The Chilipepper rockfish is a type of rockfish (Sebastidae) that lives mainly off the coast of western North America from Baja California to Vancouver. This fish is also commonly called red snapper and yellow tail.
The body of the chilipepper is slender and rather elongate. The head is elongate, pointed and with no spines; the lower jaw is projecting. The chilipepper is generally pinkish becoming whitish below. The middle of the chillipepper's side, the lateral line, stands out clearly, as a lighter, bright red zone. In comparison to the bocaccio, it has a smaller mouth with an upper jaw that extends only to about the center of the eye, not past it.
This species occurs from Magdalena Bay, Baja California, to Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Chilipeppers are not taken as frequently as other rockfishes because they are rarely caught in depths less than 360 feet along the coast of California. They generally occur over rocky bottoms and have been taken as deep as 1,080 feet.
Adult chilipepper feed on small crustaceans, small squids, or on such fishes as anchovies, young hake, small sardines, and lanternfishes. Approximately 50 percent of the males mature when 8.75 inches long and 2 years old; while 50 percent of the females are mature when they are 12 inches long and 4 years old. Chili peppers may live to be at least 16 years old. As with other rockfishes, fertilization is internal and live young are born. The number of developing eggs increases from 29,000 in a 12 inch female to about 538,000 in a 22 inch fish.
The usual rig for chilipepper is made up of three to six hooks above a sinker that is heavy enough to take the line to the bottom on a fairly straight course. Chilipepper are often fished in midwater as well on the bottom. Because of the depths, it may take a considerable amount of time to lower and raise this fishing rig; therefore, the bait should be tough enough to remain on the hook while being chewed upon. Pieces of squid, dried salted anchovies or strip bait, or cut bait as it is commonly known, consists of small strips of flesh with the skin still on from freshly caught rockfish, mackerel or other fishes are ideal.
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