Shrimp Flies & Other Rock Cod Rigs

I’ll organize this some day…for the time being, videos on top!

Here’s a video on how to make a Ho-D jig or generic bala jig (look up the daiwa bala jig that’s no longer being made). Making your own is cheaper than what they sell for anyway:

I’ve made an update to this video, which focuses on using a swimbait/metal bar on the bottom instead of a weight. I suggest going with this one instead of the below video

Here’s a video covering how to tie a basic shrimp fly rig.  Perfect for any and all rock cod species.  You’ll occasionally catch greenlings on these as well.  They are also commonly called hi-lo/high-low rigs.  Essentially the same thing.

Included is a cheap way to make your own flies that work (have caught them on these before).  I tried using glue (epoxy) and feathers with the same yarn before.  Didn’t get a single bite even when using bait while others around me pulled in fish.

Would not recommend.  That’s why I tried minimizing what was used to make these.  So basically for the shrimp flies I have a 5/0 circle hook.  String some rubber lure skirt things through the eye let (I got mine at Fisherman’s Warehouse in San Jose), and then secured it by wrapping some random green yarn and two over hand knots.  Simple!

I would recommend using 20lb line if you’re on a kayak.  No more than that.  Trying to unsnag heavier line could result in you falling over when it finally does break.  As far as weight I like to run 2-4oz.  Sometimes you’ll need as much as 6-8 depending on wind, current, depth, and swells.  So far 4oz has been plenty in up to 10 mph winds.

Also covered in the video is an alternative rig where you use a lead jig head as your weight.  The advantage of this is two fold.  You get to run a swimbait (usually big hammer swim baits) and its literally bouncing on the bottom.  I’ve seen huuuge 23″ cabbies and 30+” lings pulled up on these swim baits.  Personally I haven’t had any luck yet, but I’ve seen the results.

Also if you tie a dropper loop (covered in the video) above that, you can have a shrimp fly.  Basically best of both worlds.

Another method not covered by the video is drop shotting for rock cod.  This was originally a fresh water bass fishing technique (look up senko or wacky rigged for more information on this!), that works decently for rock fishing.  I’ve caught fish off piers using this style rig.

Basically you can run 1-2 hooks with a swimbait or some kind of lure/bait on it.  You tie a hook in via a palomar knot, sometimes running the tag end through the hook eyelet once after completing the knot to ensure the hook sticks out horizontally instead of falling against the line.  Sounds complicated, but its not too difficult. Some time in the future I’ll try to find time to make a recording of that as well.
At the bottom of this rig you tie in a perfection knot and throw your weight on the bottom.

To fish it you just drop it down to the bottom or desired depth, then jig very slightly.  Say you’re holding your rod at 9 o’clock.  Just jig it up to 10-11, and then let it fall.  That’s it!  Very little effort exerted, and works well in my experience.  Makes your swimbait look pretty lively.  Protip: if you jig it near the top of the water you can practice and get the right motion down based on how it looks.

If you’re fishing the jetties my favorite is to run a simple carolina rig with 1/4oz-1oz of weight.  Any more and you’re just asking to be snagged.  I’ll cover more of this in the general rock cod fishing how to.  See you over there if you’re interested!

2 thoughts on “Shrimp Flies & Other Rock Cod Rigs”

  1. Been reading your blog and we definitely travel the same paths- my friends and I went out a lot to capitola/santa cruz to rent skiffs and fish for rock cod, and recently went poke poling around HMB (we’re going to go again this weekend, and try to find some hidden cabbie hole that’s supposed to be in the Montara beach area above HMB). If I ever see you running around I’ll try to say hi- I live east bay more towards Berkeley, but my buddies and I try to catch charters out of Santa Cruz and shore fish from time to time. Your vid inspired me to try tying some of my own shrimp flies, so I’ll see how it goes. Good luck out there!

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You had to be there, the fish was thiiiiiis big!