Todd Bluechel

San Diego Sport Fishing – The Winter Season

Sport Fishing Catch
Sport Fishing Catch

Feel the rush of excitement when you hook one (or two) during a sport fishing excursion from San Diego

San Diego’s five main sport fishing landings are home to over 70 sport boats and while not all of them operate during the winter months, many run year-round offering exciting day trips or long range trips.

2014 delivered some of the best sport fishing ever and all indicators are showing 2015 offers fisherman another incredible opportunity to hook up. San Diego’s winter season is in full swing, with great weather so far, and boats reporting good catches.

Sport Fishing Day Trips

Day trips are available Monday through Friday, generally 8:00AM to 3:00 PM, with two a day trips offered on the weekends – generally 6:30 AM to 12:30 PM and 1:00 PM to 6:30 PM. Day boats fish along San Diego’s coast and kelp beds catching Rock Fish, Sculpin, Bonito, Kelp Bass and Yellowtail.

Multi-Day Sport Fishing Trips

Long range trips are running anywhere from an easy 2 day trip to 23 days for the hard core enthusiast. The shorter trips generally fish along the Baja Coast or Coronado Islands and with this seasons usually warm water continue great luck with Yellowtail, Yellowfin, and Bluefin.

Trips of 4 to 6 days typically fish along the Baja Coast and visit Guadalupe Island, San Martin, Geronimo, Cedros and San Benitos islands. Boats in this category are reporting excellent weather, calm seas, and great fishing.

Trips of 8 to 12 days offer the most variety in fishing action as fishermen explore the southwestern Baja coastline from San Pablo to Magdalena Bay, often with a run out to Alijos Rocks.  Hundreds of miles out at sea, and in sharp contrast to the surrounding blue sky and cobalt blue waters, lay the dark brown Alejos Rocks majestically projecting out of the surrounding deep ocean waters.

These pinnacles offer a sanctuary for life in an otherwise vast open desert. Migrating schools of yellowfin, bluefin, yellowtail, dorado and wahoo circle these rocks dining on the schools of bait, just waiting to be caught. Other productive locations visited during long range trips may include the Revillagigedo Islands, the Hurricane Bank, Clarion Island and the Clipperton Island to name a few.

Trips of 14 to 23 days offer the ultimate in big game fishing opportunities for the large pelagic’s visiting exotic locations such as the Hurricane Bank, Puerto Vallarta, Cleofus Bank, or even the remote Clipperton atoll. These long range boats not only offer luxurious accommodations and fine dining but because they utilize state of the art fish finding technologies they can locate yellowfin in the 200 to 300 pound range and when everything comes together (including weather, tides, the moon, quality gear, and no banana’s on board) there is a chance you too can become one of the few, the elite fishermen to join the 400 pound yellowfin monster club.

> Find out more about Fishing in San Diego

Robert Arends

Catch of the Day: Tuna Harbor Dockside Market on San Diego Bay!

Posing with a big box crab at Tuna harbor Dockside Market!

Posing with a big box crab at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market!

If you”ve ever been to Pike Place Market in Seattle or Fisherman”s Wharf in San Francisco, you know what a delight it is to see seafood as fresh as it gets from local waters.

San Diego now has its very own open-air seafood market called the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market, located on Fish Harbor Pier on picturesque San Diego Bay between Seaport Village and Ruocco Park (across the street from the chic new Headquarters at Seaport District).

Folks checking out the new Tuna Harbor Dockside Market

Folks checking out the new Tuna Harbor Dockside Market

I didn”t know what to expect when I ventured to the market a recent Saturday morning with my camera at the ready. Some fish on ice…perhaps an unusual sea creature or two. But when I saw spiky crabs clawing for attention and a massive 5-foot octopus wriggling for a close-up, I knew I was in for a treat!

Fresh catches of the day at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market

Fresh catches of the day at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market

Hours are from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM and folks line up early for the best seafood picks online casino to purchase before they”re sold out. I opted to arrive a bit later (around 9:30 AM) and though the line was a few dozen people deep, it moved along at a nice steady pace.

For shutterbugs like me, there”s no line to wait in. Just aim your camera between folks as they shuffle by, zoom in on the bountiful sea life and click away!

What I saw was amazing! Albacore and skipjack tuna, yellow tail, blue fin, lots of bright red-colored rock fish, black cod, Mahi Mahi, halibut, sea urchin (San Diego”s known for delectably fresh sea urchin/uni – yum!)…

Sea urchin/uni, a local San Diego seafood delicacy!

Sea urchin/uni, a local San Diego seafood delicacy!

…three varieties of crab, including rock crab…

Rock crab at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market

Rock crab at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market

…and my favorite, the feisty box crab; check out this cool video I took!

The weekly catch is posted here. The fisherman and women are very friendly and more than happy to pose with their catches and fishing boats anchored in the background!

If you”re looking for a fun, photo-worthy San Diego experience second-to-none, head downtown to the Big Bay on Saturdays and dive into the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market. San Diego”s legendary commercial fishing and maritime heritage come alive before your eyes! 🙂

Martin

Lake Barrett Takes You Back in Time for a Simpler Way of Fishing

Fishing Lake Barrett
Fishing Lake Barrett

Discover a simpler way of fishing at San Diego’s Lake Barrett

It can be said that fishing Lake Barrett is like going back in time in San Diego County to a simpler way of fishing when there were no high-powered bass boats zipping across our suburban and rural lakes.

The ride in alone through an old Western ranch is worth the trip. Be on the lookout for mule deer, bobcats, maybe even wild turkeys or a mountain lion. It’s a wild place that likely will stay that way, considering the current move to preserve as much undeveloped land as possible.

Barrett, the most rural of all San Diego City-owned lakes, was closed for over three decades when it was reopened in 1994. Poachers had their way with the remote lake for all those years it was closed, but the City of San Diego decided to reopen it for very primitive, catch-and-release fishing with barbless hooks for all species in the lake. Barrett is said to hold the only significant remaining population of Northern-strain black bass in San Diego County, if not California. The Florida-strain black bass, introduced here in 1960, have hybridized and taken over the bass population at other lakes, but the Northerns have held on here.

Lake Barrett Reservations are a Must

But to fish Barrett you first have to get a reservation, and that can be tough, especially early in the season that runs from May through September. Reservations are handled by Ticketmaster every second Tuesday of the month at 7:00 PM. You must call 800.745.3000 or get on-line to make a reservation. The fee is $80 and that covers up to four anglers and the cost of the rental boat. Each angler also must buy a $20 fishing permit.

> Make your Lake Barrett Reservations

Motor Boats on Lake Barrett

Low-powered motorboats (8 horsepower) are rented there by the city, and float tubes, canoes and kayaks are permitted, making the lake the most treasured fishing experience in the county. Anglers may bring their own motors, but the maximum is 25 horsepower. They also may bring their own trolling motors, a good tool for fishing some areas of Barrett.

Fishing Experience on Lake Barrett

So what about the fishing experience? Is it worth all this? Yes, even though you have to take in your own supplies like water and food (there is no concession), the step back in time is worth it. There are times during the early part of the season when anglers catch and release over 50 fish an outing. Some even more than that if an angler has exceptional skills. Other times of the year you’ll average 20 to 30 fish an outing.

I fished this lake recently with Corey Sanden, the MC Swimbait maker who is an avid saltwater fisherman. He specializes in catching calico bass in nearshore waters. But Sanden loves Barrett as well. He convinced me to cast big, artificial  frogs most of the day, and we had a great time watching these Northern-strain bucketmouths inhale the large imitation frogs. We even hooked big bullfrogs that were being territorial about their areas.

Take a variety of crankbaits, plastic baits and even topwater lures because you never know what these fish will want. Most of the time they want whatever you cast.

That’s Barrett, and that’s why it’s a special place to fish. There are no crowds, no highways, roads or homes around the lake. What you get is the peaceful sounds of uninterrupted nature, with grebes, ducks, geese, crows and quail providing the background music to a trip back in time in San Diego County.

> Discover More Fishing Experiences in San Diego

Maren

The Life Aquatic on San Diego’s Mission Bay

Mission Bay Water Skier and Boat
Mission Bay Water Skier and Boat

Waterskiing on Mission Bay is a popular San Diego activity.

San Diego’s Mission Bay is the largest aquatic park of its kind in the world. Comprised of a 4,600-acre aquatic playground surrounded by 27 miles of meandering shoreline and grassy parks, a day spent on Mission Bay can include an assortment of outdoors water activities, from the active to the relaxing, for everyone from the watersport novice to the experienced professional.

Pick your activity at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center

Mission Bay

San Diego’s Mission Bay is a 4,600-acre aquatic playground perfect for sailing, waterskiing, kayaking and more.

Don’t know exactly what you’re looking for? A great place to start is at the Mission Bay Aquatics Center. Located at the south end of Santa Clara Point, it is located in the center of Mission Bay and boasts a diverse mix of watersports equipment and instruction. Learn how to sail, windsurf, wakeboard, surf, kayak, row, or stand up paddle, through a huge selection of class levels and times. Mission Bay Aquatic Center also has rentals available for those with previous experience on the water.

Where: 1001 Santa Clara Place, Mission Beach, CA 92109
> Find out more about the Mission Bay Aquatic Center

Cruise aboard the Bahia Belle

Bahia Belle on Mission Bay

Relax on a sunset cruise across Mission Bay aboard the Bahia Belle.

If you’d prefer to relax on the water and let someone else take hold of the wheel, the Bahia Belle sunset cruise is what you are looking for. The Bahia Belle is a Mississippi-style sternwheeler that cruises the waters of Mission Bay between the Bahia Resort and its sister property, the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa. The evening cruises offer a relaxing evening of cocktails and dancing as you glide seamlessly across the water. Tickets are $10 for adults and $3 for children under 12 years old. Guests at the Catamaran or the Bahia enjoy a complimentary cruise aboard the Bahia Belle.

Where: Bahia Resort Hotel – 998 West Mission Bay Drive, San Diego CA 92109
> Find out more about Sternwheeler Cruises on Mission Bay

Sportfishing Excursions from Mission Bay

Saltwater Sportfishing - Seaforth Boat Rentals

Time for some Saltwater Fishing. Photo courtesy of Seaforth Boat Rentals

Whether you fancy an early AM, twilight or overnight trip, Seaforth Sportfishing offers daily sportsfishing trips that launch from Mission Bay and head out to the Pacific Ocean to try for yellowtail, rockfish, and sculpin. Private charters are also available aboard one of their 16 charter boats.

Where: 1717 Quivira Rd. San Diego, CA 92109
> Find out more about Seaforth Sportfishing

> Discover more of San Diego’s Mission Bay

What’s your favorite thing to do on the waters of Mission Bay?

Martin

A Guide to Local San Diego Freshwater Fishing Guides

Lake Jennings
Lake Jennings

Lake Jennings

I’ve been the San Diego area for a few decades and I’ve fished local lakes since I first arrived here, but I wouldn’t think twice about hiring local freshwater fishing guides to put me on fish at these very tough fisheries.

San Diego lakes hold some of the heaviest largemouth bass in the world, but knowing how to fish them and where to catch them can be very challenging to someone who doesn’t know the lakes. There also are giant blue catfish in some lakes and even sturgeon at Lake Cuyamaca. None of the guides listed below mention sturgeon as a target fish, but you might be able to convince them to go try for one at the mountain lake.

Bottom line is that San Diego has a handful of good freshwater fishing guides who can take the guesswork out of fishing these lakes. Most of them offer the latest in fishing gear and lures and know all the latest techniques to catch bass or any fish you might want to target.

A Few Freshwater Fishing Guides in San Diego

  • James Nelson offers both saltwater and freshwater trips. He has a 24-foot Triton and Mercury Optimax motor that can make trips across lakes in no time. As a tournament fisherman, he always knows what’s biting and where. Whatever deal you work out with Nelson will be a fair one. Call him at 619.395.0799 or check www.thefishicon.com.
  • Gabe Bolivar was Rookie of the Year on the FLW Tour, a professional bass fishing circuit, and now runs Gabe Bolivar’s Bucketmouth Adventures. He offers half and full day trips with up to two anglers. If you’re up for it, Gabe also has a two-day special. Call him at 760.842.7934 or contact him at gabe@bucketmounthadventures.com
  • Alan Clowers has 25 years experience fishing local lakes and saltwater. For saltwater trips he offers his 20-foot Ranger boat and a lot of local knowledge fishing these lakes. Call him at 619.800.3474 or go online at www.captainclowers.com.
  • Bill Schaefer also is a combination freshwater and saltwater guide. He knows the local lakes well and has vast experience fishing them. Check his website at www.sdfishinguide.com or call him at 858.277.8087 for rates and reservations.
  • Tom Lowery also is a tournament angler who knows San Diego lakes well. Call 858.922.9933 for rates and reservations.

> Find even more Fishing in San Diego

Martin

7 Pier Fishing Spots in San Diego

Family Pier Fishing under a Blue San Diego Sky
Family Pier Fishing under a Blue San Diego Sky

Pier Fishing in San Diego is Amazing!

Scrape away the years and years of fishing experiences from most old salts and you’ll probably find a pier or barge fisherman under all those tales of whoppers and the ones that got away.

Pier fishing is how many fishermen started out. It’s a blue-collar way to enjoy the sport. Anglers don’t need a fishing license to fish a public pier, so there’s that, but it’s also a great place to take kids because there’s always something for them to do.

San Diego is blessed with some of the best fishing piers in the state, including two that are nearly 2,000 feet long.

Pier Fishing Gear

Let’s start with the gear you’ll need. It’s better to keep it simple for the walk from your vehicle to where you plan to fish on the pier. Some of the avid pier rats have carts to carry all their gear, but to get started, you can get away with a good, medium-action to stout 7- to 9-foot rod, a saltwater spinning reel (bit larger than your lake model, with the reel loaded with at least 20- to 25-pound test line or a second outfit with 10- to 15-pound line for fishing closer to shore), bait in the form of frozen squid, bloodworms, mussels, sardines or anchovies, terminal tackle should include an assortment of saltwater hooks 9 (size 2-8)  and sinkers (1 to 4 ounces). Lures are good, too, with jigs and spoons being the best options. Be sure and pack sunscreen, a good hat, sunglasses and wear comfortable shoes or Crocs. Other essentials include pliers, a fillet knife and a cooler with drinks and snacks, especially for piers with no food for sale.

Here’s a rundown on San Diego’s fishing piers and some tips for fishing them. In the summer, these piers can offer really good fishing when the grunion are running around the full moon. The beach-spawning grunion attract bigger fish like halibut, bass and other fish, and that means good action for inshore fishermen.

Imperial Beach Pier

Surfer in front of Imperial Beach Pier in San Diego's South Bay

Imperial Beach Pier

Imperial Beach Pier, San Diego’s southernmost pier, extends out 1,491 feet into water 20 feet or more deep. As with most San Diego piers, the closer to shore you are the lighter gear you want to use for inshore fish like barred surfperch, California corbina or yellowfin croaker. Halibut can lurk there, especially on nights when grunion are running. Sand bass also may be biting, too. At the end of the pier, anglers target bonito, mackerel and small barracuda, with an occasional yellowtail or white seabass.

Amenities: Restaurant, Restrooms, Fish-cleaning stations
Directions:
 To reach the pier, take I-5 south to Palm Avenue (Highway 75); follow Palm Avenue to where it divides with Highway 75, stay on Palm Avenue to Seacoast Drive, turn right to the pier.
Hours: 24/7

Coronado Ferry Landing Pier

The Coronado Ferry Landing Pier is one of the area’s secret fishing spots. It’s tucked behind the Old Ferry Landing Shopping Complex over on Coronado Island, so many don’t know it’s there. It’s only 377 feet long, but can be an excellent fishing spot for sand bass, spotted bay bass, mackerel and bonito. There’s also good action for perch, croakers, rays and sharks. You’ll need lighter tackle here because the water is very clear and shallow. There’s no bait or food for sale on the pier, but the shopping center has some options. The restrooms are a short walk from the pier.

Amenities: Restaurants, shops and bathrooms with walking distance
Directions:
To reach it, take the Coronado Bridge over to Coronado. Once there, you’re on 3rd Street, follow it to B Avenue, turn right and follow it to the front of the Old Ferry Landing at the intersection of B Avenue and First Street. The pier is behind the shops.
Hours: 24/7

Embarcadero Marina Park Pier

Embarcadero Marina Park Pier is another of the lesser-known fishing spots, but it can be very good. It’s southwest of the San Diego Convention Center and stretches out just 95 feet, but it has a T-shaped end and is 300 feet wide. There’s an artificial reef nearby that draws some quality fish like schools of bonito, mackerel, jack mackerel and small barracuda. But there’s usually always good fishing for calico bass, sand bass and spotted bay bass.

Directions: Take I-5 to the Market Street exit, follow Market Street west to Harbor Drive, turn left on Harbor Drive and go to 8th Avenue, turn right onto Convention Way. Follow that a short block to 5th Avenue and the pier.

Ocean Beach Pier

Ocean Beach Pier

Ocean Beach Pier

The Ocean Beach Pier is the longest pier in San Diego County at 1,971 feet. It’s a great place to fish and sight-see. There’s a stocked bait and tackle store and the Ocean Beach Pier Café offers good chow all day long. The T-shaped design gives this pier nearly one mile of railing for anglers, so fishing options are many. Most go to the end of the T to fish the deeper water for bass, perch, mackerel and even California spiny lobster (but only in-season, October to March).

Amenities: Restaurant: Pier Café, Bait and Tackle Shop
Directions:
Take I-5 north of San Diego to the Sea World Drive exit. Follow Sea World Drive to Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, take Sunset Cliffs Boulevard to Newport Avenue, turn right on Newport Avenue and follow it to the end and the pier parking lot.
Hours: 24/7

Crystal Pier

Crystal Pier is one of the great spots in San Diego because it offers stay-on-the-pier and over-the-ocean cottages and some good fishing off Pacific Beach. It’s a private pier at night, but anglers may fish it during the day, and the fishing can be very good for barred surfperch, corbina, walleye surfperch, shovelnose guitarfish and even an occasional halibut. There’s also fair fishing for sand bass and calico bass at the end of the pier, mostly. It’s a great lobster spot, too, and a tradition for some on the opening night of lobster season. The Crystal Pier Hotel offers great lodging, but make sure you make your reservations well ahead of time.

Amenities: Crystal Pier Hotel
Directions:
Take I-5 to Garnet Avenue and follow Garnet to the foot of the pier.
Hours: 7:00 AM to 7 PM for visitors, 24 hours for motel guests.

Shelter Island Pier

Shelter Island Pier is located near the most vibrant fishing community in San Diego. The Marlin Club is down the street, the Shelter Island Launch Ramp is east of the pier and the boardwalk is a great place to take a nice, long walk along the waterfront. It’s also a short drive from the San Diego-based sport fleet, four landings landings that offer every kind of fishing trip, from half-day to multi-day runs into Mexican waters. There are lots of quality restaurants like Fiddler’s Green. But here on the pier, you’ll see the fleet’s sport boats and private boats, and even a Navy ship or two, cruise by as you relax on the 200-foot pier with a T-shaped end that stretches 500 feet. There is lots of room to fish for mackerel, yellowfin croaker, calico and sand bass and an occasional halibut. Also lots of shovelnose sharks and bat rays.

Amenities: Restaurant, Bait and Tackle Shop
Directions:
Take I-5 or I-8 to Rosecrans (Highway 209) and go west, turn left at Shelter Island Drive and follow the road until you see the pier and entrance to the parking lot on the left.
Hours: 6:00 AM to 10:30 PM

Oceanside Pier

Picnic Area in front of Oceanside Pier

Oceanside Pier

Oceanside Pier is another of the area’s top tourist spots, located near a thriving harbor and marina area, a very active beach and surfing spot and even has a restaurant at the end of the pier, Ruby’s Diner, where you can enjoy a cold drink and a killer burger over the water. There’s also a very good bait and tackle shop. The pier is 1,942 feet long and offers a wide range of fish, from the inshore species like corbina, perch and croaker to the more pelagic species like bonito, mackerel, barracuda and even an occasional white seabass or yellowtail. Halibut also show here, so be ready.

Amenities: Restaurant: Ruby’s Diner, Bait and Tackle Shop
Directions:
To reach the pier take I-5 to Mission Boulevard, go west to Pacific and turn left. Follow it to the pier.
Hours: 24/7

Tell us in the comments below, which pier is your favorite fishing pier?

Martin

Take the Kids Fishing in San Diego

Kids fishing at the docks
Kids fishing at the docks

Spend a day with the kids fishing.

With kids spending more and more time in front of Smart phones or desk computers and less time in the outdoors, organizations throughout the country have taken on the task of getting more kids involved outside.

One of them is the Take Me Fishing movement at www.takemefishing.org, an excellent source for parents seeking guidance on how to get their kids into fishing.

Those who have tried know it’s not easy prying their sweaty little palms away from their mobile phones or computer games, but maybe, just maybe, the tug of a fish on the other end of the line will hook a kid for a lifetime of great fishing experiences.

What I’ve learned about taking kids fishing is that you have to take them somewhere where they’ll catch fish or at least get lots of bites and action. There’s never a guarantee in fishing. It’s not called catching, but there are ways to ensure that they’ll at least get into some biting fish.

My best bets are a lake or pond when bluegill are biting or a sport boat when there’s good action on smaller fish like mackerel, bass or bonito hitting.

A few years ago I took golf writer Tod Leonard out from the U-T San Diego newspaper. His son, Casey, was new to fishing. We went to San Diego Bay with fishing guide Jeff Stock, and it was a very successful trip. Casey outfished us all, knowing just the right time to set the hook and start reeling. Tod and Casey had a fishing memory of a lifetime. And that’s what you want when you take a youngster fishing.

San Diego Bay can be a great place to take a kid. So can places like Lake Murray and Santee Lakes. Keep it simple. Use light gear, not kiddy stuff, but good light gear like a spinning rod and reel. Lower Otay Lake has a very healthy population of bluegill, and they can be found close to the shoreline in the summer months.

Takemefishing.org recommends keeping kids busy with other activities when the fish aren’t biting. Try and teach them about the nearby environment they’re in by pointing out birds or other animals around them. Teach them knots or the difference in lures that they’ll use and why they use them. If you’re on a boat, teach them nautical terms such as the boat’s stern, port side, starboard and bow. Teach them how to cast. There is no more valuable skill an angler can have than making a great cast. Work with them closely on this and then let them try on their own.

It’s not easy these days getting a young boy or girl to give up the instant gratification they get from computer games and switch to fishing, a pastime that often requires patience, but it’s worth a try. The best thing you’ll hear later is, “Gee, Dad, when are we going fishing again?”

> Find More Family Friendly Travel Guides for San Diego

Martin

5 Great Camping and Fishing Spots in San Diego

Lake Jennings

A few years ago I decided to try some tent camping in order to get an early start on some shoreline fishing at Lake Jennings, just one of a handful of lakes in San Diego County where camping can be part of the fishing experience. There’s something unique and very worthwhile about camping above the suburbs of San Diego’s East County and looking down at the city lights from a bluff above the campground.

Continue reading

Martin

Enjoy a Half-Day Saltwater Fishing Trip in San Diego

Saltwater Sportfishing - Seaforth Boat Rentals
Saltwater Sportfishing - Seaforth Boat Rentals

Time for some Saltwater Fishing. Photo courtesy of Seaforth Boat Rentals

I was fishing on a half-day trip aboard Captain Tim Green’s sport boat Premier when a large shadow cruised past a MC Swimbait lure I was retrieving to the boat.

“White seabass?” I asked Green, who was standing nearby.

“Sure looked like a white seabass,” Green said.

Seeing a 30- to 50-pound white seabass like that, or better yet, catching one like that, is part of the adventure of taking a half-day sportfishing trip out of Point Loma or Mission Bay. You never know what will tug the end of the line. And springtime means topwater time, the start of surface action for calico bass, barracuda and bonito or maybe a trophy yellowtail or white seabass.

There are other trophy fish in these waters, too, such as California halibut and even thresher sharks or mako sharks, making a half-day fishing trip out of San Diego one of the most diverse in the country. On most trips, depending on the season, you can expect to catch sand bass, calico bass, whitefish, sculpin, rockfish, sheephead, lingcod, mackerel, bonito or barracuda.

My personal favorite half-day boats are the Daily Double out of Point Loma Sportfishing, the Premier out of H&M Landing and the New Seaforth out of Seaforth Boat Rentals. The Daily Double and Premier are based in San Diego Bay, and the New Seaforth is docked in Mission Bay. Parking can be a challenge in Point Loma. Seaforth has free parking.

Once you have picked your charter, the adventure starts at the Everingham Bros. Bait Barge, where the boat loads up on live bait, either anchovies or sardines and sometimes both. Don’t be afraid to drop a plastic swimbait or iron jig on the other side of the boat as the crew scoops bait. Some big fish lurk around the bait barges.

Once out to sea, just relax and take in the San Diego sunshine as you catch tonight’s dinner!

Cost and Other Information

All of the landings have rental gear and terminal tackle such as hooks and sinkers. You need a fishing license if you’re 16 and over. It costs $14.30. Trips run from $44 to $46 for adults, $36 for kids 15 and under. And seniors and active military get discounts. A rod and reel may be rented for $10, and there’s a charge for fish-cleaning, $1 to $5, depending on the size of the fish.

Tell us in the comments below, where is your favorite place/charter for saltwater fishing?

Martin

Great Freshwater Fishing Spots in San Diego

Russel Park and a Rainbow Trout
Russel Park and a Rainbow Trout

Fresh Catch of the Day

There’s a reason Field and Stream Magazine placed San Diego No. 2 on its list of America’s Best Fishing Cities. In addition to some of the most diverse saltwater fishing in the world and two productive bays, the area has 23 different lakes to choose from for a great freshwater experience.

When I moved to San Diego, I thought it was all about the ocean, but I soon found out there is a whole other world out there for fishermen at this area’s mix of city and county lakes. At most lakes you can count on catching trophy-sized largemouth bass, catfish and bluegill, but many are stocked with trout in the late fall, winter and spring. Some lakes like Dixon, Poway, Santee Lakes and Wohlford get stocked with channel catfish in the spring and summer months.

Before heading out onto the water, you’ll need a California fishing license ($14.30 for a one-day state license) at most lakes, but Dixon, Santee and Poway lakes don’t require a one. You will need a fishing permit ranging from $6 to $9, depending on the lake.

Here are my three favorite freshwater lakes, based on good shoreline access and good fishing:

Santee Lakes Cabins

Cabins on the Shorelines of Santee Lakes. Photo courtesy of East County Magazine

Santee Lakes

Santee Lakes, an oasis out in San Diego’s East County, offers seven fishing lakes the size of big ponds, really! While all the lakes are stocked with fish, lakes 3 and 4 get the most activity because they’re the most heavily stocked with trout and catfish and lakes 6 and 7 are reserved for campers. Great access around all the lakes, RV camping and kid-friendly fishing make this a must for the family of fishermen.

Cost is $3 per vehicle during the week, $5 on weekends. State permits are not require but fishing permits can be purchased at $9 for adults, $6 for juniors. Extra pole rentals are $4. There are also limited boat rentals.

The Calm Waters of Lake Murray

The Calm Waters of Lake Murray

Lake Murray

Lake Murray, located at the base of Cowles Mountain in the Mission Trails Regional Park, offers convenient shoreline access, a fishing pier and good boat launch. The surrounding park area and trail are also great for picnics, biking, running or just relaxing outside.

You’ll need a California fishing license and the permits go for $8 for adults, $2.50 for kids 8-15 and kids 7 and under fish free. Boat rentals are also available.

Lake Cuyamaca

Lake Cuyamaca. Photo by Jasmine’s Cove

Lake Cuyamaca

Lake Cuyamaca, a bit of a drive from the city (about an hour), is nestled in the San Diego’s miniature version of the High Sierra, the Cuyamaca Mountains. The lake – stocked most of the year with rainbow trout, bass, crappie and catfish – offers great shoreline access, fishing piers and fishing jettys. Just along the shoreline are great camping sites, cabins and RV spots to help make it a relaxed weekend of fishing.

Costs are $6 for adults, $3.50 for kids 15 and under. There are boat rentals and a boat launch, but all private boats must be inspected for invasive species such as quagga mussels ($10 charge).

Tell me, where is your favorite freshwater fishing spot in San Diego County?