San Diego Bay is the heart of San Diego. Not only does it serve the city in dozens of practical ways, but it also offers anglers the county's most diverse fishery. While the big bass lakes to the East and the off-shore tuna grounds to the West get most of the glory - the big bay might be San Diego's sportfishing jewel, hidden right beneath everyone's nose.
San Diego Bay is loaded with life, much of which makes for appealing angling. Spotted bay bass are the most abundant, and can be caught from that flats at the extreme south end of the Bay out to the Zuniga Jetty at the mouth of the bay. Barred sand bass flood the bay from November through March, and are a favorite of anglers during that period of the year.
One of San Diego Bay's most sought-after species is the bonefish, yes, that bonefish. The same bonefish that you have seen on ESPN Saturday mornings for the last dozen years on the fly fishing shows. Bonefish are here, in San Diego Bay, and they're catchable.
An entire book could be written about the fishing oppurtinities in San Diego Bay, and in an effort to keep this short and to the point, we'll leave you with this - there are more willing-to-bite fish species in San Diego Bay on a year-round basis than any other fishery in San Diego. Plain and simple.
For more information on fishing San Diego Bay, please read these articles;
- Intro to fishing San Diego Bay and Mission Bay
- San Diego Bay offers county's most diverse fishery - and bonefish!
- San Diego Bay sandbass shuffle basics
- San Diego Bay: From the mouth to the south
San Diego Bay is located right in the heart of downtown San Diego. It can be accessed from Point Loma, Chula Vista, Coronado or anywhere in between.
San Diego Bay is a natural harbor, so the only location listed in our "Places to Fish" directory that doesn't have a construction date or history. It was first colonized by Spain in 1769 and later became the life-line for San Diego. It serves an important role to the United States as well as home to the US Navy's Pacific Fleet. The Navy operates four important facilities on the bay; Naval Air Station North Island, Naval Station San Diego, Naval Base Point Loma, and Naval Amphib Base Coronado. Both the Coast Guard and Marines also have facilities on the bay.
San Diego Bay is is managed by the Port of San Diego, which was created by the state in 1962. Dozens of parks, hundreds of businesses, and commercial operations sit on the shores of San Diego Bay.
Facilities & Recreational Information
San Diego Bay serves a more practical purpose than its northern neighbor, Mission Bay which provides many more recreational opportunities. That being said, the Big Bay is not short on water-based recreation. For more information on things to do and see on San Diego Bay, visit the San Diego Unified Port District's website; The Big Bay.
Public Launch Ramps (listed from North to South)
- Shelter Island (Point Loma) - 2200 Shelter Island Drive | 24 hours
- Glorietta Bay (Coronado) - 24 hours
- Pepper Park (Chula Vista) - Sunrise - 9:00 PM
- Chula Vista Bayfront Park (Chula Vista) - End of Marina Parkway | Sunrise - Sunset
- Shelter Island
- Embarcadero Marina Park South
- Crosby Park
- Pepper Park
- Chula Vista Bayfront Park
- Pearson's Fuel Dock - Shelter Island (619) 222-7084
- High Seas Fuel Dock - Shelter Island (619) 523-2980
- Harbor Island West Fuel Dock - Harbor Island (619)291-6443
Hours, Fees & Boating Information
The bay itself is open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Please be advised that some parking lots are closed nightly, generally from 10 pm to 4 am. Check each lot when you drive-in to be sure that you know when/if it closes and locks.
Generally there are no fees required to use San Diego Bay or any of its public launch ramps. A valid fishing license with a saltwater stamp is required for anglers.
There is no speed limit on San Diego Bay, unless otherwise specified in certain areas. All of the South Bay, south of Sweetwater Channel is a 5 mph no wake zone to protect wildlife. Please observe all buoys marking special regulations.