Ten Best
San Diego Fishing Trips




Best Fishing Trips are in San Diego!

San Diego is a fishing mecca with something for everyone – from the occasional angler to the diehard fisherman. Inshore, offshore, deep sea – you name it, and you can find it here. Check out our fleet of boats and these ten great fishing trips in San Diego that are sure to create lasting memories! If you are a group of four, six, or more then we have the perfect private party charter. All the private party charter prices can be found here with all prices, all boats, and all trips. If you are a single or double you can sign up for open party here.

San Diego is the Tuna capital of the USA

If you’re looking for the best fishing in California, or even arguably in the whole of America, there’s no better place to start than San Diego. This coastal city is home to some of the best fishing spots in the world, and whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, there’s a trip that’s perfect for you. Tuna, specifically bluefin tuna, are this towns claim to fame. In fact San Diego is known as "Tuna Town" to those in the know. Mild weather, long seasons, and a huge assortment of boats, trips, and species to fish for. One of the reasons why San Diego is best is the fact that it is located as far South in the United States as you can get. This means warmer waters. The local islands don't hurt either.

Summer Dorado line up for the catch on the nine mile bank all summer long! Get a full day for best results.
Big Bluefin and Yellowfin Tuna can be had during summer months with a full day trip, but its always better to go on an overnight or multiday trip if your budget and your schedule permit it. More time, better chances of success.

That is not your standard issue bluefin right there!

The Most Popular Spots

If you're looking to do some fishing while you're in San Diego, then you're in luck! There are many great spots for fishing throughout the city. Here are five of the best places to go fishing in San Diego:

1. Kelp Beds North of Mission Bay - This spot is perfect for those who want to fish on the surface or the bottom. Once the boat pulls up to the kelp beds he will eithier drift or anchor depending on conditions. Eithier way you will be close enough to cast lures on the edge of the kelp beds for some top notch surface action. Or.... you can chill out the bottom and catch rockfish, lingcod, and bass.

2. La Jolla Cove - This is a great spot for those who want catch yellowtail, rockfish, halibut, white seabass, and many other species. Eithier a half day or three quarter day charter is all you need for this.

3. Nine Mile Bank - This underwater bank is approximately, you guessed it, nine miles off the coast, and about 14 miles from the dock. This bank holds just about every kind of in-season fish there is in these waters. This is our go to spot year round for the best near shore fishing in the area. Rockfishing in winter is great, yellowtail lurk about, and in the spring all the way til the end of the season, you can also find plentiful dorado, yellowtail, and tuna.

4. San Diego Bay - This is a great spot for saltwater fishing. Halibut, Bass, Lingcod, Lobster, Whitefish, and many other species. Calm water no matter the weather, and perfect for kids or those prone to sea sickness.

5. Middle Banks - The second of three off shore banks that spans from the 20 to 34 miles offshore and extends from west of La Jolla all the way past the Mexican border. The Middle Banks is primarily a summer time spot, and is well known for bluefin, yellowfin, dorado, and yellowtail.

Pictured above is the Nautilus, one of our most comfortable, and popular six pack.
We have over thirty boats to choose from in our
fleet.

6. Coronado Islands - 15 Miles from the entrance to San Diego Harbor, the first thing to know about this trip is that you will be within 12 miles of land, so you need a booklet passport. We will help you obtain the Mexican Fishing License, Visa, and BioBracelet that you need. All that being said, this is the GO TO SPOT for preseason and postseason fishing. This spot holds yellowtail all year round, and during the summer, holds every species we target. The calm waters of the protected inland side provide serene fishing opportunities and a great view.

7. The Outer Banks and Mexico - When its firing, its firing. From early June, all the way until mid November, you can find bluefin and yellowfin tuna here. Sometimes its rough, usually its rough, and its a long ride. But if you can brave the trip, you will find unspoiled, uncrowded, angler's paradise at this spot. You will need at least an overnight trip, but a 1.5 or 2.5 day trip is recommended for optimal results.

8. San Clemente Island Bluefin - Almost year round bluefin can be found here. The Tuna Triangle is real! The triangle goes from the north tip of San Clemente to the Tanner Banks, to the Cortez Bank. A perfect triangle, filled with the biggest tuna in San Diego's bountiful waters. If you want to catch a TROPHY bluefin, not just a "standard issue" one, this is the spot to go to. Multiday trip is recommended. You will be over 100 miles offshore on this trip.

9. The Rockpile in Mexico - Within 12 miles of Mexico's Baja penisula, you and everyone on board must have a booklet passport to enjoy this trip. You will most likely be the only one fishing this spot. Which is good right? A giant rockpile measuring 5 foot ball fields on the sonar, surrounded by sand bottom. Every single species on our list of species , is at one time or another on this, or near this spot. Its got deep canyons all around it. Great structure, and baitfish everywhere. Giant Lingcod and Yellowtail far after the summer is over, is what makes this place great.

10. Catalina Island - Great fishing summer and winter. Tuna, Dorado in the summer, Yellowtail, White Seabass, Calico, Halibut, and even bluefin tuna, almost year round. Also one of the most beautiful places on earth.

These are just a few of the great places to go fishing in San Diego. If you are fishing from a boat, you're sure to find a spot that's perfect for you. There are many charters available year round. San Diego is home to some of the best fishing in the country. Whether you're looking for a challenging trip or a relaxing day on the water, there's a perfect spot for you.

Here you can clearly see just how big this fish is. The AVERAGE SIZE bluefin we encounter in season is 100 lbs or more, and the largest approach 300 lbs of tuna missle. After you land it, you might need to lay down.

Four Favorite Fish!

If you're looking for an amazing fishing trip in San Diego, look no further than Bluefin Tuna! This fish offers some of the strongest, toughest, and longest battles in the sport fishing world.

What makes Bluefin Tuna so great? The waters around San Clemente Island and Mexico outer banks, are particularly rich with these huge fish, and they put up quite a fight when you hook them. It's definitely a good time if you're up for the challenge. If you hook a big one, we are talking 150lbs plus and a three hour fight , that you may or may not win.

The distinctive shape of the dorsal fin is how you know its a Yellowfin.

San Diego is home to some of the best fishing in the world, and there’s no better place to target big yellowfin tuna than right off our coast. These massive pelagic fish can grow up to 400 pounds and provide anglers with an incredible fight. While they can be caught year-round, the summer months are when they really congregate in our waters in search of food.

There are a number of charter boats that specialize in targeting these fish, and they will put you on the fish while also providing all the necessary gear and expertise. All you need to bring is your enthusiasm and a sense of adventure.

During the summer months, a full day 12 hour trip on a four or six pack vessel will USUALLY put you right on them, but if you plan to go before July or after October 1st, your best bet would be a 1.5 day or multiday charter to the San Clemente Island, where they like to hang out during the colder months. Another good option is to head south into Mexican waters and the outer banks, far away, but always the best option if your are early or late.

We have open party trips for this also, click here. Choose the 12 hour, full day, or multiday option, and submit your info.

If you’re looking for an exciting fishing trip that will create memories to last a lifetime, head out on one of these San Diego yellowfin tuna charters.

This is what you call a BULL Dorado!

If you're looking for an amazing fishing trip in San Diego, look no further than Dorado! This species offers some of the most intense fights on light line! Great fun for both novice and experienced anglers. In season, they are found close by and eat anything. They are actually very veracious , even forming feeding frenzies. It is not uncommon to watch dozens of them fly by under the back of the boat, and throwing in a live bait equals an instant hook up.

Also called mahi-mahi, this very colorful fish species are super strong for their size, and are fun to catch. They can be found in the waters off of Southern California, and the best time to catch them is during the summer months. Dorado are attracted to baitfish, so the best way to catch them is to use live bait or lures that mimic baitfish. When fishing for dorado, it's important to use line that is strong enough to handle their size and strength. The biggest dorado can reach up to 80 pounds!

Best trips for this in the summer months is 3/4 day and full day, a fast four pack or more comfortable six pack will do the job. We have open party trips for this also, click here.

So what are you waiting for? Book a trip today and enjoy some of the best fishing San Diego has to offer! Call or text us 24/7 at 619.508.7823.

That is a nice Yellowtail!

The best time of year to fish for yellowtail in Southern California is from May to October. During this time, the yellowtail migrate closer to shore, making them easier to catch. There are several different techniques that can be used to catch yellowtail, including bait fishing, jigging, and trolling. The size of yellowtail can vary depending on the age and species, but they can typically reach sizes of up to 60 pounds. Yellowtail fishing is a popular activity in Southern California because it provides an opportunity to catch a large fish without having to venture too far offshore. Yellowtail are considered excellent eating, with their firm flesh and mild flavor. So if you're looking for a good meal as well as a good fight, yellowtail fishing is the way to go.

Any local coastal charter we offer that is 3/4 day or longer, can take you the 15-35 mile ride to the fishing grounds. Usually they are close, but they have been know to wander into deeper water without notice. The local Coronado Islands in Mexico hold this fish almost year round, and so does San Clemente, but summer is always the best. During these months you can find 2 or 3 hiding under every kelp patty you can find, with their friends the Dorado.

Yellowtail fishing is fast and furious, and while not as big as its Tuna cousins, this fish can put up one hell of a fight. If you are specifically targeting this fish, you need to hold a good amount of line on your reel, and run 25lb. test and up. Make sure the drag on your reel is up to par, you may need it.

Our open party trips are different because we go OFFSHORE looking for palegic species year round. Half day is only one option. We offer 3/4 Day, Full Day, Overnight and Multiday OPEN PARTY fishing trips on four and six pack vessels. Much nicer than any cattle boat, take a look here.

If you're looking to join an open party charter in San Diego, there are a few things you need to know. First, it's important to book early - many of the popular boats fill up their spots months in advance. Second, be sure to bring all the necessary gear - all of our boats will provide bait, water, soda, and snacks. Rod rental and tackle will be extra, unless you wish to bring your own rod and reel. Finally, be prepared for a long day on the water - open party charters can last up to 12 hours, so make sure you dress appropriately, take sea sickness pills if you need it, wear layers, and bring sunscreen. Fishing license must be presented before boarding the vessel.

To join an open party, its very simple, just follow these steps.

  1. Go to the OPEN PARTY FISHING SIGN UP FORM.

  2. Answer the 5 questions and submit your info, date range, trip types.

  3. You will be confirmed and updated as other people join your date range trips.

  4. When a match occurs you will all RSVP, be charged, and the trip finalized.

  5. You can then go on the trip that you selected, within the date range you specified.

  6. Nobody gets charged until everybody puts a card one file, then everyone is charged at one time , only when the boat is full, and the charter is then finalized for all.

This is much easier than checking one boat at a time, and hoping it fills up after you were already charged! You can always call or text us 24/7 at 619.508.7823

If you have a private party, corporate event, and just a bunch of friends who want to hang out, a private charter is the perfect choice. We have boats that can handle from two to eighty passengers. Check out the whole fleet!

When it comes to finding the best private party charter in San Diego, there are a few things you'll want to keep in mind. First and foremost, consider which size vessel you need. Four pack vessels carry four passengers and are faster and less expensive. Six pack vessels carry six passengers and are slower, more expensive, but much larger , more comfortable, and required for any overnight or offshore multiday sportfishing trip.

The next questions is, what species if any , do you wish to target. If the answer is pelagic species, then you need a full day trip at the very least, and an overnight tuna trip or multiday tuna trip to San Clemente Island , even better!

What date range can you go? Its better to have a range of dates than only having one possible departure. It helps find the best boat, and not just the one available last minute.

Finally, you'll want to think about the total duration of your trip. How long can you be offshore? If you only have a full day and you want tuna, ask for a faster boat! If your not in a hurry you can get one of our slower but luxurious private six pack yachts.

Don't worry, there is an easy way to do this, just call or text us and tell us three things. How many, when, and for how long. With just this info we can give you a complete list of available boats and price ranges. You can also check our price list here. If you have questions call or tex us any time. 619.508.7823

A very large specimen of the Halibut species that was caught on an iron. Most unconventional method indeed, but apparently effective.

These trips fish the local waters surrounding San Diego Bay and Mission Bay. Just after boarding you will proceed to the bait dock pick up bait, and head for the local fishing grounds. Depending on the time of year and conditions, the Captain may opt for one of three places.

  1. Local Kelp Beds. Calico, Sandbass, Rockfish, Lingcod, Whitefish, Sheepshead, Barracuda, and many many other species. Fish top or bottom live bait or squid, you will find the fishing is fast paced. While it is rare to catch a huge fish, it does happen more often than you think! The majority of these fish are in the 3 to 7lb range, with the Halibut, Lingcod, and rare bull calico bass rounding up the top fish, and representing the larger fish you may catch. In the summer months you may also catch Yellowtail and Dorado here.

  2. Local Rock Beds. Rockfish, Lingcod, Halibut, Whitefish, Calico, Sandbass. Best to fish the bottom with live bait or squid. Use two hooks and a lot of lead as you many be fishing as deep as 150ft. The reel up can be a pain, but at least you will be comforted by the fact that you hauling rockfish up two at a time. Me personally, I like the taste of the Whitefish, which is also very common. Easy fishing, great for beginners and younger anglers.

  3. Along the Mexican Border - USA Side. No, you will not be in Mexican waters and you will not need a passport. You will however be within site of the border. Underwater structure here provides great fishing for all bottom fish .

Regardless of where you go, you will have fun on one of these Half Day charters. It is a chill trip for a quick get away on the water and fishing.

Here we see a nice bull Dorado in all of its colorful glory!

Inner Banks and Coronado Islands Offshore Fishing Trip

The 3/4 day trips get you one thing, regardless of the time of year. And that is a ride to the inner banks, also known as the NINE MILE BANK. Year round, this spot is consistently one of the top 5. Does not matter what you are fishing for. This spot holds all species that we hunt, either on the surface, or the rocky bottom. You can catch everything from a 7lb rockfish off the bottom in 200 feet of water, Dorado, Yellowtail, Tuna, all the way up to a 200lb Marlin.

Now of course, the pelagic species are only on the banks during the summer months. But winter fishing is good with one of the most prolific rockfish fisheries I have encountered yet!

Oh yes, almost forgot. If everybody has passports, this trip can also go and fish the Coronado Islands in Mexico. A dream come true for the angler in you!

This Trophy Bluefin Tuna was caught by Captain Chris on the Erin Anne on a full day trip. This is our fastest day boat, and can go up to 100 miles offshore if need be, within a single 12 hour charter! This fish weighed in over 250lbs.

San Diego Offshore Fishing Trip - Inner and Middle Banks

The most popular of our day trips, this will give you the time needed to specifically target the big fish. Depending on the vessel you choose, you will have the range needed to travel up to 75 miles in any direction , and then fish all day!

During the summer months this is specifically a pelagic trip. Looking for big bluefin, yellowfin, dorado, yellowtail. Departing early and coming back late, your Captain will usually head due west, strait offshore. Depending on the local rumors and fish dope, the Captain will guide the boat to their last known position and the hunt will begin. Before you catch these trophy fish, first you have to find them. The Captain and crew will be frantically looking through the binoculars for any sign of them. Foaming on the top, diving birds, meter marks on the sonar, trolling hookup, radio call in, any of these things will cause your Captain to set course, and before you know it you will be on top of them.

Be at the ready, with live bait on a free line, or throw iron, just be ready... you only have once chance. Hoooooookuuuup. The Captain and crew will manuver the vessel until the fish shows color, at which time the deckhand will come down with the gaff and bring your prize over the side. It is great fun!

When you hear the thud of the tuna on the deck, you know the fight is over and you have one. You now have enough sushi grade tuna to last a while!

For more info on how to book this trip, call or text 619.508.7823

Captain Mike of the Nomad shares a moment with a customer who just landed his first big bluefin. The look on his face makes me think he cant believe what he just caught. I am sure he will come back next year also!

This trip specifically targets trophy Bluefin and Yellowfin Tuna.

The best San Diego fishing trips are the ones that take you offshore to where the big Tuna live. The Outer Banks and San Clemente Island is where you'll find some of the biggest and most delicious fish in the world. There are huge drop offs from shallow banks in thousands of feet of water that draw the tuna like a magnet, to feed on the baitfish that also live here. It is a feeding ground!

If you want to catch a really big fish, you need to go offshore. And if you want to catch a lot of big fish, you need to go on a multiday trip. That's because it takes time to get out to the fishing grounds and back. But it's worth it, because when you finally get there, the fishing is incredible.

Departing at 9pm all summer long, you will travel all night in your cot or with the boys having a beer on the back deck, but we recommend you get some sleep, because wake up call is at 4 AM. You will be fishing all day!

Kite fishing, trolling, and looking for foaming bluefin tuna on the surface are the best tactics in use today. If there is no wind, we also carry helium ballons, just in case. The crew will use their considerable knowledge on the matter to get you hooked up, and to make sure it ends up on the back deck.

All of these private party trips include rod rental, water, soda, snacks, and food. You will also have a nice cot to sleep in, and free range of the spacious galley. Every one of our multi day boats has multiple bathrooms, and hot showers too. There will also be working outlets and a microwave, full size fridge.

If you have any questions , text or call us at 619.508.7823 for more info.

Here we see a perfect example of foaming bluefin as the sun sets.

What You Can Expect on a Trip

It doesnt matter what trip you choose, or which boat you go on, you can always rest assured that you will be treated well! Here is a list of things we do to make sure you are happy on all of our charters.

    • USCG Captain with drug tested crew.

    • Commercial Insurance.

    • Legal and Legitimate Vessel departing from a legal pick up and drop off.

    • Fish and Game compliant.

    • All vessels have a bathroom.

    • All trips, no matter how short, include at the very least water, soda, chips.

    • We are available to answer your phone or text 24/7/365 with trained operators.

Fishing trips like these are not cheap, so don't go with a shady company or a less than perfect boat. Why settle? We are the largest virtual landing in San Diego and represent over 25 vessels, and have been in business for over 5 years. You can trust us with your next charter, and we will make sure you come back. If you have any questions, just call us 24/7 at 619.508.7823. We will be there for you, both before you book, and after.

A really really really big bluefin. Almost 300lbs.

Conclusion

So, which trip? If you have the time and budget, go for a 1.5 day overnight, as it is the best bang for the bucks, and will give you your best overall chance.

If you only have a little time, go on the full day or three quarter day middle banks or Coronado Islands trip if its summer season, or head to the Coronado Islands or the Mexican Border if winter season.

If you want to save money, or are on a very short schedule, hop on the half day local private or shared charter and go and catch yourself some dinner.

If you're looking for a great place to go fishing, San Diego is definitely the place to be. With so many different options available, it can be hard to decide which trip is right for you. Call one of our helpful staff and we will be glad to help you, so you can make sure you choose the perfect one for your needs.

Each of our sales team not only has years selling fishing charters, but in every case without exception, our sales staff are anglers and boaters, just like you. That's why we are in the business, because we love fishing just as much as you do. Because we are fisherman also, we understand clearly how to make a good fishing charter that is safe, comfortable, fun, and puts the fish in your freezer.

I hope you enjoyed this guide on Socal's 10 best fishing spots, and until next time, see you on the water!