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Dan Herrig’s Halibut Rig

Posted on February 18 2014

Halibut on Fly Rod
Fly caught halibut. Photo: Peter Christensen

Fly fishing for halibut?  Really?

Yep, at Rapids Camp Lodge we have access to some really unusual fisheries, including spots where we consistently catch halibut on fly rods.  Here’s how our head guide Dan Herrig rigs up when he’s chasing giant flatfish.

The Summary

  • Sage 1480 Xi3 – an 8 foot 14 weight
  • Galvan T-14 reel
  • Rio Leviathan line, 750 grains

The Detail

  • Minimum of 300 yards 50 lb Spectra backing, wrapped twice around the spool and tied with an arbor knot, sealed with superglue.  “That spectra will slip quite a bit on a bare metal surface.”
  • Bimini twist tied in the front end of the backing, looped section tied to the back of the fly line with an Albright knot.  “Spectra will cut through the fly line core if you use a loop to loop connection. Doubling it over with the Bimini will also spread the pressure out over a bigger surface.”
  • 4 feet of 80 pound leader tied to the front end of the fly line using an Albright knot.
  • 5/0 grey and white barbless Clouser, tied on with a perfection loop.

The Commentary

“The common perception is that halibut are barn doors and you’re fishing with 4 ounces of lead in heavy seas. We’re lucky to have a fishery where we’re able to chase these fish in calm, protected areas.”

“We’re looking for water with flowing current on either side of the tide.  We like water up to 60 feet deep – beyond that it’s a little too deep to get all your fly line down and bring them up from the bottom.”

“There’s very little casting involved – you allow your line to drift with the current. We give it a 20 second count – let it sink down as far as it’ll go and strip the fly aggressively back to the surface.”

“The fight is awesome. It’s a combination between a pissed off king salmon (screaming runs) and a foul-hooked sockeye (you have to pull really hard). Sometimes we even get a jump out of them! They fight really well on the 14 weights.”

“The biggest halibut we’ve landed on fly is 180 pounds – but we catch anything from 5 pound ‘chicken’ up to that 180 pound mark. The average is 20 to 25 pounds.”

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