The Black Rockfish is a rockfish of the genus Sebastes. It is sometimes misidentified as the red snapper. Black Rockfish are pelagic, that is they occur the continental shelf. Like other pelagic fish, they spend most of their time amid the water columns and are generally associated with rougher terra. This can make it somewhat inconvenient for commercial fisheries, which are often situated in nearshore, shallow water, and rocky areas. They make up an important component of nearshore fisheries in Southeastern Alaska.
Black Rockfish have a mottled gray-black body often with dark stripes from the eye to the gill plate. These fish are characterized by having a bass-shaped body, a large mouth, and spinous dorsal fin. The spines are venomous and may cause pain or infection; however, are not extremely toxic. Black Rockfish may be distinguished from similar species, such as dark and dusky rockfish, by the white belly and lack of pores or knob on the lower jaw. Adults may reach a maximum weight of 5 kg (11 lbs) and maximum length of 69 cm (27.6 in) with females reaching larger sizes than males. Newly settled Black Rockfish may be orange to dark brown in coloration, and older juveniles are mottled gray and black with a black spot on the posterior portion of the spinous dorsal fin.
Black Rockfish can often be found swimming or holding near rock piles and sea walls; you can also often find them around reefs. Tie a 6-foot leader to the bottom of your line; rocks will abuse your line, and you don't want to lose a fish and your lure due to a break. Attach your jig to your line and cut a piece of bait to place over the hook. Strips of squid or herring can be effective, as can shrimp or anchovies. You want to put enough bait on the hook to entice the fish, but not so much that the bait blocks the tip of the hook; it must be exposed so that it will set properly in the mouth of the fish. Jig your line. Slowly raise and lower your rod. The distance you should be moving your rod tip is about the distance from your shoulders to your knees. . When you feel an unnatural movement on your line, set your hook by sharply jerking your rod upward, more with your wrist than your arm. Allow the fish to run if it wants to, but be sure to keep the tension in the line or it can dislodge the hook from its mouth.
They are harvested in Oregon, California,Washington, British Columbia, Alaska, and the Pacific. They are a fairly common catch along the West Coast of North America, where populations are stable. Schools of adults often aggregate over rocky bottoms or at the sea surface, habits that make them susceptible to targeted fishing.