Planning for a Late May Halibut Run...

May 13, 2004
Long Beach and points due west
Bob Ballew
2520 Parker with twin 200 Yamahas
...If the wind and swell conditions go down, June 25 thru 29th is a good time to chase inshore halibut...Another grunion run is predicted for Southern CA beaches. Several days before a scheduled run, the grunion gather out in deeper water (35' is common, based on my experiences) and scouts start checking inshore conditions. This is a good time to dive deeper water for a big flattie. They will lie below the schooling grunion, shoot up to the surface and pick off an easy meal....
... With late morning incoming tides, the May conditions look pretty good for some decent vis; weather permitting. The earlier you dive, the better the chances of spotting a legal just lying out in the open. Once the sun hits the water, they start to bury under the sand to avoid predators... Spotting them becomes more difficult...
...I look for spots of sitting or diving birds as a starting point where possible. Birds gather to chase surface bait spooked upward by other predators... ...Beginners should look for beach areas where sand area is ajacent to rocky reef or kelp bed areas if no grunion are present . Sand pockets are attractive for halibut and I have found them lying between kelp strands where the strands are horizontal in contact with the sand. ...Grid pattern searches work well. Find a halibut at a certain depth and it is worth working that depth level in a grid search pattern. It is likely others are present in the same area....
...Beginners should make sure a halibut is dead before stringing it on a belt stringer. Once, a Palos Verdes 30 pounder gave me a healthy bite on the ass when I forgot this simple precaution. Nothing serious, except for wounded pride...
...Final beginner survival advice: Carry two throwaway knives at all times. I carry one on my belt and another on my ankle. Why cheapie knives?...You will lose a few over time and I have a nice collection of found knives other divers spent $50 on...
...Why two? Once I had a 40 pound white sea bass tangled in the kelp at 30'...reached for my knife and it was missing....had to chew thru 5 kelp strands using my teeth in order to retrieve the fish...
...Finally, if you tangle with an aggressive eater and have to put a shaft in it, cutting the shooting line can save your gun. In a real battle for survival, being able to reach a knife to stick it in an eyeball can save your bacon, especially if a shark is attached to your leg...Good luck...
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Sep 29, 2004
Orange County
21' Custom Half Cab
Good info. Keep safe, and good luck everyone 💯
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