Wednesday, November 22 , 2017, 12:40 am | Fair 55º


Captain’s Log: Early Season Going Strong for Tasty Lingcod

Try double dropper loop rigging to catch rockfish

This is a magic time of year for freezer-filling fishing.

With school still in session, the crowds are down and yet the fishing is great, especially for rockfish like red snapper and big tasty lingcod, which aboard my charterboat WaveWalker are nicknamed lingasaur.

Try to get out during this prime period and provide your family or friends some great meals.

Open-party boats and private charters offer a full range of fishing options. Private boaters are scoring good counts especially from deeper spots.

Rigging for rockfish can be relatively simple. One very effective rig is a double dropper loop.

Put the line through the eyes of two hooks, then tie off to a weight big enough to drop quickly to the bottom, given the depth, velocity of current, and strength of the wind. Typically, the weight will be anywhere from 5 ounces to 1 pound.

Slide the two hooks up the line and tie each one into its own dropper loop about 18 inches apart.

Pin a strip of squid onto each hook. The strip of bait will look the best if the hook is passed through, turned around and passed through the strip of bait a second time, and a couple of inches of the strip is left to flutter in the current.

It is also helpful to pin a live anchovy or sardine on the hook along with the squid strip. Other surefire baits include shrimp, anchovies, and artificial baits like Berkley Gulp.

Larry Reiche of Santa Barbara caught a big, lingcod to feed the family.
Larry Reiche of Santa Barbara caught a big, lingcod to feed the family. (Capt. David Bacon)

It can be almost difficult to keep from catching a limit of tasty rockfish such as vermilion (red snapper), rosy rockfish, chucklehead and bocaccio when fishing deeper water.

Part way up the water column from the groundfish, ocean whitefish feed aggressively on squid and baitfish. These whitefish units put up a surprisingly good fight.

Shallow-water rockfishing is highly productive especially in the early season. Catches commonly include brown rockfish, olive rockfish and gopher cod.

Other shallow-water groundfish you may get lucky enough to catch include sheephead and cabezon.

Adventure awaits at sea. Go fishing and while out there, keep an eye out for gray whales and common dolphins.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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