Best Pier Fishing in Southern California

Pier in southern california facing the waves.
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Southern California offers some of the most scenic and productive pier fishing spots in the country. With the Pacific Ocean as your backdrop, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to piers that cater to both the novice and the seasoned angler. The region is graced with a variety of piers, each providing a unique fishing experience and an opportunity to reel in species such as yellowtail, halibut, corbina, and perch. Whether you are looking for a full-on fishing adventure or a casual day with your line in the water, Southern California piers provide an accessible and enjoyable fishing experience. The diversity of marine life in these waters makes every fishing trip unpredictable and exciting, and the convenience of on-site amenities adds to the appeal of pier fishing in this sun-soaked region.

Balboa Pier

Your fishing adventure can lead you to Balboa Pier, a notable spot in Southern California. This pier provides a unique opportunity to catch various species that you might not encounter as frequently elsewhere.

Location & Access:
Balboa Pier is situated in the charming area of Newport Beach. Easily accessible, you’ll find ample parking and facilities conveniently located nearby.

Fishing Experience:
You can expect a straightforward fishing experience without the need for elaborate gear. The pier extends into a habitat rich in marine life, and although sometimes catches may seem rare, the potential for an unusual catch exists.

Typical Species:

  • Yellowtail (Rare)
  • Halibut
  • Corbina
  • Perch
  • Rays
  • Leopard Sharks

While Balboa Pier is more than just a fishing destination, it offers a variety of amenities making it appealing for both anglers and non-anglers.

Facilities include:

  • Fisherman’s wharf
  • Dining options
  • Shops
  • Entertainment venues

Your fishing trip might also double as a leisurely outing, with the scenic pier offering much more than just a spot to cast your line. Enjoy the calm and let your line out, you may just hook something unexpected at Balboa Pier.

Huntington Beach Pier

As you explore Southern California’s prime fishing locations, Huntington Beach Pier stands out as a notable spot for anglers. Known for its impressive length, stretching 1,850 feet into the Pacific, it provides ample space for casting a line and the potential for a rewarding catch.

What You Can Catch:

  • Surfperch: Found closer to the shore round the year.
  • Croakers: Common during the summer months.
  • California halibut: Larger specimens usually caught during late spring and summer.

Fishing Tips:

  • Light Tackle: Use lightweight rods for smaller fish like perch and croakers.
  • Heavier Gear: Recommended if you’re aiming for halibut.
  • Live Bait: You can often purchase this at a bait shop on the pier or bring your own.

Facilities and Regulations:

  • Fisherman’s Wharf: Features amenities such as bait and tackle shops.
  • No Fishing License Required: When fishing from a public pier in California, you’re exempt from needing a state fishing license.

Crystal Pier

Your visit to San Diego provides the perfect opportunity for pier fishing at Crystal Pier, a historic and renowned spot in Southern California. Dating back to 1936, Crystal Pier stands as a testament to the region’s love for angling and offers a chance to enjoy the timeless leisure of fishing.

4500 Ocean Blvd, San Diego

Operational Hours:
8:00 a.m. to sunset

Available only on the street

Targeted Fish Species:

  • Surf Perch
  • California Corbina
  • Queenfish
  • Mackerel
  • Halibut
  • Lobster

For those new to the pier or seasoned anglers, Crystal Pier not only provides a picturesque setting but also a productive fishing experience. Your day can be well-spent casting into the waters for a variety of species. With the convenience of street parking, you can easily access the pier for a day’s adventure.

Equipment Rental:
While you’re there, take advantage of tackle rental services if you haven’t brought your own gear. This will allow you to seamlessly engage in the experience without any preparation hassles.

Crystal Pier also features quaint motel cottages, which, if you choose to stay, will offer a charming and immersive beachfront living experience. The lure of Crystal Pier isn’t just in the aquatic treasures you can reel in—it’s an invitation to partake in a historic Southern Californian pastime.

Oceanside Pier

In the heart of San Diego County, Oceanside Pier stands as a prime destination for pier fishing enthusiasts. As one of the longest wooden piers on the West Coast, stretching 1,942 feet into the Pacific, you have access to a variety of fish species.

What You Can Catch:

  • Near the Shore: Expect to hook surfperch, croaker, and corbina.
  • Further Out: Mackerel, bonito, and halibut are more common.

Necessities and Amenities:

  • No fishing license is required when fishing off the pier.
  • A bait shop is conveniently located mid-pier for rods, tackle, and bait.
  • Be mindful of seagulls when handling your bait.

Tides and Best Times:

  • Check local tide tables for optimal fishing times.
  • Solunar charts can also guide you to the best bite times.

Remember, the success on a pier is as much about the experience and the environment as it is about the catch. Enjoy the ocean views and the camaraderie among anglers while you await your next bite at Oceanside Pier.

Redondo Beach Pier

Your exploration of Southern California’s best pier fishing locations isn’t complete without a visit to the Redondo Beach Pier. This hallmark destination in the angling community stands out not only for its fishing opportunities but also for its comprehensive facilities, including a variety of dining and shopping options.

As you plan your visit, take note of these key details:

  • Hours: Open 24/7
  • License: No fishing license required
  • Common Catches:
    • Perch
    • Mackerel
    • Halibut
    • Rockfish and Lingcod (colder months)

While the end of the pier is a hotspot for enthusiasts aiming to catch rockfish or lingcod during colder months, you’ll enjoy the year-round opportunity to reel in mackerel or salmon in the warmer seasons. Adjacent to the pier, the Breakwall is renowned for its fishing, although the waves can be challenging—excitement for the more experienced angler.

Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier

Your quest for a distinctive pier fishing experience in Southern California leads you to the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier in Long Beach. This locale affords you ample space to cast your line into the Pacific and possibly catch a variety of species.

Long Beach, California

Noteworthy Catch:

  • A notable event was the capture of a 34 1/2-inch eel back in July 1977, setting a record for the species.

Common Species:

  • Surfperch
  • Croaker
  • Barracuda
  • Shark

When you visit this pier, you immerse yourself in an environment that has catered to both casual anglers and record seekers. Its easy accessibility means you can enjoy the tranquil sea without the hassle of a boat.


  • Accessibility: Open for fishing without the need for a boat.
  • Fish Variety: Offers a range of fish, from the common croaker to the more adventurous shark.

Fishing Tips:

  • Use appropriate bait for the targeted species, such as squid for barracuda or surfperch.

Whether you’re searching for an urban fishing escape or a chance to tie a record, Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier is a fishing spot worth your attention in the Southern Californian sun.

Santa Monica Pier

When you set out for a fishing adventure at the Santa Monica Pier, you’re engaging with a location steeped in history and local culture. Recognized as one of the most iconic spots along the coast, the pier stands out as a premier destination for anglers.

Your experience begins with the understanding that Santa Monica Pier is not just a fishing location. It doubles as a vibrant entertainment area, boasting an amusement park, eateries, and shops. However, your main interest—the fishing aspect—is available year-round. The pier’s dual levels offer plenty of space for casting your line without feeling crowded.

Fishing Seasons:

  • Spring to Fall: Prime fishing with a higher chance of catching species like mackerel, surfperch, and yellowtail.
  • Winter: Quieter, yet still capable of producing a rewarding experience.

Here’s what you can expect when fishing at Santa Monica Pier:

  • Accessibility: Easily reached from Los Angeles, with ample amenities for a comfortable fishing trip.
  • Species: A range of fish awaits, including mackerel and surfperch.
  • Amenities: Shops and food stands populate the pier, providing you with all the necessities for a day of fishing.
  • Fishing Tips: Bring a variety of bait to increase your chances of a successful catch.

Imperial Beach Pier

Imperial Beach Pier, located in the quaint seaside community of Imperial Beach in San Diego County, offers you a serene fishing experience. Renowned for its iconic wooden structure, the pier extends beautifully into the Pacific, providing you with ample opportunity to cast your line for a bountiful catch.

What You Might Catch:

  • Halibut
  • Perch
  • Croaker

Fishing on the pier doesn’t require a license, and it’s a pastime that’s accessible year-round. The pier also features a restaurant where you can enjoy a meal complementing your fishing experience.

Here’s a quick reference for what you need to know about fishing at Imperial Beach Pier:

Fishing LicenseNot required on the pier
Open HoursAccessible 24/7, although the specific hours may vary
Fish CleaningStations available for your convenience
AccessibilityWheelchair accessible
Bait and TackleAvailable on the pier

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice excited to feel the thrill of the reel, you’ll find Imperial Beach Pier accommodating. The pier not only promises a rewarding catch but also stunning views, making it a favored spot for both fishing enthusiasts and sightseers alike.

Goleta Pier

Your exploration of Southern California’s pier fishing must include the renowned Goleta Pier. Found within Goleta Beach County Park, this pier stands out as a unique angling spot with its own Angler Center. Operated by the United Pier and Shore Anglers of California in conjunction with the Santa Barbara Parks District, the center is a hub for fisherfolk education and communication.

Goleta Pier offers a variety of rental options. You can rent poles and skiffs, equipped with hoists for ease of access. This makes it convenient for both seasoned anglers and beginners to enjoy a day out on the water without the need for personal equipment.

Fishing Tips:

  • Utilize live bait such as smelt, shinerperch
  • Target the bottom near the pier structures to increase your chance of a good catch.


  • Angler Center: Year-round staff available for assistance
  • Rental Services: Fishing poles and skiffs
  • Fishing Area: Access to diverse fish species

While fishing, take a moment to appreciate the backdrop of the Santa Barbara coastline, offering more than just a bountiful fishing experience but also a scenic escape. With its well-equipped facilities and supportive environment, Goleta Pier stands as a beacon for fishing aficionados across the state.

Ventura Pier

Ventura Pier, a historic landmark in Ventura, California, offers you a unique fishing experience. Standing on this well-maintained structure, you have the opportunity to catch a variety of fish throughout the year. The pier, known for its easy access and family-friendly atmosphere, doesn’t require a fishing license, making it a prime spot for both novice and experienced anglers.

Fishing at Ventura Pier:

  • Variety of fish: You can catch species like smelt, mackerel, and tomcod.
  • Uncommon catches: It’s possible to encounter unexpected visitors, such as baby hammerhead sharks.
  • Notable captures: A notable catch included a 181-pound black sea bass in 2000.

Pro tips for a successful fishing trip:

  • Check the local fishing reports for current conditions and what’s biting.
  • Early morning or late evening tend to be prime fishing times.
  • Bring varied bait to increase your chances of a good catch.

Facilities and Amenities:

  • The pier is equipped with bait shops where you can find gear and bait.
  • Nearby, there are dining options and seating areas for relaxation.

Hours of Operation:

  • Fishing is allowed until 10 pm, after which the pier closes.

By visiting Ventura Pier, you’re not only going to enjoy fishing but also become part of a community that appreciates this picturesque and productive locale.

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