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Alaska Halibut Fishing: Seward Style

By Jim Durkin

Every year, thousands of anglers travel to Alaska to try their luck for the tasty Hippoglossus stenolepis, the Pacific Halibut. Halibut can be found in good numbers from Dutch Harbor to Ketchikan. However, for me, there is no otherHalibut fishing in Seward, Alaska place like Seward Alaska. Seward is approximately 2 1/2 hours (126 miles) south of Anchorage and sits on Resurrection Bay. Besides having some of the best halibut fishing in Alaska, it is also known for its world class silver salmon fishing. In addition to phenomenal silvers, Seward also has excellent rock fish and ling cod fishing. 

 Seward offers many other activities to the non-angler such as kayaking, wildlife viewing, and glacier tours just to name a few. If you are traveling from Anchorage, the drive to Seward is second to none. It is entirely possible to see Moose, Dall sheep, Bald Eagles, and Beluga Whales on the drive down. Every curve in the road offers another beautiful vista that could fill a role of film in a hurry. 

First Trip of the Season

The long dark winter months were mow over and months of anticipation were through. I was on my way to Seward for a trophy halibut fishing trip with Cracker Jack Sport Fishing Charters. The weather was just right with temperatures in the high 60’s and not a cloud in the sky. 

We left the dock around 6:30AM and were on our way to one of Cracker Jacks favorite halibuts holes when we realized we were being followed by some Dall’s porpoises. We had our captain stop the boat so we could videotape the mammals swimming around us. It made for some exciting video. Shortly after that, we were fishing at with all six lines in the water. 

Our lines were in the water maybe three minutes when we landed the first fish. Within 10-minutes, we caught and released four halibut that weighed around 20 to 30 pounds. Everyone in the boat caught and released at least two fish before retaining one. We ended up keeping several smaller chicken halibut for the freezer. Many fishermen myself included, believe “chicken halibut” (fish that are between 10 and 30 pounds) are the best to eat. 

Our captain and his deckhand assured us the tides were in our favor and that these chicken halibut would soon be replaced by larger fish. They kept saying, “In an hour, we will start to see bigger fish”. Half-hour later, they said it again. Then, 15 minutes later, again. And at 10, then 5, and BANG, fish on, like clockwork, we had an 80 pounder in the boat. It was literally down to the minute when they predicted we would start to catch bigger fish. It was none stop action as from that point on. 

The fight that these 80 pounders muster up is incredible. Fishing at depths greater than 100 feet can really tire a person out after fighting several fish of that size. I managed to land a 100 plus-pound halibut before we called it a day. 

We did not get an official weight for our fish but, by the end of the day, our party had two fish in the 125 to 135 category, three fish in the 110 to 125, three in the 70 to 80 pound category, and four fish that were 25 to 35 pounders. It made for an enjoyable boat ride back to Seward after everyone had two fish in the boat. Cracker Jack Sport Fishing Charters provided a first class trip that will live with us for many years to come. 

Killer Whales near Seward, AlaskaSeward is one of Alaska’s the top sport fishing destination. Multiple species are quit common on a guided trip. If you time it right, it’s quit possible to catch you limit of halibut in the morning and spend the rest of the day fishing for silvers, ling cod, and rock fish. Additionally, the scenery is almost better than the fishing. It is very possible to see bald eagles, whales, porpoises, puffins, and mountain goats on a guided fishing trip. Seward has it all. So when considering your next halibut fishing trip, fish Seward Alaska and you will not be disappointed. 

Jim Durkin is an avid Alaska angler and frequent contributor to the Outdoors Alaska fishing and hunting forums.  He lives in Anchorage.

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