Shelter Island is the hub of fishing in San Diego Bay. It houses the most frequented launch ramp, and protects the world's largest sportfishing fleet. It is also home to the Shelter Island Pier, a t-shaped fishing pier extending 200 feet from the shore, but 500 feet in width at the end which provides a lot of fishing room.
All of the usual bay species can be caught at the pier, including, but not limited to; sand bass, spotted bay bass, calico bass, halibut, leopard sharks, bat rays, barracuda, bonito, croaker, mackerel, shovelnose guitarfish and much more. If its in the bay, it can feasibly be caught here. Bonefish however would be one species that are scarce this far north in the bay, but that doesn't rule them out.
Barred Sand Bass are the prime target for most anglers on this pier. Sand bass inhabit the bay from November through March in most years, and frequent the area of the bay that the pier sits. One of the more popular areas in the entire bay for boaters targeting sand bass is a rock pile that sits directly infront of the pier, albeit more than a hundred yards away and out of reach of pier anglers. Still, the sand bass are there and are regularly caught on the pier.
An adequate bait and tackle store is available which sells live bait, a big plus for anglers. Most anglers on the pier are keen to take advantage of that, but the usual squid or dead anchovies/sardines/mackerel can work well too.
Take Interstate 8 to Rosecrans and head west. Turn left on Shelter Island Dr. and continue on until you come across the pier's parking lot to the right (passed the launch ramp facility).
Shelter Island itself is man-made, built upon an existing shoal. While the bay was being dredged and developed they dumped the sand and mud from the dredging onto the shoal where Shelter Island is located. The island was formally created in 1950 when the road was built to access the island. Today its home to marinas, hotels, restaurants and concert halls.
The Shelter Island Pier was built in 1956, destroyed in 1990 and rebuilt in 1991.
Schedule and Operating Hours
The pier is open daily from 6 AM to 10:30 PM.
Everything you need is available on the pier, including; restrooms, fish cleaning stations, bait and tackle store, concession store with snack-bar type food, live bait, adequate lighting, and even has a tourist-style shop for visitors. Boats are permitted to dock on the pier to eat or shop.