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Sebastes Macdonaldi



Sea Bottom, Offshore

3 - 6 pounds

21" - 26"

Mexican Rockfish Game Fish Quality Decent
Mexican Rockfish Meal Quality Excellent

Mexican Rockfish

Mexican Rockfish
Also Known As: Rockfish  

Mexican Rockfish (Sebastes macdonaldi) Fish Description

The Mexican Rockfish has an oblong-shaped body. Its body also looks moderately deep, around 31-35% of the standard length. It has a beautiful, bright dark red or maroon color with a darker (almost black) color of its fins – dorsal, anal, and pelvic. It also has a pink-red lateral line, which distinguishes it from other Rockfishes.

Its body is covered with scales and could have up to 42 gill rakers. A Mexican Rockfish is also a spiny fish with up to 14 spines on its dorsal fins and around 12 to 15 rays.


Interesting Facts

  • The Mexican Rockfish is suitable for any type of cooking, especially for poaching, and great for ceviche, too. But it’s not good when cooked as a whole fish because its skin shrinks.
  • Its growth is very slow. However, it’s natural mortality rate is also low.
  • Mexican Rockfish has high productivity in Alaska, with annual stocks reaching 26,000 tons.
  • Its juveniles have a remarkable ability to avoid plankton nets.
  • Rockfishes suffer from Barotrauma when reeled in from 100 feet or so. That is why they don’t often give much of a fight.

Diet and Size

The Mexican Rockfish feeds on small fishes like anchovies and tuna. It also feeds on squid and small crustaceans.

The typical length of a Mexican Rockfish is (measurement) and can grow up to 26 inches. It’s maximum published weight is 5.96 pounds.


Fishing Techniques: How to Catch a Mexican Rockfish

The best way to catch a Mexican Rockfish is by bottom fishing, drift fishing, and deep sea fishing.

The key to catching them is using weighted lines and lures to get to the bottom quickly and let it stay there. This is because other fish species might swim above the bottom and bite into your bait. While it’s not bad to get other fishes, if you’re aiming to catch a Mexican Rockfish, better get that line down to the bottom fast.

You can use a lightweight tackle when fishing for Mexican Rockfish. This fish is prone to Barotrauma or the damage in their tissues caused by a sudden change of pressure, especially when you reel them in from more than 100 feet deep. When this happens, the fish will not give up that much of a fight anymore, making it easier to reel.

For lures and baits, you can use metal jigs when deep-sea fishing for Mexican Rockfish. Plastic looks and hooks with bucktails work well. You can look for lures that mimic an octopus or squid or even use cut-up (real) squid as bait. You can also use live small bait fishes such as sardines or anchovies.


Habitat and Distribution

As the name suggests, the Mexican Rockfish is a resident of Mexican waters along the Eastern Central Pacific. They are mostly found along California, USA, to Southern Baja California in Mexico. They are also abundant in Alaska, where there’s high productivity of Mexican Rockfish.

They inhabit the bottom of the ocean floor and are considered sedentary species. That is why bottom fishing is the most effective way to catch them since that’s the part where they are plenty. They are found in depths between 250 to 800 feet.