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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I always target lings first and catch a few blacks incidentally.... I've also gotten into a red-hot black bite a couple times off Gov’t Point. But as far as consistently being able to bonk a limit of them, I’m not there yet.

How do you pro’s fill the cooler with blacks each and every time?
 

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I’ll bet he says something like you gotta find them first. After that, catching them is easy.
 

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Small stuff- 2-3 “ swimbaits on 1/2-1 ounce heads, 2-3 oz flutter jigs. Cast, fall, retrieve vs pounding the bottom.

Work the water column especially if fish schools are nearby and if they aren’t then go find them.

When you see them on the screen and they aren’t biting go smaller.

When your tire of their games and want some lazy fish, troll those small things 30-40 feet behind the boat. I do more of a motor mooch- in and out of gear. Everyone around you will think your crazy until you haul them in. Then watch them try to troll with the lingcod gear and laugh.

Now that you caught them, bonk them, bleed them. Then scale, gut and gill them. Steam whole for 12-14 minutes in your favorite soy/ginger/onion/garlic mixture and wonder why you ever bothered with lingcod.


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Trout pole with a rooster tail and a bit of hollow core pencil lead a foot or so up front. Cast up drift, let it sink then slow retrieve.
 

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I don't consistently get limits, only a very few, if any, do. IMO the main trick to consistently get limits is to only go on days the fish are gonna bite. In the winter or spring, there are times they just don't seem to bite. One year we went and the only thing we could watch was lings, not even one rockfish, the next week in the same location and same gear, it was only rockfish, not one ling. Sometimes when the water is pretty cold the rockfish seem to be off the bite. Walter - who does very well on rockfish - says to use a very slow presentation on those days and ya gotta pay close attention as then they don't whack it, they just barely mouth it and if you don't feel that, then you don't catch fish. I find catching fish in the winter is sometimes easy and sometime very difficult, sometimes that's also true in the summer when the N wind has really been blowing and we have really cold water inshore. But if the water temp isn't too cold, the fishing is usually decent in the summer IF you can find the fish. Sometimes they aren't near the bottom and if you fish there, you won't catch much. That's part of what makes the advice The Pew gave so good, fish the water column, not just the bottom. I very rarely go on charters, but when I went with a group some years ago and used their gear, we were given light spinning gear with small swimbaits and that gear worked pretty well. That's what is often used on my boat and the guy that consistently uses small swimbaits does as well or better as anybody on the boat for both rockfish and lings.

Some won't agree, but IMO the most important part of going is enjoying being out there and enjoying the act of fishing. Yes, all of us like to catch fish, but ya shouldn't need to get limits every trip to make going worthwhile. All boat owners know that if all you want is fish to eat, it would he a heck of a lot cheaper to go buy them. I own a boat because I enjoy being out there and enjoy fishing, bringing home fish to eat is a nice benefit/bonus.
ron m
 

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The light tackle is a blast for the Blacks 7 Blues. I went out with Eton Fish on his dory a few years ago out of Canon Beach & had probably a medium action Bass rod. We found them suspended near some structure. Just cast out, let drop to at least a 5 count & start working the swim bait back. They would often take it on the drop & the line would just be a bit heavy when beginning to real in. Had a blast & we limited out (3 POB) that day!

PDXTL
 

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Small stuff- 2-3 “ swimbaits on 1/2-1 ounce heads, 2-3 oz flutter jigs. Cast, fall, retrieve vs pounding the bottom.

Work the water column especially if fish schools are nearby and if they aren’t then go find them.

When you see them on the screen and they aren’t biting go smaller.

When your tire of their games and want some lazy fish, troll those small things 30-40 feet behind the boat. I do more of a motor mooch- in and out of gear. Everyone around you will think your crazy until you haul them in. Then watch them try to troll with the lingcod gear and laugh.

Now that you caught them, bonk them, bleed them. Then scale, gut and gill them. Steam whole for 12-14 minutes in your favorite soy/ginger/onion/garlic mixture and wonder why you ever bothered with lingcod.


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Got any tips on scaling them??? Thanks... :flag2:
 

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Got any tips on scaling them??? Thanks... :flag2:

After years of bloody knuckles using the back of my knife, I found a heavy duty fish scaler.

You want one with a handle that keeps your hand away from the spines and doesn’t get clogged up with scales. I’d guess mines about 4-5” of handle and 4-5” of scaler.

A buddy bought and electric scaler and it’s almost comical to watch the scales fly.

I always wear Nocry gloves off Amazon when cutting or scaling fish. Not as heavy duty as a steel glove but they help grip the fish and keep your hands mostly cut free. Nothing stops those spines from poking you though.


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After years of bloody knuckles using the back of my knife, I found a heavy duty fish scaler.

You want one with a handle that keeps your hand away from the spines and doesn’t get clogged up with scales. I’d guess mines about 4-5” of handle and 4-5” of scaler.

A buddy bought and electric scaler and it’s almost comical to watch the scales fly.

I always wear Nocry gloves off Amazon when cutting or scaling fish. Not as heavy duty as a steel glove but they help grip the fish and keep your hands mostly cut free. Nothing stops those spines from poking you though.


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I've found that when filleting them, they cut & skin a lot nicer when I ice them overnight. When I cut them fresh, they're a pain. An exceptionally sharp knife helps somewhat, but icing overnight does the trick better...
 

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My advice on catching any fish is to go often enough that you don't care how you do on any particular day. That lets you enjoy each day, just for the joy of being on the water. Even if you didn't nail them today, you will often enough. That said, the advice to go smaller is good advice. I would add to look for holding water nearer to shore than you were fishing for lings. There is a huge amount of water with blacks between Depoe and Newport that gets no pressure.

Don
 

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When I find a good school of rockfish on the reefs, I mark the North edge and south edge of the school, I probably have 2 dozen schools marked both North and south of Newport. Since there are usually fish in these areas, I head to the closest school first. If I'm targeting exclusively rockfish and not lings or cabs, I like to start with a black 3" grub. I use the lightest jig head that will get me down to 30' in before the wind and drift conspire to move me off the fish. 1/4 oz is a good starting point. If I can't get bit or the fish in the school are small, I move on to the next waypoints. I do this until we have our limits. Once the grub starts slipping around the hook, I replace it with a new one. Even Black Rockfish will refuse a rubber worm that isn't up against the jig head.

I'm usually solo and use bigger gear to get both the rockfish and Ling bites. But when I have guests on the boat, we target the rocks as above.

If the ocean is fairly calm, watch for fish on the surface. If they are boiling and jumping, they are aggressive and a quick limit is easy on a 1/8 oz jig. I like the .lighter jigheads because on a dead drift, they stay in the strike zone longer.

If I catch a rock that pukes up some bait like an octopus, that goes on the hook.
 

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Small stuff- 2-3 “ swimbaits on 1/2-1 ounce heads, 2-3 oz flutter jigs. Cast, fall, retrieve vs pounding the bottom.

Work the water column especially if fish schools are nearby and if they aren’t then go find them.

When you see them on the screen and they aren’t biting go smaller.

When your tire of their games and want some lazy fish, troll those small things 30-40 feet behind the boat. I do more of a motor mooch- in and out of gear. Everyone around you will think your crazy until you haul them in. Then watch them try to troll with the lingcod gear and laugh.

Now that you caught them, bonk them, bleed them.
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This is pretty much how I do it. Find structure, find fish over said structure, and cast to the schools with small(ish) jigs and either swimbaits or curltail grubs. Keep in mind that blacks (and deacons) are semi-pelagic (spend a lot of time on the surface or midwater) not always hugging the bottom like demersal species. Match the size of the jig/plastic to the fish, blacks have pretty large mouths, deacons have smaller mouths. If you get a lot of hits without hookups, and tails getting ripped off, downsize....probably deacons. Look for surface action and cast to the rises. Flyrod with a clouser minnow is a kick when they're feeding on top. Because rockfish have a closed swim bladder, schools can't quickly move very far up in the water column, if they're showing on the sounder 40 feet down, you want to be right over them...say at 35 feet down.

Attaching a second or even third hook (small soft plastic on a dropper loop and hook, or shrimp fly) will often bring multiple hookups, blacks do a lot of chasing after a hooked fish. Tip the hooks with gulp sandworms (2 inch camo) for even more attraction.

If you've spent time fishing for crappie, blacks bite in much the same way, frequently just a gentle tap, if you feel anything set the hook. Use moderately light gear...steelhead rigs with 20-30 lb braid and a 20# fluoro shock leader are just about perfect. If you go too light on line (especially light mono) or rods, you'll get bites, but there's so much stretch in the line and flex in the rod that you will have trouble with hooksets, they have fairly hard mouths. Use sharp hooks. Mild breeze is your friend, cast out upwind of a school, and let the breeze blow your boat over the school wind trolling, gently twitching your rig...again set the hook on any tap. Lots of fish are hooked 15-20 feet down, even over much deeper water.
 

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Do you ever tie a dropper to the bend of the upper hook jig head and put a curly tail on a trailer?
 

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Sometimes you can get blacks on ling gear but we fish lighter setups when targeting rockfish. 20-30# flouro leaders with 1/2oz to 1 oz jig heads with a 3" minnow or grub and one or two SMALL shrimp flies off droppers. Cast up drift let it sink and slowly reel up most of the way and let it out again. When you get a bunch of scope in your line reel up or put the rod in the holder and troll if you got some wind drift. Set the hook on any tap and use your fishfinder. We do much longer drifts for lings but reset drifts pretty quickly once we find hungry schools of blacks. A 4oz+ leadhead with a big curly tail ling grub fished the same way with the same light line and small shrimp flies will catch far fewer rockfish.
 

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Berkley swimbaits.. Herring and sardine but really any type will work
Keep 3 sizes. If you get it in a mass of blues swimming with blacks go to the largest you have so the blues cant swallow it
If you want to fish heavy kelp put a hunk of squid over the hook or a small grub to go weedless
You can cast a mile with them but I still use 30lb leader incase a ling grabs it
When motoring around looking for some other place to try I troll one on a heavy rod 50ft back. Have caught huge vermillion that way on a herring color and sometimes a silver.
To scale a black I just use one of my wifes curry brush from the barn she uses on the horses but ware gloves those spines can sting.
 

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If you get it in a mass of blues swimming with blacks go to the largest you have so the blues cant swallow it
I do wish that people would NOT avoid deacon/blue rockfish as part of their 6 fish nearshore limit. They are very numerous, but because ODFW uses black rockfish as their metric to determine seasons and limits, avoiding the smaller deacons puts us in jeopardy of closing the seasons early (and this has happened) depending on effort. Including a couple of deacon/blue rockfish in the limit can extend the season, since the quota for blue/deacon rockfish never comes close to being filled (in 2020, by November, only 25% of the blue/deacon rockfish quota had been reached). Similarly, retention of greenling and other species of rockfish (not copper, china or quillback) can help avoid bumping up against the black rockfish quota, and could potentially result in more generous limits in future years. Diversity in the catch is a good thing.
 

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Picture please?
Think of a jig head with a 20” piece of mono tied to the bend of the hook. At the other end is a straight, long-shanked hook with a curly tail on it.
 
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