Bocaccio (Salmon Grouper)

From 31st Trip: Local Rockfishing on the Spectra 4/25/10

Family: Scorpaenidae (Scorpionfishes)

Genus and Species:
Sebastes paucispinus

Description: The body of the bocaccio is elongate and compressed. The head is pointed, the mouth large, and the lower jaw greatly protruding. The color varies from shades of brown to reddish and extends down over the belly. Young fish are generally light bronze with speckling over the sides and back. As they mature, their color generally becomes darker and the speckling gradually disappears.

Range: Bocaccio occur from Punta Blanca, Baja California, to Kruzof Island and Kodiak Island, Alaska. Young bocaccio 1 or 2 years old travel in loose schools and move into shallow water where they may be captured in quantity. With increasing age they seek deeper water and move from near the surface to near the bottom. Adults are commonly found in waters of 250 to 750 feet over a somewhat irregular, hard or rubble bottom. They have been found at depths as great as 1,050 feet.

Natural History: The diet of bocaccio includes mainly fishes such as surfperch, jack mackerel, sablefish, anchovies, sardines, Pacific mackerel, deepsea lanternfish, other rockfishes and sanddabs. Squid, octopus, and crab also are eaten. Females start maturing when they are 17 inches long. As with all rockfish, fertilization is internal and development of the embryos takes place within the ovaries of the female until they are ready to hatch. A 28 inch female was estimated to contain nearly 1.5 million eggs. The main hatching period runs from December through April. The newly hatched young, about 0.25 inch long, does not completely absorb the yolk from the egg stage for a period of 8 to 12 days.

Fishing Information: Almost any rocky or rubble bottom at depths of 250 to 750 feet will yield good catches of bocaccio. The usual rig is made up of three to six hooks above a sinker that is heavy enough to take the line to the bottom on a fairly straight course. Because of the depths fished, it takes a considerable amount of time to let down and haul up this rig; consequently the bait should be sufficiently tough to remain firmly on the hook while being nibbled and chewed upon by the quarry. Pieces of squid are ideal.

Other Common Names: salmon grouper, grouper, mini-grouper (juveniles), red snapper, Pacific red snapper.

Largest Recorded: 3 feet; 21 pounds.

Habitat: Deep Rocky Environment

About the Author

Sean loves to fish in Southern California and this site is his journal of his adventures in fishing. He started fishing when he was a little guy with his dad David, and has continued to this day with his family. In his day job, Sean has been a graphic designer for over 15 years, designing everything from in-store displays and signage for supermarkets to e-commerce auction sites for an online consumer electronics company. He was a web and graphic designer then later an art director for McMullen Argus Publishing (Primedia), building and working on sites for Lowrider Magazine and Super Chevy, plus 30 other automotive magazine sites. Sean seized the opportunity to teach other aspiring designers - a passion that took him first to Learning Tree University and then to Golden West College in Huntington Beach, CA, where he has been an integral part of the renowned digital arts department for more than ten years. Throughout his teaching career, Sean maintained a freelance business, designing for clients including the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards), Image Comics and many more. See his work at