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Event Article: Rockfishing in Central California

Central California Rockfishing: Locations, Tackle, and tips on how to catch (continued)

Location & Depth: The key to any type of fishing is location. Find the right spots and you're pretty much guaranteed to hook into fish. But for rockcod location is even more important than anything else and that's why you won't hear people widely talking about the exact location they caught their fish. No matter if it's a Garmin, Lowrance, Furuno, or whatever brand, one must use today's high-tech tools such as a fishfinder and GPS to locate and mark positions where they see structure at the bottom.


Gopher Rockcod


So what are you looking for on the fishfinder as you slowly cruise around looking for structure? Up and down our coastline there were nice reefs which were pretty much destroyed by bottom trawling but we do still have them around, along with rock structures, ship wrecks, high points, and ledges for the fish to relate to. Rockcod doesn't move around much so once you find these spots, mark them on your GPS and treasure them.


JIP caught this big 10+ pound Cabezon. Look at the awesome patterns on this groundfish


If you're rockfishing out of Monterey Bay, most of the fishable areas does not have much rocky structure on the bottom but there are plenty of kelp beds. Look for those and you'll surely find fish suspended around and inside the vegetation.


If you're after certain kinds of rockcod, depth can play a role in catching them or not catching them at all. For instance, Cabezon tend to like to live in waters 60 feet or less. Any deeper you might never catch a Cabezon. Grass cod also like to live in shallow waters along with a few others. Lingcod, depending on the time of the year, will live in deeper waters but they will come shallow to spawn in the later part of the Summer but that doesn't mean you can't catch them in shallow or deep waters throughout the year. If Vermillion (Reds) is what you sought after then one must fish deeper waters, and the deeper you go the larger these fish will get.


Rockfish comes in all colors and patterns. This is a China rockcod


One must also understand where certain species of rockfish like to stay at, either bottom dwelling or suspended. Here I'll name some species that prefer to sit or swim near the bottom and others that suspend around structure.


Fish the bottom for these species of rockcod: Cabezon, Gopher, Copper, China, Black and Yellow, Grass, and Lingcod


Fish that tend to suspend around structure: Black rockcod, Blues, Vermilion, and Olive rockfish


Next Section: Let's get into the rockfishing tackle 









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