Rockfish, or Sebastes, is a genus of fish in the Sebastidae family. Rockfish range from the intertidal zone to almost 3,000 meters or 9,800 feet deep. You will usually find them living benthically on substrates, often around rock outcrops. There are over 100 species of Rockfish with 56 of them common in the Southern California fishing grounds.
Rockfish are very popular with anglers, not only for their flavor profile, but also for the the challenge they represent in catching them. The Channel Islands Sportfishing captains are expert in finding the productive low structure areas and locating where the fish are congregating. Once located, the experts at the helm position the boat so that anglers enjoy maximum access to the strike zone. For more information on booking reservations, call Channel Islands Sportfishing (805) 382-1612.
How To Catch Rockfish
In California, you can have up to 2 hooks per line. You'll see anglers use a lot of different setups for rockfishing...some good, some not so good. The most basic, yet a very effective rigging for rockfishing is the Double Dropper Loop. You'll want to use a pole rated in the 15-40lb or 20-50lb range. For line, use a 25 or 30lb monofilament. Hooks should be in the 2/0 to 4/0 range, and circle hooks are the preferred style of hook to use. You will need lead weights (torpedo style sinkers are preferred) in the 6oz to 12oz range. Video: How To Tie A Rockfishing Rig
Once the rigging is tied, insert the loop through point side of the hole on the hook (VERY IMPORTANT). On the bottom loop, insert the loop through one eye of the torpedo sinker, loop it over the sinker and you are set. Now, attach a strip of squid to each hook. You want the strip attached at the end, so that it flaps in the current. You should not attach it balled up on the hook. It will look more natural and attract more fish if it flaps in the current. When you get bit (assuming you use the circle hooks), DON'T SET THE HOOK! Simply wind up. Once the fish is hooked, don't pump the line (lift and wind down), you run a greater risk of losing the fish if you pump it. Be patient, a slow, steady wind is all that is needed to help you land big rockfish in the Channel Islands.
If you don't want to rig it yourself, you can buy pre-made rigs at the landing. The most useful upgrade is to use braided line on your reel, tie a swivel to the braid, and then tie on the monofilament line from there. You are going to fish in anywhere from 70-300 feet of water. Using the braided line will allow you to feel what is going on deep below much better, resulting in more positive hookups. Good luck and enjoy your time on the water.