Southern California’s 2013 Rockfish Opener

Opening weekend of Southern California's rockfish season offers fast action and spectacular weather.

Southern California’s 2013 rockfish season opened on March 1 to some great light-tackle action for vermillion rockfish. Grant Hendricks used an Accurate 400 Boss Extreme to capture this chunky red. Jim Hendricks
Josh Hendricks accepts a scoop of live sardines from local legend Nacho on the L.A. Harbor Bait barge. The big sardines proved to be the hot ticket for big lingcod on opening weekend. Jim Hendricks
The opening of the 2013 rockfish season witnessed spectacular Southern California weather, with light winds, calm seas and air temperatures into the low 80s by mid-day. A mild Santa Ana condition led to a magnificent sunrise Jim Hendricks
You didn’t need to wait long for a bite on the opening weekend of Southern California 2013 rockfish season. The first baits down were bit immediately. Josh Hendricks sets the hook on his first rockfish of the day. Jim Hendricks
Rockfish provide great light-tackle fun. The author battles a feisty vermillion rockfish on 14-pound-test line. Grant Hendricks
One of the intriguing aspects of rockfishing is the sheer variety of species. Josh Hendricks shows off one of the many members of this family — a starry rockfish. Jim Hendricks
Rockfish not only offer light-tackle fun, but are also great eating fish. In markets, vermillion rockfish are labeled as Pacific red snapper. Jim Hendricks
Rockfish often display the symptoms of barotrauma, including bulging eyes. New techniques for returning fish to the deep have significantly improved the survival rates when releasing smaller fish. Jim Hendricks
Don’t be surprise if you hook a California sheephead — a member of the wrasse family — while targeting rockfish. This is a powerful fish that can quickly bully its way back into the rocks once its hooked. Jim Hendricks
Lingcod reign in the deep realm of rockfish. Jim Hendricks
If you think lingcod might bite, upgrade your tackle to 40-pound-test and be ready for a ferocious fight. For more on catching these prized fish off Southern California, check out our story titled Dragon Heart. Jim Hendricks

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