8 of the Best Halibut Lures (Top Picks in 2021)

Kenneth ReavesEdited by: Kenneth Reaves
Michael DarmontReviewed by: Michael Darmont

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best for Most Anglers: 10-inch Big & N Grubs
“Whether you’re a pro or just getting started, having a reliable lure like the 10-inch Big & Grubs lure can definitely improve your chances of catching that elusive halibut. It’s simple but tough and designed for all anglers.”

Best Budget Option: Spro Bucktail Jig
“If you’re looking for a lure that does the job and more for a ridiculously low price, the Spro Bucktail Jig is definitely for you. It’s durable, it’s effective, and there’s many sizes and colors to choose from!”

Best Shallow Water Lure: Rapala X-Rap Saltwater Fishing Lure
“If you like casting from a boat or off a rock jetty, the Rapala X-Rap will work beautifully for shallow water fishing. It’s got a clever rattling feature that works effectively and dual treble hooks for an easy snag.”

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The bait you choose while halibut fishing has a huge impact on your catch success, and adding in a few of the best lures can increase your chances even more for landing the fish you want.

Understanding which lures to use and how to use them will keep you from missing hookups and losing fish.

The best lures will imitate halibut prey, and stand up to their vicious strikes.

You’ll also want the best hooks on those lures, to make sure you get a solid hook-set.

Read on for some of the best halibut lures available, and for some tips on how and when to use them.

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Best For Most Anglers
Best Budget Option
Best Shallow Water Lure
Our ranking
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
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10" Big & N Grubs - Glow - 3 Packs (2pcs/pk)
Spro SBTJBS-4 Prime Bucktail Jig, 4-Ounce, Blue Shad
Rapala X-Rap Saltwater Fishing lure, 4-Inch, Silver Blue Mackerel
Our grade
Our Rating 90/100
Our Rating 89/100
Our Rating 87/100
Feature 1
Large size rules out smaller fish
Fresh bait or scent addition
Rattler for increased attraction
Feature 2
Glow body
Cheapest option
Dual Treble Hooks
Best For Most Anglers
Product Name
Our ranking
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
10" Big & N Grubs - Glow - 3 Packs (2pcs/pk)
Our grade
Our Rating 90/100
Feature 1
Large size rules out smaller fish
Feature 2
Glow body
Buy Now Button
Best Budget Option
Product Name
Our ranking
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
Spro SBTJBS-4 Prime Bucktail Jig, 4-Ounce, Blue Shad
Our grade
Our Rating 89/100
Feature 1
Fresh bait or scent addition
Feature 2
Cheapest option
Buy Now Button
Best Shallow Water Lure
Our ranking
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Rapala X-Rap Saltwater Fishing lure, 4-Inch, Silver Blue Mackerel
Our grade
Our Rating 87/100
Feature 1
Rattler for increased attraction
Feature 2
Dual Treble Hooks
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8 of the Best Halibut Lures (Top Picks in 2021)

1. 10″ Big & N Grubs

Best For Most Anglers

10' Big & N Grubs - Glow - 3 Packs (2pcs/pk)
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KEY FEATURES

  • 10 inches
  • Made for halibut
  • Fish mimic with tail
  • Large size rules out smaller fish
  • Tough plastic
  • Glow body

Grubs are one of the simpler lure designs, but they work well in any water. The touch plastic is made to stand up to halibut and is best for fishermen looking for only the biggest halibut in deep water. 10-inch Big & N Grubs is best for most people, including beginners, as it’s easy to get the right action out of.

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Lure Features

The lure comes plain so it will be up to the fisherman to decide on hooks, jighead, and leader. That can be a good thing, as it allows them to try different options, but it also requires more prep time. 

According to the manufacturer, it gets the best action at super-slow speeds. That means it’ll generally take less work by you to get the most out of it, which is great since it’s best fished in deep water.

The total length of the lure is ten inches, which is fairly large. Only large fish will be able to take it, which is great for when you’re targeting large halibut, however, it will stop smaller ones in the hole from being hooked. 

When to use it

This grub is best used to target large halibut and rockfish in holes at around 300 feet deep. Play with it around the seamounts big halibut hang out. 

Don’t use this lure if you aren’t looking for a large fish. While it works great for halibut, a smaller one might not hit it because of its size.

2. Spro Bucktail Jig

Best Budget Option

Spro SBTJBS-4 Prime Bucktail Jig, 4-Ounce, Blue Shad
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KEY FEATURES

  • Up to 11.5 oz
  • Cheapest option
  • Tail hairs
  • Size and color options
  • Fresh bait or scent addition

Spro Bucktail Jigs are generally a solid choice in lure for a low price. The variety of sizes and color mean you can choose different ones depending on the size of the fish you want, or the clarity of the water.

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Lure Features

One of the biggest advantages of bucktail jigs is the hair coming off of them. They spread out in the water and wave around when the jig is moved, mimicking the tail movement of a fish. They come ready to tie on right out of the box as well, making them easy to use.

Aside from the eyes and flecks in the body, there usually aren’t many reflective or flashy parts to these jigs. Murky or very deep water isn’t a great place to use them.

Bucktail jigs are also one solid piece with the hook running through them. This makes them a durable choice for anglers on a budget. 

When to use it

The bucktail jigs are an easy budget option for jigging in up to 150 feet of water. The larger sizes help you target certain species or sizes of fish, and swapping colors will help mimic natural prey fish.

Unlike some other jigs that have attractors like lights or reflectors, bucktail jigs will need fresh bait or scented plastic to help attract fish. While it is possible to get a bite without it, your odds go up significantly just by putting something smelly on the hook.

3. Rapala X-Rap Saltwater Fishing Lure

Best Shallow Water Lure

Rapala X-Rap Saltwater Fishing lure, 4-Inch, Silver Blue Mackerel
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KEY FEATURES

  • Fast Sinking
  • Mimics Prey Fish
  • Multiple color options
  • Rattler for increased attraction
  • Dual Treble Hooks

Rapala X-Rap Saltwater Fishing Lure comes in a variety of sizes and actions, and all of them have rattlers inside the lure body to help attract fish. It works much better near the surface and in bays, instead of the deep-water holes that huge halibut prefer. This could be a great choice for casual fishermen trying out rock jetties to see what fish are around them.

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Lure Features

The dual treble hooks on the lure work well for snagging fish on the strike. Instead of having to wait for the halibut to get the bait all the way in its mouth, these hooks will immediately snag it. Make sure to get a strong set, but beware that foul-hooking the fish can make it a much tougher fight.

Working the lure through the water mimics an injured prey fish, and the internal rattle helps attract fish with its vibration. The lure darts through the water back and forth to force the bite.

When to use it

This lure will work best in shallow water, whether casting from a boat or off of a rock jetty. You’ll be casting out and retrieving this one, so throw out some bottom baits and keep your eyes peeled while using it. 

In addition to halibut, it will entice strikes from other fish hanging around the rocks like trout. Even with the larger lure sizes, you won’t be hauling in any giants, but it could be a great choice for long-casting for a dinner-sized halibut.

4. REELdiculous “Smoker”

Best Overall Jig

Flat Fall Jigs Slow Vertical Irons Fast Ocean Lures w/ MUSTAD Hooks & OWNER Rings | Military Grade Kevlar Assist Cord | 9 Colors & 5 Weights | Unmatched Strength | Optimal Coloring | USA Owned
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KEY FEATURES

  • Kevlar assist line.
  • Dual-hook setup
  • 1000 lb test rings
  • Easy to use
  • Reflective shape and eye
  • Multiple colors 
  • Multiple weights

The best lures are the easiest to use that still get the job done. The REELdiculous Smoker jig is made of incredibly tough parts and materials and made to withstand strikes from huge fish. Whether fishing shallow or deep, this jig can be a great option for anglers regardless of target species.

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Lure Features

Between the kevlar assist lines, the metal body, high-carbon hooks, and heavy-pressed rings, this jig is built to last. The jig itself is simple, but the strong materials and parts are built to keep it from coming apart when you have a huge halibut on the end of it.

The dual-hook setup helps avoid issues with a single hook where a fish could strike from the wrong side and miss it. It increases the likelihood of the hook going into the fish’s mouth and getting stuck in its lip.

The jig comes in a few different sizes and colors, meaning it can be changed up based on the depth you want to fish or if fish aren’t biting a certain color. Its shape and finish help its reflectiveness at depth, and the reflective eye helps with both attracting fish and mimicking prey.

When to use it

This lure takes the spot of best overall simply because there isn’t a bad time to use it. Fishing deep or shallow water, anchored or trolling, makes little difference. 

The one downside to using this lure is that it isn’t species-specific. Anything in the water could take it for an injured fish and strike, so expect to catch rockfish, lingcod, and trout with it as well as halibut.

5. Real Fish 10″ Sanddab

Best for Big Fish

10' Sanddab Lingcod Jigs Rig Fishing Lure Sand Dab Fish for Halibut Rock Grouper Cod (10' Sanddab Green PUMPKINSEED)
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KEY FEATURES

  • Realistic Look
  • Soft plastic feels like skin
  • Only needs a jighead
  • Flat on the ocean bottom
  • Big fish bait.
  • Hook and jighead customization

Pacific sanddabs are smaller flatfish that grow between 5 and 16 inches. They’re a favored prey fish of large halibut, lingcod, grouper, and other large bottom fish. At 10 inches, Real Fish 10-inch Sanddab is a perfect mimic for a large halibut’s prey.

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Lure Features

The lure is made to mimic a real sanddab. It sits on the bottom and moves like the real thing, and the soft plastic is made to feel like real fish skin so the fish keeps it in their mouth longer. 

Real Fish sanddab lures clock in at 10 inches, meaning only larger fish will try to prey on it. Its tail provides realistic action while it skates across the seabed. 

You’ll of course need to add a jighead to make the lure functional, but any kind will do. Even with the realistic sanddab mimicry, the jig head and hooks are left up to the angler.

When to use it

The best place to use this lure is over sandy or muddy bottoms where the sanddabs usually live. It can be fished at any depth, even up to 300 feet where the big halibuts hunt. This lure is one of the best choices for anglers looking for a huge halibut.

6. Dr. Fish Squid Teaser

Best Premium Option

Dr.Fish Saltwater Fishing Lure Trolling Squid Offshore Teaser Bait 6' Built-in LED Light Mahi Sails Tuna Wahoo Marlin White
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KEY FEATURES

  • Hook variety.
  • Built-in LED
  • Slow troller
  • Lifelike squid
  • Multiple deep-water species
  • Vinyl body
  • Glow skin
  • LED Color Choices

Dr. Fish Squid Teaser is a great choice for slow trolling over halibut holes. While many people will anchor to entice halibut bites, pulling these squid over holes at depth is another option. This lure will also attract other fish such as lingcod, so it’s a good choice for fishermen who want to drift over known holes to see what might be biting. 

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Lure Features

The Squid Teaser mimics squid swimming through the water. Squid are a prey species for quite a few species of fish, so while it isn’t specific to halibut, halibut and other bottom fish will strike it.

It has built-in LED lights and a glow-in-the-dark body. It’s made to attract fish in deep and murky water with low visibility. The combination of glowing features makes sure the lure stands out while trolling.

While the lure comes with more than one color LED, it can also come with different hooks. Both J-hooks and circle hooks are available options. Circle hooks require the angler to be more patient and allow the fish to eat the bait but result in a lip hookup instead of gut-hooking the fish. J-hooks snag more immediately than circle hooks and require less patience, however, they are harder to remove from the fish.

The wire interior will keep the fish from tearing through the line as well. Even if a toothy fish does tear through the vinyl squid body, the wire leader will keep it on the line.

When to use it

This squid lure is a good choice for fishermen who just want to see what’s biting or to test a hole without spending the time to anchor up. You’ll want to troll the squid slowly through deep water while going back and forth over the area you think the fish are in.

7. East Rain Artificial Octopus

Best Octopus Jig

East Rain Artficial Octopus Swimbait with Skirt Tail Lingcod Rockfish Jigs for Saltwater Fishing Big Game (PVC,3.54/7.87/9.45inch,0.81/6.35/9.88oz,Mulit-Colors Option)
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KEY FEATURES

  • Multi-colored
  • Octopus mimic
  • Multiple sizes.
  • Removable parts
  • Reflective eyes
  • Lead head for weight

East Rain Artificial Octopus mimics octopus on the bottom and around rocks. The tentacles are free-floating and will bounce around in the water, and the PVC material should stand up well to hard predatory strikes.

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Lure Features

The lure body itself looks like a real octopus. Match up the colors to either make it camouflage with the rocks for the most realistic look or to stand out for attraction. Both the eyes and material contain reflective pieces which will flash and attract fish.

The head of the octopus has a lead block inside of it to give it weight and allow it to sink. It’s a good choice even in deep water, since the largest one is nearly ten ounces, and won’t take forever to sink to the bottom.

The octopus has removable hooks as well as an additional attachment slot on the bottom for a stinger hook. Adding the bottom treble can help snag fish if they miss the larger one, or get a more secure hookset on larger fish.

When to use it

The best place to use this lure is on top of seamounts and around rocky bottoms where octopus would normally hide. Expect any fish that prey on octopus to be interested, and you should get bites from lingcod as well, making this lure a great all-arounder for rocky areas.

Since the lure comes in three sizes, ~4.5 inches/1 oz, ~7.8 inches/ 6 oz, and ~9.5 inches/ 10 oz, the lure can be used in shallow or deep water. The separate sizes are also a good choice when one size isn’t working, or you want to avoid smaller fish.

8. Diamond Jigs Glow 8oz 8 Pieces

Best Deep Water Jig

Diamond Jigs Glow 8oz 8 Pieces
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KEY FEATURES

  • Glow in the dark
  • 8 oz sinks very fast
  • Retrievable.
  • Deepwater or shallow.
  • Snagging treble hook
  • Fast or slow jig

Diamond jigs work great for bottom fishing since you can bounce them off the bottom or jig them near it. Generally, they’ll mimic injured prey fish struggling to swim, and the glow finish on Diamond Jigs Glow works best in deep water where reflective patterns don’t flash as much.

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Lure Features

The single treble will snag fish when they strike the lure. Bottom fish usually strike hard to surprise their prey, and the treble works well for quick hookups.

The glow finish increases visibility in dark and murky water. At depth, the glow will help attract halibut, since from their perspective they see a glowing object floating up and down. That kind of sight looks like prey squid and fish.

The 8 oz. lure will sink very quickly thanks to its weight and sleek shape. Essentially, this one will take less time to get to the depth you want to fish.

When to use it

This diamond jig is a solid choice for deep halibut holes between 200 and 300 feet. Reflective patterns will still work, but at this depth, they flash less often. Using a glowing bait helps attract fish without a flashing surface.

Use this jig alongside the typical cut baits in deep holes. This size diamond jig can snag fish small and large, so be prepared for a tough fight on the larger halibut.


5 Tips for Catching Halibut

Halibut are a trophy fisherman’s dream, and people travel from across the world to try their hand at catching them. Whether you’re a local looking to get started or just an fishermen looking for a challenge, you probably have some questions about best practices. For those of you who need it, here are five tips that can help you catch halibut.

1. Use different baits.

When you start out your day try as many different baits and lures as possible to see what halibut are going for that day. Different jigs and lures might get better reactions from the fish than others, and the same goes for any bait you choose. Diversifying in the beginning of the day can help you key in on your target species and keep you from missing out on bites. 

2. Fish the right areas.

Halibut love to hang around rocky outcrops, seamounts, and shelves where they can lie in wait to attack their prey. You can take a look at marine charts to look for these areas or do some research on publicly available coordinates for spots. Just remember there can be other boats fishing for the same things on the publicly known spots.

You want to target areas in the right depths as well. Some of the best halibut fishing comes between 200 and 300 feet deep.

3. Use something smelly!

Halibut are bottom feeders, and while they generally are ambush predators, they also use their sense of smell to locate prey. A combination of smell, sight, and vibration will usually have the greatest chance of getting a strike.

Always try to use fresh cut bait if you decide to go that route. Even with lures though, you’ll want to smear on some attractant, or attach fresh or artificial smelly baits to the hooks.

4. Be Patient!

Unless you’re jigging, be patient with setting the hook. Halibut and other flat fish will commonly grab the bait and take off a few yards before fully getting it into their mouth or swallowing. 

Once you see a bite, wait a few moments before trying to set the hook. This will keep you from pulling your bait or lure right out of its mouth and losing the fish. Circle hooks are great for this since they slide into the corner of the mouth when you set the hook, and you’ll rarely lose a fish this way.

5. Hire a guide.

The best way to learn is to ask someone who knows about the topic. Hire a guide to take you out halibut fishing if it’s your first time or you aren’t a local. Not only will they know some spots that have yielded big fish, but you’ll have a better time as well.
Halibut can grow to be incredibly large for most fishing standards. The larger ones are even shot with a .22 caliber handgun before being brought onto the boat because of how much of a danger they can be. For people who don’t have experience handling huge fish or halibut in particular, a guide can help you avoid nasty injuries from the fish flopping on deck.


Questions & Answers

When is the best season to catch Halibut?

Halibut seasons vary based on location since they do live all the way from the Baja Peninsula in Mexico up to the Bering Strait. The best fishing is usually in Alaska, where the legal halibut season typically runs from mid-March through September. The peak season picks up in June and runs through the end of September.

After spawning off the continental shelf in Winter, halibut move into shallower water during the Summer to feed. This makes it easier to locate them, and easier to catch because they’re hungry.

What is the ideal depth for fishing halibut?

Halibut are found in water from 30 feet all the way up to 900 feet, with some even being found in 3,600 feet of water. Ideally, you’ll want to fish on rocky ledges and seamounts around 200 to 300 feet. That’s where the largest numbers and bigger fish will usually hang out.

How big do halibut get?

Halibut grow to be the largest flatfish in the world, with Atlantic halibut being larger than their Pacific cousins. Male halibut are usually much smaller than females. Males will rarely reach 100 pounds, averaging around 60 pounds, while females can reach well over 400 pounds.

Halibut have been observed to reach over 600 pounds, with some being over 8 feet long and 5 feet wide. The state record caught halibut in Alaska topped out at 459 pounds.