Fight Rating 6/10
Peak Season: All Year
Rockfish are quite common in Florida and are a bottom dwelling fish. There are many varieties, so you never quite know what you’ll get when you pull one up. Many of them are brightly colored and look amazing. They range from 8 to 40 inches, and their coloring and size will vary significantly with the species. The average weight is about 5 pounds, and very similar to a sea bass, halibut, or cod.
When targeting Rockfish in deep water or heavy current, you need to use a weighted line. Braided line works best because low stretch allows you to feel the line more top set the hook. We like to use light baitcasting or lures and find they are fairly easy to catch by simply dropping chunk bait straight to the bottom.
Rockfish don’t put up much fight at all. After you hook them, their air bladders fill up and they don’t put up much fight at all. You might get a few tugs, but then they give up quickly. It’s a great fish to target for kids or novice fishermen that want a colorful, delicious fish that doesn’t wear them out. They do have small teeth and long sharp dorsal spines, so be careful when handling them so you don’t get poked.
What Rockfish lack in fight, they make up for in taste. Rockfish are a lean fish and have a mild, sweet flavor with a nutty accent. The flesh has a medium-firm texture with medium sized flakes. It tastes similar to a sea bass, tilapia, or halibut, and can be grilled, baked, steamed, fried, or event eaten raw. It’s fantastic in almost any fish recipe, so it’s a good choice for ceviche and fish tacos.