View Full Version : Octopus fishing?

01-20-2010, 05:07 PM
I was reading the regulations for ocean fishing today and a question came to meÖdo people around the SF area or remotely close (+- an hour north or south) fish for octopus? I just went on a squid trip, so my love for catching cephalopods has just exploded. I absolutly love the taste of octopus and wouldn't mind catching a couple of these clever critters. Anybody have any advice, techniques or thoughts on this?

01-20-2010, 06:47 PM
I once caught something that I thought was an octopus off Bodega Head. It had too many arms. I was using a rock cod rig with squid. I also found a dead octopus washed up on the shore at Campbell Cove, one of the most polluted spots in Northern California. (The water doesn't move around very much.) Anyway, that's two that I have come across in the same area without trying.

01-21-2010, 01:12 AM
So you're telling me that we have mutant octopus in the waters of CA...crazy! I know there are some monsters out there though. I was with a group of people one time that found about a six footer in Rockport just north of Fort Bragg. Also I was digging horseneck clams around Tomales Bay and a guy next to me found a baby about a foot long in the swamp grass, so I know for a fact that they are out there. Just curious if anybody used crabs or crab imitations around dawn or dusk to entice them out of their nests. I know the regs say that you must either catch them by hand or on a hook with line. So I just want to know if anybody can shed any light on this.

01-21-2010, 04:56 AM
I've had rockfish puke them up and I recycle them to catch their buddies (rockfish). :-?

01-21-2010, 05:13 AM
Anybody have any advice, techniques or thoughts on this

I have no first hand knowledge but I've seen documentaries where they were catching octopus by placing jars along the bottom for them to find and hide in. It's amazing how small an opening they can squeeze into.

01-21-2010, 06:05 AM
Iíve taken a couple while scuba diving up off of Salt Point. They tend to be solitary animals not sure how successful you would be trying to target them with rod and reel.

01-21-2010, 06:21 AM
I have caught a few large ones(35-45lbs) in crab pots but it is not legal to take them that way .
here is some regs for them

29.10. General.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this article, saltwater mollusks, including octopus, may be
taken only on hook and line or with the hands.

01-21-2010, 08:09 AM
I read the regs and understand that they accidentally get caught in crab and cod traps, but as stated earlier they have to be taken by hand or by hook and line in CA. I Googled Octopus fishing and the only relevant thing that came up that would pertain to legal CA catching methods was a post I saw on a squid fishing forum that said guys in Hawaii would tie a crab on a two hooked jig and drag it across the bottom between 30-200 feet and wait for the octopus to grab them. I'm not sure if using live crabs as bait is legal, but it sounds like the most legitimate way of getting them. The other thing I thought of, was like most posts have stated, octopus like living in containers because it provides them a place of refuge. Would it be legal to set out pots to entice them to live in specific areas, that way targeting them wouldn't be a crap shoot, and then using a hooked rig from a rod to actually catch them? I'm no expert on specific regulations and what's acceptable and ethical, but in my opinion, this doesn't seem like you would be violating any regulations. Since the actual take of the animal was from a rod and hook.

01-21-2010, 11:07 AM
As a diver I have taken octopus and seen alot of other guys get them and the only method that seems to have any real chance is to grab them out of the rocks like lobster.Most divers will not mess with a octopus much bigger then a couple pounds just because of the legs and beak.An octopus that is hooked would seem to be just a snag since they would just sucker themselves to the bottom.and a live crab for bait will make a run into the rocks and be a snag too

01-21-2010, 12:49 PM
Iíve caught several rock fishing. Anything under about two feet I tie back on for Ling Bait. This is the biggest so far, about 4.5 ft long.
http://img718.imageshack.us/img718/5471/octopus.jpg (http://img718.imageshack.us/i/octopus.jpg/)

01-21-2010, 01:06 PM
This is the biggest so far, about 4.5 ft long.

That's a good one!

01-28-2010, 06:26 AM
Well as GC has shown, it is possible to get octy's to go after rock fish flies, so someone in this vast space of fish sniffers has to have something ingenious devised...

01-28-2010, 08:06 AM
Be careful. They're mean. Caught one on a charter once. Deckhand told me he caught one and it ran across the deck and tried to latch on to the skipper and bite him. Needless to say they weren't allowed on that boat...

01-28-2010, 11:09 AM
I'll keep that in mind. I figure if I do end up catching one, my tenderizing bat will most definitely come into play well before I let him out of the net or off the gaff. I've seen the beaks on squid and a 6' octopus...pretty much look like a parrot's beak. Having owned a parrot for multiple years, I'm not about to find out what the bite is like from something 10x the size and strength. I like my fingers attached.

01-28-2010, 11:35 AM
I figure if I do end up catching one, my tenderizing bat will most definitely come into play well before I let him out of the net or off the gaff.

That's not the right way, you're supposed to bite them between the eyes!

01-29-2010, 02:03 AM
I always wanted to figure out a way to consistently catch them for bait. Donít get the incidentals while rock fishing very often. You can buy the 6 to 8 inch ones pretty cheap but the 16 to 24Ē size I like using for Lings, which we usually get when a fish pukes one up, are way too expensive to buy for bait. If someone catches a nice Ling that pukes up a big Octo, usually no one wants the Ling and it goes back but everyone wants the stinky old Octo.
Thought about trying the ancient Jar/clay pot on a buoy method but discovered as mentioned, it isnít legal. Since they are ambush predators and hold in tight cover I would think vertical jigging would be the ticket and is how Iíve caught them in the past but as far as whatís best to use I have no idea. The one in the picture was caught while rock fishing, between Jenner and Fort Ross, in about 40 ft of water, on a whole Squid with a large, pink Hoochi on top for color. That one never came in the boat either, that beak looked pretty spooky and I had no idea where to put the knife to clean the thing.
If you do ever catch one and use it for bait be sure to kill it or it will just crawl back into a rock and hang you up. Their hide is like leather, if you tie them on real good and donít hang up one will last all day. Ling candy.

02-02-2010, 01:30 AM
Hotdog - I've heard that too...but I think I'll stick with a knife or sharp object. I don't necessarily want to put my face so close to a cunning animal. Who's to say that a nasty big one wouldn't just reach around my face and suffocate me...that's not exactly how I want to die.

Gary - great advice...maybe jigging with a whole crab is the thing to do because I know they love crabs. I think it's going to be more like a hit and miss type of thing, but definitely going to be an art form as opposed to a fishing thing.

Here's what I'm thinking...get a legal sized crab. Drill or puncture a hole straight through the shell. Thread your line or braided cable through the crap and tie it off to a jig. Make sure there's a swivel and short leader so the crab can't travel too far up your line. Find a spot that had decent depth and not excessive bottom structure. Drop it down to the bottom and give it a couple cranks up from the bottom and wait for Mr Octy to comes out.

02-02-2010, 08:44 AM
around Monterey while looking for seabass last year and rockfishing, our group of kayakers caught about a half dozen that day off the bottom. Nothing huge, but good bait size.

02-03-2010, 03:01 AM
What were you doing that made you guys catch so many? Bait, tackle etc...Any info would be nice. I'm trying to compile a list of techniques that are most effective so that I can wrap my head around the most successful way to go about catchin some octy's.

02-03-2010, 03:19 AM
The Crab thing could work; you might get some nice Cabizone as well. Every nice Cab Iíve ever cleaned was stuffed full of Red Crabs.
I wonder how Squid Jigs would work?
Be sure and do a post if you have some success.

02-03-2010, 08:13 AM
I had a daimond bar with a strip of squid on it. Other guys were doing the same I believe. The teaser shrimp fly never got hit by octo.

02-04-2010, 06:20 AM
2010 tax return is going to get me a 2010 Prowler Trident 15. If I have any success believe me, I will surely inform the Sniffer of the how-to's of octy fishing. I think I've got my technique designed in my head. A crab threaded through my line with a diamond bar below it and a strip of squid. Even if I don't get an octy, I'm more than likely going to get something big and nasty...and catching anything is better than nothing.

Gary - I had thought about the squid jig idea also. I know the squid massacre them. I read an article about a guy who catches them in the Mediterranean, and he uses a white hanker chief to entice them out of their dens. Apparently, white to an octy is like red to a bull. So something flashy and white just might be the ticket on one of those jigs. I just don't know till I try. This is going to be an evolution of techniques...

02-06-2010, 03:25 AM
Due to our reg restrictions, I don't think any method will account for consistent action. Octopus mostly move around at night and hide in holes during the day. Since you can't set traps or jars for them, you're better off buying it and not wasting the fishing time.