Fishing in San Diego: The Complete Guide

Studying Time: 9 minutes

San Diego is called “America’s Best Metropolis,” and judging by its fishing charters, the title is totally justified. Mix its year-round nice climate with mind-bending quantities of fish to go for, and also you’ve bought a no brainer for any fisher’s bucket listing. Nevertheless, until you’re an skilled native angler, attending to know this fishery is usually a little sophisticated. Right here’s all the things you want to learn about fishing in San Diego.

On this information, we’ll cowl among the signature native species, the place you’ll be able to catch them, and the way. We’ll additionally cowl the kinds of fishing San Diego is understood for, in addition to the fishing laws you must learn about. 

Fish Species in San Diego

If we’re speaking selection, San Diego is arguably the most effective fishery on your entire West Coast. Irrespective of the time of 12 months, chances are high one thing’s biting in these waters. From calm bay waters to offshore underwater canyons, the listing of species round San Diego is limitless. Listed here are among the most iconic fish you’ll be able to catch. 

California Halibut

If you happen to’re seeking to catch a tasty fish, however don’t wish to spend the entire day doing it, California Halibut are the right alternative. To not be confused with Pacific Halibut, these scrumptious flatfish inhabit the bays and inshore waters of Southern California.

To catch Halibut, you want to look no additional than San Diego Bay. These guys like to cover alongside rock piles or edges of eelgrass beds. You possibly can catch them year-round, however Might by way of October is when Halis are at their finest. A typical Halibut weighs between 4 and 10 kilos, however should you’re fortunate, you’ll discover a 40 lb behemoth!


There are lots of several types of Rockfish round San Diego. Whichever you occur to seek out, you’ll be in for lots of enjoyable – and more often than not, a tasty deal with, too. Rockfish are the right alternative for learners as a result of they have a tendency to highschool up. Which means should you catch one, chances are high you’ll have an entire group of fish to combat.

As their title suggests, Rockfish like to hang around close to construction, particularly rocks. To search out them, go searching rocky bottoms 150 toes deep. If you happen to’re feeling bold, you’ll be able to attempt to catch Rockfish in even deeper waters. That is the place you’ll discover greater fish, however remember that they’re lots more durable to catch! The 2 most typical kinds of Rockfish are Starry and Vermillion Rockfish. You possibly can catch the previous from October by way of December, whereas the latter is in season from March to June.

White Seabass

One other Californian staple fish, White Seabass is definitely not a Bass, however a sort of Croaker. That makes these guys shut family to Redfish, Black Drum, and California Corbina. Very like their family, White Seabass are tasty fish, however in contrast to most of them, they will get very massive. A median White Seabass will prime out at 20 kilos. The biggest White Seabass ever caught weighed in at an enormous 93 kilos!

San Diego anglers have been catching White Seabass for years. The wonderful thing about them is that you would be able to catch one just about wherever you look. From pier fishers, to kayak anglers and offshore hunters, everybody will get a chunk of this pie. The most effective time to focus on White Seabass is throughout the spawn season, which is between mid-March and June. 

Yellowtail Amberjack

If we needed to crown one fish as San Diego’s favourite, it might little doubt be Yellowtail Amberjack. Yellowtail’s urge for food is barely matched by their explosive preventing spirit, making them the best sport fish for learners and consultants alike. With their chicken and candy style, Yellowtails additionally occur to be prime desk fare. 

There are two kinds of Yellowtail Amberjack round San Diego. There are the smaller “firecrackers,” often weighing in round 12 to 25 kilos. After which there are the bigger “mossback” Yellowtails, which regularly attain sizes of 40 kilos. There’s an ongoing perception that the additional south of San Diego you go, the larger Yellowtails get. However extra on that later.


We saved the most effective for final. Irrespective of how skilled you’re, catching a Tuna is an angler’s dream. These offshore fighters will check each inch of your line, each grain of persistence, and each little bit of ability you’ve gotten. Preventing a Tuna is just the final word fishing expertise.

It so occurs that San Diego offshore fishing owes its legendary standing exactly to those fish. From feisty Yellowfin to massive Bluefin, that is what massive sport angling is all about. To catch a Tuna, you’ll be heading to the Catalina and San Clemente islands. 

If you wish to step it up a notch, hop on a multi-day constitution, and head right down to heat waters of Mexico. July to October is when skilled anglers come to chop their enamel, and the place Tuna fishing is at its best possible.

Forms of Fishing in San Diego

The waters of San Diego are huge and plentiful. In reality, you’d be hard-pressed to discover a fishing method or methodology that native anglers haven’t heard of. From kayak anglers to spearfishers and massive sport fanatics, San Diego has all of it. Let’s check out among the hottest kinds of fishing in San Diego.

Pier Fishing

Pier fishing in San Diego is likely one of the locals’ favourite pastimes. It’s additionally a well-liked exercise for vacationers and guests new to the road and reel. Wetting a line from one of many native piers might earn you something from Surf Perch, California Corbina, and Queenfish, to Mackerel and Halibut. 

The most effective half is, you don’t want a fishing license to fish from a public fishing pier in San Diego. To study extra about pier fishing in San Diego, try our in-depth information.

Kayak Fishing

Much like fishing from a pier, kayak fishing in San Diego will provide you with an opportunity to catch among the hottest native species. Nevertheless, in contrast to pier fishing, shifting round in a kayak will assist you to check a number of productive fishing spots.

There’s an excellent variety of kayak fishing guides round city. Between your information’s experience, and the sheer variety of fish swimming in these waters, you’ll be in for an arm exercise in addition to a full cooler.


If you happen to like your fishing up shut and private, you realize that there’s nothing fairly like spearfishing. Not solely is that this fishing method loads of enjoyable, it’s additionally essentially the most sustainable technique to catch a fish. Spearfishing in San Diego is available in many sizes and styles, at the least with regards to the species you’ll be able to catch. Relying on the place you’re spearfishing, you’ll be able to catch something from Bass and Sheephead to Yellowtail and Tuna!

As you’d anticipate, the native hotspots are a guarded secret. Fortunately, native fishing guides might be completely satisfied to point out you the most efficient honey holes. So long as you’re not in one of many native marine protected areas, you’ll be able to spearfish just about wherever you need. That implies that all of the fish San Diego has to supply are inside your grasp.

Constitution Fishing

As any severe angler will inform you, nothing compares to an expertise on a fishing constitution. For one, you’ll have an skilled captain to point out you all of the little tips you want to land “the massive one”. Second, all of your bait and sort out might be supplied on the boat. And when you’re completed fishing, the crew will gladly clear your catch for you, so you’ll be able to take pleasure in it over a tasty dinner.

After which, there are the boats themselves. 

San Diego fishing guides take nice pleasure of their vessels: that is, in spite of everything, among the finest constitution fleets within the nation. A great boat means you’ll waste no time reaching the fishing grounds. And which means much less time boating, and extra time fishing!

Most of the city’s constitution vessels are moored in one of many native boat landings. A few of the most famous ones are Fisherman’s Touchdown, Level Loma Sportfishing, H&M Touchdown, Seaforth Touchdown, and Helgren’s Sportfishing.

Multi-day Journeys

By now, you is perhaps considering that fishing in San Diego is the most effective factor since sliced bread. And also you’re proper. However maintain on to your hat, as a result of we haven’t even gotten to the most effective half. What really makes America’s Best Metropolis stand out within the angling world is an expertise on one among its iconic long-range fishing journeys. 

These are nonetheless fishing charters, however they’re so totally different and superior to another kind of fishing that they deserve their very own point out.

Lasting anyplace from three days to a few weeks, a visit on a San Diego long-range fishing journey has one sole goal. That’s to offer you the most effective fishing expertise the Pacific has to supply. You’ll be heading as far south as Puerto Vallarta, visiting among the best fishing grounds on the best way. From enormous Yellowfins to large Tunas and monster Sharks, it doesn’t get any higher than this. 

Hauling all these monsters might be tiring, and that’s why long-range fishing vessels provide all of the creature comforts you’ll be able to consider. From 5-star cooks to stress-free lounge areas, you’ll need for nothing on these journeys. You’ll be in worldwide waters, so don’t neglect to carry your passport!

Fishing Spots in San Diego

Whether or not it’s proper on the town, or a whole lot of miles away, San Diego has extra fishing spots than you’ll be able to ever hope to discover. Let’s cowl among the finest areas to moist a line in San Diego. 

San Diego Bay

Stretching over 12 miles, San Diego Bay presents a world of choices for the inshore fisherman. With a variety of species to catch and numerous entry factors for each shore and boat fishing, the bay can preserve you fishing for days on finish. 

The Coronado Bridge in San Diego Bay

Spots just like the Embarcadero Park and Marina and the close by pier are superior for Noticed Bay Bass, Halibut, and Bonefish. To the north, Shelter Island and the world off Coronado Cays are two different spots you must try.

Mission Bay

Only a few miles north of downtown San Diego, you’ll discover the protected waters of Mission Bay. These waters are the centerpiece of Mission Bay Park, which affords 27 miles of pristine shorelines to discover. Most of those are accessible to anglers, so that you’ll discover no scarcity of spots to forged your line from. These skinny waters will serve you with Halibut, Noticed Bay Bass, and Corvina.

There are a great deal of leisure amenities across the park, together with campgrounds, hearth pits, playgrounds, protected swimming areas, and extra. For sure, this place is ideal for fishing households.

La Jolla

La Jolla is infamous for its year-round fishing. Whether or not you’re fishing the kelp forests from a ship, or angling from the shore, there’s at all times one thing on the chunk round right here. You’ll have a area day catching the likes of Calico Bass, smaller Yellowtail, Lingcod, Halibut, and Barracuda. 

Take into account that this space is bordered by two marine protected reserves. These are the Matlahuayl State Marine Reserve north of Level La Jolla, and the South La Jolla State Marine Reserve south of Palomar Ave.

Catalina and San Clemente Islands

Catalina and San Clemente are two of SoCal’s favourite offshore fishing spots. Anglers come from far and extensive to strive their hand in fishing right here. With enormous Yellowtails, Dorado, Calico Bass, and Tuna, these two islands actually reside as much as expectations.

Catalina Island has its personal constitution fleet

The islands are situated round 70 miles offshore, so that you’ll want a full day journey to make it worthwhile. Fortunately, there are many offshore fishing charters in San Diego, so that you’ll haven’t any hassle discovering somebody to place you on the fish.

Coronado Islands

For anglers set on catching the fish of a lifetime, a go to to the Coronado Islands is a should. Simply over the Mexican border, the islands are a veritable fish magnet, as testified by just about each angler that’s ever visited this lovely place.

Large Yellowtails, enormous Dorado, and Yellowfin and Bluefin Tuna are all on the menu. The Coronado Islands are usually the primary cease on a long-range fishing journey out of San Diego. 


Any angler age 16 or older should purchase a California fishing license to fish in San Diego. That excludes any ocean fishing piers, however not inland cays and docks. Both means, you’ll nonetheless have to observe the state bag and dimension restrict laws. To learn to get your CA fishing license, learn our full information.

A Bucket Checklist Fishery

For sure, fishing in San Diego is a type of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Except you’re an area, through which case we’re infinitely jealous and need nothing to do with you. All jokes apart, this fishery is exclusive and thrilling, and most significantly, it affords one thing to each kind of angler on the market. And that’s exactly why it needs to be in your bucket listing.

Do you’ve gotten a query about fishing in San Diego? Or a fishing story you’d prefer to share? Tell us within the feedback under!

Leave a Comment