San Francisco was settled by the Spanish in 1776 but did not experience significant growth until the California Gold Rush propelled it into the national psyche in 1848. After the devastating earthquake in 1906 the city was quickly rebuilt; nor did it take long to become one of the most popular and beloved cities in America. Indeed, one cannot ignore the romance of San Francisco’s Victorian and modern architecture tossed atop steep, rolling hills, and its quaint cable cars; or the ominous mystery of fog rolling into town across the Golden Gate Bridge. Happily situated on the tip of a lovely peninsula, the City by the Bay enjoys great favor from people around the world, who love its diverse and cosmopolitan population, including Chinatown and historic Angel Island, the quirky Haight-Ashbury, and the genesis of Silicon Valley. Sports are popular here, along with a heavy dose of the arts, and haute cuisine; but one subculture that has and will always continue to profit from San Francisco’s prominent geographic location is anglers. Simply put, if you like to fish then you must visit San Francisco!
San Francisco Bay offers countless saltwater fishing options, including deep sea fishing, fishing from the coast, and fishing from boat, land, or piers within the Bay area itself. Popular fishing spots near the Golden Gate Bridge include the coast of Marin, south of Bolinas, and the Duxbury Reef area off the southern tip of the Pt. Reyes peninsula. Areas around San Francisco Bay, including marinas, are numerous: Fisherman’s Wharf, Emeryville Marina, Berkeley Marina, Half Moon Bay (Pillar Point Harbor), Point San Pablo (among other local reservoirs), Richmond Marina Bay, Sausalito, and San Rafael. Popular piers are found at Pacifica, Berkeley, and San Francisco Municipal. Further away from the bay lie the Cordell Banks and the Farallon Islands, two highly reputed rock fisheries. Charter boats and guides are available in many regions throughout the Bay Area, providing affordable and highly competitive rates.
Depending on the season, charters will take you fishing for half, full-day, or overnight trips to deeper water and more remote locations. Multiple, exciting choices of sport fish are always available, per respective season, and these charters will strive to get you to where and what you want. Local conservation efforts and aggressive hatchery programs have made the Bay area’s King Salmon fisheries among the most abundant in the world; especially during summer, with larger specimens often being caught off the coast after Labor Day. From August until October Albacore Tuna are usually further offshore, but often get closer to Monterey and San Francisco as they migrate up the coast. Halibut are caught along the coast outside the Golden Gate Bridge, and inside the bay, especially along the Berkeley Flats. Striped Bass and Sturgeon are most often found in the delta as well as the bay. Leopard, Seven-gill, Six-gill, and Soupfin Sharks all prowl the bay and along the coast, with Surf Perch. Along the coast and offshore are consistent numbers of Lingcod and Rockfish. From San Francisco Municipal Pier – three blocks from Fisherman’s Wharf – regular catches include White Croaker, Walleye, Sand and English Sole, Starry Flounder, California Halibut, Skates, Rays, Sharks, and many flavors of Perch. Certainly these are only a few examples, by no means comprehensive, since these same fish are also found at different locations around the Bay Area as many others migrate past the Golden Gate Bridge.
Countless options for activities are available around San Francisco and the Bay Area, making it oftentimes difficult to find your way to the water, no matter how dedicated you are. Once out there, it’s easy to be consumed by such exciting action. Don’t forget to pause at whiles before coming back, and take in the spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Angel Island, and the steep, rugged Pacific coastline. Hopefully you’ll see other wildlife, maybe seals, even a whale or two. With so many fish available the only difficulty is competition – not between you and other people, but more likely between you and local marine animals, like sea lions and their pups, who may snag your catch before you can land it.