Are you wondering about the best beaches for surf fishing in San Diego? Look no further! As an avid angler who has explored every beach in San Diego and beyond, I’m here to provide you with an exclusive overview of the top fishing spots in San Diego.
Table of Contents: Best Beaches for Fishing
- Silver Strand
- Coronado Beach
- Mission Beach
- La Jolla
- Blacks Beach
- Torrey Pines State Beach
- Del Mar
- Solana Beach
- Carlsbad Beaches
- Encinitas Beaches
- Oceanside Beaches
- San Onofre State Beach
This page was last updated on 8/27/2023
So, if you’ve ever asked yourself questions like “Where can I find the best surf fishing spots in San Diego?” or “Which type of surf fishing is ideal for the beach closest to me?” then you’re in luck. This comprehensive guide will be your go-to resource for all things related to surf fishing in San Diego.
But before we dive into the details, let’s take a moment to appreciate the beauty and excitement of surf fishing. Picture yourself casting your line into crystal-clear waters, feeling the thrill of the chase as you wait for that big catch. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, this guide will provide you with valuable insights to enhance your surf fishing experience.
Now, let’s embark on a journey to explore the best beaches for surf fishing in San Diego and uncover the secrets of each location.
Silver Strand State Beach
Parking at Silver Strand State Beach:
When it comes to parking at Silver Strand State Beach, you have a few options. While the state beach offers paid parking, there are also free parking spots available nearby. If you’re looking for free parking, try heading to Coronado Cays Boulevard or the residential streets in the vicinity. Additionally, there are showers conveniently located at either end of the beach. For current information, it’s always a good idea to check the official website.
Where to Legally Fish at Silver Strand Beach:
To the best of my knowledge, there are no Marine Protected Areas at Silver Strand Beach, allowing you to fish freely.
Tides for Fishing at Silver Strand Beach:
Silver Strand Beach is what I like to call an “any tide beach.” Whether it’s low tide or high tide, this beach offers excellent fishing opportunities. Even at high tide, the beach can handle the water levels, and you’ll still be able to find the perfect fishing spots by understanding the surf patterns.
Overview of Surf Fishing at Silver Strand State Beach:
Silver Strand State Beach is a stunning coastal stretch that connects Coronado to Imperial Beach. If you’re looking for easy access with minimal crowds, you’ve found the perfect spot. The beach boasts a beautiful sandy shoreline that is home to various fish species, including corbina, croaker, perch, guitarfish, and more. While the beach may appear flat and sandy, don’t be fooled – it’s filled with hidden structures such as troughs, rips, scallops, and deep pockets that attract a multitude of fish. So, even if you don’t see any permanent structures, don’t be discouraged. I’ve had my fair share of big catches at purely sandy beaches. However, it’s worth noting that Silver Strand is located near the Mexican border, and occasional sewage run-off can be a concern. As a responsible angler, I recommend practicing catch and release unless the water quality appears to be excellent. Speaking of Mexico, being close to the border also has its perks. While the fishing in Mexico is renowned, the surf is relatively under-fished compared to our local waters. So, if you’re lucky, you might just land a 28+ inch spotfin croaker right from the strand.
Where to Book Your Stay:
If you’re planning a vacation and looking for accommodation in Coronado, there’s no place better than the iconic Hotel Del. With its fabulous view, beach access, and parking, the Hotel Del offers not just a place to stay, but an unforgettable experience.
Parking at Coronado State Beach:
Coronado Beach is known for its heavy foot traffic and limited parking. However, with a little patience and some insider information, finding parking can become much easier. Ocean Boulevard and its cross streets usually offer excellent parking options. Keep in mind that during peak summertime, parking can be more challenging to find.
What I Use for Shark Fishing:
If you’re interested in shark fishing, here are some recommendations for the equipment I use:
- Rod: Fiblink Moonsniper (12 or 13 feet)
- Reel: Penn Battle 6000 or 8000 (II or III)
- Mainline: 50-pound braid
- Top shot: 100-pound nylon coated mono
- Shark Rig: (Buy Here)
- Wire: AFW 90 lb Nylon Coated Wire Leader Line
- Hooks: 7/0 Circles
- Swivel: 3-Way Barrel Swivel
- Crimps: AFW #6 Crimps
- Weight: 8-ounce pyramid or 6-ounce sputnik
Where to Legally Fish Coronado State Beach:
While there are no Marine Protected Areas at Coronado Beach, it’s crucial to note that there are two naval bases nearby. The naval base to the south begins roughly on Avenida Lunar, while the northern base starts where Dog Beach ends. Fishing in these areas without explicit permission is not permitted, so it’s essential to steer clear.
Tides for Fishing Coronado Beach:
Coronado Beach is another versatile “any tide beach.” No matter the tide level, you can enjoy a successful fishing experience. The beach can handle a wide range of tide heights without compromising the quality of fishing. Whether it’s low tide or high tide, you won’t be limited by the beach’s structure.
Overview of Surf Fishing at Coronado Beach:
Coronado Beach offers a unique fishing experience that sets it apart from other San Diego beaches. It has produced impressive catches, including big corbina, chunky yellowfin croaker, and nice barred surfperch. The beach’s flat and sandy terrain provides a challenging aspect for anglers trying to read the surf. Unlike other beaches that have distinct troughs and scallops, Coronado Beach features consistently flat, sandy areas. This characteristic, combined with the angle of the average swell direction, makes it challenging to pinpoint the best fishing spots. However, don’t be discouraged! Numerous big catches have been made on this seemingly featureless beach. It’s worth mentioning that sewage run-off can be an occasional concern at Coronado, so I recommend practicing catch and release unless the water quality appears to be excellent. Additionally, Coronado Beach is located close to the Mexican border, which offers both pros and cons. While sewage run-off can be a concern, the proximity to Mexico means you have the opportunity to catch fish that are less commonly found in our local waters. Mexico’s surf is known for being relatively under-fished, so you might just have the chance to hook a trophy-sized fish.
Where to Book Your Stay:
If you’re planning a vacation in Coronado, there’s only one place to stay – the iconic Hotel Del. With its fabulous view, beach access, parking, and incredible perks, the Hotel Del is the go-to choice for a memorable beachfront experience.
Mission Beach Surf Fishing
Parking at South Mission Beach:
South Mission Beach offers a public parking lot right at the jetty. With fire pits, volleyball nets, a basketball court, bathrooms/showers, and plenty of grassy areas, this beach has it all. If the South Mission lot is full, you can try street parking along the street or even parking at Mission Point Park. Keep in mind that spots fill up quickly, especially during peak times.
Parking at Mission Beach:
Mission Beach provides public parking lots at Belmont Park and South Mission Beach. Additionally, there are bay lots and limited street parking options available. While there’s plenty of parking at Mission Beach, it’s essential to arrive early, as spots can fill up quickly due to its popularity.
Where to Legally Fish at Mission Beach:
Mission Beach doesn’t have any Marine Protected Areas or naval bases, allowing you to fish along the entire stretch of the beach without restrictions. However, once you enter La Jolla, it’s crucial to be aware of the boundaries of the South La Jolla State Marine Reserve, which extends to Palomar Avenue.
Tides for Fishing Mission Beach:
Similar to many other southern San Diego beaches, Mission Beach is considered an “any tide beach.” The sandy shoreline can accommodate a wide range of tide heights, allowing you to fish whether it’s low tide or high tide. However, as you move further north, tides become a more significant factor in determining the success of your fishing trip.
Overview of Surf Fishing at Mission Beach:
Mission Beach is undoubtedly one of the most popular destinations for surf fishermen in San Diego. The infinite stretch of sandy beach attracts beachgoers from all over the county. While the beach’s popularity brings significant foot traffic, it’s still a fantastic location for surf fishing. Plan your fishing trips during the evening, through sunset, or in the early morning to avoid the crowds. Mission Beach offers exceptional fishing opportunities, including larger perch compared to other beaches in the area. The beach’s sandy nature combined with the adjacent Sunset Cliffs and La Jolla areas means you’ll have a chance to catch a variety of fish, including sought-after species like 7-gill and Soupfin sharks. However, be prepared for seaweed, as Mission Beach is known to have its fair share. Overall, Mission Beach presents a wealth of fishing potential, and if you find a quiet day with fewer people crowding the waters, you’re in for a successful surf fishing experience.
In addition to being one of the best shore fishing spots in San Diego, Mission Beach is also famous for grunion runs during the late spring and summer months. The long, flat, sandy beach is ideal for grunion during their spawning season. Night fishing during grunion runs has proven successful in the past, so keep an eye out for these exciting events. While catching grunion isn’t guaranteed, the potential for an incredible experience is always high.
Where To Book Your Stay:
If you’re planning a vacation in Mission Beach, the Blue Sea Beach Hotel is an excellent option. Just a few steps across the boardwalk, and you’ll have direct access to the beach. Additionally, it’s located near the bay, providing easy access to both the beach and bay activities. With affordable rates and excellent reviews, the Blue Sea Beach Hotel is a popular choice among San Diego beachgoers.
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La Jolla Beaches
Parking in La Jolla:
Finding parking in La Jolla can be a challenge depending on the area. With its vast coastline, it’s essential to plan your parking in advance. One popular option is to park near the La Jolla Shores area. If you’re unable to find parking there, exploring various side streets can often yield positive results. Do keep in mind that parking can be limited, especially during peak times.
Where to Legally Fish in La Jolla:
La Jolla has several Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that you should be aware of. However, you can fish along most of the beaches in La Jolla as long as you avoid the specific MPA zones. The South La Jolla State Marine Reserve, Matlahuayl State Marine Reserve, and San Diego – Scripps Coastal State Marine Conservation Area should be avoided. Refer to the exact locations and coordinates to ensure you are within legal fishing areas.
Tides for Fishing at La Jolla Beaches
Tides play a significant role in fishing at La Jolla Beaches. While some areas like Marine Street can handle any tide, other parts of La Jolla require lower tides. It’s essential to observe the conditions and understand the specific beach you’re fishing at to ensure the best fishing experience.
Overview of Surf Fishing in La Jolla
La Jolla offers a unique surf fishing experience characterized by its abundance of rocky structures and reefs. This attracts a diverse range of fish species, including corbina, croaker, perch, leopard sharks, calico bass, and more. The rocky nature of the beaches can make surf fishing challenging, especially for beginners. Understanding the difference between a bite and your weight rolling over rocks is crucial. However, with practice and the right approach, La Jolla’s beaches can offer incredible opportunities for successful fishing. Additionally, it’s essential to respect the Marine Protected Areas and stay within legal fishing boundaries to preserve the marine ecosystem.
Where To Book Your Stay:
Depending on which part of La Jolla you plan to stay in, you have a variety of accommodation options. Some highly rated choices include Sands of La Jolla, La Jolla Riviera Inn, Holiday Inn, Pantai Inn, and Inn By The Sea. These hotels offer great rates, fantastic views, and easy access to the beach. Take a look at the rates and availability below to find the perfect place to stay.
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Blacks Beach Surf Fishing
Parking at Blacks Beach and How to Access the Sand of Blacks Beach:
Parking at Blacks Beach may require a bit of planning and some walking. The main access points are the Torrey Pines Glider Port and the dirt/gravel lot. When you arrive, take an immediate left turn and find parking wherever available. Alternatively, you can try the north Blacks Beach trail at the end of the dirt lot, which is a bit more challenging. For an alternative approach, you can go down Ho Chi Minh Trail, but exercise caution as I haven’t personally experienced it. On low tides, you can also access Blacks Beach from La Jolla Shores or Torrey Pines State Beach, but be sure to time your trip carefully.
Where To Legally Fish Blacks Beach
Blacks Beach is free from Marine Protected Areas; however, there are specific restrictions that need to be noted. As illustrated in the photo above, an SMCA (State Marine Conservation Area) disallows surf fishing for the general public in a certain section of the beach. Familiarize yourself with the exact location of the boundary if you plan on fishing at Blacks Beach.
Tides for Fishing Blacks Beach
Blacks Beach is generally an “any tide beach” for the most part. However, during the winter/spring, sand loss can occur, making the beach more confined and prone to tides pushing towards bluffs. By summer, the sand is typically replenished, allowing for a wider tide range. Be cautious of the unstable bluffs, as they may collapse a few times a year.
Overview of Surf Fishing at Blacks Beach
Blacks Beach stands out as a secluded and incredibly beautiful spot in San Diego. Despite its beauty, accessing the beach can be quite challenging. The beach is renowned for its stunning scenery and seclusion, making it one of the best beaches for surf fishing in the area. It’s important to be aware that Blacks Beach is also known as a nude beach, attracting naturists, particularly older men. Regardless, this beach offers exceptional fishing opportunities due to its seclusion and unique characteristics. You can expect to catch a wide variety of fish, including yellowfin croaker, corbina, perch, and even larger sharks if you’re lucky. Blacks Beach is a place of extraordinary beauty and potential, and I highly recommend exploring it, regardless of whether you’re an angler or simply looking to enjoy the stunning coastline.
Where To Book Your Stay:
Choosing the right accommodations near Blacks Beach can enhance your overall experience. The Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa, Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines, and The Lodge at Torrey Pines are all excellent options. These hotels offer exceptional amenities, beautiful views, and convenient access to Blacks Beach. Check the rates and availability below to find the perfect place to stay during your visit.
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Torrey Pines State Beach
Parking at Torrey Pines State Beach:
Parking at Torrey Pines State Beach can be a bit limited, so it’s important to plan ahead. There are two pay lots run by the state park, as well as street parking and additional parking options further north towards Del Mar. While street parking may be available, it can be relatively far from the beach. If you’re open to exploring the nearby areas of North Torrey Pines or Del Mar, you’ll find more parking options that will be covered in the “Del Mar” section.
Where to Legally Fish at Torrey Pines State Beach:
As long as you avoid the lagoon east of the bridge, there are no Marine Protected Areas to worry about. Fishing in the actual lagoon is prohibited, but fishing at the inlet on the beach portion is allowed.
Tides for Fishing Torrey Pines State Beach:
The entire stretch of Torrey Pines State Beach is best fished at a tide height lower than 4 feet. However, keep in mind that the allowable tidal height can fluctuate depending on the surf size and the amount of sand loss during the year. Be cautious of unstable bluffs and always prioritize safety.
Overview of Surf Fishing at Torrey Pines State Beach
Torrey Pines State Beach is undoubtedly one of the best beaches for surf fishing in San Diego. The south end, known as South Torrey Pines Beach, offers a challenging experience where success can be hit or miss. The area between the last lifeguard tower and Flat Rock is known for its variability. South Torrey Pines is popular among surf fishermen for its potential to catch big corbina. The beach’s mixed structure, consisting of sand, pebbles, and reefs, creates an ideal habitat for various fish species. The renowned Flat Rock attracts a myriad of fish, including baby leopard sharks ranging from 12 to 18 inches in length. These sharks find refuge near the structure and the abundant marine life surrounding Flat Rock. You can also expect corbina, perch, croaker, rays, leopards, halibut, and bass in this area. North Torrey Pines, on the other hand, offers similar fishing opportunities with its sandy sections and nearby rocky structures. However, it tends to be less crowded and is an excellent spot for targeting halibut. Due to the channel that flows into the north side of Torrey Pines, halibut fishing can be very productive in this area. Overall, Torrey Pines presents a wealth of fishing possibilities, from the south’s unpredictable nature to the north’s sandy stretches and excellent halibut fishing. It’s important to fish responsibly and respect the boundaries to preserve the natural beauty of the area.
Where To Book Your Stay:
For those looking to stay near Torrey Pines, several options offer proximity to the beach and excellent accommodations. Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines, The Lodge at Torrey Pines, Residence Inn San Diego, and Double Tree by Hilton San Diego del Mar are all highly recommended. Take a look at the rates and availability below to find the perfect place to stay during your visit.
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Best Beaches For Surf Fishing (cont.)
Del Mar Beach Surf Fishing
Parking at Del Mar Beach:
Del Mar Beach offers several parking options depending on the stretch you plan to fish. From 4th Street to 29th Street, you’ll find residential options along Camino Del Mar, which turns into the 101. Powerhouse Park provides metered parking and limited 2 and 4-hour spots. If these options don’t meet your needs, Santa Fe Avenue usually offers additional parking. Keep in mind that parking can be challenging during peak times, so arrive early to secure a spot.
Where to Legally Fish at Del Mar Beach:
Del Mar Beach is free from Marine Protected Areas, allowing anglers to fish without restrictions. However, be mindful not to fish in the actual lagoon area and instead focus on the surf around it.
Tides for Fishing Del Mar Beach:
Be cautious of the bluffs when fishing Del Mar Beach. While the sandier areas of the beach can handle higher tides up to 5.5 feet, the lower sections backed against the bluffs may become pebbly during higher tides. Always prioritize safety and consider the tide conditions before planning your fishing trip.
Overview of Surf Fishing at Del Mar Beach:
Del Mar Beach offers a unique surf fishing experience characterized by a mix of sand and pebbles. Finding sandy flats within the beach’s terrain is crucial for successful fishing. Del Mar Beach shares similarities with nearby Torrey Pines, boasting intermittent reefs that attract various fish species. The beach’s structure makes it an excellent place to target halibut, which are known to prefer areas with rocky structures. Halibut fishing can be highly productive in this area, but be prepared to lose a few lures to the rocks. Del Mar Beach presents a wealth of fishing opportunities, and while it may require some adjustments to your fishing style, the rewards are well worth it.
Where To Book Your Stay:
If you’re planning to stay in Del Mar, several accommodation options cater to different budgets and preferences. Options include Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn Express, and Residence Inn San Diego. Take a look at the rates and availability below to find the perfect place to stay during your visit.
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Parking at Solana Beach:
For Solana Beach, parking can be a bit challenging due to limited access points. Fletcher Cove Beach, Tide Park Beach, Table Tops, and Seaside Beach are the main beaches in the area. Parking options vary, but you can usually find public parking lots near these beaches or street parking along the sand. In case these options are full, try E Circle Drive and Ocean Street, which tend to have available parking spaces.
Where to Legally Fish in Solana Beach:
Solana Beach does not have any Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) restricting fishing along its beaches. However, be mindful of neighboring areas such as Swami’s State Beach, which falls under specific MPA regulations. Stay within the legal boundaries to ensure a responsible and enjoyable fishing experience.
Tides for Fishing Solana Beach:
Solana Beach’s sandy areas can handle a range of tide heights, making it a versatile fishing location. However, some parts of the beach may become pebbly during higher tides. Understanding the specific sections of Solana Beach and their ability to handle tide heights is essential for a successful fishing trip.
Overview of Surf Fishing in Solana Beach:
Solana Beach is a picturesque destination that offers several