Eric_S

Halibut in MA

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Hello Eric with a C.My youngest son s name is Erik after Erik the Red.

Yes Mass does still have a few halibut that manage to be caught each year,but most of them are of the chicken size. The numbers are way down from when I started party boat fishing in the early 40's at the tender age of 7. I believe that Maine might have better numbers when it comes to fish caught.. The chances are that unless you are geared to catch one if you do hook up forget it. The Halibut is one hard fish to get off the bottom. The guys I fish with for cod believe they hooked up on one this past fall and after almost 2 hours of fighting the fish using 4 different fishers on the rod,finally broke off the fish. The fish was glued to the bottom and even though all methods to get the fish up prooved fruitless,the concensus was it was a Halibut and not a Shark. Angler

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about 15 years ago, i saw a halibut come into the cape ann marina that looked huge, maybe 100. it was caught on a cod trip and considered a prize catch.

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If you should happen to hook a halibut on cod tackle there are a couple of things you can do to bring it up off of the bottom: One of the easiest, (probably not an option on a party boat), is to move away from the fish to change the angle on the line. If you try to pull one straight up you will fail, even if it is a small fish of 40lbs or less. By flattening the angle of the line you can pull the fish through the water column in the direction that it is already facing. Once you get the fish started, just keep decent pressure on it and it should come to the surface eventualy. If you hook a realy large halibut you may have to circle the fish to keep the angle of the line nice and flat. This works pretty well on any stubborn bottom fish hooked on gear that is "too light". I have done a bit of halibut fishing from boats that were too small to use the "correct" tackle, these were tin skiffs in the 18" range. As you can probably imagine, fishing 100lb tackle is not a viable or safe option so you have to use what you can. We used outfits that were real close to a standard cod outfit you would find in MA. Short heavy rod capable of handling a 1lb or heavier sinker and a good sized chunk of bait and a 4/0-6/0 reel full of 50lb mono or dacron- super lines were not common when I lived there and probably see a good deal of use now. The largest halibut I have personaly seen brought to the boat using these strategies was a 304lb barn door that a friend caught from his 18' tin skiff. He was 3lbs off of the derby winner that year. These fish can be caught and are great fighters and even better eaters. They are out there, but pretty hard to find on a steady basis. Good luck

TL

Angryeel

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Angryeel the method you described to get a fish from the bottom in a small boat undoubtly will work. The method thatI have employed is to play a tune on the line. The line is pulled very tight and then strumed like a guitar. In a situation that the fish will not move,sometime it works best if you simply let the line go completly slack for a period of time and waitfor the fish to start swimming again. Angler

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Do they catch halibut in Mass, or at least on boats that sail from Mass ports? Here's a hint--the state record for Atlantic Halibut was, and may still be, also the IGFA All Tackle record. It was caught on a party boat sailing from Green Harbor about 5 or 6 years ago.

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My friend Jeff caught one from Yankee Capt. boat, 30 or so years ago, 100+ lbs. Won the cup for that. I've caught a few small ones (chicken halibut) on Capt John Cashes ledge trips, but that was 30 years ago too. They have big teeth, like fluke.

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This is the largest of the Atlantic flatfishes, which if you do happen to hook one, can be very challenging to reel up from deep water.

Season: Year round

Baits and Lures: Sea worms, clams, strips of fish, sand lance, jigs.

Methods and Tackle:Drift Bottom Fishing from a boat with medium to stiff rod.

Mass. Saltwater Fishing Derby Minimum Weight: 50 lbs

State Record: 321 lbs

 

1757133

 

513 Lb world record from Norway, 2013

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When I was a kid, 50+ years ago, I remember going on vacation with mom and dad. We went to Campbello Island (small island off the coast of Maine, part of Canada). Guys were catching 40-50 pound halibut from the dock/pier. They were bigger than my 4-5 year old brother...lol

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My former neighbour (a high liner) started out fishing with Jimmy Small years ago. On a winter cod jigging trip they hooked to to a 6-7ft halibut and had it alongside the boat.

My neighbor Charlie Melbye had the line pulled cross deck with all his might while Jimmy sunk the gaff into the fish .

But Jimmy hit a soft spot and the fish headed for the bottom with a codfish bug stuck in Charlie's back.

Charlie's knees slammed against the gunnels and the bug snapped off in Charlie's shoulder blade otherwise Charlie would be on the bottom with the halibut.

It took a two day drunk before Charlie was ready to go again.

I wouldn't wish that on anyone

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there are a few spots off of the Mass coast in which you can still target them, not far from shore. But the catches are seldom, Maine is definitely a place to start to find numbers. Definitely a bucket list fish for me!

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Atlantic halibut are on the rebound in the Gulf of Maine....over the last 3 years I have been very fortunate to be able to participate in 3 offshore trips out to Fippenines Ledge which is approximately 60 miles east of Gloucester....These trips were put together by 2 very knowledgeable skippers who teamed up to specifically target halibut......the trips consist of five anglers and the 2 Captains....on our first trip, I was fortunate to land a juvenile (approx. 18") halibut on the third or fourth drop

 

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....Shortly thereafter I came tight to a beautiful 48" er....we never got an official weight but it bottomed out a 50 lb scale, we guestimated it to be 60-65 lbs....it was a beautiful fish and a fish of a lifetime fore me....while I was battling this brute, the guy two rods to my left also hooked up....he was able to land his (39") and it was released before we got the gaff shot on mine (the limit on these fish is 41" and one fish per VESSEL per day, so his would have been released anyway)....the fight was incredible....I simply cannot imagine landing one in triple figures....the leverage they have really kicks the hell out of you!

 

 

 

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The second year I was again fortunate to land another but this guy was 1/2 inch short and was successfully released....

 

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Last seasons trip didn't produce any halibut, but it didn't matter.....Fipps is a magical place....in addition to having a realistic shot at an Atlantic Halibut, the ground fishing is simply hard to describe....it has been closed to commercial fishing for a while now, and the cod, haddock, pollock, and just about any other groundfish you can name is non-stop....hooked up literally just about every drop....after 3 or 4 hours I was begging for my Mommy :o...it's as if you stepped into time machine and are taken back a hundred years or so.....:D

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