Rock Fish Fishing Tutorial

Rock Fish Fishing Tutorial

Rock fish are primarily the first target species many new saltwater ocean fisherman experience. As implied in their name, Rock Fish can be found clustered and grouped around and near ocean structure and kelp beds.







Depending on their subspecies identification, Rockfish can be found at all depths in the water column—Although some prefer certain water column depths to others. (i.e Blues can be usually be found right under the surface and around kelp patties, while Vermilions prefer deeper water 70ft+)

Primary Diet

The primary diet of Rock Fish are:

  • Anchovy
  • Squid
  • Crabs/invertebrates
  • Octopus

Water Temperature, Tides and Swells.

Water Temperature, Tides and swells play a big role in a successful day. When water temperature dip below 50 degrees most RF will go on jaw lock from the extreme cold.

Fishing is best when the ocean swells are small. Typically bottom fishing gets impacted by large swells and more importantly south swells.

Table Fare

Rock Fish make excellent table fare. When preserved, cleaned and prepared correctly rockfish are a great source of clean protein.


Rockfish live in a variety of habitats. Some live on rocky reefs or seafloors in nearshore shallow waters. Others live on the deep seafloor or in the water column. In giant kelp forests, rockfish hover motionless under the kelp canopy, buoyed by their air bladders. Some species rest on rocks at the bottom of the kelp forest, with creatures like sea cucumbers and abalone.” Ref (www. Rocks, ocean structure and kelp beds are the primary locations where Rockfish will reside.

Popular Local Kayak Destinations

Northern California offer a plethora of locations to target Rockfish that are kayak friendly. Here are some popular local destinations. Advice: For beginners it is important to fish in protective area’s until you become more advance. Area’s that are protective by coves offer good area’s to begin in.


Beginner – Green
Intermediate – Blue
Advance -Red

Central Bay Area

  • Still water cove
  • Santa Cruz/Capitola
  • Moss Landing
  • Monterey (Coral Street and MBK)
  • Half Moon Bay
  • Limekiln State park (Big Sur)

Northern California

  • Fort Ross
  • Albion
  • Shelter Cove
  • Trinidad
  • Fort Bragg

 Central California

  • Cambria (Leffingwell)

Regulations and the Law

California Department of Fish and Game
Sport Fishing Regulations.

Edited 10.25.2015
Version 1.0

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