If you’re going on halibut fishing trip, then among the best things that you could do is learning how to handle these big fish as soon as you caught them. Obviously, these types of fish won’t easily give up without a fight. And if your license is for catch and release, then it must be on your top priority to safely get a catch on and off the boat.
And by safely, we mean this on the angler’s behalf as a 300+ pound halibut can make punching bag out of you effortlessly. The tail, fins and spines can cause serious cuts and being bitten by one isn’t uncommon but is certainly not something unheard of. So, to ensure that you will have a safe fishing trip, here are quick tips on how you could handle halibut out of the water.
Tip number 1. Always come prepared – if you don’t want to come back from your trip with a black eye or worse, a broken limb or cracked rib, then better come prepared. Trying to wrestle with a live halibut may cause bodily injuries. First things first, you must not go fishing on your own. Anglers set this as a rule of thumb because ocean dwelling or deep sea fish can reach staggering sizes. As much as possible, carry a fine meshed net for smaller halibuts but a harpoon or gaff is more than necessary if you are after huge monster of the sea.
Tip number 2. Know how to use your stuff – before you throw the harpoon or gaff in the water, let your line run until you the fish is exhausted. This will take time but, reeling it in after the fish is exhausted will make it an easier and safer catch. This is contrary to taking a thrashing and angry halibut on board no matter what the size of your catch is.
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You can net it and bring it on board quickly if you’re estimating the fish to weigh around 30 pounds more or less. Make sure to keep the net and line away from your body and try not to bring it on deck immediately. Keep in mind, anything that is heftier than 30 pounds must be given with a wider berth.
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Tip number 3. Aim the base of spine – it is completely fine if you can do this but if not, most anglers prefer to harpoon the fish. Only when the halibut stopped on moving can you bring it on deck safely. Even then, your catch will keep having muscular spasm so keep it several away from you.