Orange and Los Angeles Counties

by Capt. David Bacon

The Orange County and Los Angeles County coastline and harbors offer a full range of local pier, shore and offshore fishing. Fisherfolk and their families, living in or visiting this area, have available the awesome spectrum of cultural and entertainment opportunities provided by the great cities stretching along this section of coast. Yet out on a harbor breakwater or on a boat one short mile offshore, city life seems a million miles away. Sound good?

Rugged rocky shorelines and harbor breakwater walls are very productive for opaleye, perch, calico and sand bass, and an occasional halibut lying on the sandy bottom just beyond the rocks. Between Laguna Beach and Corona del Mar lie numerous rocky points and coves which offer great surf fishing opportunities. Some of the larger harbors such as Long Beach and Newport, feature productive breakwater rocks. Try tossing plastic swimbaits on light leadheads along the outside edge of the rocky structure. Or for total relaxation, bait a hook with soft-shelled sand crabs, mussel, or bloodworm, cast it out with a medium weight attached, prop-up your rod in the rocks, then kick-back and do a little California daydreaming.

Picture above: Halibut fishing is great all along the Southern California coast. Here Craig Marioka of Lakewood, CA, and young Chad Gross of Claremont, CA, pose with a fine California halibut taken on light tackle using a live sardine for bait.

Picture below: Capt. David Bacon with a "toad" calico bass taken from an inshore kelp forest with a root-beer colored plastic cycle tail on a leadhead.

Fish-holding features such as rocky points, reefs, near shore kelp forests, offshore islands, and productive seamounts are within range of a day trip from the harbors or pier-based sportfishing landings and private-charter services at Dana Point, Newport Harbor, Seal Beach, Long Beach, San Pedro, Redondo Beach - King Harbor, and Marina del Rey. The area harbors have good launch ramps for private boaters, and live bait concessions to give the angler every advantage.

Some harbors, such as Newport and King harbors offer skiff rentals, which allow an angler to intimately explore the harbor environment while catching small bonito, halibut, croakers, and spotted bay bass. These fish will aggressively respond to plastics, spoons, and live bait fished on light lines. The best times are dawn, dusk, and tide changes. Take a few hours off and go have fun like a kid, or with the kids.

Our offshore islands are ever-popular destinations for fishing and sightseeing. Santa Catalina Island is perhaps the most famous of the islands, being the only one with a town. Avalon is its name and island serenity is its game. It is definitely worth a visit by boat or plane. Fishing gets downright good here for white Seabass, yellowtail, marlin and shark, to name a few of the most popular species. Other offshore fishing destinations include San Clemente Island, Santa Barbara Island, and the far-offshore Tanner and Cortez banks. These spots boast clean pristine water teaming with fish to catch and marine mammals to watch.

Santa Monica Bay, at the northern end of the Los Angeles coastal zone is a famed halibut Mecca. Drift fishing with live anchovies or sardines on light tackle is a favored way to target these delicious flatfish. The technique requires an acquired fine touch because of the gentle way these fish sometimes mouth a bait. That makes it a skill fishery, which is why the annual spring halibut derby is such a big hit on the Santa Monica Bay.

Orange County Sportfishing

Dana Point

Dana Wharf Sportfishing
34675 Golden Lantern
Dana Point, CA 92629
(714) 496-5794

Newport Beach - Balboa

Davey's Locker
400 Main Street
Balboa, CA 92661
(714) 673-1434

Newport Landing
309 Palm Ave., Suite F
Balboa, CA 92661
(714) 675-0550

Bongo's Sportfishing

2130 Newport Blvd.
Newport Beach, CA 92663
(714) 673-2810

Los Angeles County sportfishing

Seal Beach

Seal Beach Sportfishing
at the Seal Beach pier
(310) 598-8677

Long Beach

Long Beach Sportfishing
555 Pico Ave.
Long Beach, CA 90802

San Pedro - L. A. Harbor

A. Harbor Sportfishing
1150 Nagoya Way - Berth 79
San Pedro, CA 9731
(310) 547-9916

Skipper's 22nd Street Landing
141 W. 22nd St.
San Pedro, CA 90731
(310) 832-8304

Redondo Beach - King Harbor

Redondo Sportfishing
233 North Harbor Drive
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
(310) 372-3566

Marina del Rey

Marina del Rey Sportfishing
Dock 52, Fiji Way (Fisherman's Village)
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
(310) 822-3625