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Nearshore Rockfishing
Part Two: Rockfishing Techniques and Tackle

By: Jim Martin

Do you think there's enough rules and regulations for rockfishing? Wait! There's more! Keep in mind that you can only use 2 hooks total when rockfishing (they can both be barbed, trebles, your choice). Many of the shrimp fly rigs available in sporting goods stores are now illegal, so you'll have to trim these ganglions down to a 2-hook legal status.

Most anglers have switched over to a rockcod rig that combines the proven deadly diamond bar jig for lingcod with a teaser shrimp fly tied above it. Since lingcod are off-limits through the end of the year however, diamond jigs and hex bars will lead to frustration, since you are bound to catch a lot of lings during the closure. This is the height of the lingcod spawning season, when large females come from the deeper water into the nearshore zone and mate with males that aggressively defend their nests against egg-stealers like black and blue rockfish. When these fish are confronted with a bright, jangling hex bar in their faces, they attack it without concern for their well-being. That's why nearshore lingcod fishing is best in the fall and early winter months along California's north coast.

To target the mid-water rockfish like blacks and blues, try lighter tackle. I've been having a lot of fun using a 7' spinning rod with a Shimano 4000 spincasting reel. There's an endless variety of paddle-tailed swim baits that can be rigged on darter-type jig heads in weights of 3/8 oz. to 2 or 3 ozs., depending on the current and wind conditions. For line, I use Berkeley Fireline in the 2-lb. diameter, 6# test weight. This stuff seems to eliminate line twist while allowing you to really scale down your baits to the minimum. The line is so thin it's actually hard to see, yet I've landed 12-pound lingcod on this line.

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