It's Rockfish Season

It's Rockfish Season

July 1 is the start of Rockfish season in our part of Alaska, and since then we've been out as much as we can chasing Rockfish. "Our part of Alaska" this season is the Cook Inlet District, which includes Homer. We are freezing our fish on land this season, which means we return to Homer every few days to flash freeze the fillets we have packed in ice on our boat, and as a result we can't fish more than a few days' travel from Homer. Fortunately, we have been catching plenty of Rockfish in our area and really don't have a need to travel too far.

The Rockfish season is focused on Black Rockfish, which are the most numerous Rockfish, and one of the largest species.Some good sized Black Rockfish

The five in the photo above are each about 22 to 24 inches long. They're about 5 lbs each.

Here I am with another nice specimen of Black Rockfish.

A 24 inch Black Rockfish

All Rockfish species have fearsome spines within their fins. Black Rockfish are no exception, with spines that easily pierce skin, rubber gloves, boots, and raingear. The spines are also at least slightly venomous, and the sharp pain you feel at first stab is replaced by a stronger and more lingering pain after a few minutes. I have heard a few people comment on which species has the worst venom, but I am not sure I have enough experience to accurately judge.

I can't find a good photo of the spines of a Black Rockfish right now, so instead I'll show you the champion of nasty spines, the aptly-named Quillbck Rockfish.

The fearsome spines of a Quillback Rockfish

Here is a closer view.

Those spines are about four inches long.

Despite the spines, all of the Rockfish are delicious. Aside from Black Rockfish and Yelloweye I haven't eaten enough of most Rockfish species to be able to say which are my favorite. All are tasty and pretty similar, but I'll keep trying and let you know what I discover.


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