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The Halibut Seeker: MV Salmon Seeker head guide Scott Beckett on one of the world's best hali fisheries.

Despite its name, the MV Salmon Seeker-Oak Bay Marine Group's floating lodge in the western Queen Charlotte Islands, BC-is home to some of the best halibut fishing anywhere in the world. Here's the what, where and why from Scott Becket, the resort's head guide.


The Seeker's pre-eminence as a halibut spot is largely due to its location. "When you look up the top halibut fishing destinations, we're pretty much number one," says Scott. "You've got some big fish coming out of Alaska but the Seeker's location in Kano Inlet plus the knowledge of the guides put it ahead of pretty much anywhere."

The ship's remoteness is one of the most important aspects of its location. Because the Salmon Seeker is the only resort in the area there is very little pressure on the local halibut population. "We're the only ones out there fishing that stock, and that's really obvious when you look at how many fish our guests bring in," he says. "Hali are there consistently and in good numbers all year long."


There are three ways to fish for halibut: jigging, trolling and bottom fishing with bait. Each has its own advantages, and each guide has his preferred methods. "I find that bottom fishing with bait is the most successful," says Scott, "especially for guests looking for big halibut. We use salmon bellies, or salmon heads for bigger halibut. Oily bait like salmon and herring leaves a much bigger scent trail, and really attracts the halis."

For smaller halibut (also known as chickens, weighing 10 to 30 lbs.) trolling with herring, spoons or plugs is often preferred. Jigging, on the other hand, can be a lot of work and has the downside of snaring more by-catch.

Modern gear is a big part of halibut fishing and the Salmon Seeker is well kitted-out for hali hunters. "The gear we use is quite good," says Scott. "We use 6' Rhino rods and Shimano TLD 20 reels. We also use braided line which makes a huge difference. Dacron line put up too much drag, but the Spectra braid line that we now use is ideal for getting down deep."


Despite the abundance of halibut around Kano Inlet, Scott and his guides are constantly researching new hali holes. "Take a well-known area like Freeman Rock," says Scott. "Freeman is a popular hali fishing area but it's also quite big; we're always finding new hali holes within it."

"Throughout the year we take a look at the contour lines on the charts and sound around any areas that look promising, doing a bit of test fishing as we go."

Modern technology has made a big impact on research, he says. "If we find a good spot we just log it on our GPS's chart plotter and can come back anytime." As for what he's looking for, Scott says there are two main types of halibut grounds to watch out for.

"For chicken hali we're looking for deeper water with a flat, sandy bottom. These are the safe areas preferred by younger halibut, where they can feed and hide in the sand if needed. These can be anywhere from 100' to over 400' down."

Big halibut live in a different terrain. "Older halibut spend time in reefs and underwater plateaus, anywhere from 130' to 250' deep. They'll usually hide behind outcroppings on the downward side of the current where they can catch the scent of the octopus, rockfish, herring or salmon that they're hunting."

The Future

"Halibut fishing has become a lot more popular lately," says Scott. "GPSs have made it much easier to mark hali holes, so when we go offshore we're much more successful." The internet has also played a big role. "You can go on the internet and get a tonne of information that wasn't available before."

The west coast Queen Charlottes halibut fishery is thriving. Not only do you get some of the best action anywhere, you also get to spend time in one of the most beautiful areas on earth.

For those considering a trip out to the west coast, Scott's parting words couldn't be simpler: "you'll love it."

Scott Beckett is the head guide at the MV Salmon Seeker in the Queen Charlotte Islands. He's been fishing since he was three years old and is about to start his 24th year as a professional guide. If you'd like to fish with the talented guides out on the west coast this summer visit www.mvsalmonseeker.com or call 1-800-663-7090 to check availability.