Halibut Rods for Beginners

By on December 31, 2015

Each week one of the Salmon University experts answers reader questions in our “Ask a Pro” feature. This week’s questions are answered by Tom Nelson. Submit your own question here.

I am a highly experienced captain, but I really don’t want to buy ten depth finders to find a good one.  Is there an unbiased source of info that I can go to?  – Bill  
Hi Bill – Finding an unbiased source is very hard to do, as sales reps, of course, are product oriented.  In the past I have used almost exclusively Lowrance.  However, in the past year, relying on the advice of a friend at the Seattle Boat Show, I purchased a Garmin GPS/Depth Finder and Radar which I am finding to be the best units I have ever had.  They are easy to install, have excellent visual features and easy to use.  The big plus is the customer service – no long waits on the telephone, excellent information, not telling you “just mail it in” or hanging up in the middle of your conversation.  I would highly recommend Garmin based on my own experience and I represent no-one.

What side of Possession Bar is the “Tin Shed Hole”?  – Gene
Hi Gene – The “Tin Shed Hole” is actually on the far southern end of Possession Bar.  It may be best fished by mooching but certainly I have fished it with downriggers also.  In order to fish it correctly with downriggers, you must be aware that the bottom comes up very quickly.   You must be prepared to make a sharp turn when you see the bottom start to rise on your depth sounder and troll back out or bring your downriggers up.  The Tin Shed Hole is an excellent place to fish because it holds bait.

Any forecast for freshwater smelt next season?  Rudy
Hi Rudy – I haven’t seen a forecast for fresh water smelt this year, but some early returns have been caught in the Chehalis River.  This is usually a sign that WDFW will open the season for sportsmen.  Smelt are not only excellent eating but smelt dipping is fun for the whole family.

Any suggestion for an easy to use halibut rod and reel set-up for a beginner like myself?    David
Hi David – An excellent Rod and Reel for Halibut fishing, but certainly not expensive, is sold by TICA.  The reel I would recommend would be the TICA STL12N.   There are several fairly inexpensive rods sold by TICA that would fit the bill.  Look for a 5 ½ to 6 foot boat rod with a roller tip on the end.   I have used these rods.  They are a very good value and I have been very satisfied with their performance.   You can see all of their products on the TICA.com website.  When you have decided on a particular set-up give TICA a call and ask them where they can be purchased locally.

You might want to consider enrolling in the Salmon University two-day saltwater seminar on April 2 and  3, 2016.  Terry Rudnick, one of the best Halibut instructors and fishermen in the Northwest will be conducting our class on Halibut Fishing.

Halibut image courtesy Isaac Wedin (CC BY 2.0).

Tom Nelson
Tom Nelson is the publisher of salmonuniversity.com. Known throughout the Pacific Northwest as the “Dean of Saltwater Fishing,” he has helped develop and test tackle and gear for Scotty, Pro-Troll and Silver Horde, is a regular speaker at area sports shows, has taught more than 5,000 students how to fish during his classes at western Washington community colleges, and is the co-founder of the Puget Sound Anglers.