White fish- err... Rock fish open short report

Discussion in 'Southern California Inshore & Islands Fish Reports' started by Azarkon, Mar 4, 2019.

  1. Azarkon

    Azarkon I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    So, fished Tanner banks over the rock fish open, you can probably figure out how since only 1 or 2 boats made it out there. This was my first time actually doing BOTTOM FISHING at the bank, so it was an interesting experience and one more checked off my list.

    I didn't take any pictures because it was raining, and my cell phone is not rain proof. You can probably find pictures else where, so I'll focus on the information:
    • Fished several spots from 120 feet to 240 feet
    • GIANT white fish every where, 5 to 10 pounds on average, a couple pushing more
    • White fish were biting *sardines* as well as squid, was hilarious as they were big enough to swallow them whole
    • Almost all the rock fish caught were boccaccio, very few red even at 240 feet
    • A couple of sheep head but neither quantity nor quality was anything to write home about
    • Almost no lingcod - species is DEFINITELY suffering big time across southern California, as even during the rock fish open, most boats didn't even manage to fill a bag limit of 1
    • For those wanting to know ... not much surface action; only yellowtail were caught off the bottom on squid
    Conclusion: outer banks high spots are white fish capital of California. Makes me worry about the future of rock fishing as white fish are fast growing, aggressive, and seem to be pushing other species out of the shallow and medium depths. This is from personal experience over the last two years.

    White fish do start to disappear around 300 feet or so, so it's possible that the rock fish have moved deep to escape the invasion. As it is, though, down south it's increasingly a white fish party from 100 to 250 feet, with a few rock fish thrown in for fun.
     
  2. bazzturd

    bazzturd I fish in the ocean, not the internet

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    I agree on the ling cod fishery hurting. I know you can go get them and I know some sure fire spots, but they used to be more plentiful for sure.
     
  3. SouthBayKiller

    SouthBayKiller I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    Good thing whitefish taste good, especially the big ones!
     
  4. dudeman

    dudeman Member

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    Great report. 10lb whitefish is huge. The Tanner is a hell of a long trip for rockfish. I would have guessed it would be loaded for lack of pressure.
     
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  5. Tin Pangas

    Tin Pangas Skipper

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    i would love to see pics of 10lb whitefish!
     
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  6. Azarkon

    Azarkon I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    Didn't know so many people wanted to see large white fish, I'd have definitely taken a photo had I known that.

    But to give you an idea, here's a photo of a white fish that was claimed to be 17 pounds:

    [​IMG]

    We caught one just like it on the trip.
     
  7. b-reel

    b-reel Member

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    Wow! Didn't know they got so big.
     
  8. ltran0614

    ltran0614 Member

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    Tanner just for whitefish .... I'm going to pass on that. 10 lbs or not LOL
     
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  9. KID CREOLE

    KID CREOLE I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    So one off day at Tanner for Reds and Lings and the future of rockfish is in question, hmmmmmm
     
  10. Azarkon

    Azarkon I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    Actually, it’s part of a trend I started noticing two years ago, but only down south. Don’t want to focus on it too much in a reports thread but I’ve got multiple reasons for thinking we’re in the middle of a major white fish cycle. Ocean temperatures, boat counts, diver reports, personal experience, etc. it all fits. I’ve seen the species expand to areas where you rarely saw them before. Seen massive marks at depth that turned out to be pure white fish. This trip to tanner is just another sample point.

    I don’t think rock fish are in trouble over all. They’re doing fine at deeper depth and up north. But the local ecology in the south is changing. The lingcod depression is the most obvious which everyone now notices. White fish expansion is another that I believe will be noticed more in the future, and it correlates perfectly with known facts about the species preference for warm water.

    This has implications for how bottom fishermen should adapt but it’s another topic for a different time.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
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  11. the SLIDER

    the SLIDER https://multimediabylj.com

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    That's what she said. :eek:
     
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  12. KID CREOLE

    KID CREOLE I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    Over the last 5 years I have noticed a surge in local Reds. I have fished OC, LB and SMB areas for 45 years. In the last 5 years we have had quite a bit of warm water. During this same time I have noticed unreal surge in local reds, chuckleheads and olives, I cant ever remember this growing up. There have been days where it was possible to catch a limit of reds on the smaller side 2 to 3 lbs in less than 80ft of water locally.
    In fact one of the biggest reds I have caught locally occurred in 74 degree water on a swim bait
    IMG_20160711_222055.jpg
     
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  13. jigfisherman

    jigfisherman Well-Known "Member"

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    This guy is always spewing out bad info bc I have too seen more reds locally than ever. Shit we can even make long drifts over hard bottom and catch them while they are chasing bait. Sorry things aren’t as easy with the amount of people we have fishing today
     
  14. stangclassic66

    stangclassic66 USCG Master

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    Wait so whitefish taste like shit or are they decent table fair?
     
  15. CaptJgray

    CaptJgray I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    seen more reds and lings in the last several years than I have ever seen. and seeing them in increasingly shallower areas. to the point where some of my best calico bass spots are overrun with short lings...
     
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  16. Azarkon

    Azarkon I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    I can see arguing about red numbers, but lingcod? You know they just halved the bag limit in our management region? I have never seen lingcod this bad before, but granted, I wasn't boat fishing during 1999 when they declared an emergency on the entire complex.

    As far as reds go, is it better than a decade ago? Absolutely, because rock fish numbers are up on the whole. But lately, I've been noticing that white fish are taking over the shallows off shore. But we'll see, I had the same instinct about lingcod decreasing two years ago. I'm not saying reds are going the way of the lingcod since I can still catch plenty when I drop deeper, but that white fish numbers from 100 to 200 feet are alarming.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
  17. SouthBayKiller

    SouthBayKiller I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    I think as good or better than other cod. The only thing that sucks is they have a line of pin bones down the middle of the filet, so when you cut them out you end up with 4 filets per fish. On small ones its 4 tiny filets, but on the big ones it works out well. At least that is my take on it.

    Also add in that the bigger ones pull pretty damn hard. If they are shallow its really fun to fish them on light tackle like bass gear with a slider and strip.
     
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  18. CaptJgray

    CaptJgray I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    hell no....
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    they reduced the salmon grouper limit to 1 during that time, there was definitely no need for that drastic of a reduction.

    I am only going off of what I have seen since 1990 when I first started working on boats. We would fish cods every winter. If we caught a ling it was special, now not only can we target them but the amount of sub legal fish in less than 100' of water is incredible.
     
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  19. fishkilr

    fishkilr on the water

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    At least he's consistent....
     
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  20. Azarkon

    Azarkon I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    Where do you fish? My usual hunts aren't producing nearly as well as they were before, and I noticed the same drop off from party boats at pretty much all the islands. This lingcod decrease has been extremely visible this past year, so I can't understand why we have such different perceptions.

    Just three years ago, I remember pulling in easy limits during fall and winter at the Channel Islands. It wasn't hard - you just went to the right area and they'd bite almost anything, it was more about getting a 15 pound fish than getting a 2 or 3 fish limit. Past two years it hasn't been like that at all, and past year it wasn't even close.

    Just to make the point:

    2013 lingcod sport fleet totals: 37028
    2014 lingcod sport fleet totals: 37237
    2015 lingcod sport fleet totals: 51909
    2016 lingcod sport fleet totals: 61273
    2017 lingcod sport fleet totals: 44736
    2018 lingcod sport fleet totals: 27719

    It's the lowest it's been in six years.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019

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