Home Fishing Tips & Advice How to Catch a Blackbelly Rosefish

How to Catch a Blackbelly Rosefish

With a unique and noticeable red outer skin, the Blackbelly Rosefish is one of the coolest deep drop fish you’ll find. While strange, this species of fish can be quite tasty and is well worth the homework you’ll need to do to in order to catch them. Once you know where to find these fish, how to catch them, the type of bait and lure to use, catching this unique fish will be simple. In fact, once you have the information down, fishing for the Blackbelly Rosefish can be quite fun!

Where to Find a Blackbelly Rosefish

This is an Atlantic bound fish. They aren’t native to any specific region within the Atlantic, but they do have their favorite depth and environment, which will be important to recognize. Sightings of these fish have been noted anywhere from just off of Miami, all the way over to Iceland and the Scandinavian shores. The Blackbelly Rosefish doesn’t have a specific climate that they prefer, as they tend to float around the coasts of the Atlantic.

The most important feature you need to keep an eye on when fishing for a Blackbelly Rosefish is the depth at which you’re fishing. As with most fish, the Blackbelly Rosefish has its preferred depth which is where you’ll most often find them. This fish will typically be found at depths anywhere from 600-2,000-feet. Most fishing trips that are designed for catching a Blackbelly Rosefish will tend to take you to depths of 750-1,000-feet. This is where the water is perfect, and the Rosefish are plenty.

These “Rosies” tend to require a sense of structure in order to set up camp and so you’ll need to look for areas with more rocky bottoms. The Blackbelly Rosefish will almost always be hiding in a rocky or obstructed area. Sometimes you might find a school of them hiding on a muddy bank or in a forest of algae, but most often they’ll be found in areas with structured bottoms like rocks, hills, or outcroppings. 

How to Catch a Blackbelly Rosefish

Catching the Blackbelly Rosefish is much easier than you might think. Many fishers tend to associate them with their deep-water brethren and pin a difficult tag on fishing for them. In reality, if you know where to look, use the right bait, and have the right equipment, you could end up pulling three or four out of the water at a time. The trick of fishing for this species is finding their habitat and dropping a quality line down where they are. 

The best expedition to embark upon for these fish is a full-day offshore deep drop. These will take you to the right locations at the right times and will host the necessary equipment to net you a load of Blackbelly Rosefish. Luckily, they’re a year-round fish so no matter when you take the charter, you’ll be in the peak time to find the fish. Once the deep drop expedition finds the fish, drop your line, wait a couple minutes, reel it in. If you have fish, great! If not, try a different location. 

With the amount of Blackbelly Rosefish you’ll find in a single location, if you don’t feel a tug in five minutes of dropping your line, it may be best to call it quits on that specific location. The chances of you catching one of these fish in that location drastically decreases after the five-minute mark. However, if you feel a tug, wait around because with Blackbelly Rosefish, you could get a couple more depending on the amount of bait you used. 

Other fishers tend to operate with the “drop and drift” method of fishing for this species. It’s the opposite approach to the above listed one which promotes keeping your line in until you’ve drifted into their zone. This is an effective way to catch the fish, but you have to ensure that you’re at least around a Blackbelly Rosefish zone. If you don’t feel a tug, wait around, and let the line drift into the habitat of the fish and you’ll begin to catch them. 

Best Bait for Blackbelly Rosefish

Blackbelly Rosefish aren’t necessarily picky eaters, though they do have a couple of favorite foods. The most popular bait to use for a Blackbelly Rosefish is squid. These fish tend to flock towards squid baits, and you’ll find your line full rather quickly after dropping it. You can also use Bonito bites which are simply bites and flakes of dried fish. Both of these bait options will be effective in luring a Rosefish to your drop. 

Best Lures & Lines for Blackbelly Rosefish

The easiest way to catch a Blackbelly Rosefish is to have the right lure for the job. This set up is rather typical for deeper fishing expeditions. Your main goal should be to provide enough weight to keep your line down where the fish are found. Because the Rosefish tends to enjoy sticking closer to the bottom of the water, it’s beneficial to ensure that your line is staying within their territory. For this, you’ll want a 5-6-pound lead that will keep it low in deeper waters. 

Another feature of your line you should focus on is the number of passengers you’re hoping for. The Blackbelly Rosefish tends to swim together in groups and will often be found in groups of three or more. If your hope is to catch one at a time, build your line with one lure. If you’re intending to catch as many as you can in one go, then make sure to attach multiple lures to your line in order to snag the larger yield. Lures and leads, especially in offshore fishing, should be attached to swivels to avoid twisting and tangling lines. 

The best lure to use might be a simple hook with attached bait. Blackbelly Rosefish don’t tend to go for the more ornate lures and prefer the more basic set up. With the right bait and in the right location, you’ll find plenty of success without the need for extra lures and equipment.

As Sport Fishing Mag says, the Blackbelly Rosefish is certainly one of the stranger fish in the ocean to catch, cook & eat.

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Growing up on the south shore of Long Island, Chum Charlie has always had a passion for fishing. His favorite fish to catch is a striped bass and his favorite bait to use is bunker. Off the water, he enjoys blogging and sharing his favorite fishing tips & tricks that he has learned over the years.