San Diego
fishing charters

Book a fishing charter or find the perfect fishing boat to rent in San Diego. Captain optional

Top Fishing Charters in San Diego

San Diego, CA

5.0

Kraken - 4 Pack Fishing Charter in San Diego!

1-4 passengers Captain Included

San Diego, CA

4.9

23ft Fishing machine in slip & ready to go

1-6 passengers No Captain

San Diego, CA

5.0

Witchy Woman, 31' Fishing Charter with Twin 225

1-6 passengers Captain Included

San Diego, CA

5.0

Cali Tuna - 36' Fishing Yacht - 6 Pack Charter

1-6 passengers Captain Included

San Diego, CA

5.0

24' Luxury bay or offshore center console!

1-12 passengers No Captain

San Diego, CA

5.0

18' SEA FOX PRO for Fishing in San Diego, CA!

1-5 passengers No Captain

Explore the waters on a San Diego fishing charter

Whether you’re planning to book a fishing charter or a boat rental to fish from, San Diego is a sportfishing mecca. There’s year-round opportunity to experience the thrill of offshore or deep sea fishing in a sportfisher, or to stick to the bay or nearby lakes and reservoirs for light tackle or fly fishing from a smaller boat too like a center console, pontoon, or bass boat.

Book a six pack fishing charter for you and a group of friends or family, and you can come back with more than just the memories of a great day… San Diego’s charter captains have you covered even down to cleaning and fileting your catch.


Fishing in San Diego

Many saltwater fishing charters in San Diego depart from Mission Bay or San Diego Bay.

4 Pack and 6 Pack Charter Fishing

Most professional fishing charters and fishing guides offer either 4 pack or 6 pack private trips, which means they’re licensed to take up to 4 or 6 passengers. The other common type of fishing charter offered is a public open boat trip, which means the charter is shared by solo anglers or multiple smaller groups of anglers. Here on Boatsetter, the charter prices offered are for private trips.

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Deep Sea Fishing for Serious Anglers

Many deep sea charters in the area offer 10 hr, 12 hr, 16 hr, 18 hr, 24 hr, and multiday trips to give the option for greater range and time targeting big fish, particularly tuna.

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Recommended Charter Captains

San Diego is home to many excellent fishing charters and captains. Click any of the links to book with a few of our most recommended captains. Capt. Leng Bai operates the Kraken Sportfishing Fleet: Kraken (29’ Grady White), Cali Tuna (36’ Californian LRC), Barbie Doll (48’ Sportfisher). Capt. Steve Pinard runs trips on Blackjack (31’ Luhrs) and Impulse (42’ Bertram). Capt. Chris Eubank offers charters on Erin Anne II (38’ Fountain).

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Best Places to Fish in San Diego

From San Diego Bay, it only takes 20-30 minutes to get to some of the best locations in the world for ocean fishing. Here are some of the prime fishing locations frequented by charter captains and local fishers.

9 Mile Bank and Kelp Beds

Local trips often involve heading to the 9 mile bank or fishing in and near the bays with the city as your backdrop. The local kelp beds are fertile feeding grounds for calico bass, yellowtail, and other local species promising plenty of action. Fishing here is a good choice for families since more frequent bites and abundant bottom fish will keep kids entertained.

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Coronado Islands and Mexican Waters

For the chance to catch the largest fish in waters reachable from San Diego, head south to Mexican waters. You’ll need to book a longer trip (often 10+ hours), but the time is worth it for anglers with experience and looking for adventure. In addition to the memories, if you’re chasing tuna or other fish to catch and keep, you’ll be coming home with a delicious reward of high-grade fish. Note that if you plan to cross over into Mexican waters on your trip, a passport and a Mexican fishing license will be required.

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Freshwater Lakes and Reservoirs

San Diego has great freshwater fishing too for species including largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, sunfish, black crappie, and rainbow trout. Some of the top lakes to hit are Lake Murray, San Vicente Reservoir, Sweetwater Reservoir, and Lower Otay Lake.

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Tips for Fishing in San Diego, California

Here are three recommendations for preparing for a fishing trip out of San Diego.

1

Get Licensed

Before your trip, remember to buy a California fishing license. If you’re taking a charter to Mexican waters, talk with your captain about whether a Mexican fishing license is needed.

2

Bait and Tackle

If booking a charter, your captain will have exactly what’s needed for the fish you want to target. Going on your own? You can get more information from local bait and tackle shops, or look for other help online.

3

Fish Processing and Shipping

If you’re visiting San Diego and catch fish that you want to keep, you can get them shipped to your home with help from a company like 5 Star Fish Processing, recommended by some of San Diego’s top captains.

Popular Fish Species in San Diego

With temperate weather year-round, San Diego is home to a wide variety of fish species. Here are just three of the types of fish you will be most likely to target or catch on a trip.

Bluefin Tuna

San Diego was once known as the Tuna Capital of the World, with the commercial tuna fishing industry employing over 4,000 people at its height in the 1970’s. Bluefin Tuna are one of the most sought-after trophy fish and deliver a fight you won’t forget. They can be targeted year-round, though the water temperatures are usually best for bluefin fishing from March through October.

Rockfish

Local vermilion rock cod and halibut are savored as delicious eating fish and plentiful around Mission Bay. With their distinct red color and bulging eyes, they have a fish face you won’t forget!

Yellowtail

Yellowtail are a fast and fun fish to grapple with. Since they’re a migratory species, they’re most prevalent in the area from mid-summer through fall, usually July to October.


Top Types of Fishing in San Diego, California

If you have multiple days in San Diego, the variety of fish species offers plenty of opportunity to mix it up. Here are three types of fishing you might want to try.

Deep Sea Trolling

San Diego has a long history of commercial and charter fishing. At one point, the tuna fishing industry was the third largest industry by employment for the area. In other words, you have a fantastic oppor-tuna-ty to catch a trophy fish trolling on the open ocean here.

Kelp and Rock Fishing

Fishers in San Diego find consistent success targeting fish near rock pinnacles and above rocky bottoms. The kelp beds are also a great bet for high fish activity that’ll keep your rod and reel active.

Freshwater Fishing

The coastline may get the most love in San Diego, but don’t ignore freshwater opportunities here. Among the favorite setups of local anglers are drop-shot and Texas rigs, with crankbaits and jigs frequently mixed in too.


San Diego, California Fishing Seasons

Every month is beautiful in sunny San Diego, and there will always be fish to catch whether you’re sticking to the Bay or headed offshore. Demand is higher in the spring through fall, so book in advance if you’re looking for a charter during these seasons.

01

January

Catch species that are here year-round, mainly rock cod, rockfish, sharks, and yellowtail.

02

February

Like January, the main species to target are rock cod, rockfish, sharks, and yellowtail.

03

March

Anglers start to get a better chance at catching bluefin tuna, and calico bass become more active.

04

April

Albacore tuna, halibut, wahoo, and white sea bass become more active in addition to bluefin tuna season continuing to heat up.

05

May

Barracuda, bonito, and sand bass join the mix of species to target.

06

June

Marlin season generally begins, and dorado / mahi mahi as well as big eye tuna start to show up.

07

July

The fishing season is in full swing with the option to target just about any species in San Diego’s waters during July and August. Yellowfin tuna typically show up July through October. Book ahead for peak dates!

08

August

Book ahead for peak dates for another of San Diego’s prime summer months. Target everything from tuna to marlin offshore or species of bass and rockfish nearshore.

09

September

Enjoy the end of the summer season and target just about any species as the weather begins to cool off. September is typically the last month to target big eye tuna, dorado / mahi mahi, and marlin from San Diego.

10

October

A few offshore species migrate to warmer waters at this time, but fishing is still good for bluefin tuna, barracuda, bonito, and yellowfin tuna in addition to year-round species like rockfish and yellowtail.

11

November

Get a final chance at albacore tuna before winter sets in and target rock cod, rockfish, shark, or yellowtail. Halibut and lingcod can also be good targets late in the year.

12

December

Year-round species like rock cod, rockfish, shark, and yellowtail can be fished for through the winter and make for a great winter vacation activity. Get a chance at striped bass, sheepshead, and whitefish as well.


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