Long Beach Fishing: The Complete Guide for 2024

Jan 11, 2024 | 8 minute read Comments
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Reading Time: 8 minutes

Located just half an hour from Los Angeles, life in Long Beach happens on the waterfront. Sandy beaches, a vibrant surf culture, and a floating museum aboard the permanently moored RMS Queen Mary are all reasons why lovers of the Southern California coast should visit. If you’re an angler, however, the Long Beach fishing scene will prove to be the most exciting of all.

A view of the Long Beach waterline, taken from the Pacific Ocean, with palm trees, docked boats, and buildings visible.

The Port of Long Beach adjoins neighboring San Pedro’s Port of Los Angeles, making this city one of the busiest in the world when it comes to marine traffic. There are vessels of all shapes and sizes in the many marinas and boat ramps, long fishing piers with access to deep waters, and beaches great for surf fishing.

From rocky areas and lively kelp beds inshore to offshore fishing around Santa Catalina Island, Long Beach fishing spots keep anglers hooked year after year. These waterways are regarded by many as the birthplace of modern-day sport fishing and we’re here to tell you why – keep reading!

Best Fish to Catch in Long Beach

As so many anglers consider Long Beach to be the cradle of sportfishing, it’s no surprise that both the inshore and offshore waters are teeming with game fish ready to give you a run for your money. If you just want to catch an easy dinner, however, there are options for you too! Let’s check out some of the most famous fish that call these waters home.

Calico Bass

A smiling mother and daughter duo showing off their Calico Bass catches while sitting on a boat.

Of all the Bass that call Southern California’s marine waters home, Calico has to be the most well-known. These kelp-eating fish fit right in within Long Beach’s marine ecosystem. They make for great action, as well as delicious table fare. Although Calico Bass are fairly aggressive, they can generally be reeled in without major difficulty. 

This makes them a great choice for novices experimenting with both live bait and lures. Native to California’s coastal waters, these fish hold a special place in the hearts of local anglers. They’re slow to grow and live a long life without ever going far from where they were born. As such, it’s important to respect size regulations and limit yourself to keeping only a few fish.

White Seabass

A smiling male angler holding a large White Seabass aboard a charter boat in Long Beach, with a fishing rod and water visible in the background

No inshore fish is as sought-after and fabled in these waters as White Seabass. As the largest fish in the Pacific Croaker family, Southern California anglers have long loved casting for elusive White Seabass. You can try hooking them from the shore or a boat, but these moody fish won’t make it easy.

They’re finicky about everything from water temperatures to depth, and usually only bite for a short time. Some anglers spend a lifetime trying to figure them out! What we do know is that they take well to both cut squid and spoons, and like relatively shallow waters. Hard as it is to get a hookup when you do, it’s pretty spectacular. Trophies can reach up to 60 pounds and smaller varieties make for great eating. 

California Halibut

A group of anglers aboard a Long Beach fishing charter holding a large California Halibut they caught, with waters and the shore visible in the background

While you’re still checking out the kelp beds, there’s one more fish you should be on the lookout for. During their prime spring season, they won’t be hard to spot as they can get big – like 60 pounds big! If you’re looking for an easy dinner to take home, it doesn’t get much better than these flatfish.

California Halibut like to take it easy and it won’t take much more than some cut squid or other live bait to get a hookup. Anglers casting from shore will also be happy to know that Long Beach is one of the best places in California to cast for these fish. Best of all, there’s a healthy supply of them year-round.

Rockfish

A group of three happy anglers on a boat, showing off their freshly caught Rockfish in Southern California, each is holding two fish towards the camera

Rockfish is an all-encompassing name and you’ll find as many as 56 different varieties in Southern California’s waters. In Long Beach, these include Sculpin, Boccacio, Black Rockfish, and many more. They aren’t easy to find and most spots closer to shore have, unfortunately, been fished out. Still, as their name implies, these fish tend to call rocky terrain home.

The deeper the water and the smaller the spot, the more likely there are Rockfish close by. Just remember – California fishing regulations don’t allow for Rockfishing in waters deeper than 300 feet. If you are lucky enough to find a honey hole, have your bottom fishing gear and small baitfish at the ready.

Rockfishing in Long Beach is fantastic year-round, however, harvesting is heavily regulated. Most of the time, the fishery is open to shore anglers year-round and to boat anglers from Mar 1–Dec 31. What’s more, different species of Rockfish are subject to differing regulations. You’ll also need to be able to tell fish apart to ensure you’re fishing lawfully. 

Yellowtail Amberjack

A male angler with Yellowtail Amberjack aboard a Long Beach fishing charter, with four fishing rods visible next to him

The west coast version of their silvery relatives, Yellowtail Amberjack are as prolific as fish in Southern California get. Considering they’re both hard-fighting and delicious, that should come as no surprise. Although some stick around all year, these fish typically prefer warmer waters. As such, your best bet for getting your hands on them is from spring through fall.

Weighing in between 12–18 pounds on average, these fish won’t give up easily. They’re deep divers and you’ll need to have the right gear and technique to tire them out. Heading out with live bait, a couple of feet of fluorocarbon leader, and a lot of heart is what it’ll take to reel in a Yellowtail Amberjack.

Tuna 

A group of smiling male anglers holding multiple Yellowfin Tuna on the Southern California coast, with the shore and palm trees visible behind them

Long Beach anglers will agree that we saved the best for last. If bluewater fishing is your preferred activity, you won’t be able to resist heading out towards Catalina and San Clemente islands to get in on the Tuna action.

These waters are teeming with massive Bluefin Tuna and delicious Yellowtail, Skipjack, and even the occasional Albacore. If you’re hoping to go home with some, chumming and trolling in the summertime is your best bet. They’re not the only pelagic fish up for grabs here either, check out our fish calendar for more information.

How to Go Fishing in Long Beach

There are a number of fish to catch in Long Beach and a number of ways to do so. Below, we’ve listed some of the most popular methods for casting a line in the area. 

Charter Boat Fishing

A white charter boat with the name "MarDiosa" on its hull, cruising in the Pacific Ocean

Nothing quite compares to the freedom of charter boat fishing. Switch spots and targets with ease, as you tailor your adventure to your needs. Although you can get solid inshore action from the shore, you’ll need to charter a boat for offshore action. 

Best of all, you’ll have a knowledgeable captain at the helm. They’ll bring along all the gear you need for a successful trip and share tips so you can focus on experiencing these top-notch fisheries. Just pick your perfect vessel at one of the marinas and boat ramps from San Pedro to Long Beach.

Party Boat Fishing

An aerial shot of a large group of anglers speeding towards their fishing spot aboard a shared party boat.

If you’re heading out on your own, or just don’t feel like splurging on a private charter, party boat fishing in Long Beach is a great option. You’ll still get the opportunity to explore fishing grounds inaccessible from shore for bottom fishing or trolling action.

You won’t have the freedom of choice when it comes to changing spots or chasing specific targets, but you’ll get a few hookups and make friends along the way! Since your captain will be splitting their attention between everyone on board, having some previous experience and knowing your way around fishing gear will maximize your time aboard. 

Pier Fishing

A view of Belmont Veterans Pier taken from the Long Beach shore, with rolling waves, calm waters, and clear skies visible.

If there’s no way you can get access to a boat, don’t worry too much! Pier fishing in Long Beach can still give you access to some pretty deep waters where a ton of inshore game fish reside. Best of all, in California, anglers casting from public piers don’t need to worry about purchasing a fishing license.

Long Beach and neighboring San Pedro are home to several fishing piers, varying in length and fishing opportunities. Most of the area’s piers are longer than 1,000 feet, seriously diversifying your target list. Queenfish, Croakers, Halibut, Mackerel, and even Sharks could be biting your line.

Shore Fishing

A closeup shot of three fishing rods on a beach and several Southern California anglers surf fishing from the beach in the blurred background.

There are several beaches in Long Beach suitable for surf fishing. Thanks to it’s Southern California location and mild weather, shore fishing is a year-round activity. Heading to the beach is especially popular for fly fishing enthusiasts looking to hook into Surf Perch, Corbina, and Yellow Croaker.

If you’re hoping to go home with some tasty California Halibut, you’ll be happy to know that Long Beach is an awesome place to hook into these flatfish on foot. Just remember to pick up a valid California fishing license for all anglers over the age of 16 before you head out. 

Long Beach Fishing Spots

A shot of two women on water bikes, riding through a canal in Long Beach, with a variety of charter boats docked on each side of the canal.

The fisheries in and around Long Beach are so vast and diverse, we were barely able to narrow it down. Here are our top picks between, and beyond, Long Beach and neighboring San Pedro.

  • Horseshoe Kelp: Spanning roughly 10 miles, this kelp bed starts at the San Pedro Lighthouse before dropping off near Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. It offers up a good mix of Calico Bass and Yellowtail, as well as California Sheephead and a promising stock of White Seabass.
  • Palos Verde: The obvious choice for numerous fishing charters, this cape offers great fishing within a short boat ride from downtown Long Beach. Anglers fish for White Seabass and monster Calico Bass around here.
  • Alamitos Bay: The calm waters of the bay are perfect for hooking Halibut, Corbina, and even Sharks, whether from the sandy beaches or the rocky jetties. There’s also a marina for charter boat anglers looking to explore the bay or head out in the Pacific 
  • Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier: This 1,650′ pier allows anglers to access deeper waters – without stepping aboard a boat. Halibut, White Seabass, and Corbina are favorite catches. 
  • Catalina Island: The absolute jewel in the stellar array of fishing spots Long Beach has, you’ll find fish of all sizes and colors here. Travel 20 miles and prepare for incredible game fishing for Yellowfin Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and Blue Marlin.

Long Beach Fishing Seasons & Regulations

Species Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Yellowtail Good Good Good Good Good Great Great Great Great Great Good Good
White Seabass Good Good Good Great Great Great Great Great Great Good Good Good
California Halibut Good Great Great Great Great Great Great Good Good Great Great Great
Bluefin Tuna Weak Weak Weak Weak Good Great Great Great Good Good Weak Weak
Yellowfin Tuna Weak Weak Weak Weak Weak Good Great Great Great Good Weak Weak

California fisheries, including the honey holes around Long Beach and San Pedro, are heavily regulated. Possession limits, minimum size, and seasons change from year to year. It’s always a good idea to check with the CDWF before heading out to ensure you’re fishing within the law.

Recreational anglers over the age of 16, planning to cast from shore or from a charter boat, need to purchase a fishing license either online or at authorized CDFW counters. If you’re buying the license over the counter, please note that you won’t be able to pay with cash. If you’re fishing from a public pier you’re in luck – no license is required. 

Long Beach: A Waterfront Gem

A view of the Long Beach waterfront with lights reflecting on the water.

Whether you’re looking for awesome table fare from the bay bottoms, or visiting the offshore reefs and wrecks for fabled pelagic fish, Long Beach delivers. In a city whose everyday happenings revolve around the waterfront, you shouldn’t expect any less! 

I you’re interested to learn more about fishing in California, read our blog.

Tell us your experiences of fishing in the Los Angeles area. Do you love Long Beach as much as we do? Drop us a line and let’s keep the conversation going!

Author profile picture

Iva’s been traveling for as long as she can remember. The places that she gravitates to most are always by the water, so writing about fishing comes naturally to her. Come summertime, catch her on the shores of Lake Ontario in her hometown of Toronto.

Comments (11)

Richard Wheeler

Oct 22, 2022

When buying a fishing license, people need to get the Ocean Fishing enhancement. It costs an extra $6.50 or so.

Due to pollution, the state has issued warnings against eating many fish species caught in the area. Anglers would do well to google the latest restrictions.

In connection with food safety and minimum size limits, anglers should mentally prepare to practice catch and release. That includes googling how to handle a fish so that it doesn’t die once released.

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Spencer

Dec 30, 2021

Can you rent kayaks to fish from in Long Beach or San Pedro harbor?

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    Lisa

    Jan 3, 2022

    Hi Spencer,

    Thank you for reaching out. You actually have a lot of places in both Long Beach and San Pedro which rent out kayaks, such as Kayaks On the Water, Long Beach Watersports, Long Beach Waterbikes, etc.

    I’d recommend you Google them and check the best place and time that work for you.

    Hope this helps!

    Lisa

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Joleene

May 13, 2021

Yes, is advertising just for Captain and Fishing Charters?

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    Iva

    May 13, 2021

    Hi Joleene!

    What kind of advertising did you have in mind? If you give me some more context, I might be able to help out.

    Tight lines!

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Des

Apr 6, 2021

I haven’t fished off the pier in over 20 years. I have moved to more freshwater fishing and my setups are just for that. I am heading out to LB pier this Saturday and was wondering what fishing reel/pole, line, and hooks you would recommend?

I do have a medium action and a heavy medium action pole that can hold test line of 10lbs -20lbs. What you recommend me getting a pole just for saltwater fishing?

Thanks!

Des

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    Iva

    Apr 7, 2021

    Hi Des,

    Nice! You picked a great pier to fish from. If you’re just fishing for the day, I would give it a go with your freshwater setup. The main difference between saltwater and freshwater rods is the materials they’re made from. Saltwater rods use sturdier materials that are more resistant to corrosion than your freshwater rod is. To avoid damage, make sure you rinse and dry your rod off well once you’re done fishing.

    Your medium and heavy rods should be good enough to land you typical targets that can be caught from the pier. The type of hook you use will largely depend on the bait you’re using and the fish you’re after. Try size 4-2 baitholder hooks if you’re using sand crabs, or size 2-1/0 Kahle hooks if you’re using shrimp and mussels.

    Hope that helps!

    Tight lines

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Lynne Binder

Jan 13, 2021

Where can I shore fish in Long Beach, without kelp!! Tired of cleaning my line…….
THX
Lynne

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    Iva

    Jan 14, 2021

    Hi Lynne,

    Thanks for reaching out! While we can thank the kelp for the great fish stock in Long Beach, it can definitely be a nuisance when fishing from shore.

    Since kelp is so abundant in the area, the best suggestion I can give you is to look into purchasing an online chart of the Long Beach Shelf. That’ll have all the kelp beds in the area mapped out.

    Let us know how you make out – tight lines!

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Michael Reynolds

Dec 30, 2020

Hello-
lmk- if I can partner with you , or advertise on your webpage- It is Great !
MR-

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    Iva

    Dec 31, 2020

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for getting in touch. What sort of partnership were you thinking of? I see you run beach fishing lessons, and if you’re interested in listing your business with us you can do so here. If you had something else in mind, let me know!

    Happy holidays!

    Iva

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