The coastal city of San Diego, located in the southwestern corner of the United States is the second largest city in California. Miles of beaches and a mild Mediterranean climate make this an ideal place for living and for vacations. Deep canyons separate many mesas, creating small areas of parks throughout the city. On the coast many areas are surrounded by water, including the peninsulas of Point Loma and Coronado. These bays and byways lead to exciting sport fishing in the cold Pacific waters. San Diego lies just north of the Mexican border which it shares with Tijuana, and the waters off the coast are filled with exciting, large fish sought by angler from around the world.
The majority of fishing charters in the San Diego area leave from two locations: Mission Bay Park and Point Loma. Mission Bay Park is just minutes from Sea World and the interchange between I-5 and I-8. This park area is the largest man-made aquatic park in the country, and offers a wide range of recreational activities in addition to its state-of-the-art harbor. Other charter options operate from the eastern coast of Point Loma, just south of the Naval Training Center and only about two miles west of San Diego International Airport. San Diego fishing charters offer trips lasting from half of a day to long range adventures, up to two weeks long, depending on the duration of time you would like to spend at sea, and what kind of fish you are after. Half and full-day charters peruse up and down the coastline and up to 50 miles out. Overnight trips plod further off the coast and into the Pacific, and many reach further south toward and along the coast of Baja California, Mexico. Trips lasting up to four days in length will visit places like Isolete, San Jose, the Outer Banks, Colnett, and San Martin Island. Those who spend up to a week on board will pass these locations and eventually get to Hippolito, Guadalupe, San Benitos, and the Cedros Islands. Charters longer than a week reach much further south along the Baja Coast for Magdalena Bay, Thetis Bay, Potato, Morgan, Tussant, and Finger Banks, and all the way to Alijos Rocks, 480 miles south of San Diego and 160 miles from Baja.
Along the San Diego coastline are good numbers of Calico and White Sea Bass, Red Snapper and Ling Cod, Tuna and Yellowtail (especially during season, November-May). San Martin is a small island 150 miles down the Baja Coast from San Diego and just four miles offshore. Great fishing takes place between two and eight miles south of the island, along high spots and two of many major reefs, the Breakers and Ben’s Rock. High season for Yellowfin Tuna in these parts is between July and December. You will also find Tuna, Yellowtail, Calico and Sea Bass. Guadalupe Island, 220 miles south of San Diego and 150 miles from Baja, has cliffs rising thousands of feet from the sea floor and above sea level. Giant Bluefin Tuna frequently weigh in at over 200 pounds, and they are always near the island. Yellowfins are numerous between July and December. Trips to the Outer Banks, up to 225 miles from San Diego, usually run from May until November and aim for Albacore, Blue and Yellowfin Tuna, Big Eye Tuna, Yellowtail, and Dorado by trolling and spotting in offshore waters. Hippolito, San Benitos, and the Cedros Islands are as far as 450 miles away, and they host large specimens of all Tunas, Yellowtail, Dorado, and White Sea Bass; even great white sharks from time to time. Three prominent rocks break the surface as the only visual markers when you arrive at Alijos Rocks, 480 miles south of San Diego and 160 miles from the Baja coast. Here is where the world record Yellowtail was caught, and that’s not all. Huge Yellowfin Tuna prowl these waters along with seasonal Wahoo and Dorado. Charters continuing further out approach Magdalena and Thetis Bays, and the Finger Banks, where giant Yellowfin and Bluefin Tuna congregate in the company of Albacore, Dorado, Wahoo, and Yellowtail. There are additional catches of Grouper, Amberjack, and an occasional Marlin or Sailfish. While anchored, or during downtime along these trips, there are always healthy numbers of Rockfish, White and Calico Sea Bass to keep you occupied or distracted.
San Diego comprises two distinct regions, though its canyons and mesas tend to divide the city itself into many separate areas. There is San Diego on land, and San Diego by the water. Sea World, the airport, the Naval Training Base, Point Loma and Mission Beach all enjoy easy access to deep seas and thrilling sport fishing. When you come to San Diego, bring with you enough stamina, patience, and a lot of time. With so many fishing charters operating long-range – in addition to many shorter – trips, and so many fish to go after, it may take a while before you want to leave. The Pacific coast is expansive here, and so are the fish when you dig deep enough.