Deep-sea fishing is a popular year-round activity in Southern California. Ocean fishing trips target seasonal game fish off the coast and Baja Californa. Halibut, Sand Bass, Calico Bass, Barracuda, White Sea Bass, Rock Fish, and Yellowtail are the most sought-after game fish.
Ocean fishing trips leave most Southern California harbors, including San Pedro, Long Beach, Newport Beach, Dana Point, Oceanside, and San Diego.
Do I need a Fishing License?
A sports fishing license is required for all anglers 16 years of age or older. Are you required to have the license in possession while on the fishing trip? If you are not a regular fisherman, a short-term sports fishing license is the most affordable option. One-day sport fishing licenses are also exempt from the Ocean Enhancement Validation requirement. If you’re going on a long-range fishing trip south of the border, you will need a Mexican fishing permit. Fisherman’s Landing has an excellent guide on how to obtain the permit.
How Long are the Trips
Fishing trips are available for half, three-quarter, full-day trips, and twilight fishing depending on the charter company. Fishing equipment, including rods and reels, are available from most sports fishing operations, and they will also clean your fish for a small gratuity, usually $5.00 – $10.00.
What If I Don’t Know How To Fish
No experience is needed for any of these fishing trips; crew members will assist novice fishers and ensure they have the best chance of catching fish. More experienced anglers often are more than happy to help out beginners.
Where To Book A Sports Fishing Trip
- Ventura Harbor – Channel Islands Sportfishing offers year-round daily fishing trips off-shore and to the Channel Islands. Full Galley serves fresh drinks and meals. Discount is given to veterans. Enjoy a fun day of fishing off the Ventura coast.
- Long Beach – Pierpoint Landing features Overnight, Multi-Day, 3/4 Day, and 1/2 Day Fishing departing from Rainbow Lagoon in Long Beach. Boat crews are helpful, especially if this is your first fishing trip.
- Newport Harbor – Davey’s Locker schedules several trip lengths from including ½ day to full-day trips. All fishing trips depart from the Balboa Pavillon. Equipment rentals are available. The newbie fisherman is always welcome Davey’s.
- Dana Point Harbor – Dana Wharf has a large fleet of fishing boats, and it the best choice for folks living in Southern Orange County. Trips range from just off-shore half-day to long-range excursions off the Baja California Coast. Check their website for discount fishing coupons.
- Oceanside – Helgren’s is the name you’ll want to remember if you want to go Sportfishing in northern San Diego County. Featuring Half, Three Quarter, and Full Day Trips. Plus seasonal Twilight and Night Sportfishing.
- Mission Bay San Diego – Seaforth Sportfishing operates out of Marina Village in Mission Bay Park. 1/2 Day, Full Day, and fishing charters are offered along with tackle rentals.
- San Diego Bay – Royal Star Sportfishing is for people looking for a long-range fishing adventure. The average trip duration is four days. Passports are required on all trips. Royal Star Sportfishing trips are best suited for seasoned fishers.
Saltwater Fishing From Shore
Saltwater fishing is also possible from local piers and jetties; no fishing license is required. Fishing from a pier can be a great way to learn about saltwater fishing. All you need is some basic fishing gear and a comfy place to sit down and enjoy the ocean. Shore fishing is another popular Southern California activity; however, fishing from the beach does require a license.
Freshwater Fishing Southern California
Southern California also offers some great freshwater fishing. During the fall and spring seasons, many lakes are stocked with trout. Catfish and bass can be caught year-round.