Los Angeles County is presently comprised of many different cities and towns bordered by great and beautiful stretches of beach and coastline. There are certainly more places in this region to fish than Ports O’ Call and Cabrillo at the Port, in Los Angeles proper. Along the Pacific coastline, countless piers and jetties in each area provide ample opportunities to cast from land. One not only alternates targeted species in Los Angeles by water depth, but also as the coastline transforms by terrain and height. It is thus necessary to travel quite a bit, north and south along the Los Angeles metropolitan coast in order to fully appreciate and enjoy so many choices for outstanding sport fishing.
Due west of downtown Los Angeles is the world-famous Santa Monica Pier, which extends nearly 2000 feet seaward. Here anglers fish from Municipal and Newcomb Pier, where Marina Del Rey, south of Santa Monica, hosts charters which depart from dock 52 and concentrate on the rich fishing waters of Santa Monica Bay. Further south is the Redondo Beach Harbor at Redondo Canyon. Charter boats here have the advantage of leaving the harbor in five minutes and reaching prime fishing grounds only 20 minutes later. Two additional locations in San Pedro have busy fishing cultures. 22nd Street Landing is home to the largest privately-owned diving and fishing fleets on the West Coast, while LA Harbor features Ports O’ Call Village, Cabrillo Pier, and a large commercial fishing fleet at Fisherman’s Wharf. Manhattan Beach has more than toned bodies and world-class volleyball. The pier is also quite vibrant and busy. Long Beach is another popular location for charters who offer trips lasting overnight and longer, in addition to the standard half, quarter, and full-day rates. The Seal Beach Pier draws greater numbers of Herring than other areas, and enjoys good daily crowds. Huntington Beach Pier serves as a focal point for volleyball, surfing, concerts, in addition to good fishing.
Both sections of Santa Monica’s pier provide areas that extend closer to the water, giving better access to local traffic of Pacific Mackerel, White Croaker, Queenfish, Surf and Sea Perch, Sculpin, Halibut, and Bonito; even a good number of Sharks. The main target fish in Santa Monica Bay include Halibut, Sand and Calico Bass, Barracuda, White Sea Bass, and Yellowtail. At Cabrillo Pier fishing is revitalized, since vandalism almost caused a permanent shutdown. Now a family-oriented locale above ground, the fish are still swimming beneath the water’s surface. In shallower water you are almost guaranteed to land a few Mackerel, White Croakers, maybe even a Halibut or two. Further out are good numbers of rock-dwelling species; enough to keep you busy and happy. Manhattan Pier features the usual suspects, plus Guitarfish, Pile Perch and, further out, Bonito, Barracuda, Kelp and Sand Bass, and Yellowtail. Long Beach charters concentrate on much of the same species, with emphasis on California Sheephead, Calico and Sand Bass, Bocaccio, Bonito, and Barracuda. Charters from Redondo target Sculpin, Bass, Perch, Triggerfish, Halibut, and Sand Dab, small, tasty flat fish known by locals as some of the best eating fish, and popular for the younger or less-experienced crowd. Herring are not the only species you will find at Seal Beach Pier, where Queenfish, Mackerel, and a few Bonito are known to pass by. Seal Beach features a 1,865-foot-long wooden pier, which can be missed if you don’t pay attention (difficult enough along such a scenic drive). Visitors to Huntington Beach Pier will find great success landing Surf Perch, Corbina, Croaker, and Guitarfish inshore; while Halibut, Sand Bass, Mackerel, Bonito, Bat Rays, and large Sharks lurk further out.
With so many fishing options throughout and around Los Angeles County, it would take months to cover more than just a few. Most areas are so busy and pay off with such consistent numbers; it can be difficult to move on to the next pier, wharf, or harbor. Still, every place on land and sea features its own unique personality and oftentimes distinct fish populations. Charter trips are highly competitive, due in no small part to the sheer number of local options. Once you get hooked in one area, don’t limit yourself to only land or sea. Be certain to try the piers and jetties as well as the boats throughout the Los Angeles coastline, in order to get a proper taste of southern California sport fishing.