View Full Version : Santa Cruz Rockfish report

08-08-2005, 09:27 PM
Long time lurker, first time poster.

First off I want to give a big thanks to Blue Crush for posting those numbers. I picked up a cheap GPS unit from walmart and hit a couple of holes. I have to say having GPS opens up a whole new world to fishing. I was able to mark my bites, map out my exact drift path, and adjust my drift as the currents changed throughout the day. This was my second time fishing the ocean and I am hooked!

I fished from 6AM until 4PM when the skiff was due back. Although the last half wasn't as productive because of the choppy water and wind. The boat drifted way too fast and I couldn't get my bait down because of the current. Would a drift sock help? If so, what size would I need? Also fighting the waves in those tiny skiffs was pretty hairy. A couple of times I almost flipped the boat. :o

I came back with a limit of huge rockfish, not the usual 8-9 inchers, but had most of my catch top a foot. The largest was just a tad over 18 inches. I did try for lings with a small blue hooked in the tail. I had one huge takedown which I fought for about 30 seconds before the ling(?) ripped the rockfish from the hook.

How do you folks fish the kelp beds. Didn't want to drift through them and risk the motor being tangled. I just anchored up next to them and dropped my shrimp flies/grubs/swim baits. No luck though. Also, is there supposed to be an actual buoy at the coordinates for 1 mile bouy? I got out there but didn't see one.

One tip I'd like to share is that I noticed if I reel up the fish really really slowly, they don't get bloated and are quite lively when released, darting away quickly towards the bottom. A majority of my catch were juvenile rockfish that I didn't want to kill. Can anyone verify if the slow ascent helps their survival. I don't want to throw back the little ones if they end up dying.

We usually have an open seat for the skiff rentals so if anyone wants to go in on the rental and try out ocean fishing, shoot me a PM. Also if there is someone out there has an open seat I'd be more than willing to help with launch fees and gas.

Here's a pic of the my 6 biggest fish. My 1 foot + club.


08-08-2005, 09:47 PM
good job on the pic and I like the name ;)
welcome to the boards

08-08-2005, 10:07 PM
Glad to hear you had a good time on the skiff. We did the Capitola skiff a short time ago, and while we had a blast (we are just such unusually fun people :P) we didn't have the luck you did. Next time we'll try the SC skiffs. Thanks for the report, and welcome!

08-09-2005, 07:48 AM
Master Caster what size skiff did you go out in? I had a 12' 6" Port-a-bote I used to go out in! :)

gone fishin
08-09-2005, 08:20 AM
Welcome to the boards Master_Caster

Glad you had so much fun catching rock cod. I'm not here to burst your bubble but just want to give you a heads up before DFG sticks it to your wallet. I can't really tell what kind of fish you caught, but there are 3 Illegal fish out there that must be tossed back. Canary, yellow eye and cow cod rock fish. The bottom photo is a canary.

Be careful and good luck.



08-10-2005, 08:20 AM
I believe what he caught were vermillions. The canary is usually a lot more towards yellow-orange color. I have caught canary out of Santa Cruz, they look quite different. Vermillions can vary from bright red to orange-red.

08-10-2005, 09:03 AM
the fish you have in the pic look like the ones DFG was collecting in Bodega in trade for tickets and the warden was calling them Canarys :-[

08-18-2005, 07:38 PM
Hi Master Caster.

I am proud of you for venturing into the ocean. *I am also
new but my Dad is not new to ocean fishing. *He tells me never to cast into kelp because of snags. *But get close to the kelp and anchor if possible, and then bounce silver colored jigs up and down near the bottom. *There is a man in Eureka we know who always uses home made spark plug jigs for rock fish. *They are simply spark plugs with hooks attached (somehow). *I buy those shiny metalic colored jigs for 4 or 5 dollars because I am lazier maybe.
I talk to divers in Monterey at the Coast Guard pier (San Carlos beach), and they tell me how they raise up from the depths slowly of course to avoid the bends. *People who violate the certain speed of course go to the hospital
but they do not necessarily die. *I would guess that fish
too could avoid death by emerging slowly. *

* * * * *Jim in Los Banos *

08-18-2005, 08:18 PM
I was very thorough when reading over the regs before going out, but out on the pitching water feeling all loopy from the Dramamine, it was difficult distinguishing between lateral lines and caudal fins. The one test that I used was the chin test, that Canaries have smooth chins and Vermillions have rough due to the presence of scales on their chins. I actually did catch a couple of Canaries which I returned to the drink.

The super slow ascent actually does work in keeping them from getting bloated and an added motivation to reel slow was I thought it would give any lings in the area a greater chance to hitch hike on. I did have one ling latch on. At least I thought it was a ling. I fought it for all of thirty seconds before my line went slack. It had ripped the entire rockfish off my hook :o

Big Easy, I believe the skiffs were 17 footers but I'm not sure. A porta boat might be doable early in the morning when its calm, but as soon as the wind kicks up, watch out! If you read another one of my threads, you'll see that I also tried to fish out of my float tube. Man, biggest mistake I've ever made.

Also wanted to say thanks for all the words of welcome from everyone.

Master Caster ;D

08-18-2005, 10:28 PM
If they had scales on the lower jaw your ok. Pretty hard to tell from the color alone.
I use to fish from the skiffs at Capitola a lot. As far as I know there are no actual buoys on the reefs but the guy at the skiff rental use to mark Adams, Mile and Tank House reefs with milk jugs. They are hard to spot on the water and they donít stay long if the waves come up.
I found the best fishing to be on Adams reef and Soquel point bouncing whole squid.
You can drift the kelp beds you just need to pick a drift that will take you back out rather then deeper into the beds. Either work your way in between the kelp and drift back out or pick one of the spots on the edges that will take you across the kelp and back out. Soquel point is a good spot because the kelp jets out following the point and you can make drifts across the end of it. Youíll get more action drifting rather then anchoring because youíll cover more ground. Careful not to get to close in to shore at Soquel though that combination of braking waves and prop fouling kelp can get you into trouble.
After several trips I found that its best just to go for the half day rental and fish the morning till about noon then call it a day. As youíve seen it can get sloppy in the afternoon and even when itís calm the morning bite seems to be the best. Another thing you can do is fish the kelp beds in the morning then fish over by the cement ship where itís a bit more protected in the afternoon for Halibut.
Keep us posted

08-21-2005, 09:50 AM
I have heard so many stories of Lings latching on to a smaller fish that is being reeled in. If this is so common, why don't people just cast and retrieve lures for lings?

08-21-2005, 05:29 PM
Pulper, we've been out for lings 4 times since July, and we've seen LOTS of them hitchhike on a small rockfish. They really do hold on for the most part unless you take their heads out of the water. Allfish had good luck Saturday jigging a rootbeer scampi. Usually we pick them up off the bottom jigging, but sometimes we are reeling in a rockfish and get a hitchhiker halfway up. Really a blast

08-23-2005, 11:51 AM
Me and a couple friends are renting a skiff in SC on Sunday the 28th. It s/b fun! We went out of SC a couple weeks ago and limited on salmon(6 salmon) then came back in and caught some nice rockfish near the lighthouse in about 35 feet of water, just on the edge of the kelp. Mostly blues and reds but one nice 25 inch ling cod too. Most were caught on anchovies. A couple fish on jigs. The salmon were caught on rotary killers w/anchovy. What a great day---if I'd just brought the crab trap we'd of had a Really great day!
I'll post the results of our trip on Monday. Wish me luck.

08-24-2005, 02:29 PM
Pulper - lots of people cast lures for lings.

From shore I like to use 4" or 5" Big Hammer or Fish Trap swimbaits on 1/2oz leadheads.

From my kayak I use 7" Fish Traps on 3oz or 4oz leadheads.

CenCoast Angler - Good Luck!