Pier Fishing in California

Resources :: California Fish

California Scorpionfish

California Scorpionfish

Species

Scorpaena (referring to scorpionfish) and guttata (which pertains to a form of small drops or spotting).

Alternate Names

Commonly called sculpin although also called scorpion fish and little poker.

Identification

Typical rockfish shape, color is red (deeper water) to brown (more shallow water) with spotting over the body and fins. Fin spines are venomous and can cause a very painful, although not fatal, wound.

Size

To 17 inches although most caught off piers are under 12 inches long.

Range

From the Gulf of California and Uncle Sam Bank, Baja California, to Santa Cruz - although rare north of Point Conception.

Habitat

Shallow rocky areas, frequently in caves and crevices.

Piers

Although scorpionfish are most common around rocky areas and reef areas, I have seen them caught at almost every oceanfront pier in Southern California. Best piers are Balboa Pier, Newport Pier, Hermosa Beach Pier, the Redondo Harbor Sportfishing Pier, Green Pleasure Pier in Avalon, and the Cabrillo Pier.

Bait and Tackle

A high/low leader with no. 4 hooks and baited with a piece of shrimp, squid, or anchovy seems to work best.

Food Value

An excellent eating, mild flavored fish that is excellent fried.

Comments

These fish are delicious to eat and but handle with extreme care. California scorpionfish are the most venomous member of the family found in California. If handled in a careless manner and a puncture wound occurs, there will usually be intense pain and perhaps swelling - which should subside after a few hours. If possible, soak the affected area in hot water as soon as possible. Multiple punctures may require doctor’s attention or even hospitalization.