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Thread: Rockfish Tackle

  1. #1

    Default Rockfish Tackle

    I was hoping to go out for Rockfish in Mid-late April. Will be the first Saltwater trip in our new boat so more about learning the boat than fishing. I've caught Rockfish while bottom fishing for Halibut on the classic herring circle hook riggings. Is this the recommended set up for going after Rockfish on rocky ledges and other non-bottom locations? I was wondering if I would be better off using a setup similar to mooching for silvers. Planning on Ressurection Bay or close to Whittier for a first time out trip. Let me know if one is better than the other. Part of my thinking was losing the expensive halibut setups in the rocks vs. the cheaper salmon mooching hooks. Also easier to break off the lighter leader.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Member akriverrat's Avatar
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    Default jigs

    work great for rockfish. crippled herrings, lead heads with grubs, big crocodiles. rockfish are ambush predators and like to hide from larger predators, cothing like some good action to get there attention. bait works well too but i believe a jig worked correctly will produce better with less hangups.

  3. #3

    Default rockfish rig

    I assume you are talking about black bass or the likes, not giant ling cod. You can buy innexpensive rigs that have several colored fly hooks on them, with the weight on the bottom. Put a piece of herring/hooligan on each hook then drop straight down, and you often catch more than one at a time. You also catch ling cod, smaller halibut, salmon and such this same way out there, at least we have. The advantage of having the weight on the bottom is that you feel the hit immediately and if you want to release the fish (if it's shallow enough), you can because the fish won't have had time to swallow the bait assuming you set the hook quickly.

    One of the funnest saltwater fishing times is when black bass are surfacing, or finning sort of. I think they are feeding when this happens, but you can cast out and catch them on the surface every cast and it's a lot of fun on lighter tackle, like a spinrod.
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

  4. #4
    Member TWB's Avatar
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    I do all my fishing out of whittier and at almost any given area I can hook into rockfish. I have a major success rate with anything shiny, pixies, spoons...anything. Depending on the depth, 10-15 fathoms I'll just cast it out and let it sink, casting allows a really good settling angle, hit the bottom and jig my way to the top.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

  5. #5
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Lead head with grubs, jigging spoons, rockfish rigs and I like top water lures when fishing kelp beds.

    I go light tackle when fishing for these guys.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  6. #6
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    Default Surface Poppers & Jigs

    When I used to live out in Sitka we would keep our eyes peeled for schools of blacks, "brown bombers", or other rockfish working feed up on the surface. We kept light spinning rods and either poppers and/or crankbaits handy for some hot and heavy light-tackle action. It was a real gas to hook one on just about every cast!

    We'd use nickel-bright colored topwaters that replicated salmon fry or juvenile herring and would nip the third point off the trebles so the small guys were easy to release. (I found that using a small siwash hook worked just as good as the double-points.)

    For fishing on "fishy-looking" pinnacles we would use a two-hook set-up very similar to a sabiki herring jig with your weight snapped on the bottom. The idea was to find marks of fish on your sonar - get your rods set up - then start your drift up-tide from the rock and drift across the rock and jig up one side and down the other. We would repeat the process until we had as many as we needed for the day. It could get pretty hectic if you had three people jigging and the fish pulled one line over into another, but it was fun for the grandkids and the kids-at-heart! Good fishing.

  7. #7
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Here are my rockfish rigs in order of preference
    -an 8 wt (10 if I'm somewhere with lingcod/ halibut) and a lefty's deciever with some t-600
    -a basic bass baitcaster with 14 pound test and a bucktail jig
    -something heavier
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  8. #8
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    I have caught many hundreds of rockfish using a white lead head jig with a white rubber tailed body on it. Just ease along a rocky drop off and cast out toward the rocks and let it settle. Watch your line for it to stop sinking and set the hook. I use very light gear for this with about an ounce lead head. As you are fishing shallow water you can release them with no damage unlike catching them in real deep water where the stomach pops out of their mouth. I do more damage to myself unhooking some of those quill back rockfish than I do to the fish themselves. The little rascals are all spines and they have a slight poison in the spines that can cause your poke to ache for a few minutes.

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    Thumbs up Great advice!

    The advice you're getting is spot on, I'll throw another idea out there. I think the cheapest tackle is big shrimp flies or hootchies. I love to fish for Rockfish, but hate to clean more than my limit. Meter around your pinnacle, and as you drift off the edge where a vertical drop off is you'll find Yelloweyes. I've tied up leaders with 5 shrimp flies, and a sinker on the bottom, and caught 3 or 4 fish at a time! Durring Silver season, you'll get the mixed bag. Best of Luck!

  10. #10
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    one thing I have learned is the big rock fish will tend to stay at the bottom. While the small to med rocks will come to the surface. Sometimes trying to get your bait to the bottom where the big boys are is just about impossible at times. As soon as your lure or bait hits the water there on it. Tons of fun but like the other post what a pain to clean.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  11. #11

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    Just curious, what's the deal about cleaning them? Another question, since there seems to be a large variety of rockfish, are they all edible and good to eat? I'd like to get some in close to the harbor in Seward if possible. Not against cleaning them (yet!).
    Thanks
    Jim

  12. #12
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Thy have spikes and back of there gills are like razors. Built for protection. Good eating just a pain to clean if you have allot of them.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

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