Oregon Halibut 09′

The weekend weather report called for high pressure with clear skies and temperatures in the mid 70’s. From there we looked up the forecasted ocean data come to find that NOAA was calling for 3-4ft.  swells coupled with light and variable wind. Realizing these conditions are ideal, we contacted multiple friends for a trip out on ol’ blue in search of Oregon Halibut. We packed the RV and drove to Newport where other friends gathered for an early morning over the bar. Due to the early season outing, it’s always a good idea to throughly inspect and prepare your boat as well as plan to travel in numbers for safety. Having a well serviced boat with good communication, GPS and safety equipment can save lives not to mention back up gear with good life vests (ON).

Morning came early (4:30 – ughh)when we launched the boats. We headed West over the bar calling Yaquina Coast Guard station for a bar report and to let them know we would be out till 1400 with four passengers on board. Yaquina tower reported mild seas and calm winds with no restrictions on the bar – so off we ventured into Big Blue!

Headed West

Headed West

We traveled approx. 18 miles to favorite GPS coordinates a long time halibut fisherman gave us that helped us catch some nice halibut last year . On board the “PTO” sled we had my brother Chris, Gary Lewis and his wife Merrillee. We traveled over the bar alongside good friend Todd Bright and his NW Jet followed by another friend Jess Choat who was close behind in his Duckworth Jet Sled. Once we arrived at the  first GPS waypoints, the waters were calm with halibut calling our name… 


“Time for tuna bellies” I replied as we prepared are double hook set-ups for the deep! Seems like each year I get caught with my head down focusing on rigging as I begin to lose my stomach and balance – some of you know what I’m talking about! I managed to get a couple rods rigged so we could drift over the coordinates with our bait approx. 225 feet below gently tapping on structure (hint hint).


Tuna Belly

My brother Chris was the first bait down with a slight tap followed by a pull as a fish started to eat his fresh bait. Chris pulled his rod to set the hook come to find the fish was gone. This gave Gary the chance to drop his bait right in the lane – sure enough “fish on” as Gary set the hook while reeling up what turned out to be a nice halibut close to thirty plus pounds.

Gary Bait Bouncing

Gary Bait Bouncing

Gary's Halibut

Gary's Halibut

Once Gary caught his halibut, we picked up our gear and headed back North to the spot where we experienced multiple bites. This is when a good GPS chart plotter comes in handy for tracking and marking special fishing spots where structure exists. We dropped our tuna bellies and sure enough just after we drifted over the structure “fish on” as I reeled up another nice halibut for the day!

"Good Eater"

Just Right!

 Now that we had a couple in the boat, the time came to check in with the other boats. Todd who had traveled out with us picked up one and Jess (the other boat with us) moved to another spot NW where they caught three along with a nice Ling Cod. Unfortunately they had to put the Ling back during “all depth” fishing since they had halibut on board. “Bummer” as I’m sure the Ling would have been good eating… My brother Chris kept right on the rod working the bottom using a variety of different baits determined to catch another halibut. After a few drifts with more bites, “fish on” as Chris tried to lift his rod setting the hook.  This fish was much larger as Chris had a hard time gaining line. We observed Chris fight the fish all the way to the surface come to find the halibut had wrapped itself in my line when all of the sudden “release” when Chris realized “fish off”! Dang – the big one got away… Oh well, I guess that’s fishing! Better luck next time…

Afternoon came when the wind began to blow causing the seas to increase. We reeled up and stowed the boat for about a 20 mile boat ride back to Newport. The ride took much longer as we traveled at a much slower pace due to a chaotic see with wind waves out of the West crossing the swell out of the Northwest. Riding in a jetboat can be a little hard on the back when flying off the backside of swells. As we approached the bar, I always make it a point to check in with Coast Guard for a return bar report as well as to report our return. What a beautiful day “Pursuing The Outdoors” with friends and family!

Returning to Port

Returning to Port

Thank the Lord for land and restrooms! It’s always nice to get back to port for pictures and the opportunity to regain balance not to mention the stomach – “ughh”…  Thanks to the crew which did a great job helping out all day! I really appreciate it as I think I left my b-fast some place out on ol’ blue – till we meet again… 

Gary & Troy

Fish & Chip Bros.

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About the Author

Troy Neimann

Troy Neimann lives in Central Oregon with his wife of 19 years and their three children. You can find Troy with his family, friends and partners out most weekends enjoying the Lord's creation "Pursuing The Outdoors".