Bounce Balling for Halibut


There are two main types of flatfish that salt water anglers on the coasts of North America love to go for and these are the pacific halibut and the California halibut. Both species are delicious to eat and are prized by both commercial anglers and recreational fishermen. Note that you will need the best fishing lines for the task.

This is how to do bounce balling for halibut.

Halibut size

The California halibut is smaller in size and can be a few pounds in weight to as high as 50 pounds. The other type of halibut, the northern pacific halibut is the larger of the two and can be huge weighing over 500 pounds.

To catch these halibut, you are going to need to use different tackle techniques that are going to depend on the size.  Over a couple of decades, some clever saltwater anglers have developed a unique way of fishing known as bounce balling for halibut.

Wear your fishing sunglasses and let’s find out more!

This method has proven successful and anglers now have a higher chance of enjoying the delicious fish.

What is bounce balling?

Bounce balling is where the angler performs slow trolling with the bait at the deepest part of the water. This is going to be done above flat sand and the reason for this is because this type of terrain is where the halibut is most likely going to be. A heavy ball attached close to the bait ensures that it remains at the bottom.

This also brings the bait closest to the hungry halibut.

The best type of line to use is a braided line. It is much stronger than a monofilament line and it stretches less which means you will feel exactly when the halibut takes the bait.

Getting a bounce ball rig

You are often going to have to create your own bounce ball halibut rigs. Start with a 3-way swivel. Then take the terminal end of the line and tie this to the top eyelet. Next tie a test line on the bottom eyelet that is about 15 inches long. It should also have a clip swivel which allows you to add a ball that is between 16 and 32 ounces.

The test line needs to be strong enough to handle being dragged at the bottom. However, in case the line gets caught in a structure it should also break.

At the middle eye of the swivel, take a 4 to 5-foot-long test leader at 30 to 60 pounds.  It should also have a flash digger that is between 6 inches and 8 inches plus it needs to be either covered using a prism tape or chromed.

Then, take a fluorocarbon leader that is 30 to 40 pounds and 11 inches long and is rigged at the end with an octopus hook and you are all set.

The tackle


As far as the tackle, forget about using anything fancy. Just get a strong stout saltwater fishing rod and a conventional wind reel. This will often be all you are going to need to reel in a good-sized halibut.

You can try catching the fish on the drift even while bounce balling for halibut. However, the best strategy to use is to troll the line at a speed that is consistent. The best speed is between 1 and 3 knots and you can often achieve this where there are little wind and current.

When there is an increase in current, you can troll faster. This will allow you to add the right amount of action to the rig. When it’s time to deploy the halibut rigs, start by putting the weight into the water. Then drop the leader, the flasher, and then the bait.

Always make sure that you are using only the best fishing rods and reels. When fishing for halibut.

Always ensure that the rig is never dropped to the bottom. Instead, drop it slowly and let it fan out. This will prevent it from getting entangled. Watch out for the weight and wait until it hits the bottom. Then allow it to continue back up and then engage the drag.

What you are looking to do is to allow the ball to hit the bottom just enough to attract the halibut in the area and then the bait will pass by the halibut sparking their interest and causing them to go after the bait. If for example, you intend to make use of a rod holder, turn your flick clicker which will allow you to tell when there is a tug on the line.

Most of the time, however, anglers who are more experienced will prefer to turn on the drag and add onto the rod while they fish. While it may get tiring, it will allow the angler the benefit of working the rod tip and ensure that the hook sets itself nicely in the halibut.

Even while on the boat it’s important to wear good fishing shoes.

Ball bouncing can be modified allowing anglers to have better success in the area where they are fishing. Even better is that this method can be versatile enough allowing anglers to go after fluke and flounder as well as the halibut.

Always make sure you watch the tip of the rod carefully. It is simple to detect the bigger halibut as they put on a much tougher fight while the smaller fish will take the bait and be taken along for the ride. If you notice that the halibut rigs are loading up, there is a high chance that it has picked up grass and other sea plants.

Sometimes depending on the weather, you may need to wear a good quality fishing jacket.

Once you notice that you have been snagged, continue to troll. Take the rod in your hands immediately and allow it to go down to 10 o’clock. Hit the spool and then immediately lift it back to the 1 o’clock position. Most of the time this happens when there is kelp on the ball and the rig will free itself.

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Halibut will often put up a good fight which is understandable when you consider how large the fish can get. The fish is also delicious to eat and the best way to increase your chances of reeling one in is by using bounce balling.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!