Note: Recreational fishing regulations for this species include depth constraints, seasonal closures, gear restrictions, and beginning January 6, 2022 a new sub-bag limit of four fish. Visit the Frequently Asked Questions flyer for more information about the sub-bag limit. As regulations can change in-season, anglers are encouraged to check the Marine Region website or call the Recreational Groundfish hotline at (831) 649-2801 prior to fishing for current regulations.
- Bright red on body and fins, black and gray mottling on young fish
- Fish less than 12 inches long may have black-edged fins
- Body moderately deep
- Upper profile of head moderately curved
- Large mouth, lower jaw slightly projecting, underside of jaw feels rough when rubbed from tail to head
- Weak head spines
Life History & Other Notes
Vermilion rockfish feed almost exclusively on fishes, squid, and octopus. They appear to mature and spawn for the first time when they are 3 to 4 years old. Fertilization is internal and they give birth to live young. A female measuring 20 inches long was estimated to contain 282,000 eggs. By this measure, a 30-inch fish may contain as many as half a million eggs. Most spawning takes place from December through March.
The vermilion rockfish is a very popular and highly sought-after fish. The usual fishing rig consists of baited hooks above a sinker heavy enough to take the line to the bottom on a fairly straight course. A lot of baiting time can be saved by using a tough, difficult-to-steal bait such as a piece of squid or salted mackerel.
Scientific Name: Sebastes miniatus
Other Common Names: red snapper, red rock cod
Range & Habitat: Statewide over rocky reefs or other structure
Length & Weight: To 30 in. and 15+ lb.
Life Span: To 60 years
Diet & Suggested Bait: Feeds on fishes, squid, and octopus. Try live squid and anchovies, or salted mackerel for bait, and artificial lures such as leadhead jigs, swimbaits, and diamond bars.