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Have you always wanted to go fishing for cabezon? Do you want to learn how to catch cabezon? Cabezon is not a widely known fish as they are found on the west coast of the United States. However, it is a prized catch of anglers who fish on the west coast. Imagine catching that big cabezon, taking pictures, and showing it to your family and friends.

Cabezon can be challenging to catch. The fundamental reason is simple: it has a habit of mouth-baiting the bait and then spitting it out. When caught, it will put up a serious fight. In this article, we will discuss how to catch cabezon, the fishing methods to catch this tasty fish, the fishing tackle, as well as fishing tips.

What is a cabezon?
Cabezon (Scorpaenichthys marmoratus) is a scaleless, smooth skin, and large head fish. It also features broad bony support. It is found from British Columbia to northern Baja California. Cabezon usually grows to a little over 4 pounds; however, you can find some that will grow up to 18 pounds. It has a distinct appearance, looks similar to lingcod, and tastes great.
How To Catch Cabezon

How To Catch Cabezon

Cabezon can be challenging to catch as they have the habit of tapping or mouth baiting and then spitting out the bait. To be successful when learning how to catch cabezon, you have to be patient and develop the sense of when to set the hook. If you catch one, there is a good chance that there are others in that vicinity.

Cabezon likes to play the waiting game and wait in the rock crevices and holes for baitfish or crustaceans to come close to them. Then they will move for it and retreat to their hideouts. Knowing their behavior can help you when learning how to catch cabezon. You will have to cast your rig into a hole, crevice, or close by one when fishing for them.

Vertical jigging works well when fishing for cabezon. Spinners and plugs are not effective as jigs when fishing for cabezon. Cabezon tends to wait in their hideouts for food to come close to them. This will not make spinners and plugs very effective when fishing for cabezon.

How To Catch By Hand

Some anglers like to catch cabezon by hand, mainly for the challenge. The key to catching Cabezon with your hand is to grab its head. Cabezon has a very large head. If you can get a firm grip on the head, you will catch it and get it out of the water. It can be very dangerous to catch cabezon by hand as the dorsal fins are very sharp.

Tips For Cabezon Fishing
Tips For Cabezon Fishing

Cabezon Fishing Tackle Setup

Medium-powered, fast-action rod tackle with a 15 lb test line and 2/0 size hooks will work for Cabezon. Cabezon grows up to 18 pounds; therefore, you will need a medium-powered rod. Monofilament lines are a good choice when fishing for cabezon as it is stretchable and abrasion-resistant.

A paternoster rig with a dropper loop knot is the best rig for cabezon fishing. Additionally, use a jig head with the bait at the tip.

Best Bait For Cabezon

  1. Small Crabs

Small crabs are one of the best baits for cabezon. They wait in their holes and crevices for small crabs and other crustaceans to come close by. Then they will lunge for the bait and go back to their hideouts.

2. Mussels

Mussels are also a good bait for cabezon as crustaceans are some of the prey they eat.

3. Squid

Squid also works well as bait for cabezon.

Cabezon Fishing Tricks
Cabezon Fishing Tricks

4. Octopus

Octopus works well as bait for cabezon.

5. Abalone

Abalone is another good bait that is used when fishing for cabezon.

6. Small Lobsters

Small lobsters, small crabs, and mussels work well as bait for cabezon.

Catching Cabezon
Catching Cabezon

Cabezon vs Lingcod

Characteristic Cabezon  Lingcod
Color Green Brown
Fins Huge pectoral and fleshy anal fins Normal pectoral and anal fins
Camouflage Good camouflaging to surroundings Better camouflaging
Structure Mainly a big head Big, long, and streamlined
Taste tasty tasty
Cabezon Fishing
Cabezon Fishing

Cabezon Fishing Tips

  1. Cabezon inhabits the tops of rocky ledges, holes, rocky reefs around jetties, intertidal pools, and waters with little or no movement.

2. Cabezon is a “lie-in-wait predator” as they like to sit and wait for bait to come their way instead of swimming around looking for baitfish.

3. The best baits for cabezon are small cabs and fresh mussels but they will eat almost anything.

Cabezon Fishing Tricks
Cabezon Fishing Tricks

4. If you are learning how to catch cabezon, it can be challenging and frustrating as they tend to tap or mouth bait and then spit out the bait.

5. When to set the hook is important when fishing for cabezon, and when you are learning how to catch cabezon, it will come with experience.

6. Cabezon tend to congregate in “cabezon holes”. If you catch one, there may be others in that area. Therefore, quickly drop your bait back into the water.

Cabezon Fishing Tips
Cabezon Fishing Tips

7. Cabezon is good to eat and has a delicate and sweet taste that is similar to crab. However, don’t eat the eggs as they are poisonous.

8. Cabezon’s coloring makes them blend well with their surrounding which helps them remain undetected from the baitfish.

9. Cabezon can be caught inshore and offshore. They usually migrate to shallow water to spawn during winter and fall and this presents a great opportunity to catch them from shallow waters.

10. Cabezon will put up a serious fight when hooked. So be ready for the battle.

11. Cabezon can be caught all year round.

12. Cabezon is usually at depths from 0 to 600 feet.

Cabezon Fishing Ideas
Cabezon Fishing Ideas

13. When you are learning how to catch cabezon, you will need to set the hook hard as they have a thick and bony mouth.

14. Cabezon are not hook-shy. They will come to your hook and even tap the bait, put it in their mouths, and spit it out.

15. A medium-powered, fast-action fishing rod will work for catching cabezon as it will not break and it will make it easier to set the hook.

16. Monofilament lines are a good choice when learning how to catch cabezon.

17. A dark-colored rig system works when fishing for cabezon.

18. Vertical jigging works when you are fishing for cabezon.

How are cabezon fish caught?
Bait casting is one of the popular methods used by anglers when fishing for cabezon. Vertical jigging works well when fishing for cabezon and many anglers use a paternoster rig with a dropper loop knot.
Is it safe to eat cabezon?
Cabezon is edible and it is a tasty fish. However, the eggs (roe) are poisonous and should not be eaten.
What is the best bait for cabezon?
Some of the best bait for cabezon are small crabs, small lobsters, squid, and mussels.
Why is cabezon fish meat blue?
The bluish color of cabezon’s flesh is due to biliverdin pigment. However, when it is cooked, the color turns white like lingcod.
Do cabezon have venomous spines?
Cabezon has poisonous spines that you must be aware of.

The Bottom Line

Cabezon is not a popular fish as it is only found on the west coast. However, it is a prized catch for anglers as it is a tasty fish. It can be challenging to catch it as it likes to tap the bait and spit it out.

Additionally, it hides in rocky areas and holes. Cabezon does not swim around in search of food. Instead, they lie in wait for prey to swim close to them making it easier to feed.

In this article, we discussed how to catch cabezon, shared information about their behavior, fishing tackle, as well as fishing tips to help you catch this tasty fish. You can also read how to catch burbot, how to catch lingcod, how to catch cod, and how to catch yellow perch.