California Rockin’

Spring-time action accelerates on the deep rocks off Southern California
Spring-time off the Southern California coast means rockfishing and the possibility of one of 56 colorful species of rockfish, as well as California sheephead, ocean whitefish and cabezon, as well as powerful lingcod, as these photos from Pacific Coast Editor Jim Hendricks prove. All of these species live around deep rocks and wrecks, with some beastly sheephead growing to 30 pounds and aggressive lingcod growing to 40 pounds. That’s California rockin’. Jim Hendricks
California sheephead – known by locals as “goats” – have some gnarly teeth. These members of the wrasse family are well adapted to scraping morsels of rocks and wrecks. Jim Hendricks
In a bizarre life cycle, California sheephead begin life as females, and then morph into males as they get older and larger. Females are all red, while males have this distinctive black-red-black coloration. Jim Hendricks
Deep rocks and wrecks around Catalina Island can mean a bonanza of bottom. Mark Wisch is hooked up to a California sheephead on a wreck in 160 feet of water. Jim Hendricks
Pacific Coast Editor Jim Hendricks’ Cabo 216 is perfect for fishing Southern California’s deep reefs and wrecks, many of which can be found just a few miles off the coast. Jim Hendricks
Ocean whitefish are often abundant on deep structure off the Southern California coast. They fight very hard for their size, and are great eating. Jim Hendricks
There are 57 varieties of rockfish inhabiting deep structure off Southern California, including the brown rockfish seen here. This species tends congregate on coastal reefs and rocks in 90 to 120 feet of water. Jim Hendricks
The lingcod is one of the most prized targets in wrecks and reefs. You are allowed to keep two per day, with a minimum size of 22 inches. Jim Hendricks
Landing a lingcod off the Southern California coast gives anglers a reason to smile. Jim Hendricks
Lingcod are powerful and fearless, even as they approach the boat. Jim Hendricks
Lingcod possess rows of needle-sharp teeth, and can quickly shred light lines. Jim Hendricks