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ampleness
Health
Healthy Fish to Eat


We all know that you shouldn’t eat topsmelt, barred sand bass, white croaker, black croaker and barracuda caught in the contaminant rich area in Southern California - but what about the dozens and dozens of other fish that you can (and should) catch? Here’s a look at the most common catches in Southern California and what you can be doing to make sure you bring a delicious fish dinner home with you next time you spend the day fishing. Hover over the fish to see the best tackle set up, bait and tackle to hook these fish.

 


 

Black Surf Perch (Buttermouth Perch)

This fish swims around piling of piers or rocky areas. Found from the bottom to middle of the water column.

 

Tackle Set up: Fly-lining with a split shot or Double Dropper loop.
 
Bait: Mussel, cut shrimp, blood worms, or ghost shrimp.
 
Location: Fish around the pilings or rocks.
 
Other: 10 fish limit. Only eat the skinless fillet 1 time a week.

California Scorpionfish (Sculpin)

The Scorpionfish lives on the hard bottom, on reefs or structure, at the bottom of the water column.

 

Tackle Set up: Dropper Loop, Double Dropper Loop, or Slider with a leader.
 
Bait: Cut anchovies, cut sardines, cut mackerel or cut squid.
 
Location: Fish where there is a reef, near pilings, or rocks.
 
Alternative tackle: Strip of squid on plastic lure.
 
Other: Must be a minimum of 10 inches. 5 fish limit. Scorpionfish have venomous spines on their dorsal, pectoral, and anal fins. Hold with needle nose pliers. Only eat the skinless fillet 1 time a week.

Corbina

The Corbina swims near shore where the waves break looking for sand crabs and worms.

 

Tackle Set up: Dropper Loop or Slider sinker with leader.
 
Bait: Sand Crabs, ghost shrimp, mussels, bloodworms or Berkley Gulp worms.
 
Location: Fish where the waves are breaking out to where the waves are cresting.
 
Other: 10 fish limit. Only eat the skinless fillet 1 time a week.

Halibut

This fish lives on the bottom waiting for other fish to swim by.

 

Tackle Set up: Dropper Loop or Slider with a leader.
 
Bait: Live smelt or any small live fish, whole dead squid.
 
Alternative tackle: Plastics or metal lures such as Crocodiles.
 
Other: Must be a minimum of 22 inches. 5 fish limit. Only eat the skinless fillet 1 time a week.

Kelp Bass (Calico Bass)

These delicious fish live near and in kelp (seaweed), hard bottom, or structure. In the winter they stay close to the bottom. In late spring, until the water turns cold, they stay near the middle of the water column.

 

Tackle Set up: Dropper Loop, Double Dropper Loop, or Slider with a leader.
 
Bait: Cut anchovies, cut sardines, cut mackerel or strip squid.
 
Location: Fish where there is kelp, reef, near pilings, or rocks.
 
Alternative tackle: Artificial lures: plastics, metal lures like crocodiles.
 
Other: Must be a minimum of 12 inches. 10 fish limit. Only eat the skinless fillet 1 time a week.

Opaleye

They swim around piling of piers and rocky areas, from the bottom to middle of the water column.

 

Tackle Set up:Fly-lining with a split shot or Double Dropper loop.
 
Bait: Mussel, Shrimp, ghost shrimp, blood worms, cut squid or green peas.
 
Location: Fish around the pilings or rocks.
 
Other: 10 fish limit. Only eat the skinless fillet 1 time a week.

Pacific Mackerel

One of the best eating fish, they swim in schools usually from the middle of the water column to the surface. If you see one caught most likely there are more hungry ones around.

 

Tackle Set up: Fly-lining or with a small split shot, also with Double Dropper loop.
 
Bait:Cut anchovies, cut sardines, cut mackerel or cut squid.
 
Location: Can be found beyond the breakers out to the end of the pier. Usually caught from spring up to winter.
 
Alternative tackle: Sabiki rig, plastics, or small metal lures.
 
Other: No limit. Only eat the skinless fillet 1 time a week.

Pacific Sardine

Everybody’s favorite pizza topping swims in schools from the middle of the water column to the surface.

 

Tackle Set up: Fly-lining with a split shot or Double Dropper loop.
 
Bait: Mussel, cut shrimp, blood worms, or ghost shrimp.
 
Location: Fish around the pilings or rocks.
 
Other: 10 fish limit. Only eat the skinless fillet 1 time a week.

Queen Fish

These fish often swim in schools near the middle of the water column up close to the surface.

 

Tackle Set Up: Fly-lining with a small split shot or Double Dropper Loop.
 
Bait: Cut anchovies, cut sardines, fresh cut mackerel.
 
Location: Can be found beyond the breakers out to the end of the pier.
 
Other: No limit. Only eat the skinless fillet 1 time a week.

Rockfish

These fish swim around piers, usually close in. They prefer cooler water.

 

Tackle Set up: Double Dropper Loop or Sabiki rig.
 
Bait: Cut squid, cut anchovies, cut sardine, or cut shrimp.
 
Location:: Fish around piers straight down fish under the pier.
 
Other: Limit is 10 fish in combination of all species. Tip hooks on Sabiki rig with pieces of squid. Only eat the skinless fillet 1 time a week.

Shovelnose Guitarfish (Shovelnose Shark)

These unique fish live on the bottom. Their mouth is underneath the flattened head. Anything known as a shark is sure to taste good, not to mention put up a fight on the line.

 

Tackle Set up: Dropper loop, Slider sinker with or without leader.
 
Bait: Anchovies, sardines, cut mackerel, squid or bloodworms.
 
Location: Can be caught in the surf to the end of the pier.
 
Other: 10 fish limit. Only eat the skinless fillet 1 time a week.