California Halibut are found on the Pacific coast from southern California to British Columbia. These fish taste great and they are commonly found inshore in the bays, along the beaches, around fishing piers and offshore in water less than 100 feet. California halibut are much smaller than the Pacific halibut that are found in Alaska. 10 to 15 pound halibut are considered average while 20 pounders are big and fish over 30 pounds are considered trophy-sized halibut. Anglers usually target California halibut on the bottom with live baits such as anchovies and other small bait fish.
Pacific Halibut are found in the waters around Alaska and these fish grow to enormous sizes. Many people plan fishing vacations to Alaska to target these fish. Halibut in the 20 pound range are considered small, fish in the 100 pound range are fairly common and fish over 400 pounds are possible. The fishing charters that target halibut will usually be able to keep you on fish during your entire fishing trip. Sore arms and sore backs are common after a full day fishing for halibut. Anglers typically use cut baits for halibut, but jigs can also be effective. To plan a trip for Pacific halibut, you will most likely be using a fishing charter and you can expect to catch plenty of fish. Your biggest challenge will be getting all of the fish back home, but there are companies available to help you with that as well.
Halibut are found on the bottom. There may be times that halibut will come off of the bottom to chase bait fish and some anglers have actually seen them come all the way up to the surface in pursuit of bait fish. Most of the time, you are going to find these fish near the bottom around some type of structure. California halibut are often found on sandy bottoms in shallow water, but they can be found on many different types of bottom around a variety of structure. Bottom rigs with live bait and cut bait are the best ways to catch halibut, although, it is also popular to use jigs for Pacific halibut.