Best Tuna (Albacore) Fishing Charters in California

Top Tuna (Albacore) Fishing Charters in California

Tuna (Albacore)

Tuna (Albacore)

  • Size 20 to 45lbs
  • Food Value Excellent
  • Game Qualities Good
  • Habitats Offshore

Tuna (Albacore) Fishing in California

If you’re up for some drag screaming action, be sure to get in on the Tuna fishing California has in store. The mighty Albacore is just one of multiple species swimming here, but it’s the only one that travels all the way from Mexico to Canada. For anglers in the Golden State, that means non-stop Albie action anywhere (and everywhere) between San Diego and Crescent City.

Hook into an Albacore Tuna and you’re in for the fight of your life. It can take 20-45 minutes just to reel in one of these hunks of seafood. In the warm waters of sunny SoCal, you’re much more likely to haul in a Yellowfin or Bluefin Tuna—the more prestigious members of this family.

The coast of California is where some of the world’s biggest Tuna are landed, and it was here that sportfishing for Yellowfin Tuna first began. Whether you’re looking to land yourself a massive Bluefin or just a chance to rub elbows with the Albies, California is your “in” with this all-star crowd.

California Tuna Fishing Spots

Santa Catalina and San Clemente Islands

Many credit Santa Catalina Island with the birth of modern big game fishing, most notably for the Yellowfin Tuna. Located 20 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, Catalina and her sister island San Clemente (just over 40 miles offshore) are surrounded by deep waters which make for the perfect hunting grounds.

You’ll find Yellowfins here from May through October, mostly in the hottest months of summer. Bluefin Tuna also make an appearance around the same time. A twelve-hour trip out of San Diego, Dana Point, or any marina in the greater LA area will bring you straight to this Tuna treasure trove. In fall, you may even catch Yellowfins on a shorter trip as they pass through the Catalina Channel, along with Skipjack Tuna.

If you have time (and stamina) for an overnight trip, head to the waters 60+ miles from shore. Albacore swim through here between June and September.

The Coronado Islands

The Coronado Islands are another hot spot for deep sea and Tuna fishing charters out of San Diego and Dana Point. A trek to these fishing grounds brings you into Mexican federal waters, and many choose to make an overnight trip out of it—so be sure to pack your passport and a toothbrush.

A trip to the Coronado Islands is well worth the extra time and effort. This is where you can target the biggest game fish around, including both Bluefin and Yellowfin Tuna. You’ll have great success fishing for these species between April and November, especially during their peak season from July to September. Albacore used to grace these waters, too, but have been scarce in recent years. Once they make their comeback, SoCal will give you a front row view of the action!

Morro Bay

As you make your way up the coast of California, Tuna fishing takes on a different persona. There’s no Yellowfin or Bluefin to be had here, but you can still catch Albacore between late summer and early winter.

After making their way past the Channel Islands, schools of Albacore usually swing much closer to shore. As it happens, Morro Bay is in the perfect position to receive this incoming parade of migrating Albies. Anglers heading past the El Morro monolith at the entrance of the Bay can catch these fish anywhere from 20-70 miles out.

When seas are calm between June and September, fishermen enjoy some of the most spectacular Tuna fishing California has to offer. If you’re deep sea fishing out of San Luis Obispo or San Simeon, you can get in on the action.

Monterey Bay

You’ll find excellent Tuna fishing in Monterey Bay, where Albies swim within 10 miles of shore during late summer months. These guys are even known to stick around as late as December in some years. In the Santa Cruz area just north, there are Albies to be found some 50 miles offshore.

San Francisco

The waters just outside of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge see a brief but riveting Albacore run between August and October. Tuna fishing in this neck of the woods will typically take you 40-80 miles offshore.

Bodega Bay

If you’re heading all the way up to Bodega Bay, rest assured you can hook into Albacore Tuna here, too. This fish makes its way here between July and October, passing anywhere from 20-70 miles offshore.

It’s not uncommon to get multiple hookups while trolling lures for these bad boys, which has earned Bodega Bay a reputation for one of California’s hottest Tuna fishing spots. You’ll find equally good Albie fishing more than 300 miles north in Crescent City, as well.

Tuna Fishing Techniques


This is the primary method used to locate Tuna. In the northernmost reaches of California, anglers have great success trolling lures when live bait is unavailable. In areas where chumming is allowed, anglers will chum live bait after they manage to entice Tuna by trolling.

Chumming and Chunking

Anglers lure Tuna to the boat by chucking bucketfuls of live Squid and cut fish into the water. Once you’ve stirred up a nice feeding frenzy, simply cast a baited hook their way. Tuna will bite jigs as well as live Sardines and Anchovies.

Kite Fishing and More

Yet another method to catch Tuna is kite fishing. Anglers in San Diego favor this technique when targeting Bluefin Tuna, who can’t resist live bait such as Mackerel or lures like Yummy Flyers.

You can target Tuna located farther below the surface using a dropper loop technique, by attaching a weight on the bottom and placing your hook about one foot above it.

Tuna (Albacore)

Tuna (Albacore)

  • Size 20 to 45lbs
  • Food Value Excellent
  • Game Qualities Good
  • Habitats Offshore

California Tuna (Albacore) Fishing Seasons

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Tuna (Albacore) fishing in California varies moderately throughout the year. High season is July to August. Low season is January to May and October to December. There is no closed season.

What People Are Saying About Tuna (Albacore) Fishing in California

"Overnight trip on the Time Machine "

Adam Guziewicz fished with Pacific Bluefin Sportfishing – Time Machine on August 26, 2018

Our party of four had a great time fishing with this crew. All crew members co-captains Mike and Reave and mate Andy were helpful, courteous, kept us well fed and most of all knew how to catch fish! We limited out on Yellow Fin Tuna and caught almost as much Skipjack Tuna. We created a lot of great memories and loaded our freezers with fish. Thanks guys. We had a great time.

"Salty Dog Fishing Charters is the Best! "

fished with Old Spool Fishing Charters on February 9, 2018

Captain Matt is very knowledgeable! He knew all the spots and showed me so many new techniques! Best part is we killed it catching fish! Landed my first Yellow Fin Tuna with Salty Dog and also got a bunch of nice sized Yellowtail! Great Trip! Can't wait to do another with these guys!

Fish Species Similar to Tuna (Albacore) in California

Tuna (Yellowfin)

Tuna (Yellowfin)

Tuna (Bluefin)

Tuna (Bluefin)

Based on 17,273 reviews by FishingBooker anglers