San Diego Bay Fishing
San Diego Bay is one of San Diego’s most significant features. Not only does it serve as San Diego’s port, but it also offers one of the area’s top fisheries. It is 12 miles long and 3 miles across at it’s widest point, offering 12,000 surface acres – almost all of which is fishable.
San Diego Bay is home to a vast array of fish species, many of which make popular targets for fishermen. Aggressive spotted bay bass are plentiful, and are the most frequently caught fish species in the bay. They are particularly appealing because they are available 12 months of the year, and can be caught on the same tactics and baits that you would normally use for largemouth bass on the lakes.
Barred sand bass flood the bay from November through March – and rival the spotted bay bass in popularity during that time. They are generally larger and school up in big numbers in deeper water, thus caught more frequently by anglers in boats than those on shore.
In the southern end of the bay is a healthy population of small to medium sized bonefish, another favorite target of anglers.
Additionally, California halibut and shortfin corvina are sought after sportfish found in the bay – both can be caught on artificial reaction baits like jerkbaits and topwater walking baits like Zara Spooks. Although the majority of halibut are caught on either live or dead bait fish fished on the bottom in deep water along channel edges.
San Diego Bay is located right in the heart of San Diego and can be accessed from Point Loma at the north, downtown San Diego at the east, Chula Vista toward the south and Coronado along it’s western shoreline.
Facilities and Recreation
San Diego Bay serves a more practical purpose than Mission Bay to the north (which is primarily a park built for recreation), so recreational opportunities on the bay are scattered. Still, San Diego 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
- Shelter Island – 2200 Shelter Island Dr., San Diego (open 24 hours)
- Glorietta Bay – 1975 Strand Way, Coronado, CA
- Pepper Park – 3299 Tidelands Ave., National City, CA (open 6 am to 10:30 pm)
- Chula Vista Bayside Park – 980 Marina Way, Chula Vista, CA (open 6 am to 10:30 pm)
Public Fishing Piers
- Shelter Island Pier – 2200 Shelter Island Dr., San Diego, CA
- Embarcadero Park Pier – 200 Marina Park Way, San Diego, CA
- Chula Vista Bayside Park Pier – 980 Marina Way, Chula Vista, CA
- Pepper Park Pier – 3299 Tidelands Ave., National City, CA
- Cesar Chavez Park Pier – 1449 Cesar E. Chavez Pkwy, San Diego, CA
- Coronado Ferry Landing Pier – 1201 1st St., Coronado, CA
Hours, Fees and Boating
The bay itself is open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. However, many of the parks and public access points along the bay are closed nightly.
There are no fees to fish San Diego Bay, launch a boat at their public ramps, or fish from the public fishing piers. Anglers are required to have a valid California sportfishing license with a saltwater stamp unless fishing from one of the public fishing piers.