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Pacific Ocean fishing
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California Halibut

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Image and information California Department of Fish & Game

Fishing Quote: 
Fishing rule #1: The least experienced fisherman always catches the biggest fish.
Fishing rule #2: The worse your line is tangled, the better is the fishing around you.
Fishing rule #3: Fishing will do a lot for a man but it won't make him truthful

Description: The body of the California halibut is oblong and compressed. The head is small and the mouth large. Although a member of the left-eyed flounder family, about 40 percent of California halibut have their eyes on the right side. The color is dark brown to black on the eyed side and white on the blind side. Their numerous teeth, very large mouth and a high arch in the middle of the "top" side above the pectoral fin make them easily distinguishable from other flatfish. 

Range: California halibut occur from Magdalena Bay, Baja California, to the Quillayute River, British Columbia. A separate population occurs in the upper Gulf of California. 

Natural History: California halibut feed almost exclusively upon anchovies and similar small fishes. At times they are observed jumping clear of the water as they make passes at anchovy schools near the surface. Males first mature when 2 or 3 years of age, but females do not mature until 4 or 5. A 5 year old fish may be anywhere from 11 to 17 inches long. Spawning takes place in relatively shallow water during the months of April through July. 

Fishing Information: California halibut are pursued by anglers throughout the year, but the best landings usually occur in the spring. In central and northern California fishing is best in summer and early fall. At that time California halibut move into shallow water to spawn. Drifting for halibut is the most successful fishing method with anglers using live anchovies, queenfish, white croakers, shiner perch or Pacific mackerel as bait. Artificial lures work well at times although they are not always effective. California halibut are found over sandy bottoms. 

Other Common Names: flatty, fly swatter (small), barn door (large), alabato, Monterey halibut, chicken halibut, southern halibut. 

Largest Recorded: 5 feet; 72 pounds. 

Habitat: Shallow Sandy Environment 

Fishing Quote: Even a bad day of fishing is better than a good day of work

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