Offshore longleader gear
Longleader gear is used to target midwater species like yellowtail rockfish, canary rockfish and widow rockfish, while avoiding bottom-dwelling species like yelloweye rockfish.
What is offshore longleader gear?
Offshore longleader gear consists of (1) a minimum of 30 feet of line between the terminal weight (sinker) and the lowest hooks and (2) a non-compressible float above the top hook. Furthermore, lures must be less than 5 inches long, and natural bait is prohibited. (The illustration below is not to scale.)
Supplies to make offshore longleader gear:
- Two swivels (one above the float and one below the bottom hook)
- One non-compressible float (for example, made of rigid plastic or cork - NOT Styrofoam) above the top hook that has sufficient buoyancy to support all hooking gear and line above the leader
- Up to three shrimp flies or worms (below the non-compressible float and above the lower swivel) - NATURAL BAIT IS NOT ALLOWED
- A weight (sinker) (the size will depend on drift, current and ocean conditions)
- A minimum of 30 feet of line between the lower swivel and weight (sinker)
In the photo:
- The yellow circle shows the non-compressible float.
- The red circles show three shrimp flies.
- The white bucket is used to contain the weight and 30-foot longleader. A bucket isn't required, but anglers find it helpful to contain the longleader and keep it from tangling when not in use.
What is the offshore longleader fishery?
This fishery is an opportunity that uses longleader gear to target offshore midwater rockfish species while avoiding bottom-dwelling species like yelloweye rockfish.
When and where is the offshore longleader fishery open?
- This gear type is allowed at any depth, but for the 15-fish bag limit (beginning March 1), anglers must remain seaward (outside) of the 40-fathom regulatory line.
- Open year round
What is the bag limit when participating in the Offshore Longleader Gear Fishery?
- The daily bag limit for the offshore longleader fishery is 10 fish per angler through February 28, increasing to 15 fish beginning March 1.
- The only species allowed in the 10-fish bag (15 fish beginning March 1) limit are: yellowtail, widow, canary, redstripe, greenstriped, silvergray, chilipepper, blue, deacon, and bocaccio rockfishes.
- Longleader species ID sheet (pdf)
Can I fish for lingcod or other rockfish on the same trip as Offshore Longleader rockfish?
- No. Lingcod, cabezon, kelp greenling and other rockfish species (not listed above) are not allowed on the same trip.
- Bottomfish listed under the general marine species daily bag limit (black rockfish, nearshore rockfish, cabezon, kelp greenling, etc.) may be kept on a separate trip on the same day only if fewer than 15 fish were kept on the offshore longleader trip. In that case, anglers may keep up to the general marine bag limit (or sub-bag limit) on a separate trip, but may total no more than 15 general marine species per day.
- Anglers may also return to shore, offload all longleader rockfish, and fish for lingcod on a separate trip.
What about Pacific halibut, other flatfish, sablefish and Pacific cod on the same trip?
- Yes. Offshore longleader gear fishing may be combined with an all-depth Pacific halibut trip.
- Once the general marine species bag limit is exceeded with only longleader rockfish (the 10 rockfish species listed above), all anglers on the vessel must stop fishing for halibut and switch all halibut fishing gear to longleader gear.
- Anglers may have onboard other flatfish, sablefish and Pacific cod prior to switching gear to target longleader rockfish.
- When the regular bottomfish fishery is open at all depths, anglers will have the option to combine all-depth halibut with regular bottomfish or all-depth halibut with longleader fishing. Not both.
- Longleader fishing and regular bottomfish fishing cannot be combined on the same trip
- Pacific halibut and bottomfish combinations (pdf)
Can I combine any other non-bottomfish fishing with Offshore Longleader Fishing on the same trip?
- Yes. Tuna, crab, & salmon may be combined with offshore longleader trips. Anglers are reminded that once salmon are onboard, anglers are restricted to no more than 2 single point barbless hooks at all times when angling for salmon in the ocean or when angling for other species if a salmon has already been retained. And you may not fish in an area closed for any species you have onboard.
Offshore Longleader Gear and Fishery FAQs (pdf)
Header photo by Bob Swingle
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