How To Catch The Monsters Off The Coast Of California

By: Daniel Eggertsen

Stretching up half of the western coast of the United States, California has always been a main hub for fishing. Not only do the waters of the Pacific Ocean push up against the California shores, there are also numerous vessels that are available to take anglers out even further away from land.

California fishermen haul in 300 species from the waters of the Pacific each year. However, some of these fish are more frequently sought (and harder to land) than others.

One of the most popular species of fish that is sought in the waters of the Pacific is the California halibut. They can be found year-round in the sand and muddy bottoms of the coastal waters.

They are typically found about 300 feet deep, all the way down the California coast. Each year, California fishermen land approximately 1.1 million pounds of this particular type of halibut.

The fish can get up to 60 pounds, though they are usually between 15 and 30. Because the California halibut is a predator, it especially is attracted to live bait, namely anchovies, sardines, and queenfish (also known as herring).

The standard recommendation is to use a 10 or 12 lb. monofilament and to trim off about two or three feet of line for the leader.

Another popular fish that is frequently caught in California is the Pacific mackerel, which is also called the blue mackerel.

These fish can be found up and down the entire west coast and can often be found in dense schools as a defense against predators. Most Pacific mackerel do not exceed 16 inches in length (and about two pounds), which results in most of the catch being canned for human consumption.

This type of mackerel is extremely common at most of the piers in California, specifically Redondo Beach (near L.A.) and Newport Beach.

The most effective bait is usually live bait, specifically sardines. However, when there is a school around who is hungry, they may go for any type of live bait you cast out. Interestingly, they also tend to be attracted to mackerel as a bait or even a small strip of squid.

The most common rigging is usually a single hook. The line is weighted as little as possible, sometimes with only a small twist-on sinker. They are fairly squirmy fish, which means that they will twist and turn, generally making a mess of your line if you're not careful.

Another interesting thing to remember when fishing for Pacific mackerel is that they are attracted to light shining into the water, which makes them one of the best fish to try and catch at night.

Rockfish are a family of fish that are frequently caught off the coast of California. There are 59 smaller species of fish that counted in the family of rockfish, including yellowtail and boccaccio.

Though many species of rockfish are more common to the Atlantic Ocean, several of the rockfish family are popular in the waters of the Pacific as well. As with most other species, live bait is preferable to artificial bait, particularly sardines and anchovies.

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