Planning Your Trip for Tuna Fishing in San Diego

By Andy Whitcomb

Apr 16, 2018

Tuna fishing in San Diego is a big trip for big fish. Be prepared.

While researching where to fish in California, you won’t have to look long before finding information on the renowned tuna fishing in San Diego.  “Sorry, Charlie,” but San Diego tuna fishing is one of those trips that remains on my “minnow bucket list” too.

Tuna are some of the strongest, fastest fish species, plus, the yellowfin tuna may grow to 6 feet long, and the giant, bluefin tuna, can reach an astounding 10 feet long and weigh over 1000 pounds.  Average sizes for each fish species may only run about 30-50 pounds but are still quite capable of giving both you and any fishing tackle a total workout.

When planning a trip for tuna fishing in San Diego, it is important to check various San Diego tuna fishing reports to try to time it right for the hot bite. In addition to the current fishing action trends, try to find archived numbers from previous years’ posted dock totals and take note of species caught, sizes, when, and information about the number of boats and anglers.

San Diego tuna fishing trips can vary greatly. Some excursions offer smaller private parties of perhaps 5 or 6 anglers and, if you don’t have to catch tuna, shorter trips in the half-day range can put you on species such as halibut, calico bass, and yellowtail. However to reach pelagic tuna, you are looking at a serious deep sea fishing San Diego expedition, ranging anywhere from 2 to perhaps 21 days for the extremely hard-core tuna pursuit. These long trips are on larger boats in the 80-100 foot range and may accommodate up to 90 anglers or so.

As you are making arrangements for tuna fishing in San Diego, also pay close attention to details of what to bring. Most charter boats have fishing gear that you can rent but better double check.  Standard guided fishing equipment usually includes such items as a rainsuit, sunscreen, a change of clothes (or two), rubber boots, tennis shoes, and toiletries. If you are packing for one of those multi-day treks, bring plenty to read because there is bound to be some down time.  Finally, check on fishing licenses and, because tuna fishing in San Diego is long journey, you may even need to bring your passport.

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.