California halibut are one of the most prized catches of inshore and bay anglers. These aggressive, toothy fish prey on any fish they can fit in their mouth, including smelt, lizardfish, and even saltwater bass. California halibut must be 22" in length to be legal to keep, and catching a legal-sized halibut is always noteworthy. They can be found in both San Diego Bay and Mission Bay, as well as coastal areas. Halibut weighing more than 40 pounds can be caught in San Diego Bay, but the biggest ones typically come from the area known as "Middle Grounds" at the Coronado Islands.
These predators can be caught on typical bass tackle; swimbaits, spinnerbaits, spoons, jerkbaits and even topwater baits like Zara Spooks. But the most consistent way to target and catch legal-sized halibut is with live bait, smelt in particular.