Captain’s Diary: Most Inshore Boats Are Fishing Boats… It’s Their Season | Outside

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Captain David Bacon shows off two large rockfish. (Courtesy picture)

I once challenged the editor of the nautical journal TheLog to spend most of the day near the entrance to a SoCal harbor and calculate the percentage of boats that were fishing boats.

He accepted the challenge, was clearly impressed with the results and added a major new section to the post and called it FishRap.

This event was one of those times when the importance of recreational and commercial fishing along our coast was really highlighted.

Another time, NOAA’s chief sanctuary economist determined that recreational fishers were collectively the biggest economic (money) drivers within the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

Commercial fishermen were the second largest (and very important) economic force.

Many more boats from our local ports fish in local waters than in island waters. With all this good background information, I can say that most coastal and island boats are fishing boats.

March is a landmark month in the world of inshore and island fishing, as March 1 is the start of our rockfish season, and large numbers of people board private boats, open party boats (like Santa Barbara Landing) and private charter boats to catch them. tasty inhabitants of the depths.

What are rockfish? It is a term used to refer to members of the RCG complex as fisheries managers call them. The acronym stands for Rockfish, Cabezon, Greenling and encompasses many species that live and feed near structures such as reefs and rocky outcrops.

One of the most famous (in foodie circles) is the vermilion rockfish, which we call red snapper. Do not confuse this with the Gulf Coast red snapper, as they are a different species.

March 1 marks the opening of rockfish season for recreational anglers. If you go to the Fishermen’s Market on a Saturday morning, you may have been able to buy rockfish from our friendly local commercial fishermen, like Paul Teal, whom I have known and admired for many years.

Recreational rockfish season is closed in January and February, but commercial fishers are allowed to catch them for us to buy.

Many of us anglers will be heading out to the high seas starting this week and weekend because our freezers are running out of our much sought after supplies of rockfish and lingcod. It’s time to solve this problem and have a really fun adventure. I invite you to do the same.

Stop by the Hook, Line & Sinker Fishing Center at 4010 Calle Real in Santa Barbara to get your fishing license, bait and gear you’ll need, then let’s have some fun.

– Captain David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is President of SOFTIN Inc., a non-profit organization providing boating opportunities to those in need. Visit to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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