"Baby Rockfish": Southeast Bank Report

Azarkon

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Aug 28, 2015
1,682
1,280
113
35
California
Name
Joe
Boat
N/A
Date: 6-25-2017

Short version: lots of halfbanded rock fish; not much else.

Long version:

Been out to the Southeast Bank several times this year, the latest being this Sunday, at the request of friends who wanted to rock fish instead of chasing tuna and yellowtail. I should have convinced them to drift for WSB but to some people 100% chance of catching a few small fish is better than 20% chance of catching a big fish.

This was not a particularly successful trip - and Southeast Bank trips have not, in general, been very successful in the summer, because the bigger rock fish for whatever reason move off shore into deeper water, and spots that produce well in the spring and fall become a slow pick in the summer.

However, this doesn't mean the hard bottom areas become a barren waste land. One fish in particular that fully exploits the absence of bigger fish is this little fish, which was holding in large schools at the bank:



I am sure that anyone who bottom fishes in California have caught these before. And every time , including this weekend with my friends, people sniffle and say "poor baby rockfish."

THESE ARE NOT BABY ROCK FISH.

These are halfbanded rock fish, which mature at 4 inches and reach their maximum size at 10 inches. Most fish are around 6 inches. They mature quickly - females at just 3 years - and a six inch fish is most likely an adult. They are, consequently, one of the most abundant rock fishes in California. There is no commercial fishery for this fish due to the size, and party boats do not target them for the same reason.

The reason why I want to make a deal about this, and report on an otherwise unremarkable trip, is because too often I see people shame each other for keeping "baby" fish, and out of ignorance, will almost always discard halfbanded rock fish to avoid the shame of having kept "baby" fish. I had an argument with my friend about this very topic.

I don't think this is right. First of all, 99% of the times when people discard these fish, they are not using a descending device, so the fish end up dying. Second, the logic involved - "I don't want to keep these fish because it's just a baby" - is flat out wrong. Halfbanded rock fish aren't baby rockfish, they're small, adult rockfish, so either eat them or release them correctly with a descending device.

And I also hope, at the same time, people on party boats and at docks will stop shaming other people over these fish. I've seen it and it's just stupid. Halfbanded rock fish is one of the most abundant and least exploited species in our waters. If someone wants to fill a limit of rock fish with them, it's their business.
 
Last edited:

Hismosa

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Oct 15, 2016
2,024
2,503
113
Burbank, CA
Name
Glenn
Boat
20' Skipjack, 14' "buckets"
Not worth the time/effort/money for those bite sized filets. I think you're taking "baby sized" far too literal.
 
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Azarkon

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Aug 28, 2015
1,682
1,280
113
35
California
Name
Joe
Boat
N/A
Not worth the time/effort/money for those bite sized filets. I think you're taking "baby sized" far too literal.
Many more ways to cook a fish than to filet, although I agree that they're not worth targeting. It's like sand dabs - some people sniffle and some people take them seriously. I simply want to correct the image that they're a baby version of another fish, so as to avoid arguments about them at the dock or on party boats.
 

plj46

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jan 7, 2008
6,125
5,389
113
Socal
Name
jim
Boat
24 ft grady white
They're so abundant i don't think i've ever seen or caught one.Where is the southeast bank ?
 

Azarkon

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Aug 28, 2015
1,682
1,280
113
35
California
Name
Joe
Boat
N/A
They're so abundant i don't think i've ever seen or caught one.Where is the southeast bank ?
Numbers I have are 33.35.82 / 118.06.79, but it's a general vicinity. It's south and west of the three oil rigs east of the 150, along the 50 fathom contour.

Every time I've been there I've caught halfbanded rock fish when I stopped on meter clouds. I'm sure others have had the same experience. They're one of the most visible fish on the meter due to their school size.
 
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wils

lazy-ass well known "member"
May 31, 2003
8,858
4,970
113
not a spoiled bitch from san diego
Name
bill
Boat
I hate boats
I simply want to correct the image that they're a baby version of another fish, so as to avoid arguments about them at the dock or on party boats.
You're assuming that everyone at the dock or on party boats is going to read this thread? If not, figure out how to deal with it face-to-face at the dock or on party boats. ;)
 
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cortezpirasea

Pangero
Feb 23, 2012
1,952
1,889
113
la mesa, ca
Name
Russell
Boat
21 ft panga Sea Moan/17 ft gregor Pirasea II
Forget it. People can't even use their turn signals on cars...
 
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sbyaker

Yachty by nature
Sep 1, 2008
304
85
28
Carlsbad/CA/USA
Name
Ryan
Boat
16 Radoncraft Bahia
Every yt I caught on the local deep water spots a few years back were plugged with those things. Nasty sting too.
 
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Pgnracr

Member
Sep 3, 2014
1,577
1,031
113
55
HB
Name
Jeff
Boat
Line up
Yes yellows in winter slam those!!!! So do ling cod
 
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Kennymac17

Newbie
Jul 12, 2016
4
11
3
57
Lakewood
Name
Kennymac17
Boat
Scotts
When I am bottom or rock fishing I am targeting anything that bites. You never know what is really down there, you can catch 10 or more different species. I'm sure I have caught some of these small fish and I hate it but it happens, Check this video
 

cody martin

Newbie
May 28, 2015
54
14
8
24
Name
rubber duck
Boat
the rubber duck
Personally . Biger bait biger fish when Rick fishing. Meening long cod
 

mandoman68

Big Loco
Mar 3, 2008
643
266
63
Aztlan
Name
Mandoman
Boat
Kathleen
They're so abundant i don't think i've ever seen or caught one.Where is the southeast bank ?
I'm my neck of the woods. You starting with that sh it again? Maybe if you were a fisherman you would know. Lol.
 

mandoman68

Big Loco
Mar 3, 2008
643
266
63
Aztlan
Name
Mandoman
Boat
Kathleen
Date: 6-25-2017

Short version: lots of halfbanded rock fish; not much else.

Long version:

Been out to the Southeast Bank several times this year, the latest being this Sunday, at the request of friends who wanted to rock fish instead of chasing tuna and yellowtail. I should have convinced them to drift for WSB but to some people 100% chance of catching a few small fish is better than 20% chance of catching a big fish.

This was not a particularly successful trip - and Southeast Bank trips have not, in general, been very successful in the summer, because the bigger rock fish for whatever reason move off shore into deeper water, and spots that produce well in the spring and fall become a slow pick in the summer.

However, this doesn't mean the hard bottom areas become a barren waste land. One fish in particular that fully exploits the absence of bigger fish is this little fish, which was holding in large schools at the bank:



I am sure that anyone who bottom fishes in California have caught these before. And every time , including this weekend with my friends, people sniffle and say "poor baby rockfish."

THESE ARE NOT BABY ROCK FISH.

These are halfbanded rock fish, which mature at 4 inches and reach their maximum size at 10 inches. Most fish are around 6 inches. They mature quickly - females at just 3 years - and a six inch fish is most likely an adult. They are, consequently, one of the most abundant rock fishes in California. There is no commercial fishery for this fish due to the size, and party boats do not target them for the same reason.

The reason why I want to make a deal about this, and report on an otherwise unremarkable trip, is because too often I see people shame each other for keeping "baby" fish, and out of ignorance, will almost always discard halfbanded rock fish to avoid the shame of having kept "baby" fish. I had an argument with my friend about this very topic.

I don't think this is right. First of all, 99% of the times when people discard these fish, they are not using a descending device, so the fish end up dying. Second, the logic involved - "I don't want to keep these fish because it's just a baby" - is flat out wrong. Halfbanded rock fish aren't baby rockfish, they're small, adult rockfish, so either eat them or release them correctly with a descending device.

And I also hope, at the same time, people on party boats and at docks will stop shaming other people over these fish. I've seen it and it's just stupid. Halfbanded rock fish is one of the most abundant and least exploited species in our waters. If someone wants to fill a limit of rock fish with them, it's their business.
I know that bank well. It fishes better on a downhill current. Avoid clouds of fish, live squid WORKS BEST FOR BIG REDS that live there. Big swells make it tough to fish. Fish the spots that show only a few marks. Afternoon is best. Good luck
 
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