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California fishing in the Pacific Ocean for Rockfish

Posted by on September 22, 2019

After having fished for Rockfish and Lingcod for years and years on party drift fishing boats, I should know what I’m doing out there on the ocean. Well, I think it’s time to catch some fish! I’ve put quite a bit of my time and effort learning how to fish this style that I’m not going to lose any lines or hooks. Well, maybe… no one’s perfect since an odd rock or hole at the ocean floor will get me snagged and break off my line but then again, that’s fishing. At the very least, I’m going to get my limit of Rockfish and I usually do it pretty early compared to other people. But catching a Lingcod? Heh, that’s a different story altogether to where they get really picky at times that they don’t always take the hooked bait on the first cast or drift. Something has to really catch their attention to get it bite, kind of like Pike in freshwater. For years, I never caught a double-digit pound Lingcod as they’ve always been in the 2-8 pound range until last year when I reeled in a 14 pounder! Maybe now I can catch them more consistently… since I finally caught a double-digit Pike this year!

The good thing about Rockfish is that there are plentiful numbers of them so taking some to harvest is not entirely a bad thing. It also helps that they taste great for the dinner table so it’s not a numbers thing at all but it’s more of a taste and food aspect. Some people enjoy Rockfish sashimi which is quite good as well if you’re into that kind of thing. Freshly caught is the best way to enjoy them. And there are some people who cannot wait to go back home that they will eat fresh fishmeat on the boat! Just minutes after catching a fish, the crew will bust out the soy sauce like they did in Costa Rica!

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I know that it’s kind of hard to see but there’s a day’s limit of 10 Rockfish in there in that bag. Some fairly big.

On this trip, the sun was not out but it was more cloudy and some wind which was bringing in the swells in the waves which made this trip a real fight with your mentality and balance. I think having that hurricane down in Baja California was bringing these odd conditions which really should have been sunny and calm. Instead, people were puking left and right due to the rocking of the boat making it a real challenge for everyone to maintain their composure on both their feet and stomach. Nevertheless, I limited by quickly catching 10 Rockfish within 1-2 hours so it was like second nature to me. Got food for the dinner plate so I basically finished the day helping other people catch fish.

Tip: Take anti-motion sickness medications or patches the day prior and the morning of. I forgot how rough the ocean can be after mostly fishing in freshwater or in ocean conditions which were light on the swells. People were vomiting and/or passed out in the cabins. Even I dry heaved a few times with nothing but air. I immediately felt better but other people – man, they were suffering badly.

Tip: For cooking Rockfish fillets, put some flour and black pepper on both sides and cook them on high for about 2-3 minutes on each side (depending on how thick the fillets are). The flour helps keep the moisture inside and the black pepper adds a bit of flavor. Because these are ocean fish, there is no need to add any salt because in a way, they have their own internal salt to them. The meat should be soft and moist. If not, then it means that you cooked them too long.

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