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Thread: Rockfish fishing...

  1. #1
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    Default Rockfish fishing...

    I'll be in a bay north of Cordova in late August looking to get into some rockfish on fly and spin gear. I have never fished the ocean, a huge bay, or any water deeper than like 50ft....so I'm a bit overwhelmed looking at the topo maps and wondering where in the world I'll fish...which brings me here...

    I've heard/read that rapalas, spoons, and twister tail jigs all work well, I'm guessing that streamers for flies would work too. Also read that islands are great spots to look for them.

    Do I just look at the topo and my surroundings, find an island, and start working it from shallow to deep, working the bottom few feet of the water?

    What should I look for structure or land wise and what are some good methods for catching rockfish? Just jigging? Do they like the classic rapala twitch, twitch, reel, twitch, reel, repeat action? What lb test line is recommended (pretty sure we'll use 20lb power pro unless higher lb test is necessary)? Do rockfish generally hang around other fish that are fun to catch?

    I've been doing some searching online but most of what I find is guide information and not much on how to do it yourself. We'll be out there on our own so hoping some of you rockfishers can help me out here.

    Any links or articles are always welcome too.

    Thanks!

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    Member TWB's Avatar
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    Fishing from Whittier, honestly I've never fished and caught any rock fish consistently in any type of area. I've caught them all in all kinds of water. Average 50-100ft and flat, ANYthing shiny. I like using my Lamiglas w/ baitcaster... drop it to the bottom and jig your way back to the top. Might take a few casts but it always produces.
    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

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    In short, you`ll be looking for rock outcroppings and fishing 60' or less if you intend to catch and release. If you are playing for keeps I would recommend jigging spoons, jigs, bait in deeper water adjacent to a shelf or structure. Keep in mind you could hook into a halibut in the process so go prepared with stout line (20-50#) with a leader as the rockfish are abrasive and a Ling would destroy light line.

    I`m sure others will chime in...

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    Pinnacles. On top of and along side.

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    Member garnede's Avatar
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    Read the most recent Fish Alaska Magazine. They had a good article about fishing for rockfish with light tackle in shallow water.
    It ain't about the # of pounds of meat we bring back, nor about how much we spent to go do it. Its about seeing what no one else sees.

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    Topos show features of land, charts show features under the water, so you want to look at nautical charts.

    Look on the charts for underwater pinnacles, or steep drop offs. One of my favorite spots drops rather steeply from 50' to 2000'. Start on the high point of the pinnacle or "cliff" and drift into deeper water. If you start jigging before driffting over the shallowest spot you run a very good risk of snagging your tackle and loosing it.

    Rock fish aren't terribly picky, I've caught them on a variety of jigs, crippled herring, butterfly jigs, lead heads, shad, and on baited circle hooks. I often cut a small piece of herring and put it on the jigs hook to add some scent. I also like to run a second hook about 18" from the jig and have found one of the small gulp herring shad on that hook really nails the rock fish.

    As far as depths, you can get into black bass in 30' of less as they swim in the open water colum and don't hang to the rocks, or you can be down to 200' for the yellow eyes.

    If you haven't gotten a bite by say the 3rd drift, it's time to try out some other structure.

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    Thanks for all the info, sounds like we should be able to find them and get them to bite pretty easily. All this deep and open water stuff is new to me and I really appreciate the help! I've only got one chance to hit up AK (at least for a long while) so I'd like to have as much knowledge and tips going into it as possible.

    As far as keeping or releasing, we don't eat a whole lot of fish really, but will be keeping a bunch of cohos, my guess is we'll eat at least one rockfish just to see what they taste like (as long as the regulations allow for it), and the rest will be released (unless they're better than walleye! ).

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    Rock fish have swim bladders, and those bladders expand when they are pulled up from the deep. So you can't just drop them back in the water and have them swim off. If you don't intend in to eat them, you're advised not to catch many of them.

    That said, they are excellent eating and I can't imagine throwing them back. They don't yield a tremendous amount of meat. The silver gray rockfish is the only one that has a so so taste, the rest are excellent mild white fleshed fish.

    Also when fishing deeper, and with moving tides, you'll need to use heavier jigs. I rarely use anything smaller than 3oz, and often run 12 oz jigs to hit bottom.

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    Thanks for the swim bladder info, that's real good to know. If that's the case, then I'll plan on keeping what we catch if it's very deep at all, no sense in any fish going to waste.

    I know lake trout, for instance, can be burped to release the air, is it the same for rockfish?

    3oz jigs wow, and I can't even imagine a 12oz one!!

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by FishnPhil View Post
    Thanks for the swim bladder info, that's real good to know. If that's the case, then I'll plan on keeping what we catch if it's very deep at all, no sense in any fish going to waste.

    I know lake trout, for instance, can be burped to release the air, is it the same for rockfish?

    3oz jigs wow, and I can't even imagine a 12oz one!!
    And some of my jigs are 16oz. Depending on where you are the current can rip @ 5 knots.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by FishnPhil View Post
    3oz jigs wow, and I can't even imagine a 12oz one!!

    I have a couple of 24oz leadheads. If it doesn't work right away it is time to change, one heavy jig

    Personally I don't like to keep more black rockfish than I will eat fresh. Just doesn't seem to freeze well to me. Yelloweye freezes good.

    Check the regulations good. There are different limits for different rockfish.

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    Member garnede's Avatar
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    Check out fich and games wildlife notebook series. They have a listing for rock fish. Also here are the regulations for PWS. Note that there are diffrent regulations on pelagic and non pelagic species of rockfish. There is an identification chart on page 10 of the regulations but I can't seem to find a link that includes it.
    It ain't about the # of pounds of meat we bring back, nor about how much we spent to go do it. Its about seeing what no one else sees.

    http://wouldieatitagainfoodblog.blogspot.com/

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    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    They are great for the kids to catch. They are pretty easy to find if you spend a little time studying a map. Kelp beds, pinnacles, outcroppings ETC.
    These would be the first places I would look for.
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  14. #14

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    I will hook you up.....pm me.....
    BONEYARDBAITS THE BEST HALIBUT, ROCKFISH GRUBS ON THE PLANET....''06'' WORLD RECORD LINGCOD ''08'' HOMER HALIBUT DERBY WINNER''. BOTH FISH CAUGHT WITH BONEYARDBAIT GRUBS WWW.BONEYARDBAITS.COM

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    Would I be out matched with a med/heavy rod and 150 yards of 20lb braided line?

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    Default Nope

    That would do just fine.

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    Sounds like a perfect setup, and with the thinner line you can get away with somewhat lighter jigs. Just be aware that while fishing for rockfish you might hook somethang that eats rockfish.


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    What is that?! I'd like one of those too!!!

  19. #19

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    Nice Ling!

  20. #20
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    That's a decent sized ling cod, it went about 44" and 40 pounds. They have to be over 35" to be legal, big ones approach 100#'s. I was using a seeker blue lighting rod, shimano tld 20 backed with 80# dacron and topped with 300 yds of 50# power pro. A great setup for lings and halibut, but a bit heavy for rockfish. But since you never know what you'll be hooking into, it's a good idea to have a rod/reel that will handle whatever you hook. It would have been a long fight with a lighter rig. Even with the drag cranked down it made a couple of good runs.

    Here' s a yellow eye rockfish taken in the same area as the ling, in Prince William Sound.


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