Rockfishing 101

Discussion in 'Fishing Tutorials by Members' started by SeaDawg, Nov 10, 2008.

Share This Page

  1. SeaDawg

    Wow, we have been slamming the rock fish, getting some quality fish. I may have posted this once before, but I couldn’t find it. I wrote another tutorial on bouncing jigs, now I see some questions on the board on Lingcod and Rock fishing in general and where to find these fish, GPS numbers, etc :)

    The trick to doing this is to know where the fish are to begin with. I don't drop ANYTHING in the water unless I have fish under the boat :) I have a decent color sounder and have been playing with it now for over 3 years and over a period of time, I have learned what different colors are.

    My bottom shows red, and of course the thickness of the "red line" indicating the bottom also indicates the bottom hardness. In the bay for instance, the line will be thicker as the "sound" penetrates the silty bottom way more that a hard rocky bottom, which makes the red line thinner, as less sound penetrates the bottom surface. At least that's how it was explained to me.

    So, I also have a decent Chart Plotter/GPS, needs no explanation :)
    In the "chart" mode you zoom in or out until you can read the depths on the contour lines. They are SO charted for you, what could be easier? My favorite contour line is the 656 ft line that runs outside the 9 miles bank all the way south to I don't know how far, I would suspect pretty far :)

    Now, I don't want to fish is 656 feet of water, but this line gives me a constant depth and the line is clearly running north & south :) So I head to just about any point east of this line until I get to a depth that I want to fish in. Let's just say 300 feet. When I get to some 300 foot water, probably a couple miles from the 656 foot line, then I turn north or south and then criss cross the 300 foot depth are by moving east and then back west over it as I go north or south. I predetermine how deep or shallow I will work east and west of my 300 foot depth. If it remains constant (depth) in an area, I will turn sooner than if it looks bumpy.

    Now you got to look for structure, with fish on it. This is very simple, at least after 7 years of trial and error it seems awful easy to me. On my fish finder, when there is a change in depth, there are many things to consider. How fast are you going?? The faster you go, the clearer the picture, but if you are going too fast, you can't stop on the "rock" holding fish. If you are stopped, your fish finder will tell you the bottom is flat, cause your not moving :) I look for large boulders, a sudden 10 foot change in depth, faces of cliffs, etc etc etc. The ocean bottom is just like the horizon. Look around some time and you will see mountians and valleys, rocks and cliffs, you know, structure :)

    As I have already said, my fish finder shows "yellow" for a concentration of rockfish, and the yellow actually touches the red (the bottom, remember) You can actually "see" exactly where the largest concentration of fish is located on the structure. You just need to figure out your own fish finder and go from there.

    The trick is to find the fish, and then get something down to them to eat.

    Now, I have to tell you, if you put a bunch of weight on a line (mono), and a piece of live bait, and drop it down 300 feet, you are going to have a tough time "feeling" the bottom and bites as well. And what do you do if you feel a bite? If you don't get hooked up, are you going to leave your shit on the bottom when you probably don't have any bait on anymore :)

    We use high speed retrieve reels, 6 to 1 mostly. this of course cuts the number of times you have to crank the reel in half from a 3 to 1 reel etc.

    We put 400 to 500 feet of spectre/woven line on some mono backing so as to keep the reel as full as possible without the added expense of the much thinner sprectre, as I mentioned, I am NOT dropping down 600 feet for ANY fish :) Well, maybe I would just once........................................:rofl:

    I put a very simple 2 foot piece of 30 lb mono on the end of my spectre in case I get hung up, the mono will break first, again saving your way more expensive spectre. Some of my buddies begrudgingly switched over to 30 lb after endless needling from me when they lose WAY more jigs than I do :) They were using 20 lb. If you get hung on the bottom, DON”T KEEP PULLING, give the jig some slack ASAP, hopefully the weight of the jigs will cause it to fall from your rock, and if you just give short quick tugs to the right or left, you will save more jigs than you lose 

    Now, just drop a jig on the fish???!!!?!@#%$ It is a fact, that if you drop a jig on that mark, and you get it near the fish, they will slam it. No nibble, no little tap tap tap :)

    If you are fishing in 300 feet of water and you have 10mph winds, you are in for a long day :) It can be done, but after 2 or 3 drops with no fish, most will say fuck it and move on. But, if you stick with it, you can mark the spot, then approach it from down wind/current. As you get right on the spot, tell the guys fishing to drop now!!! Then you keep the boat in gear and idle up wind/current for 20 or 30 feet (adjust for the wind speed/drift) and then just put the boat in neutral. The boat will drift back to the spot they dropped on, and hopefully that will happen just as there jigs hit the bottom. If not, and the boat starts to drift past the spot before the guys are on bottom, I just drop the motor in reverse in an attempt to hold it or at least slow it down. Sometimes reverse will actually take you over the spot again. There are a million variables (learning curve) but once you figure it out, this fishing is a blast. Yesterday we were fishing straight up and down in 300 feet of water, absolutely calm. Very easy fishing with no wind and little drift :)

    IT IS IMPERATIVE TO "JIG" STRAIGHT UP AND DOWN, or at least as close to straight up and down as possible :) Don't let your jig get way out past the boat due to the drift. If you don't get hooked up immediately, or after 4 or 5 jigs, you can drift a little, you may go over the fish, but after a few minutes, you may as well pull back up on the marks and try again. When the jig stops dropping, set the hook. If it was not a fish, that's ok, sometimes it is. Me and Ed figure "jigs don't float", so if ours stop, we assume it's a fish :)

    Now, when your jig hits the bottom and you hesitate for just a second to either MAKE SURE your on the bottom, or reach over to throw the reel in gear, thats when your going to lose the fish :) Think of it in terms of a fish grabbing the jig BEFORE it ever makes it to the bottom :) You don't have time to wonder if your jig REALLY stopped sinking :) Or throw the reel in gear :) When it stops, clamp down on the spool with both hands and set the hook :) Now, the second place your gonna lose the fish is when you set the hook your rod is now pointing straight up in the air because you started your swing with your rod tip to high, my rod tip is an inch off the water when I feel like I'm getting my jig close to the fish :)

    When you find some structure with fish on it, mark it in your GPS and use it for a jumping off point to find more rocks and more fish within 1/4 miles of those.............

    I am pretty good at this, taught by EdTheLingCodKillinMotherFucker, but by no means do we have all the answers :) Please feel free to add to this post :)


    View attachment IMG_0746.jpg

    Last edited: Nov 10, 2008
    basilone and NO4NMTL like this.
  2. @-EZ

    Great post. Informative. Thanx.
  3. Buttchaser

    Nice write up ? What kind of Jiggs are you using :D?
  4. rjrich10

    Dude I need hook up with you. Momma doesn't like any other fish but rockfish and I need to get schooled on this.
  5. Scarleg

    Nice.... best post I've seen in a while.That's why I enjoy the board.
    Wish more people would post up like that Harry
    Thanks dude for sharing
  6. shinerunner

    Good Lord you guys catch allot of rockfish.
  7. SeaDawg

    Ed's homemade jigs of course :) Currently out of stock due to fishing season :)
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2008
  8. rjrich10

    I wish I was that little dude !!!
  9. dbar

    Great thread Harry!!!!! Lots of good info!!!!
  10. tsuriya

    Excellent write up! Fished with Greg at Lupe last week...He said you and Ed were therockcodkillingistmofos around. I hope to fish with you two someday.

  11. sakanabigone

  12. I'M OFF

    As if your pictures were not enough of an insult to our rockfishing ability, you have to splain it word for word.

    Great post Harry!
  13. Professor

    Nice post!
  14. marlyn

    ill be at san miguel saturday testing your hypothesis...
  15. rjrich10

    Thanks Harry the more I read this the more I'm understanding the concept of jigging for rockfish. I have been old school for many years and now it's time to change things up a bit and apply them. Great Read !!!:appl:
  16. Bigfish69

    Great write up,,,only one thing missing,,,recipe for cooking them,,,,i mean duh!:Kick_emoticon:
  17. MikeyLikesIt

    you liar, you have never caught a rockfish in your life. :D

    nice write up pictures required.

    Go get um guys.....get a box of Ed's Jigs and slay some rockfish close to home. Its a relatively cheap fishing trip, close to home, half day adventures that put some good eating fresh fish on the table.

    about a week Harry, I should be healed up enough.....
  18. Steel Leader

    I want to go fishing with you guys. I've been setting hard at the "bottom" for years now and I would say at least 50% of the time a fish is hooked. it's amazing how many guys just hang on to there rods forever hoping for that bite, if I don't get a fish in the first minute, i'm cranking back up to drop again, your story just validates this method, due to your obvious success, BTW those are some friggin beautiful reds in that first pic, good read, pretty generous of you to share deadly tactics like that.:beerbang:
  19. Eye Problem

    Dont listen to Harry. :smoking33:


    Attached Files:

  20. SeaDawg

    :rofl: When we going out dude?????

    Attached Files: