March 07, 2022 3 min read
By Jeff Luzod
Customer Service/E-Commerce Support
The Rockfish season opened up March 1st and I was finally able to make it out this past weekend. On Sunday (March 6) made a last minute decision to jump on the Native Sun out of 22nd Street Landing in San Pedro. The few days prior saw strong winds and swells, keeping the boats at the docks the previous two days. I originally intended to go out of Oxnard but that trip ended up getting cancelled due to the weather up there. Most of the boats south of Ventura County did have an opportunity to get out. I checked the weather late Saturday night for Sunday and saw the opportunity.
We left the dock at 7:00am. Right out the gate conditions weren’t too great. A little choppy on the way out to our first spot but it eventually it did settle down. Once we got to spots, found the wind going opposite the current, making it hard to get set. We started off shallower (200ft+) eventually making it out deep (500ft+). Throughout the day it was steady picking at a mixture of Vermillion, Bosco (greenspotted rockfish), Starry, Boccaccio, etc. Most fish were small but there were quite a few decent ones caught. In the afternoon, we finished the day in the shallows (120-150 feet) catching Whitefish, Sculpin, Sheephead, and assorted rockfish. Last two stops we tried to fill up the bags with more quality but no takers. Almost everything we brought on board was caught on your typical double dropper loop rig. Bait of choice was squid strips and sardines. I ended up the day with a huge Bosco (pictured) and the rest assorted rockfish (Vermilion, Copper (Chucklehead), Starry Eyed, Greenstriped) a few whitefish and surprisingly a limit of sculpin. The boat ended up with 129 Rockfish, 41 Reds, 101 Whitefish, 21 Sculpin, 5 Perch, and 2 Sheephead for 26 anglers.
Leave the spinning gear at home. Bring a medium heavy 7 to 8ft rod and a conventional reel filled up with enough line to get to the bottom (600ft, the maximum depth we can fish in So Cal). If you are fishing deep, I recommend a 2 speed reel as it will be much easier to crank on fish coming from deeper water in low gear. It’s not necessary but star drag reel can get it done as well. If you don’t have conventional gear, you can rent one from the landings for very reasonable prices.
Spectra is not necessary but does give you much better line capacity since it’s much lower diameter than mono and also does not stretch so you can feel your bites better when deep. You definitely can fill up straight mono. You just need enough line to make it to the 600ft depth limit. I usually fill my reels up to the almost to the brim with spectra and fill the rest with monofilament
Bring an assortment of torpedo sinkers anywhere from 6oz to a pound or more. You just never know what conditions you’ll encounter so it’s best to come prepared.
Bring an assortment of hooks. I prefer circle hooks for this type of fishing. Bring any size from size 2 up to a 5/0 or even 6/0. Generally, if you’re fishing shallower for Whitefish and Sheephead, you would need a smaller hook as they do have smaller mouths. It also depends on bait. I prefer to use larger hooks to weed out the smaller fish.
If you would like to save time on tying up rigs you can buy pre made gangions. We offer the Ahi USA Rock Cod Squirts in a 3.5 inch and 7 inch version. They come in two colors (Pink glow and glow). If you are simply targeting rockfish get the 3.5 inch. I would only use the 7inch if you are going after Lingcod or giant rockfish. You can fish these squirts tipped with or without squid.
Lastly artificial lures don’t generally bite well here locally here in LA/OC. But it does work, if you are persistent and work at it, you can entice some of the bigger rockfish and maybe even a lingcod if there’s one around. One method you can do is to tie swim baits or squid like soft plastics directly to your dropper loops. A favorite method of mine is a heavy jig bounced off the bottom. Our Ahi USA Assault Diamond jigs work perfectly with this method, we offer a few colors and sizes from 1oz all the way up to 14. If fishing shallower, you can use our Ahi USA Live Deception Jigs which we offer from 1 to 8oz.
See you on the water!
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