Halibut Fishing off the Oregon Coast

I have never been a man of the ocean, never really liked the high seas.  Most likely because I do not like throwing up, feeling horrible, and big ass sharks in the water.  Grover on the other hand, loves the ocean and finds peace and tranquility out there on the big drink.   So he patiently waited for good halibut water that I could manage without losing my breakfast. The day finally came and I really was not mentally prepared for the battle I was about to wage.  I was actually dreading it.  I have been on the ocean and had not got sea sickness the last few times, but it was in Cabo and that is nothing like the Oregon coast.  The boat was built for the ocean and we have a lot of customers that are interested in going Halibut fishing.  So I said I would try it one time, and if it worked out I would consider taking clients.

Rouge Jet Coastal 23. Notice the Radar tower?

When we had Rogue Jet build this boat, Dave’s big idea was to put the radar tower on it.  I was thinking “Are you crazy?  This is for the river, not for the ocean…I get sick.”  We thru all the bells and whistles on it anyways.  I got a prescription sea sickness patch, and we rolled out that Friday night to hit the water at 4:30 am the next morning.  Did I mention it was a two-hour boat ride out to the chicken ranch location off the coast of Newport, Oregon.This can be a little stressful to say the least because EVERYONE leaves the dock at the same time.  It is like a huge fishing derby.  Heck I was starting to think about getting sea-sick with all the waves from all the boats leaving the marina!!  Once you get out on the water, the boats start getting away from each other because everyone is running to their cordinence on their GPS.  It was foggy, and I had a hard time staying on my course, because fog makes you circle and get lost so you really have to pay attention to your GPS. We finally arrived and drop lines…600 feet.  That people, is a long way to the bottom of the ocean.  Think about reeling up a 50 lb fish from that depth?

Scott on the left, Grover on the right. Each trying to find the bottom of the ocean with their bait.

I caught the first fish, a chicken sized halibut that we released.  Then it was slow for about 3 hours and we kept moving looking for some better fishing.  Grover’s friends came over to our boat (there are a lot out there) and said they were going to try a different spot and we said we would follow them.  Grover hooked up a fish after we dropped gear next to them and the fish ran into their gear and I was sure they were thinking that they should have rescinded their offer to follow them.

Grover’s buddies untangling all their gear from his line. They did give the fish back though which shows that there is professionalism on the high seas.

One of the most important items I bought for the boat was the Daiwa 750 Mega speed reel.  This is an awesome piece of machinery at 600 feet.

Notice the Dawia power reel with the Wraptor Halibut Rod? What a nice set up. Notice the young kid hogging the system? I put it on the boat for the older gentlemen, not the young bucks.

Here is a few photos of what it looks like to reel a fish from that depth not using a power reel.

That reel over there looks a lot better when Grover still has 400 feet to reel.

I asked if he wanted some relief and he said no.

Meanwhile Scott has a 30 lb. Ling Cod on and the rod is in the rod holder while he eats a sandwich and watches his dad.

Scott caught the first huge ling cod, we ended up catching three like this but had to release them because Oregon law prohibits keeping bottom fish while fishing for halibut.  It is a stupid law, and you will see a lot of floating fish at the top of the ocean dead because their diaphragms blow up and they expire.  A good eating fish, tossed into the sea because Oregon fish and game rules. It always amazes me how poorly run this state I love is, but I guess that is how politics go.

You could a basketball in this ling cod’s mouth. Scott is still eating his sandwich.

I got a little sleepy and thought I was getting a little sick so I rested for about 10 minutes and it was like I instantly got my sea legs and spirit back.  Feeling rejuvenated, Grover picked off some GPS coordinates on the radio, and we relocated right into the meat of the tomato and caught our two halibut in less than an hour.

Oh look, I am not on the power reel. Scott is now drinking a beer hogging it.

After reeling in another ling, Scott was in the front of the boat and I notice that the power reel had a little bite going on.  So I set the hook and went to work.  This was a big fish because it was taking line and felt like a bath tub, even with this system I was using it was still very heavy and had a good fight.

This isn’t a 100 pound coveted Oregon fish, but it is as big as they get at the chicken ranch and we would get some good filets off him.

Scott caught his halibut and we put them in the fish tank and prepared the boat for home.

Three Hali’s for the freezer.

We set the GPS for the marina and began our journey back.  The sun was coming out and we were able to open her up to around 27 mph and she rode like a dream on calm waters.

Scott with his halibut. You can see the sun coming out and the waters pretty calm.

About forty minutes from the marina, the fog reappeared and it was thick.  So thick, I had to turn on the radar.  I tell you what, it gives you a good feeling being able to see boats on the radar, and I was sure thankful Dave talked me into putting it on the boat. When we came in and had jetties on the side of you and twenty boats in a 1/2 mile  range, not to mention crab buoys, I was pretty confident in this Simrad system.

Here is a photo I took of the trusty radar! Look at the fog bank.

Once we made it thru and got close to the bridge, the fog lifted and it was a beautiful day.  Grover showed me a lot and was patient and did not push me over the edge by helping me bait my line at first, but once I got my confidence and broke past the sea sick issue I did all my own gear and held my own.  We had a great day and though it was a long day and I had sea sick patch hangover for two days, it was worth it.

My share of the bounty, van packed and ready for the freezer. Notice that there is NO cheeks there? Never leave a scalawag in charge of packing the meat up while you clean the boat.

Thanks boys for going out with me under the contingency that we may turn around if I got too bad, and sticking with me when I got nervous and irritated in the marina with a hundred boats.  We made it and had a great time!

Grover passing it on….again.

Halibut recipes to come folks.

Hunting Chef

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