Catalina Island Fishing: A Complete Guide

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Positioned simply 28 miles off the coast of Southern California, Catalina Island is a slice of paradise. On land, it affords a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the Los Angeles metropolitan space. Within the waters, nevertheless, it’s a special story. The Catalina Island fishing scene is something however quiet, and it’s created the baseline for what modern-day sportfishing is right now.

There’s simply one thing about Catalina’s waters that appears to agree with California’s acquainted solid of fish, making it the perfect year-round fishery within the area. So whether or not it’s an inshore battle or an offshore battle you’re after, we’ll inform you what you may catch, the place, and the way on this information to Catalina Island fishing.

Prime Catches on Catalina Island

The important thing distinction between the fish you may catch round Catalina versus wherever else on Southern California’s coast is dimension. Catalina fish are completely huge! In consequence, you’ll discover extra trophies right here than wherever else. We couldn’t point out all of them, however listed below are a number of of Catalina’s prime inshore and offshore catches.

Calico Bass

Wherever you go in Southern California you’ll discover Calico Bass – and that features Catalina Island. Don’t let that put you off, although, these year-round targets are each scrumptious and enjoyable to catch. Calico Bass like to name rocky construction and kelp beds house, making Catalina’s shoreline best for these fish.

One other factor that makes fishing for Calico Bass in Catalina particular is the sheer dimension they attain. Due to the rising recognition of catch and launch fishing, the island boasts a giant and powerful inhabitants. Each novices and professionals can goal them – simply gear up with a 7’ or 8’ rod and a few heavy braided line. When it comes to bait, Calico Bass usually chunk each swimbaits and small stay bait like anchovies.

White Seabass

Fishing for White Seabass is a problem. The situations might be best and also you gained’t get a single chunk. However, on a day you least count on, there might be lots of of fish biting across the Catalina Island shore. Though these fabled California fish are unpredictable, there are some things we do find out about them.

The White Seabass fishing season usually begins in March, earlier than hitting its peak in the summertime. The typical fish is available in at between 20–30 kilos however trophies can simply hit the 60-pound mark. To reel these beefy fish in, gear up with a medium-heavy rod and hold your jig or stay bait slow-moving – these fish don’t wish to work too exhausting for his or her meals!

Yellowtail Amberjack

Yellowtail Amberjacks are one other iconic Southern California fish. You’ll discover them up and down the coast however Catalina is house to what’s arguably the state’s finest year-round fishery. Every part from water temperatures and setting, to the fish they feed on, agrees with Yellowtails within the waters surrounding the island.

In the event you’re hoping for the hard-fighting motion massive sport fish present however don’t wish to journey into extraordinarily deep waters, Yellowtails are the best opponents. They’re deep-diving fish who can normally be present in waters as much as 120 ft deep. Ranging between 5–40 kilos, Yellowtails reply nicely to every kind of bait together with pink crabs and sardines, in addition to steel jigs.


Shark anglers understand how straightforward it’s to get hooked on chasing these stunning and fierce creatures. You strap into your harness, clip in your heavy rod, and reel your coronary heart out! Catalina is house to numerous Shark species, together with Blue and Leopard Sharks. Nevertheless, there’s one which stands out greater than the others.

Equal elements fierce and clever, Mako Sharks are the last word predators. They’re quick and ferocious, primarily as a result of they should be! Makos are warm-blooded and should hold transferring to remain alive. Continually on the go, these migratory fish journey based mostly on what meals is on provide, so it’s no shock that they hit Catalina proper across the time Bluefin Tuna arrive. 

Makos are actually enjoyable to catch, however they’re additionally sluggish to mature and attractive – making them a first-rate candidate for overfishing. In the event you catch a mature and wholesome Mako in Catalina, our recommendation is to tag and launch it.


If we needed to declare a star of the present with regards to Catalina fishing, it must be Tuna. Why? Nicely, many individuals name Catalina the birthplace of recent sportfishing. A few of the finest offshore fishing grounds on the planet are positioned just a few miles from shore! As soon as the hotter climate hits, it brings with it a couple of form of these scrumptious fish.

Yellowfin and Bluefin Tuna are by far the most well-liked catches, however Skipjack, Bigeye and even Albacore Tuna make appearances too. These fish are powerful cookies and also you’ll want the precise gear and a few muscle energy to reel them in. Tunas don’t tire out simply so trolling with fluorocarbon chief and a few tasty stay bait is your finest guess for getting these fish on the boat.

Striped Marlin

The massive sport fishing enjoyable round Catalina doesn’t finish at Tuna. There are extra pelagics to pursue right here, together with the almighty Marlin. Between July and October Striped Marlin crowd the waters to the delight of native anglers. Earlier within the season, anglers desire to sluggish troll for these billed fish, whereas September and October are reserved for sight casting.

Though they’re smaller than their Blue and White kinfolk, Striped Marlin can nonetheless attain fairly spectacular sizes. The typical fish are available in at between 40–130 kilos, nevertheless, trophies can weigh as much as 500 kilos and measure as much as 14 ft. To search out these fish, you’ll want to go into deep waters. The productive stretches between Catalina, Santa Barbara, and San Clemente islands are a terrific place to begin.

Tips on how to Fish Round Catalina Island

Catalina is understood for its productive deep waters that begin just some miles from shore and prolong all the best way previous the horizon. As such, there are a few other ways to sink your line and catch some trophy fish. Beneath, we spotlight a number of the hottest strategies for making the most of the Catalina Island fishing scene.

Catalina Island Constitution Boat Fishing

By far the most well-liked method to get out on the water, Catalina fishing charters provide up a number of the biggest alternatives to discover the deep Pacific waters for trophy fish. Whether or not you’re trolling within the summertime for Tuna and Marlin or deep dropping for Rockfish and Lingcod, a constitution provides you the liberty to maneuver round and custom-make your dream journey.

You’ll even have a educated native captain readily available who can educate you about Catalina’s wealthy fishing historical past and share some native ideas and methods. They’ll additionally embody your gear and, more often than not, bait too. Like in all Southern California fisheries, you’ll be answerable for buying your individual fishing license.

Catalina Island Kayak Fishing

Kayak fishing has grown immensely in recognition through the years and Catalina Island is a superb place for outside lovers to present it a strive. And also you’d be shocked by the vary of fish that may be caught! Kayak anglers in Catalina usually go after Yellowtail, White Seabass, and Calico Bass within the island’s inshore waters.

Few strategies of fishing offer you nearer entry to your targets – to not point out that it’s rather more inexpensive than constitution fishing. We’re obliged to inform you, nevertheless, that kayak fishing will not be for the faint of coronary heart. You’re your individual captain and engine in any case, and a transparent understanding of the waters is important in case you’re using extra complicated fishing methods.

Catalina Island Pier Fishing

There’s lots to do onshore in Catalina and that features pier fishing. In the event you got here in hopes of touchdown some Calico Bass, you’ll be comfortable to know that the majority are caught from Inexperienced Pleasure Pier in Avalon. Alternatively, Cabrillo Mole, a pier on the opposite facet of the island, is taken into account one in all few on the planet the place you may efficiently hook California Sheephead.

Alongside these notable targets, count on a wholesome provide of Blue Perch and even Rockfish or the odd Yellowtail. Mussels or shellfish work nicely in case you’re utilizing stay bait, whereas spoons and jerkbait do the trick in case you desire synthetic. Better of all, each of those piers are public and subsequently don’t require you to have a fishing license!

Catalina Island Shore Fishing

Fishing from shore is an effective way to see how stunning Catalina Island actually is. In the event you’re hoping to discover a distant fishing spot, climbing and tenting are in all probability within the playing cards, which is a dream on this lush and various panorama. In the event you’re staying in Avalon, the island’s predominant metropolis, to not fear. Avalon Harbor is a superb spot to solid from, too.

Most anglers shore fishing in Catalina come right here for Calico Bass. On condition that there’s kelp everywhere in the island, this could come as no shock. Blue Perch, Halibut, Sheephead, and even Yellowtail are within the playing cards too. Casting into the incoming tide brings essentially the most success. Simply make sure to carry further lures and features to interchange these that can inevitably get misplaced at sea.

Catalina Island Fishing Spots

Wherever you solid your rod round Catalina Island, likelihood is you’ll come throughout a giant and feisty fish. The offshore waters are actually your playground. All it’s good to do is select a route to sail in. That stated, there’s additionally nice inshore and shore fishing on provide. Beneath, we’ve highlighted a pair spots you shouldn’t miss subsequent time you’re in Catalina. 

  • Avalon Bay: Avalon is the island’s predominant metropolis and except for being a colourful vacationer spot, it’s house to the Avalon Bay. It homes many of the island’s constitution fleet and in addition supplies shore anglers the chance to solid strains for Calico Bass, Blue Perch, and Halibut.
  • Two Harbors: Positioned on the “different facet” of the island, Two Harbors is a metropolis on the western tip of Catalina. On one facet, fish Isthmus Cove. On the opposite facet, solid into Catalina Harbor. White Seabass, Yellowtail, and Halibut are simply a number of the sport fish ready to chunk your line right here.
  • Inexperienced Pleasure Pier: It’s the island’s predominant pier, positioned in Avalon. Calico Bass are a typical catch, as are Blue Perch, Rock Wrasse, and even Rockfish. This can be a public pier and no fishing license is required. 
  • San Clemente Island: Catalina’s island sibling, the stretch between the 2 is deep and productive. In the event you got here for giant sport Tuna and Marlin fishing, this can be a good spot to start out your search.

The rest I have to know?

Earlier than you head off in your Catalina Island fishing journey there are a number of extra issues to take into accounts. To begin with, you’ll have to get right here! Then, it’s all about buying a fishing license and ensuring you’re updated on fishing seasons and laws. Beneath, we’ve listed some ideas and knowledge to make your fishing journey as easy as doable.

How do I get to the island?

First issues first – attending to the island! Catalina is about 28 miles off the coast of Southern California, immediately throughout the San Pedro Channel from Lengthy Seashore, Newport Seashore, Huntington Seashore, and Dana Level. It’s additionally an hour-long boat journey from the town of Los Angeles. You will get to Catalina by ferry or helicopter, or by chartering a ship from one in all these cities.

Fishing Licenses and Seasonality

Catalina Islands falls below Southern California regulatory jurisdiction. As such, you’ll have to buy a fishing license for all shore and boat anglers over the age of 16. The exception to the rule is pier fishing from a public pier, which requires no license. For extra data on buying a license, take a look at our fast information. 

SoCal’s fishing laws are notoriously heavy and it’s important to remain updated. Fishing laws are topic to vary yearly, so be sure you’re staying knowledgeable. The season for Rockfish species usually closes in the beginning of the yr and reopens in March or April. Most different species are open to reap year-round however could have dimension and bag limits.

Catalina Island: An Angler’s Paradise

There’s little question about it, Catalina Island’s fishing alternatives are legendary. Its various fishing grounds, good water temperatures, and customarily calm setting all contribute to why it’s Southern California’s favourite fishing gap. After that glamorous California trophy fish? It in all probability calls these waters house. Whether or not you’re a novice or professional, you possible gained’t quickly overlook your Catalina Island fishing journey.

Have any legendary Catalina Island fishing tales to share? Drop us a line within the feedback – we love to listen to from you!

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