So, you’ve been wondering how to catch rockfish from shore.
The idea may seem intimidating for a beginner but there are certainly ways to make this happen… And easily!
If rockfishing from shore is something that fascinates you, then stick around. This is all you’ll ever need to start catching the best rockfish and without too much of a struggle, either.
All set? Let’s get you started with this exciting angling experience!
Insider Tips On How To Catch Rockfish From Shore
First things first – you need to make sure that you are at the right location and have all the tools you need to get started. Some places may be classified as “marine protected”, so it is best to know for certain where to head out. That’s the ultimate starting point when learning how to catch rockfish from shore.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at these tips on how you can bag the best rockfish like a pro!
1. Figure out the best place to go.
Visit the Department of Fish and Game site to know which areas allow you to fish. As we’ve mentioned earlier, there are marine protected locations. So, to avoid any legal issues, you should check in with that authority to know you’re in the clear.
Once you have done that, you can do your research on the rockiest location – but it must be accessible for you. Naturally, these are spots to catch rockfish. But then, there are perils that may come your way, which can make it harder to fish.
After all, jagged rocks are great locations as rockfish frequent such areas. But at the same time, you may have some difficulties accessing the area with such challenging conditions.
A rule of thumb is to find a spot with low winds and calm swells. Don’t head out if the swells are over 4 feet or the wind is over 15 miles per hour. These are treacherous conditions that will not only make it harder to fish but can be very dangerous, as well.
2. Get the right tools.
When you have found a great spot to go rockfishing – and the conditions are favorable – then you should prepare your tools.
For instance, we recommend a 7 to 8.5-foot rod for rockfishing. Make sure your rod has a decent backbone to it that it can handle the tough pull and drag from your fish.
Some experts even go for the Shimano Spheros SW5000 reel and a 30-pound braid, which are excellent combinations for a powerful fishing tool for such mighty fish.
Aside from these, you would want a high-low rig, preferable 3 to 6 ounces coin weight. As for the hooks, you can expect great success from hook sizes between 1 and 2/0.
Don’t miss out on the leader, which should pass at least a 25-pound test. This should suffice when pulling weights or hooking your fish out, in case it gets caught on rocks or other obstructions in the water.
And lastly, another thing to add to your tackle box is the right bait. For rockfish, they find shrimp, anchovy, and squid irresistible. Frozen baits also work, which gives you quite a few options.
3. Apply the right techniques.
Now that you’re all set with your tools and found the perfect spot, let’s talk about techniques.
Locate the calmest and deepest spot you can find and cast into it. Just stay still for 10 minutes without shifting the weight at all. If you keep moving the weight, chances are, it will only get stuck in a crevice.
The drag set should be set to a maximum. Then, if you feel a bite, you can set your hook and quickly reel in. Hold up high your rod tip, so you won’t end up snagging things.
But what’s easier is when you go rockfishing in calmer water. You can simply use a 1-ounce weight and fish vertically to minimize risks of snags.
4. Be prepared for varied conditions.
When rockfishing, you’ll never know what might come your way. There are tough conditions, which can lead to losing your tackle.
With this in mind, you have to be prepared for the worst. Bring spare leaders, weights, and hooks at all times. After all, you never know when you might snag your tackle. Thus, the last thing you want is to lose your chances of a catch because one of your important tools is gone.
Moreover, you need to use swimbaits only when the wind and water conditions are calm. You should start off with a ¾-ounce jig head. If you go too heavy on the swimbait, you may not get the best results.
On the other hand, use a 1-ounce jig head when the water is quite deep and the winds are rather high. This way, you can maintain the tension through the rod, line, and lure. Then, you will be able to feel more efficiently when there are bites or some structures caught underneath.
5. Practice caution when casting.
When you cast, allow the swimbait to drop to the ocean freely. But at the same time, make sure you maintain a decent tension on the line. Give your jig a quick pop when you feel that it has hit the bottom. Then, retrieve slowly and steadily.
Do your best not to drag the bottom. Otherwise, you have a higher risk of snagging it. For about five seconds, retrieve in a slow and steady manner. Then, have the swimbait hit the bottom once more.
Cast around on other waters just to figure out what works best. More frequently, the fish bites on the swimbait and keeps it for a while in its mouth for about 5 seconds. When this happens, never ever set your hook.
Just feel some resistance and weight after the first bite, set your hook hard while reeling down. And voila, you’ll get yourself a rockfish!
Additional Tips To Keep In Mind
When trying to catch fish from shore, you would want to experiment with different jigs and baits.
For smaller fish, natural bait works. But when you want larger ones, you should definitely opt for metal jigs. Then, you can target some rocky structure in about 300-foot depths. Some anglers gain amazing success using the flat fall by Shimano and double assist hooks added in.
Others prefer to use colorful metal jigs, which also prove to be effective. Some even go for the soft plastic-tailed jig with a lighter color.
And another thing – fishing vertically with the right jig goes a long way. Anglers swear by this technique and how it works each time.
Drop it to the bottom before you wind it upward at a decent speed – not too fast, not too slow. About 10 turns of the reel handle should do it before you drop it back down once more.
Learning how to catch rockfish from shore can be an overwhelming feat for those who have not tried this before.
However, the rewards are great, especially in pursuit of a robust, massive rockfish.
With the right tools, techniques, and the perfect location, you can gain success in catching this elusive fish. And who knows, this might be an angling activity to get you hooked… No pun intended!