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Adam Sauve's Tips for Landing More Halibut from a Wilderness Systems Radar
Hi, my name is Adam Sauve and today I would like to talk about how I fish halibut from my Radar 135.
I fish Northern California from San Francisco Bay to Tomales Bay and the surrounding parts of the Pacific Ocean. My favorite method for targeting California Halibut is trolling. The use of the Helix peddle drive makes the once daunting task of trolling from a kayak incredibly easy.
The biggest obstacle with trolling for halibut for me was finding a way to troll a heavy sinker without destroying the gear trac. I accomplished this by installing a Scotty flushmount just forward of my seat as seen at the bottom of the image below.
This mount along with the Scotty backing plate below it will give you plenty of support. I originally installed it to use with my Scotty Laketroller downrigger that I use with a 4 pound weight pictured below.
Once I was able to figure out how to isolate the heavy trolling weight the rest is pretty easy. My halibut trolling set up is pretty simple and standard for the surrounding area.
It starts with a 3-way swivel. One link is tied to your main line.The middle link is tied to 10"-15" of 30lb mono that is attached to the torpedo sinker. I use anywhere between 8, 12, or 16 oz torpedo sinkers depending on depth. The third link is tied to the leader. The top of the leader is 18" to a dodger, followed by another 18-24" to a nose hook snelled to the leader in front of a treble hook with a herring for bait. My leader material is 50lb mono and I fish 50lb braid on my reel. I like to use 8ft medium heavy rods. The longer length allows me to follow the bottom better as I troll.
Once on the water i pin my herring to the hooks and start pedaling to gain some forward momentum. I strip line by hand to lower the sinker to the bottom. If you let the line free fall you will end up with a big tangle by the time your gear hits the bottom. Once I feel the bottom I place the rod in the holder and make sure it is constantly ticking the bottom as I troll along. I check my bait often to make sure it is tracking well and free from debris. You want your bait to make a slow roll/spin as you troll along.
I like to troll between 1.4-2.2mph. I have found this speed to be very effective. While trolling I am usually on the look out for bait and bottom contours. If I am lucky enough to hook a fish I slowly pick up the rod while continuing to peddle and turn into the direction of the fish. By doing this you will keep pressure on the fish and tire them out.
I prefer to gaff halibut because there is no net for the sinker and hooks to get tangled in. Trolling for halibut from a kayak has a big learning curve. You will get better everytime out.
Hopefully some of these tips helps you on your next outing.