First article — Bottomfishing at Fort Bragg

Ken Jones

Staff member
Seeing the salmon fishing article at Fort Bragg posted by fish-ninja brought back old memories, my visits to the same area, and my first magazine article way back in September 1982. Unfortunately the magazine didn't use many of the pictures I sent them (but at least I got my first check). Today you can't keep as many rockcod and there are restrictions on some of these species.

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A nice catch of rockcod


The Poopsie I


A yelloweye and a canary rockcod


Jody Jenkins, a worker from my cafe that I took fishing — she's holding a bocaccio


A typical one day catch on the boat


Lingcod and kelp greenling that I caught


Well-Known Member
Great article showing the promise of becoming the author of a pierfishing bible!, Ken! I am so glad that I reported the salmon trip which enticed you to post this gem!

I see bottom fishing in Fort Bragg did not change much after 40 years. Regulations of course changed and fish size decreased, I see. More blacks and blues and less reds today. But boats are still with much fewer passengers and fishing the same reefs with similar rigs. I enjoy bottom fishing in SoCal but fish in LA area have become so small and boats are so packed. Still fun due to the variety of fish we find like you said. For trophys today in SoCal, we have to go to an overnight boat off Channel Islands to get similar sack you enjoyed 40 years ago. Still fun but more work and $$$

I noticed the difference in fishing style. Bottom fishing at Fort Bragg I tried used light tackle with feather jigs without baits. I have never seen this style in SoCal. Folks use simple hooks with strips of squids exclusively with much heavier tackle. I would get frowned upon by SoCal deckhands if I were to use the Fort Bragg tackle. Was it like that in Fort Bragg 40 years ago already?

Ken Jones

Staff member
The standard rigging back in the day was a three hook rockcod rig similar to a Sabiki rig but with fewer hooks, larger hooks, and heavier line. At the bottom woud be a one pound weight or a heavy metal jig of some type.


Well-Known Member
I think the particular boat I have tried mainly targets shallow reefs with light tackles so their renter tackle choice may not be Fort Bragg standard. They do a full day lost coast run sometimes that I would love to join. And I have to check out other boats some day to see. Btw, I just came back from Noyo jetty for a short stint. Will write about that soon. More importantly, I learned about the fate of one of your favorite boats from the tackle store owner. Will post that too.