Rockfish season is now open along the entire California coast. These plentiful bottom dwellers, also known as rockcod, are available in a wide variety of species. They're great eating, and come in sizes ranging from a two-pound yellow, up to 30 pounds, if you're lucky enough to land a monster lingcod.
Charter boats targeting rockfish run out of nearly every port on the coast, including Oregon and Washington when in season. Costs range from about $50 to $80 per person for a full day's fishing. If you don't have your own gear, rental rods and tackle can be provided. All you need to bring is yourself and lunch.
The limit is 10 fish per person plus two lingcod. Deckhands will fillet your catch for a nominal fee - usually about $1 per fish...well worth it. Be sure to bring an ice chest for the ride home to keep those fillets cool and fresh.
If you decide to take a trip out of the San Francisco Bay, chances are your fishing grounds will be near the Farallon Islands. This is a two-for-one opportunity with a great chance of spotting whales, and other marine life while dropping a line. The ocean is typically full of humpback whales throughtout the summer.
Where are some other great places to catch rockfish?
I agree that fishing in the ocean with kids on a party boat can be pretty tricky. I know, not because of my kids, but because I can get badly seasick and no matter how sick you get, your out there for the day and it can be miserable. However, there are things that you can do. Sea sick pills and patches work, but be prepared to get very tired and sleepy but that is still better than being sick. I also do not drink alcohol or eat fatty foods for a few days before the trip and that seems to help. Also a good night's sleep is also helpful. But my best recommendation when you want to take the kids out is to be flexible and prepared to go on fairly short notice during the fall or winter months when the short term forcast calls for calm weather. You can check various weather sites or go to
We have done this with our kids and when the ocean is smooth, as it is many times in the fall and winter, it is great for the whole family. The kids will not get bored and will catch fish all day long. Here are a few photos from a fine autumn day off the Marin coast.