Fishing the Pacific inshore for Lingcod and Rockfish
We fished today for Lingcod and Rockfish on the ocean near Westport, Washington. I get to play deckhand aboard the Reel Tight. The weather was pretty nice, with a little breeze but no rain… I’ll take it! The ocean swells were about 6 feet and spaced about 10 seconds apart. It was a little lumpy but there was no wind chop. Luckily the water laid down to about a 4 foot swell by the time we were finished with our trip. It ended up being a great day on the water! Our crew signed up for a Lingcod and Rockfish trip. We cruised north to a few good spots to see what we could find.
Lingcod and Rockfish are super fun on light tackle equipment
We were geared up with light tackle spinning rods with 20 pound braided line. Half the rods were rigged with double shrimp flies tied above a 3 ounce lead, the other half were rigged with one shrimp fly tied above a 2 ounce swim bait.
Black Rockfish swarm around the boat
We stopped to fish around a few rock piles that we marked on the sonar. We found really nice rocky structure and schools of rockfish on the screen. The rock piles jutted up off the flat bottom and looked like they would provide great habitat for Lingcod as well. On the very first stop we got into a school of aggressive Black Rockfish! Everyone was hooked up! We had over 30 nice sized Rockfish on the deck!
I find fishing for Rockfish and Lingcod on light tackle to be one of my favorite things to do in the ocean.
Anyways, I was a busy beaver once we got into the Rockfish. Racing from port to starboard and back again, pulling in rockfish, often two on one line, shaking them off the hook onto the deck only to race back to the next guest. Dozens of Black Rockfish flapping around the deck. It was a circus!
Keep in mind that we were still at our first stop! Eventually the bite cooled off and we went back on the search. Could we luck into another big school of hungry Rockfish today? We stopped at a few new spots and fished. They weren’t as cooperative as before, but did catch enough to finish off just over seven limits of Rockfish. I didn’t mind having a few fillets to take home myself! Limits for all the guests and a fish tacos for dinner! We landed one nice Lingcod while fishing for Rockfish, but needed to get a limit for everyone. One down and eleven more to catch. So off we went looking.
We stopped on one of our favorite Lingcod spots about a dozen miles from where we caught our Rockfish. It was worth the half hour run across open ocean. One after another, the guys hooked up on Lings and I was kept busy by racing around the boat with the net. It was a fairly good catch too, I can’t recall one Lingcod that was even a questionable keeper, plenty of nice fish in the 24” to 32” range.
Lingcod like to hitch hike
One of our guests was battling the last Lingcod we needed to round out a limit, and as I stood by his side, net in hand, staring into the abyss where the line disappeared into the depths, I suddenly saw his small Lingcod come into view with a much larger Ling latched onto it! I encouraged him to slowly and steadily reel the fish up, and as soon as the net was underneath them, the big one let go of its prey and dove right into the belly of the net! What a thrilling end to a great day!