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Top Fishing Charters in San Diego

Fishing in San Diego

San Diego is known as “America’s Finest City” with good reason. With a climate that resembles Mexico and all the creature comforts of the US, the local weather, people, and atmosphere are famous for making visitors feel at home. Luckily for traveling anglers, the sizeable fleet of San Diego fishing charters is just as diverse and exciting as the city itself. Step aboard and – believe us – you’ll be in for a treat.

What type of fishing charter is best for me?

Fishing for beginners

If you’re fishing with kids or still getting the hang of casting yourself, San Diego Bay is the perfect place to start. These waters hold a huge variety of fish, from California Halibut and Spotted Bay Bass all the way to Bonefish! Protected from ocean winds by the Coronado peninsula, this is a good option if you don’t have your sea legs yet. A half day trip is usually enough to catch a nice variety of fish in the bay, while private 6-pack and 4-pack boats are a good option for new anglers, as they guarantee a personalized experience with individual attention from your guide.
 

Feeling more adventurous?

You don’t need to have been fishing your whole life to experience San Diego’s ocean fishing. Book a “local” fishing trip, and you’ll head out of the bays and into the open sea. These trips take place over the huge kelp forests stretching out around Point Loma and La Jolla and can get you catching Kelp Bass, California Sheephead, and Rockfish year round. Come in the summer, and Yellowtail, Bonito, and Barracuda get added to the list, too! Captains recommend you pick at least a 3/4 day trip to experience the full extent of these "inshore" waters
 

Fishing for pros

Comfortable with fishing deeper waters out of site of land? Then some of San Diego’s most exciting sport fishing is waiting for you. Take a full day trip out of San Diego, and you can travel to the offshore or Mexican waters to target Bonito, Yellowtail, Yellowfin and Bluefin Tuna, Bass, and much more. Many San Diego charter boats run long range trips that travel south down the Mexican coastline for 3 days or more. If you want big game, this is a trip you'll never forget! To really test your skills, go fly fishing too, either inshore or offshore.
 

What to bring

Most San Diego fishing charters are all-inclusive, with water, tackle, ice, and snacks included in the price. Don’t forget to pack:
 
  • A California fishing license. These are not covered by charter boats, so make sure to purchase it before the day of your trip.
  • Sunscreen, warm clothes, and any additional food or drinks. 
  • If you’ve booked a longer trip into Mexican waters your Mexican fishing license will usually be included. Make sure to check with your captain before your trip, and don't forget your passport!

When to go

San Diego has a year-round fishery, with offshore sportfishing being best in the summer and fall. August to early October is the best time to fish for Tuna, with Yellowtail, Bonito, and Barracuda all possible catches at this time of year. Meanwhile, nothing beats fishing the bay in the winter, when there are fewer crowds and less fishing pressure.
 
Whichever trip you choose, expect to be surprised in San Diego. With a quality and number of fish that’s better than what you could wish for in such a populated city, step aboard a San Diego fishing charter for a trip to remember. 
 
San Diego
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Based on 11702 reviews by FishingBooker anglers

San Diego Fishing Seasons

The coldest month in San Diego, January is all about fishing for Sculpin, Ling, Bass, and Halibut. Seasonal closures for Rockfish slow down the fishing (regulations vary). Meanwhile, Trout season starts in the lakes.

Weather conditions can be unruly, with winds and high waves a possibility. In good conditions, you can get out to fish for Sculpin, Sand Bass, and Halibut, while Yellowtail can be caught around the Coronado Islands.

Fishing is still affected by wintery weather, with Groundfish being the main target. Head to the kelp beds to catch a Calico Bass or go to the flats for a Sand Bass, with Halibut still very good. This also prime time for Bass fishing.

Spring fishing continues, with Sand Bass fishing in the Bay being the top choice for shorter trips and longer trips taking you out to the Coronado Islands to target Calico Bass, White Seabass, and Yellowtail.

The fishing gradually starts to heat up, with some deep sea fishing trips beginning to leave San Diego. These will see you targeting Pacific Albacore, Bigeye Tuna, and Bluefin Tuna. Inshore, the Halibut season comes to a close.

More and more charters start running long range options, fishing waters 30-100 miles offshore for Bigeye and Bluefin Tuna, Albacore, Yellowtail, and Dorado. Conditions can be bumpy as the north winds stir the seas.

Finally, summertime fishing arrives in San Diego. Make the most of it while it is here! The June winds start to settle and overnight trips and longer will see you fishing anywhere from Catalina to the Coronado Islands and beyond.

The water is the warmest it will be all year, and with the warmth comes exotic species. Dorado and Yellowtail can be caught on a day trip if you are lucky. Albacore can still be caught to the north, to return south later in the month.

Warm water species are still available, with Halibut and Rockfish also starting to reappear on the cards. Marlin, Tuna, and Albacore can be caught close to shore in years when the waters are warm.

Fall sees amazing Yellowtail fishing, with some people considering it the best time of year to catch the species in San Diego. Large numbers are caught on local half day and overnight trips.

The warm water species have definitely left the area, with some overnight trips still taking you south to Mexican waters to follow them. Closer to home, your main targets will be Yellowtail, Rockfish, and Halibut.

Most charter boats run fewer long range trips at this time of year, although if you can take a long trip south to fish the Mexican waters, you will be in for a treat. Local day trips will target Rockfish, Halibut, and Calico Bass.

San Diego Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About San Diego

"Half Day trip with Captain Mike "

Shannon F. fished with The Long Run Sportfishing on June 1, 2019

Off-shore fishing. The Longrun Sportsfishing for Blue Fin.

"Great first San Diego fishing experience!"

Bryan H. fished with The Long Run Sportfishing on May 29, 2019

First time for us so really don't have any advice other than charter with someone who fishes for a living and knows the spots!

"Half day with Captain Phil "

Shane E. fished with Good Times Sportfishing on May 29, 2019

Dress for weather conditions and if you haven't been on the ocean before take some dramamine before and during your trip. Oh I also recommend using Good Times Fishing.

"Does charter on the sea"

Joseph C. fished with The Long Run Sportfishing on May 26, 2019

Get ready to have fun. Lots of excitement.

Top Types of Fishing in San Diego

  1. Inshore Fishing
  2. Offshore Fishing

Top Fishing Techniques in San Diego

  1. Deep Sea Fishing
  2. Spearfishing
  3. Fly Fishing

Top Targeted Species in San Diego

Halibut

Halibut

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Tuna (Bluefin)

Tuna (Bluefin)

Tuna (Yellowfin)

Tuna (Yellowfin)

Nearby Fishing Destinations

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