Remember how last winters¹ halibut bite took all by surprise? I sure hope it repeats itself. Here is a couple of fishing tips that might help you to catch more and bigger flatties. This applies to when you are fishing from a boat.
1. Use as light of a running line as you can for the depth of the water or the application. For instance it takes heavier line to drag across the bottom in the wind or current because the bump and drag of the heavier sinker takes a toll on the knots. If the wind is really howling sometimes you need 6 ounce sinkers to keep the bait on the bottom. But if you anchor you can use 2 ounce sinkers in the same location, so the use of light lines can be utilized, if you want to do that. Heavier sinkers bouncing across the bottom is a popular approach used by most sportboat skippers and it is highly effective. The technique is called “Bounce- Balling”. I prefer to anchor and drag my bait back, inching it along at a snails pace. I use tournament #12 pound running line tied to a three way swivel.
2. From the other two parts of the swivel a sinker line and a dropper hook are tied. The important thing about this rig is that you make each of the lines that hold the sinker and the hook the same length.(don¹t ask me why) I like to make them about 24 in long. The line test of hook leader then can be adjusted to the conditions which is usually dependant on the bottom depth. In waters to 15 feet I like to use 8-10 pound test leaders. Many times I have used 4 pound test line off the swivel but the water is that shallow depth just behind the breaker line or up to a rock jetty. Remember also, that the longer the leader the less likely it will break. This set-up is the one that the hot anglers have used in Santa Monica Bay for years.
3. Hook size is extremely important, especially when the hook is dropped off on this kind of rig. Basically the hook should fit the bait. If the hook is too big it invariably turns around and sticks back into the bait burying the point so it can¹t penetrate your halibuts¹ mouth. You have to adjust the size so that the very, very little hook bend can be seen coming out of the bait.
4. Last, use chrome torpedo sinkers. They are expensive but I¹m convinced they make a difference.