Canary Rockfish
Marine Zone

Recreational longleader gear

Longleader gear is used to target midwater species like yellowtail, canary and widow rockfish,
while avoiding bottom-dwelling species like yelloweye rockfish.

What is longleader gear?

Longleader gear is a fishing line and tackle configuration with a minimum of 30 feet of line between the terminal weight or sinker and the lowest hooks, and a non-compressible float above the top hook. Lures must be less than 5" in length.

A photo showing how to properly set up longleader gear

Supplies to make longleader gear:

  • Two swivels (one above the float and one below the bottom hook)
  • One non-compressible float above the top hook that has sufficient buoyancy (~2.25 oz.) 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)
  • A minimum of 30 feet of line tied onto the lower swivel and a weight (maybe 20 oz., or heavier depending on the drift, current and ocean conditions)

A photo of longleader gear ready to be deployed.

In the photo on the left:

  • The yellow circle shows the non-compressible float above the lures.
  • The red circles show three shrimp flies.
  • A bucket was used to contain the weight and 30' of leader below the lures.


When and where can I use this gear?

Longleader gear is legal in any area and time open to groundfish fishing.  This gear is required if participating in the offshore longleader fishery which occurs outside of the 40 fathom regulatory line and has a 10-fish bag limit for select midwater species.

When fishing this gear, what are the bag limits?

  • Retention of yelloweye rockfish is prohibited at all times and areas.
  • If participating in the offshore longleader fishery, the daily bag limit is 10 in total per angler, but only for yellowtail, widow, canary, chilipepper, bocaccio, greenstriped, redstripe, and silvergray rockfish. 
  • An offshore longleader trip may not be combined with any other bottomfish (lingcod, flatfish, nearshore rockfish, etc.) on the same trip.

Can I fish for salmon and use longleader gear for rockfish outside of the 40 fathom line on the same trip?

Yes. Salmon may be combined with offshore longleader trips, as long as all gear/ species/area rules are followed – for example, once salmon are onboard, barbless hooks must be used; and you may not fish in an area closed for any species you have onboard.

What about fishing for tuna and using longleader gear on the same trip?

Yes, you can fish for tuna and use longleader gear for rockfish on the same trip.

 Offshore Longleader Fishery FAQs

Header photo by Bob Swingle

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