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San Diego, CA

Photo via Flickr

Arguably the tuna capital of the West Coast, this city hosts some epic fishing.

Only 2 and half hours south of Los Angeles, San Diego boasts some fantastic saltwater fishing and whale watching trips. Fishing is a way of life in this city, which hosts the most sportfishing charter boats in California. There are options for spin and fly fisherman alike. An angler can venture out into the deep to catch monster marlin and tuna, or stay in San Diego and cast flies to Pacific bonefish and spotted bass. If you’re a fly fisherman looking for a real challenge, look no further. One San Diego based outfitter offers fly fishing for Mako shark and tuna. Catching these beasts on a fly will give you the fight of a lifetime, and a story to tell for years to come.

If you want to stick to conventional deep sea fishing, the temperate waters outside of San Diego are literally teeming with fish. Once the capital of tuna fishing, San Diego closed the last of it’s canneries in the early 1980s. The reduced pressure on the tuna has caused the population to return to epic numbers. As soon as you find a school, a hookup should be imminent. These guys fight hard and taste fantastic. Most captains will filet a tuna as soon as you land it. Can’t get fresher sashimi than that!

Basic Info
  • 65° 49° Dec-Feb
  • 68° 56° Mar-May
  • 75° 66° Jun-Aug
  • 73° 61° Sep-Nov
Coronado Islands, San Diego Bay, Pacific Ocean, El Capitan, Lake Elsinore, Lake Morena
Fishing license info here: here

The Catch

Top fish species to target in San Diego, CA


Aggressive and toothy, these beasts cruise warm saltwater looking for prey.

Bluefin Tuna

A prized food and gamefish, the Bluefin Tuna can reach 1,000 pounds in weight and fights with every ounce of it.


Neither a Ling or a Cod, Lingcod have large heads and mouths and sharp teeth and body narrows towards the tail.


Not related to the mammal, Dolphin have vibrant yellows and metalic blues and greens, especially when first caught

Mako Shark

One of the bigger members of the shark family, the Mako attacks from underneath, tearing off pieces of its prey’s flesh.


With a spear like bill and big rigid dorsal fin, the Marlin is a prized sport fish. Think Old Man and the Sea.


With big, human like teeth, the sheepshead is striped like a zebra and makes for good eating.

Yellowfin Tuna

One of the larger tuna species, with a vibrant yellow dorsal fin and anal fin. An incredibly tough pound for pound fighter.

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