Any number of charter companies offer half- to full-day deep sea fishing trips for everything from rock cod to yellowfin tuna and mahi-mahi, depending on the season. Most companies include both Mexican and California fishing licenses with your charter as needed, as well as rental or included tackle and fish cleaning and filleting services.
The tuna season (for fishing well offshore for large tuna) runs from early summer through the fall most years.
Leaving right out of the San Diego harbor, H&M Landing (2803 Emerson St., 619/222-1144, www.hmlanding.com, half-day adults $40, tackle $9.50) offers half-, three-quarter-, full-day, and evening trips year-round. Shorter trips ply the Point Loma kelp beds, while longer trips can head out to the Coronado Islands or farther into the open water.
Seaforth Sportfishing (1717 Quivira Rd., 619/224-3383, www.seaforthlanding.com, tackle extra) offers half-day through multi-day trips to fish for most of the major species fishable in the San Diego area. You can even catch a barracuda! Seaforth’s year-round half-day trips last five hours (morning or afternoon), allow the catching of more than half a dozen types of fish, and are perfect for families with children or new anglers. Three-quarter day trips really last all day (eight hours) and can range down as far as the Coronado Islands in Mexico.
The Overnight Mexico and Multi-Day Tuna trips are best for more experienced fishers who don’t suffer from too much seasickness, and are looking to reel in a bigger catch. On any Seaforth trip, expect a full galley with snacks, meals, and beverage service. You can get a bay skiff for $40 per half-day, plus rent tackle and buy live bait.
Point Loma Sportfishing (1403 Scott St., 619/223-1627, www.pointlomasportfishing.com, adults half-day from $40, multi-day from $250, tackle extra) offers more than six boats and an extensive list of fishing options. With Point Loma, hardcore anglers can book a two-week cruise that ranges more than 1,000 miles from San Diego, going after enormous deep-water tuna and other major-league sport fish.
On the other hand, several of Point Loma’s boats offer sedate, family- and beginner-friendly half-day (six hours) and three-quarter-day (8–10 hours) trips for rockfish, sea bass, barracuda, and yellowtail near the San Diego and northern Mexico coastlines. Private charter boats are available for parties of 5–25.
For small groups looking to fish together, Action Sport Rentals (2580 Ingraham St., 619/226-2929, www.danalanding.com) at Dana Landing maintains a fleet of six-passenger fishing boats that can handle half-day to two-day fishing trips. Action Sport Rentals offers bay-safe skiffs, tackle, and bait year-round. You’ll also find a launch there if you’ve brought your own boat.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition