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Old 01-29-2020, 02:45 PM   #1
ArtfulDodger
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Default Halibut Chum Bag

My son and I are going to Alaska this summer for a week and I've been investigating the use of a halibut chum bag. I know they aren't used in Oregon much because of the relative depth of the water in Oregon.


I'm intrigued by the concept when fishing on anchor. It seems like the more chum and bait in the water, the better.



Two years ago at the SSS, there was a halibut seminar that said the halibut come up the current following the smell of food until they lose it, which means they passed the food on the bottom. Then they circle around the food until they pick the scent up again and then eat.


So here is my question - if you put a chum bag down, say on your anchor, do the fish run past your bait until they find the chum bag and then get frustrated they aren't finding anything? Or do they pick up the bait on the way to the bag?


Would it be better to put the chum bag on a rod out the back of the boat where everyone is fishing?



Thanks for your thoughts.

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Old 01-29-2020, 03:04 PM   #2
Wabowman
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Default Re: Halibut Chum Bag

Put the chum dow with a downrigger. It is common practice here in the puget sound.
Tom Nelson of the Outdoor line has outlined it on their website.

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Old 01-29-2020, 03:09 PM   #3
Etonfish
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Default Re: Halibut Chum Bag

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Originally Posted by ArtfulDodger View Post
I know they aren't used in Oregon much because of the relative depth of the water in Oregon.
Perfectly fine in Alaska (at least as far as I understand), but the reason they aren't used in Oregon is that it is not legal.
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Old 01-29-2020, 03:17 PM   #4
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Default Re: Halibut Chum Bag

There are a number of ways to skin that cat, but it's tough to say whether it's really more effective than just decent sized baits. When it comes down to it, you're either fishing where the fish are, or you're trying to get them to come to you. We've dispensed with the chum bags and worked harder to just get on fish in the first place. If you're in a good area, the chum bag doesn't matter. If you're in a bad area, the chum bag doesn't matter. It's maybe the marginal areas where it might make a difference (such as all of Puget Sound halibut grounds).

Depending on your anchor retrieval system, chum bags can really mess up the anchor pull. We use a heavy Danforth with lots of chain, and a heavy stainless ring tethered to an A-3. If you put the bag too far up the chain, you risk keeping it from running far enough through the loop to hold your anchor up. If you put it on the anchor or too close to the anchor, it invariably tangles up the flukes and keeps your anchor from setting half the time.

Downriggers are OK for relatively shallow water setups, but if a fish wraps you up, you're probably done with that fish.
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Old 01-29-2020, 03:23 PM   #5
Threemuch
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Default Re: Halibut Chum Bag

I was watching Saltwater Experience and they were fishing halibut with cameras, and it wasn't what they thought. They thought that the fish came to the scent, that they moved through in waves and that you would catch fish when they were there, and not when they weren't


It's one day fishing, and pretty shakey from a scientific perspective, but what they saw was that the fish were ALWAYS there and they simply went "on the bite" and then back "off the bite". It wasn't clear what turned them on and off, but it was clear that alot of the time, they just weren't feeding, even though there was alot of food being presented to them.


The hard part about anchoring in oregon is that if you do it anywhere popular, you are gonna cause some pretty big problems for anyone else fishing near you. Almost everyone drifts here, and if you anchor in 200+ feet of water, you are gonna take up a big piece of the spot, and nobody will be able to drift anywhere near you without hanging in your gear or anchor line.


Of course if you go somewhere where nobody else is? Have at it.


WRT the chum, you can only chum for pelagics in Oregon.



Good luck!
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Old 01-29-2020, 04:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: Halibut Chum Bag

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Originally Posted by Threemuch View Post

The hard part about anchoring in oregon is that if you do it anywhere popular, you are gonna cause some pretty big problems for anyone else fishing near you. Almost everyone drifts here, and if you anchor in 200+ feet of water, you are gonna take up a big piece of the spot, and nobody will be able to drift anywhere near you without hanging in your gear or anchor line.

Of course if you go somewhere where nobody else is? Have at it.

WRT the chum, you can only chum for pelagics in Oregon.

Good luck!

The OP is headed for Alaska (congrats!). Anchoring is standard practice in Alaska, at least in Southeast, and chumming is legal for halibut. We do a fair amount of drifting, but up there, if someone is anchored and someone else is drifting close, it's the drifter that gets the looks and words. Of course, if you're fishing within a half-mile of a stranger up there, you're doing it wrong.
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Old 01-29-2020, 04:22 PM   #7
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Default Re: Halibut Chum Bag

A friend of mine guided up their seasonally. They used a burlap sack of fish parts attached to their anchor for halibut chum. Pulled in the anchor one day and it was gone. Couple days later in same area they caught a #150 hali with most of the chum bag in it's gut.
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Old 01-29-2020, 06:00 PM   #8
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Default Re: Halibut Chum Bag

We use a chum bag tied to the anchor, what Chukarhead said use a ring type anchor puller. Some weight in the chum bag can help to keep it from floating up and fouling the anchor line. It has been successful for us.
Because of the tide speed we can only drift for periods between tide changes when it gets slack.
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Old 01-29-2020, 06:03 PM   #9
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Default Re: Halibut Chum Bag

Quote:
Originally Posted by Threemuch View Post
I was watching Saltwater Experience and they were fishing halibut with cameras, and it wasn't what they thought. They thought that the fish came to the scent, that they moved through in waves and that you would catch fish when they were there, and not when they weren't


It's one day fishing, and pretty shakey from a scientific perspective, but what they saw was that the fish were ALWAYS there and they simply went "on the bite" and then back "off the bite". It wasn't clear what turned them on and off, but it was clear that alot of the time, they just weren't feeding, even though there was alot of food being presented to them.


Good luck!
Probably more true for small fish, where the numbers are greater. For big fish, which are father and fewer apart, they do cruise, and they will pick up a scent trail and follow it. They also will hang up down current of the chum line, or even under the boat and won’t take the bait.

So drop a jig. Start with a lighter jig, flutter, lead head, what ever you prefer. Cast it out to the side and work it down and around. After you cover all the water that jig will cover, switch up to a slightly heavier jig, rinse and repeat. Say, 8oz, then 12 oz, then 16 oz. if you do it right you can cover a fan pattern down and to each side, hopefully picking up a hung up non biter.

Got a fish playing with your bait (or better yet, your buddies bait)? Drop a jig and work it around the spread. Good chance you can draw a strike.

Good luck. Have fun.
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Old 01-29-2020, 09:57 PM   #10
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Default Re: Halibut Chum Bag

Stuff I have read indicates that halibut feed actively for an hour to three hours, usually two or less, until they fill that tiny stomach, and then lay down to digest, and that for a period of time before actively feeding, (up and swimming around, on the hunt) they can often be tempted by easy prey and/or excellent, well presented baits.

While actively eating, swimming and hunting, they chomp about anything that fits down their pie hole. but while still laying down tend to be more picky, and more likely to eat a smaller, well presented bait that is easy to catch.

In shallower water, Halibut can use their eyes much more effectively than in deep water. Worth noting

There are reasons that some folks get their halibut more consistently.
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Last edited by Joe Evens; 01-29-2020 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 01-30-2020, 11:43 AM   #11
SoylentGreen
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Default Re: Halibut Chum Bag

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wabowman View Post
Put the chum dow with a downrigger. It is common practice here in the puget sound.
Tom Nelson of the Outdoor line has outlined it on their website.
this is the right way. We used to do this routinely wreck fishing in Florida.

I would not want the bag on the anchor. Maybe it would be fine as long as I was NOT going to be the anchor guy all day.

the "exciting" part wreck fishing would be that every once in a great while, something would grab the bag itself Made for an interesting time
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Old 01-30-2020, 01:58 PM   #12
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Default Re: Halibut Chum Bag

Sounds like a great way of drawing in a good supply of blues.
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