Olive Rockfish

From 27th Trip: Native Sun 3/4 Day Trip 12/21

Family: Scorpaenidae (Scorpionfishes)

Genus and Species: Sebastes serranoides

Description: The body of the olive rockfish is elongate and compressed. The upper profile of the head is almost straight, and the snout is long and pointed. The lower jaw is projecting. The olive rockfish is dark olive brown on the back, often with some light areas under the dorsal fin. The sides are a lighter olive green, and the fins are yellow. This species is very similar in appearance to the yellowtail rockfish. The olive rockfish always has nine soft rays in the anal fin; the yellowtail rockfish usually has eight.

Range: This species occurs from the San Benito Islands, Baja California, to Redding Rock, California. Olive rockfish are generally caught in nearshore waters. They are found primarily around reefs and kelp beds in water less than 150 feet deep, but have been caught as deep as 480 feet.

Natural History: The diet of olive rockfish consists primarily of fishes; however, crab, shrimp, and squid also are consumed in smaller quantities. Olive rockfish mature and spawn for the first time when they are 3 or 4 years old. As is true among the other rockfish, fertilization is internal and live young are born. The main spawning season is from December through March and a large female may spawn as many as 500,000 young during the season.

Fishing Information: Olive rockfish may be found in almost every kelp bed along the mainland shore south of Monterey Bay, California. The best rig employs a single hook on monofilament nylon and calls for a lively anchovy. The bait should be cast directly into the floating fronds of kelp and no sinker should be used. If there are any olive rockfish around they will hit the bait right at the surface, usually so hard that they set the hook themselves. The ensuing battle is excellent in every respect and the larger the fish the better the fight. Olive rockfish will also strike a streamer fly or a properly worked metal lure or small wooden plug.

Other Common Names: johnny bass, johnathans.

Largest Recorded: 24 inches; no weight recorded.

Habitat: Shallow 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 http://www.glumace.com.