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San Diego, California Fishing Overview

San Diego is an excellent place to embark on fishing excursions of all kinds. Whether you just want to fill up the freezer with delicious fish, take the family out for a relaxing day on the water, or go on a multi-day sportfishing trip - we have you covered. Contact Captain Experiences today to book your dream San Diego Fishing Charter.

Everything You Need to Know About San Diego, California Fishing

San Diego Fishing Charters

Fishing in San Diego give anglers an opportunity to catch an impressive array of species just miles away from a bustling metropolis. Whether you're a San Diego local, or are visiting on vacation, there are plenty of charters to choose from. The temperate California climate combined with the cold water in the California current makes for a unique fishing experience. This environment supports species like the the Rockfish which aren't present in the waters of any other state in the continental United States.

With legendary offshore fishing grounds, 2 large bays, and multiple freshwater reservoirs nearby, it's not hard to see why Field & Stream named San Diego the 2nd best fishing city in America. While fishing in San Diego, anglers can relentlessly pursue a bucket list fish, or just enjoy a relaxing day on the water.

San Diego Deep Sea and Offshore Fishing

The fleet of offshore and deep sea fishing boats in San Diego is unmatched by any of its kind. Arguably the largest and most modern private charter fleet in the country, there are fishing charter options for groups of all sizes and experience levels.

The seafloor off of San Diego is characterized by banks and deepwater canyons. The seafood topography and current create a sport fish's paradise. Dozens of bluewater species can be caught offshore, but tuna fishing in San Diego is the most popular by far. Yellowfin and Bluefin Tuna of frightening proportions can be caught in the late spring through early fall when the water temperature rises. Other popular pelagic include Mahi-Mahi, Wahoo, and Yellowtail Amberjack have been known to grace these waters as well.

Trolling is generally the method of choice for targeting these offshore beasts, but kite fishing for tuna is also really popular in San Diego. Kite fishing gives a perfect flying fish imitation as the bait bounces off the surface of the water, suspended from a kite behind the boat. This technique is sure to excite, as most of the bigger tuna are caught using this method.

Reaching the prime offshore fishing waters generally takes a full day trip at least (8-10 hours). There are plenty of extended day (10+ hours) overnight, multi day, and even week long trips that take anglers south to Mexico to warmer waters.

San Diego Bay Fishing Charters

Not to be overlooked is the inshore fishing in San Diego. The inshore grounds consist of San Diego Bay and north in Mission Bay, and they're every bit as bountiful as the offshore waters. San Diego Bay is 60 feet deep at its max and has shallow mud flats in its south end - giving anglers the opportunity to target a variety of species year round. Just outside of the bay and going north to La Jolla are massive kelp forests teeming with biodiversity and life, giving anglers the opportunity to catch dozens of species in a very special environment.

There is great inshore fishing in San Diego year round, but the winter time tends to be the most dominant. The winter months bring cold waters and wind offshore which slows the bite down. Meanwhile, the inshore bite is just heating up.

Unless you've fished San Diego before, there are some species in the bay that you've probably never heard of, much less seen. White Seabass are the largest of the inshore species, with some growing to over 100 pounds. Other popular species include the Spotted Bay Bass, Rockfish, California Halibut, and Yellowtail. Cortez Bonefish - almost identical to the Bonefish of the Florida tropics - are bountiful in the shallow southern bay mud flats. Light tackle and fly gear are the weapons of choice while fishing in San Diego Bay.

Things to do in San Diego

After your trip, there is no shortage of entertainment around San Diego to keep your whole crew busy. If you want some more wildlife action, head to the Birch Aquarium or the world-renowned San Diego Zoo. While you're close to the water, head over to the USS Midway Museum for a history lesson aboard an aircraft carrier. From there, head over to Little Italy and then on to Balboa Park to complete your perfect day in San Diego.

San Diego Tides and Weather

View San Diego tide times and charts here and San Diego weather forecasts here.

Places to Stay in San Diego, California

The Latest News and Fishing Reports From San Diego, California

san diego fishing charters
San Diego Deep Sea Fishing Charters 2020 Recap
September 11, 2020

March Preseason - Tuna Fishing Trip Prep Before Lockdown

Right before we got locked down, we were about to start an EARLY and EPIC Bluefin Tuna season. It has been at least four years since I have seen the size and volume of Bluefin tuna this early in the season.

As you can see by the above video, those are BIGGER than usual bluefin, averaging 200lbs+ and some of the larger specimens just shy of 300 lbs. As always, the kite was the go to weapon on our San Diego fishing charters, and frozen flying fish where the ammo.

Bluefin Tuna
Tuna Fishing California: 2020 Bluefin Tuna Season in San Diego
February 29, 2020

When will the fish get here and how long is tuna season?

To answer that question, we need to ask a question. What temperature range to our target fish like? Once we know this we can make an educated guess of the arrival date by predicting water temps. Everyone has their own opinion on this one, but here is mine.

Bluefin Tuna

Bluefin fishing is the pinnacle of Southern California sportfishing (and arguably the world) for its pure brute strength and incredibly tasty table fare. Favoring water temps around 60-72 degrees, this broader spectrum of temperature flexibility allows this fish to bite nearly year round. However, the general season usually starts in March and goes through October. However, this year, our fleet started seeing them show in decent numbers up as recent as February 20th! This is very rare.

San diego fishing charters
Captain's Log Vol. 7: Deep Sea Galveston and Best San Diego Charters
February 28, 2020

February Highlights:

  1. The Captain's Corner (you're reading it!): The Captain's Corner is our brand new Captain Experiences blog on Damn Good Guides sharing all things fishing. Catch up on recent trips, fishing reports, and more.

Be sure to read up on our 36-hour Galveston offshore trip with Captain Lee, and don't miss our San Diego 2019 Bluefin Tuna Recap.

  1. Captain Worldwide: We're constantly growing our community of Damn Good Guides and are excited to feature over 150 guides and lodges with over 350 total trip listings: