 lb on the digital scale. The kids got a kick out of the halibut exploding on deck and almost jumping out of the boat. I beat the halibut into submission with the gaff, and after one mighty blow the gaff breaks at the hook. Next drift I hook my halibut. Only problem is we do not have a gaff. Chis, a navy seal by trade says I'll use the gaff's broken off hook to gaff the halibut. I get the halibut to the boat, he's on his knees and with one mighty swing hooks the halibut in mid body and actually throws the halibut into the air hitting the gunnel on the other side. The halibut turned its head in mid air and tried to bite Chris on his arm. It turned out to be 24"/7.5 lbs. The skunk is finally over.

Two halibut in 10 minutes after years of waiting! The funny thing is how I setup the little spinners for the kids to catch bay bass. I used a two loop 20lb surf leader, one cheap-ass Walmart 1/0 snell hook on the top loop and a 3 oz sinker on the bottom in 33' of water. That was the setup for TODAY. That's how I use to fish the bay 20 years ago. Still works today and my future rig for tomorrow. A sliding egg sinker setup had no bites. We had to leave them biting due to a heavy fog coming in around us. I did not want to get caught in the fog that far from the launch ramp with no radar.

Over the last 3 weeks a friend of mine caught a 26, 33, and a 36" halibut in the Peohe's area where we started yesterday for nil. IMO the halibut are finally showing up in San Diego Bay in numbers I have not seen in a while.

 
Last edited:

Danthefishman

Member
Oct 30, 2006
889
777
La Mesa
Name
Dan
Boat Name
Aquasport 215DC
Nice! Fishing the bay for halibut is one of my favorite things as well. And I agree, it has been slower in the recent years. Glad you found em 🤙
 
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surfgoose

active geezer
  • Jul 29, 2010
    4,023
    7,807
    Long Beach, CA, USA
    Name
    Gary
    Boat Name
    whichever has the longest bunk
    Good job getting the kids out! Not being snarky, just reminding you that halibut are the main reason why the DFW requires an appropriate net to be aboard when fishing. I actually had one boater show me his bait tank net and insist that he was legal. That is the only time that I really thought about writing a citation for not having a net -- I was merciful as usual (no-net almost never gets more than a warning) but made a note and kept an eye out for him for the next month.
     
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    Spoons

    USCG Master
    Oct 21, 2004
    1,733
    1,401
    San Diego/SF Bay
    Name
    Capt. Erik
    Boat Name
    23' Center Console
    Good job getting the kids out! Not being snarky, just reminding you that halibut are the main reason why the DFW requires an appropriate net to be aboard when fishing. I actually had one boater show me his bait tank net and insist that he was legal. That is the only time that I really thought about writing a citation for not having a net -- I was merciful as usual (no-net almost never gets more than a warning) but made a note and kept an eye out for him for the next month.
    I heard about that net law. Does a landing net need to be onboard if fishing for pelagics?
     
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    surfgoose

    active geezer
  • Jul 29, 2010
    4,023
    7,807
    Long Beach, CA, USA
    Name
    Gary
    Boat Name
    whichever has the longest bunk
    Spoons -- DFW regulation 28.65.(d) of the basic General Gear Restrictions: "No person shall take finfish from any boat or other floating device in ocean waters without having a landing net in possession or available for immediate use to assist in landing undersized fish of species having minimum size limits; the opening of any such landing net shall be not less than eighteen inches in diameter."

    Yes, it also applies to kayaks, skidoos, little inflatables, whatever. Good boat drivers have one. On finding none aboard the vessel, that's almost always a warning instead of a ticket, but it is a signal that told me to do a safety item check to see if other items like life vests for everyone might also be missing.
     
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    Spoons

    USCG Master
    Oct 21, 2004
    1,733
    1,401
    San Diego/SF Bay
    Name
    Capt. Erik
    Boat Name
    23' Center Console
    Spoons -- DFW regulation 28.65.(d) of the basic General Gear Restrictions: "No person shall take finfish from any boat or other floating device in ocean waters without having a landing net in possession or available for immediate use to assist in landing undersized fish of species having minimum size limits; the opening of any such landing net shall be not less than eighteen inches in diameter."

    Yes, it also applies to kayaks, skidoos, little inflatables, whatever. Good boat drivers have one. On finding none aboard the vessel, that's almost always a warning instead of a ticket, but it is a signal that told me to do a safety item check to see if other items like life vests for everyone might also be missing.
    Interesting I’m from Norcal and still have my salmon landing nets. Guess it’s gonna get thrown on top of my radar like the old days.
     
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    One_Leg

    Ret. Comm. Diver Medic
    May 11, 2007
    6,636
    3,605
    You're mined!
    www.csicop.org
    Name
    Alan
    Boat Name
    1967 Cobia Cuddy Cabin/Evinrude Looper
    Interesting I’m from Norcal and still have my salmon landing nets. Guess it’s gonna get thrown on top of my radar like the old days.
    Those nets are legal, but not ideal, for halibut. Rubber nets with a thick mesh are best. Rubberized nylon knotted nets are less satisfactory, but far better than nylon mesh at reducing split tail fins and the resulting tail fin infections.

    Just catch big fish only.
     
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    Spoons

    USCG Master
    Oct 21, 2004
    1,733
    1,401
    San Diego/SF Bay
    Name
    Capt. Erik
    Boat Name
    23' Center Console
    Those nets are legal, but not ideal, for halibut. Rubber nets with a thick mesh are best. Rubberized nylon knotted nets are less satisfactory, but far better than nylon mesh at reducing split tail fins and the resulting tail fin infections.

    Just catch big fish only.
    Well i only intend to carry it for legal purposes only. I very rarely fish for halibut these days and we usually just shake off the shakers if we connect with one. And yes i have the rubber landing nets too but they’re bulkier and heavier. I used to commercial fish for both halibut and salmon off my commercial boats so i still have a load of old commercial junk haha. I knew holding onto these things would pay off one day 😂
     
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    Halibut Howie

    1987 Cabo 216
    May 22, 2003
    1,027
    1,315
    San Diego
    Name
    Halibut Howie
    Boat Name
    2004 Sailfish 2100 Bay Boat and 1987 Cabo216
    Good job getting the kids out! Not being snarky, just reminding you that halibut are the main reason why the DFW requires an appropriate net to be aboard when fishing. I actually had one boater show me his bait tank net and insist that he was legal. That is the only time that I really thought about writing a citation for not having a net -- I was merciful as usual (no-net almost never gets more than a warning) but made a note and kept an eye out for him for the next month.
    Thanks for the heads up. Appreciate the waring for me and others.
     
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    Omarkayak

    I've posted enough I should know better...
    Jul 26, 2007
    1,697
    1,047
    Northridge, CA
    Name
    Donald W. Clarke III
    Boat Name
    11+ ft, Ocean Kayak Scrambler, P 'N' Queue Pod
    "a count of at least 100" haha, boy howdy. That's what I say.

    The easiest way to hook a halibut is for them to eat the whole bait in one slurp. Ones I run across seldom operate in that manner. Sometimes 100 count is not near enough, indeed, sometimes never is still too soon.

    Great day Halibut Howie!
     
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    One_Leg

    Ret. Comm. Diver Medic
    May 11, 2007
    6,636
    3,605
    You're mined!
    www.csicop.org
    Name
    Alan
    Boat Name
    1967 Cobia Cuddy Cabin/Evinrude Looper
    Nice job on the butts.

    Everybody was so sure you were gonna blow yourself up, but low and behold, you nailed some nice flattys, and lived to tell the tail.

    Congrats to you all.
     
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    hilltop

    lurking in the shallows
  • Jan 1, 2010
    1,628
    806
    sb 805
    Name
    hilltop
    Boat Name
    sold, pangas, Intrepid, and diggin the RRIII
    Epic stuff, as it was said, sometimes 100 isn't enough! Well done, great day, kudos!!
     
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