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  • Writer's pictureBMO

Do it for the Halibut!

Updated: May 15, 2020

Oregon had a Halibut opener this week, and my good Friend Bill Scholtes had a trip booked with Barrett Sport Fishing out of Newport Oregon.

Bill Matthews Outdoors Halibut

Bill had booked the trip a while back, but due to unforeseen events, everyone else backed out so he asked if I could go. I gladly jumped at the opportunity. We left Camas, Washington at 3:00am and headed to Newport. The drive takes about 3 and a half hours.

We met up with Bill Barrett of Barrets Sport Fishing in the Newport Marina. Newport is a beautiful city on the Oregon Coast and home to great Halibut, Tuna, Rock Fish and Salmon fishing. It is also home to Rogue Brewery - but that will be another story! We climbed aboard his awesome 26’ Osprey boat and were headed out under the Newport bridge and into the Pacific!

Beautiful Newport, Oregon

The first thing we realized is that there were three Bill’s on this trip - Myself, Bill Scholtes and Bill Barrett. To make things easier we determined that Bill Barrett would be Capt. Bill, Bill Scholtes would be Billy Boy, and I went by Hillbilly.

We ran out about 14 miles to the first spot and dropped our lines. On the first drift, my line got heavy but it did not feel like a fish. I started reeling up and thought I might be tangled with another line, but that was not the case. As I got my line up to the boat I saw that I had hooked an octopus!

Bill Matthews Outdoors Octopus
I caught an octopus on my first drift!

That is the first Octopus I have ever hooked! We weren’t sure if we could keep it or not, so we released it back into the ocean. And that was as much action as we would see for several hours.

We fished three different spots, and fished them hard without even a bite. We fished each spot for a couple of hours and based off the chatter on the radio, no one was catching much today, it was going to be a tough bite. Capt. Bill decided to make on last move to a spot about 35 miles out.

On the way to the next fishing spot, Billy Boy and I tried to get a little sleep - Billy Boy was more successful than me!

We pulled up on the spot and it was 600 feet deep. We dropped our baited lines with 3 pounds of lead to get to the bottom. It was hard to hold the bottom because in addition to the depth, the wind had also picked up. As soon as Billy Boy got on the bottom he got bit and reeled up a nice 20 plus pound halibut. While Billy Boy was reeling up his fish, I got bit hard and set the hook. I started reeling up on what felt like a pretty big halibut. after a few minutes of reeling up the fish, I looked at my line counter and realized I have only moved the fish up about 25 feet, ugh! - Note to self…don’t look at the line counter on your reel it will depress you. It took me at least 20 minutes to reel it up and I thought I was going pass out - guess Im not as spry as I used to be! When we got it to the boat is was a nice 44” halibut . Capt Bill did a great job gaffing the halibut and we cleaned up the gear and headed back to towards Newport.

Bill Matthews Outdoors Halibut
Nice 44" Oregon Halibut - It's tail is bigger than my sz 10 XTRATUF Boot

It took us about 2 hours to get back to the marina, where Capt. Bill cleaned and bagged the fish for us. Billy Boy and I then headed back home and got back around 9:00pm. It was a long day but well worth it!

Bill Matthews Outdoors Halibut

Contact Capt. Bill on his web site or facebook page if you want to experience Oregon Halibut, Tuna or Salmon he worked hard for us and we had a great day! I know he will do the same for you.

Thanks for reading,




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