Best Halibut Lures of 2021: Top 8 Tested & Reviewed

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

Last Update:

The Rundown

Best Premium Option: Dr. Fish Squid Teaser (click to see)
“The Squid Teaser mimics squid swimming through the water. It is ideal for slow trolling over halibut holes. Recommended for anglers who want to drift over known holes to see what might be biting.

Best Budget Option: SPRO Bucktail Jig (click to see)
“If you’re looking for a lure that does the job and more for a meager price, the SPRO Bucktail Jig is definitely for you. It’s durable, effective, and there are many sizes and colors to choose from!”

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

The bait you choose while halibut fishing has a significant 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 halibut 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.

Here are the top 8 halibut lures that we tested and reviewed. We also gave out helpful tips on how and when to use them.

Sources researched
28
Sources researched
Customer reviews
19,208
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
24
Hours spent testing
Products tested
8
Products tested

Best Halibut Lures For The Money

Our Top 8 Picks

Best Premium Option

Dr.Fish Saltwater LED Fishing Squid Lure Trolling Baits Offshore Teaser Bait LED Deep Sea Flasher Deep Drop Light Tuna Halibut Rig Light Attractant Swordfish Light Saltwater Tackle White 6in

Dr. Fish Squid Teaser

Best Premium Halibut Lure

Slow troller

Lifelike squid

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Best Budget

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

SPRO Bucktail Jig

Best Budget Halibut Lure

Tail hairs

Fresh bait or scent addition

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Best Shallow Water Lure

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

Rapala Saltwater X-Rap

Best Halibut Lure For Shallow Water

Mimics prey fish

Rattler for increased attraction

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

REELdiculous Smoker

Best Overall Jig

Reflective shape and eye

Kevlar assist line

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Best For Big Fish

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

Real Fish Sanddab

Best Lure For Big Halibut

Soft plastic feels like skin

Hook and jighead customization

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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)

East Rain Artificial Octopus

Best Octopus Jig For Halibut

Reflective eyes

Lead head for weight

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Best Deep Water Jig

Diamond Jigs Glow 8oz 8 Pieces

Sanhu Diamond Jigs Glow

Best Deep Water Jig

Glows in the dark

Snagging treble hook

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Best For Most Anglers

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

Big & N Grubs

Best Halibut Lure For Most Anglers

Fish mimic with tail

Glow body

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Best Lures For Halibut 2021

Here are the best halibut lures that should be in your tackle box:

  1. Dr. Fish Squid Teaser
  2. SPRO Bucktail Jig
  3. Rapala Saltwater X-Rap
  4. REELdiculous Smoker
  5. Real Fish Sanddab
  6. East Rain Artificial Octopus
  7. Sanhu Diamond Jigs Glow
  8. Big & N Grubs

Dr. Fish Squid Teaser

Best Premium Option

Dr.Fish Saltwater LED Fishing Squid Lure Trolling Baits Offshore Teaser Bait LED Deep Sea Flasher Deep Drop Light Tuna Halibut Rig Light Attractant Swordfish Light Saltwater Tackle White 6in

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 anglers 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 fish species, 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, resulting 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. So 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 anglers who want to see what’s biting or to test a hole without spending the time to anchor up. Instead, 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.

SPRO Bucktail Jig

Best Budget Option

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

KEY FEATURES

  • Up to 11.5 oz
  • Most affordable 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 most significant 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 the right out of the box, making them easy to use.

Aside from the eyes and dots 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 with 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.

Rapala Saltwater X-Rap

Best Shallow Water Lure

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

KEY FEATURES

  • Fast sinking
  • Mimics prey fish
  • Multiple color options
  • Rattler for increased attraction
  • Dual treble hooks

Rapala X-Rap Halibut 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 anglers 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 strike. Instead of having to wait for the halibut to get the bait in its mouth, these hooks will immediately snag it. Make sure to get a robust set, but beware that foul-hooking the fish can make it a much more brutal fight.

Working the lure through the water mimics an injured prey fish, and the internal rattle helps attract fish with its vibration. Then, 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 fishing, 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 an excellent choice for long-casting for a dinner-sized halibut.

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

KEY FEATURES

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

The ideal halibut 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. This jig can be a great option for anglers regardless of target species, whether fishing shallow or deep.

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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 solid materials and parts are made 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 you can change it based on the depth you want to fish or if the fish aren’t biting a particular color. Its shape and finish help its reflectiveness at depth, and the reflective eye helps attract fish and mimic prey.

When to use it

This lure takes the spot of best overall simply because there isn’t a wrong time to use it. Halibut 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.

Real Fish Sanddab

Best For Big Fish

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

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 Sanddab is a perfect mimic for a large halibut’s prey.

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Lure Features

The halibut bait 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. You can use it for halibut fishing 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 giant halibut.

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)

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 make it camouflage with the rocks for the most realistic look or stand out for attraction. Both the eyes and material contain reflective pieces which will flash and attract fish.

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

The octopus has removable hooks and 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 the seamounts and around rocky bottoms where octopuses would typically hide. Expect any fish that prey on octopus to be interested, and you should get bites from lingcod as well, making this lure an excellent 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, you can use the lure in shallow or deep water. The different sizes are also a good choice when one size isn’t working or you want to avoid smaller fish.

Sanhu Diamond Jigs Glow

Best Deep Water Jig

Sanhu Diamond Jigs Glow 10oz 6 Pieces

KEY FEATURES

  • Glows in the dark
  • 10 oz sinks very fast
  • Retrievable
  • Deep water or shallow
  • Snagging treble hook
  • Fast or slow jig

Sanhu 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 the Sanhu 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.



Big & N Grubs

Best For Most Anglers

Sanhu 12' Big & N Grubs Glow 2 Packs 2 Pieces/Pack

KEY FEATURES

  • 10 inches
  • Made to catch 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 anglers looking for only the biggest halibut in deep water. 12-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

These halibut lures come plain, so it will be up to the angler 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. 

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 excellent since it’s best fished in deep water.

The total length of the lure is ten inches, which is fairly large. Therefore, 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 seamount’s big halibut hang out. 

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


5 Tips To Catch Halibut

Halibut is 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 a fisherman 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 your day, try as many different baits and lures as possible to see what halibut are going for that day. Various jigs and lures might get better reactions from the fish than others, and the same goes for any halibut bait you choose. Diversifying at 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 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 correct depths as well. For example, 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. Therefore, 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 halibut 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 flatfish 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 halibut 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 of 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 dangerous 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 live from the Baja Peninsula in Mexico up to the Bering Strait. The best place for halibut 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 moves into shallower water to feed during the summer. This makes it easier to locate them and easier to catch because they’re hungry.

What is the ideal depth for halibut fishing?

Halibut are found in water from 30 feet 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 globally, 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.