Halibut fishing: gear for catching giant halibut in the Barents Sea


Fishing for halibut

Halibuts or “tongues” belong to the large flounder family. Among a wide variety of different flounders, halibuts are included in the group of northern flounders and form three genera: white-winged, black (blue-skinned) and arrow-toothed. The genera include 5 species that inhabit a large range from the North Atlantic to the Sea of ​​Japan. Halibuts differ from most flounder species in a more elongated body and less pronounced head asymmetry. Both eyes in fish are on the same side. The mouth of the halibut is quite large and reaches almost to the level of the eye and further from the outside. The mouth has large sharp teeth. The color can vary greatly depending on the soil on which the fish live; belly whitish. Usually, the ratio of the body dimensions of fish is described in the following proportions: the width corresponds to a third of the length. As a rule, smaller individuals live in the coastal zone, but in the ocean, especially at great depths, individuals of 300 kg or more can be found. The largest species is the white-winged Atlantic halibut, but its production is prohibited, the species is listed in the European Red Book. While resting or in ambush, the fish lies on the bottom, but occasionally halibut rise from the bottom, while moving, turning the body on its side. In general, halibuts are classified as sedentary species. Fish are active predators despite the fact that they often hunt from ambush. They feed mainly on bottom animals: molluscs, crustaceans, and also fish (such as pollock, cod, gerbils and others).

Fishing methods

Halibut are actively caught on fishing gear. Most often, various bottom tiers are used for this. Catching halibut with recreational gear is a very popular outdoor activity in Northern Europe, America and the Russian Far East. Many fishing companies offer separate tours for catching this fish. Given the characteristics of the habitat, the main method of amateur production is “plumb fishing”. To do this, use a variety of equipment and fishing rods. In the simplest version, it can be just a wooden reel or a voluminous plastic spool, on which a thick scaffold or cord is wound, at the end of which the equipment is attached. Such gear is interesting in that when fishing, direct contact with the fish is made. It should be borne in mind that when biting a large fish, a certain experience of playing is needed in order not to get injured. The most convenient way of fishing is fishing on sea spinning tackle for vertical lure using various techniques, both natural baits and various artificial lures. Some fishing companies practice deep trolling for halibut. In addition, there are some fly-fishing enthusiasts who, with a certain preparation and perseverance, catch halibut with this tackle.

Catching fish on a spinning rod

Before the first halibut fishing, it is worth getting acquainted with the features of fishing for this fish. The most successful way to fish for halibut is jigging. Fishing takes place from boats and boats of various classes. As for catching many other large inhabitants of the seas, anglers use spinning gear to fish halibut. For all gear in spinning fishing for sea fish, as in the case of trolling, the main requirement is reliability. Reels should be with an impressive supply of fishing line or cord. In addition to a trouble-free braking system, the coil must be protected from salt water. Spinning fishing from a vessel may differ in the principles of bait supply. In many cases, fishing can take place at great depths, which means that it becomes necessary to exhaust the line for a long time, which requires certain physical exertion on the part of the fisherman and increased requirements for the strength of tackle and reels, in particular. According to the principle of operation, the coils can be both multiplier and inertial-free. Accordingly, the rods are selected depending on the reel system. When fishing with spinning marine fish, fishing technique is very important. To select the correct wiring, you should consult experienced local anglers or guides. When catching halibut, and especially trophy sizes, great patience and experience in playing large fish are required. It should be borne in mind that the fish is fighting for its life “to the last.” When fishing, you need to be very careful. Anglers can be injured by fish while playing or while they are on board. There are known cases of overturning of small boats by halibut during boarding and so on.


For halibut fishing, various baits and baits are used. A large number of specialized rigs have been invented that allow the use of both live baits and artificial baits. The fish responds well to various animal baits: cuttings from various fish of local species, as well as meat of crustaceans and mollusks. In addition, live bait is used, while using special equipment with a gripping head. In addition to natural baits, various artificial baits are used: spinners, silicone imitations, and so on.

Places of fishing and habitat

The habitat of all halibuts is the northern seas of the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific oceans. As already mentioned, the habitat captures the region from the Barents Sea to the Sea of ​​Japan. They live at various depths, some species live at 2000 m, mainly on the sandy bottom, where they burrow into the ground. They are cold-loving fish. In areas with colder water, it is found closer to the shore.


Sexual maturity of fish occurs by 7-10 years of age. Spawning occurs in winter and spring, depending on the region. Females lay their eggs near the rocky-sandy bottom at a depth of up to 1000 m. Fertility is quite high. Caviar is considered pelargic. The development of caviar is similar to other flounder fish. At first, halibut fry are quite similar to ordinary fish. Eggs drift for some time in the water column along with plankton. The rate of development of larvae depends on the temperature of the environment. It should be noted that halibuts can spawn a huge amount of caviar – up to a million pieces. Before settling to the bottom and metamorphoses with a change in body shape, young fish feed on invertebrates.

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