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>> Rockfish in SF [August 2017 Report] [topic: previous/next]
PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:31 pm
sea_forager


Posts: 204
Location: San Francisco

A lengthy report about my successes and skunks this August.



8/9/2017

Hit up the hole at Point Lobos and fished it for a few hours on an outgoing tide. The bite from baby rockfish and cabezons especially were pretty aggressive but I didn't mind hooking up every 15 minutes or so. This was also the time that I hooked into that large cab that had my poor KastKing Kodiak straight-up failing; the fish snapping my line and taking my rig down to the depths with it. It was thrilling though, knowing that there were substantial fish other than grassies hanging around! Before I headed home I managed to bag a couple of 12"+ rockfish that were promptly filleted, pan-fried, and eaten alongside rice & thai curry.



The two that didn't get away. 12.5" & 12" grassies.


Area: Rocks at Point Lobos [MAP]

Setup:

10ft Ugly Stik / Kastking Kodiak 5000 / 50lb Braid / 125lb anglers clip -> Hi/Lo with 2/0 & 4/0 octopus baitholder hooks -> 4oz & 5oz weights

Bait: Squid & Shrimp






8/13/2017

Long story short: I forgot my shrimp and squid at home and didn't realize it until I was already on the rocks. I had some leftover trout bait and some swimbaits so I decided to see if I could still catch anything. Landed a few baby rockfish on PB mouse tails and lone 6" redtail on gulp. Didn't get any action with the swimbait. I'm just not comfortable throwing swimbaits in that kind of snaggy, clustered environment yet. Went home empty handed but at least I got some swimbait practice in!




That feeling when you trek out to your fishing spot and realize you've left your bait on the kitchen counter.


Area: Rocks at Point Lobos [MAP]

Setup:

10ft Ugly Stik / Kastking Kodiak 5000 / 50lb Braid / 125lb anglers clip -> Hi/Lo with 2/0 & 4/0 octopus baitholder hooks -> 4oz & 5oz weights

Bait: Gulp Sandworms, Powerbait Mouse Tails, Power Grubs, Power Worms (7")



8/19/2017

Decided to do more hiking and exploring for fishable spots around Land's End on this day. I started at Mile Rock Beach around 7:00AM. High tide was around 10:30 and the conditions were way rougher than the reported 3ft swell would have you believe. A large extended family was spread out over every. conceivable. rock. down at Mile Rock Beach, so I fished atop that large cliff and managed to hook into a few BSP in the 5-7" range, but nothing I wanted to hold onto that early in the day. Still, a good way to break in my new Daiwa BG reel!

p.s. the area to the right/east of the cliff at Mile Rock Beach is way fishy. Tons of seals in the morning and lots of visible kelp in between visible rocks. Only one spot to reasonably cast out from into all of that out there, and it's really only reachable on a low outgoing tide, so it'll have to wait.

Walked back toward Sutro from Mile Rock Beach and made my way off the path and through a few (!!!) homeless encampments to finally get to what used to be an old path and outcropping that looked promising. I still think there's some decent rockfishing to be had around here but the cliff juts out too far from where you can safely stand, so casting directly off it would be silly; I wanted something with more of a sheer cutoff, especially one that tapers inward towards the bottom. I may explore around here later to see if I can get closer to shore since the holes around there look very very fishy.

One final spot I wanted to check out before was an area I've seen other anglers cast out from and comes highly recommended from a guy I know that's grown up fishing here in SF. This spot has got plenty of room to accommodate you and a friend or two, casts out into deeper water between two large rocks near some kelp beds that ought to be really productive. Unfortunately the water was real rough this morning but I did manage to catch 3 baby cabs and 3 more perch (redtail and BSP) all in the 4-7" range. Not was I was looking for but it felt good to hook into a few fish. I would 100% come back to this spot and fish it as I know for a fact people pull in cabs, striped sea perch, stripers, and rockfish out of this area. It's not at all treacherous to walk to either! You should definitely give it a look. If you're targeting big fish in this area and are worried about landing them I would advise to fishing closer to low tide since the area on either side of it is very shallow, sandy, and reachable without breaking your neck, so you ought to be able to get your catch up onto shore if the tide is out.

Finished the morning at the Point Lobos spot and again, undersized cabs for days and days. Caught 3 more all around 9-10". I also hooked into two much larger fish, a grassy and another cab, but they both got free of my hook about 1/3 of the way up the rocks which led to a string of colorful language. Still, the fault was my own and not catching them then meant that I could return later and hopefully hook up again.

Nothing to take home but the morning still saw a good amount of action and a opened up my options for fishing different parts of this area. Also my Daiwa BG held up like a champ. Very happy with that reel.

Area: Mile Rock Beach [MAP], NE of the Eastern Trail Overlook [MAP], South of Battery Lobos [MAP], Rocks at Point Lobos [MAP]

Setup:

10ft Daiwa Beefstick / Daiwa BG 6500 / 50lb Braid / 125lb anglers clip -> Hi/Lo with octopus baitholder hooks #2~4/0 -> 4oz & 5oz weights

Bait: Squid & Shrimp w/ Magic Bites cutbait backing



8/20/2017


Weather was warm and sunny and the ocean looked pretty calm so I was excited to get back out to the surf and target some perch and maybe striper, so I parked south of Sloat and walked wayyyy south towards the Fort Funston beach access trail. Never fished that far south along Ocean Beach before (is it still technically OB?) and saw some familiar faces casting out but the bite was completely dead. I was so disheartened by the lack of any action that I didn't even bother to set up my 12ft bait soaker and just moved up and down the beach with a light hi/lo setup.

It was too nice a day to quit yet so I decided to hold onto a couple dozen larger sandcrabs, put them in a bag, head back to the car and then straight back to Sutro and Point Lobos. I didn't have my preferred rockfishing setup, only my crab-snare rig converted to a b8'n'w8, but after a few casts I easily acclimated to putting my bait where I needed to with the longer pole, and I knew if I hooked into anything then I would be able to manage it easily.

I decided to experiment by putting a small bit of Magic Bites shrimp cut bait on my hooks followed by a large live sandcrab hoping the sent and movement of live bait would get the fish excited and damn son, every other cast I was hooking up fish. Most were smaller rockfish and cabs but I finally nabbed a 10" rocky that I decided to harvest when I finally ran out of sandcrabs and switched to my remaining shrimp and squid. The bite slowed but every successive hookup until I left was with a progressively larger grassy, culminating in my last cast hooking up with my PB grassy at 14.75" and nearly 2lbs (1.96). I fished that hole from 4:30-7:30 and walked away with 5 nice rockfish. I only lost one rig this time as well which is a miracle.




Great day on the rocks.





Smallest to largest: 10"/1lb, 11.5"/1.21lb, 12.5" - 1.37lb. Destined for steaming and grilling whole.






The larger ones 14.75"/1.96lb & 13.5"/1.70lb. Filleted and stashed in the freezer for later dinners.



Area: South end of Ocean Beach close near Fort Funston [MAP]; Rocks at Point Lobos [MAP]

Setup:

For the surf:

10ft Cabela's Tourney Trail IM8 / Shimano Stradic Ci4+ 4000 / 30lb braid / 50lb anglers clip -> Hi/Lo with #2 baitholder hooks -> 2oz weight

Bait: Sandcrabs & Gulp Sandworms

For the rocks:

12ft Penn Prevail / Penn Battle II 8000 / 40lb Braid / 125lb anglers clip -> Hi/Lo with 2/0 & 4/0 octopus baitholder hooks -> 5oz weights

Bait: Sancrabs, Squid, and Shrimp; Magic Bites (Shrimp flavor)


8/30/2017

Got to work from home today which meant finishing up as much as I could before the afternoon hit and then headed out to Lands End just before low tide.

The weather was sunny and hot and I figured fishing might be a bit hit or miss but I wanted to check out some other areas and put in more time at the area south of Battery Lobos since that's where I'll be taking some friends on Saturday for the Free Fishing Day.

Mile Rock Beach. Here's the deal. On any tide you can fish off that huge cliff and hook into schools of perch and the odd rockfish; the stretch of beach to the west offers plenty of cast out spots from shore as well, but it's the jagged, rocky, kelpy area to the east that you should look at if you have the chance. Unfortunately most of it is only really accessible and fishable on a low outgoing tide so I wasn't able to get to some of the rocks that give you better casting options. Still, managed to wade out a little and get some light action in, hooking up with a few smaller perch and a baby cab.

The point south of Battery Lobos. No keepers from this spot today but it didn't matter. I landed over a dozen perch in the 7-8" range and two smaller rockfish. But the real show was putting on my sunglasses and being able to see a bunch of schools of fish moving all around this area. Lots and lots of rockfish. Also, the beach to the north of the point is very shallow and exposed at low tide but has a few steep dropoffs and a couple holes; I could clearly see at least two very large fish hanging out in the different holes waiting to ambush other fish. The shape and sheer length of them leads me to believe they could've been lings. Regardless, they didn't want anything to do with my bait or my poor swimbait skills so I resigned myself to target them another day. There are a ton of fish at this area. Perch, rockfish, cabs, jacksmelt, stripers (I've seen two pulled from here now), and now maybe even lingcod. Best of all it's the least treacherous spot to get to.

Rocks at Point Lobos. The bite was dead until around 6PM and then it picked up significantly. Some major tugs on my line, and a few baby cabs and rockfish, but I finally managed to hook into two keepers and call it a day.



A 13" & 11" to add to the food pyre


Area: Mile Rock Beach [MAP],
South of Battery Lobos [MAP], Rocks at Point Lobos [MAP]

Setup:

10ft Daiwa Beefstick / Daiwa BG 6500 / 50lb Braid / 125lb anglers clip -> Hi/Lo with octopus baitholder hooks #2~4/0 -> 4oz & 5oz weights

Bait: Squid & Shrimp w/ Magic Bites cutbait backing

Bottom line: There is some great fishing to be had all along this tiny corner of SF if you're willing to put the time in. Tight lines everyone.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:48 am
charro


Posts: 631

Skillful and adventurous fishing, all in your backyard! I hiked all that area back in the day, and actually started some of my first saltwater fishing in the Sutro Bath area. Have not fished that area in many years, and being in my late 50s I probably will not be returning, ha ha! Enjoying your reports!
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:20 pm
uglystick


Posts: 61

Excellent! Glad that you can enjoy fishing in your backyard Smile

PS: Is there a size limit for this kind of rockfish (grass greenling I guess?)? It's always confusing to me when looking up "ground fish" in the reg book.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:41 am
skyhook


Posts: 242

Loved the report. And thanks for the great map views!
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:58 pm
seabass_seeker


Posts: 1840
Location: Clovis

I agree with the above, i love the reports! I dont understand what you mean by poor swimbait skills. The only thing you need to worry about with swimbaits is depth and speed. If a fish is gonna hit it, it's gonna hit it. Get the swimmy in the lower half of the water column, swim it only as fast as necessary to get the tail kicking and this will account for probably 80-90% of your bites. Swimbait bites are usually no mistake but I've noticed 2 other types of bites; they might either scratch at it which I just keep reeling or they'll hang on to it like a piece of seaweed - always strike on these. Good luck!
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:17 pm
frozendog


Posts: 1612
Location: SLO County

That's good rockfishing! Lucky to have it in your backyard. There are some dumb fish out there, but you have to have skill and technique to catch them like you have. Good Fishing!
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:11 am
sea_forager


Posts: 204
Location: San Francisco

uglystick wrote:

PS: Is there a size limit for this kind of rockfish (grass greenling I guess?)? It's always confusing to me when looking up "ground fish" in the reg book.


So Rockfish and Greenlings are different but lumped into the RCG (Rockfish Cabs Greenling) complex of groundfish regulations. No minimum size limit for rockfish. Minimum for cabezon is 15". Minimum for Greenlings is 12". 👍🏻



seabass_seeker wrote:
Get the swimmy in the lower half of the water column, swim it only as fast as necessary to get the tail kicking and this will account for probably 80-90% of your bites.


Gotcha. I guess the way I had been doing it was the same technique friends use (and catch plenty on) which is cast out -> hit bottom -> jig up two or three times -> let the swimbait fall back down close to the bottom while slowly reeling -> jig 2x or 3x -> repeat. Never seems to fail for them but I've yet to catch anything on any of my swimbaits like that. I'll take your advice though next time I'm out there!

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