A Few Simple SoCal Surf Fishing Tips to Get Started

By Andy Whitcomb

Aug 22, 2017

Southern California has great access to the Pacific Ocean. Here are a few things to get you started when fishing the surf. 

Southern California is comprised of 8-10 counties in the southern third of this long state. The counties: San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego all border the Pacific Ocean which means the opportunity for some great SoCal surf fishing.

There are many species of fish to catch while fishing in SoCal depending on the habitat of the location (sand, rock, kelp, etc.) and the access points. While surf fishing California the most common fish species include: California corbina, California halibut, leopard shark, barred and walleye surfperch, and yellowfin and spot fin croaker (though not in the same genus). Common names often vary and create confusion; make sure you follow the regulations of the name recognized by the state publications fpr California fishing.

A surf fishing tip to keep in mind is that although any standard fishing gear could work, the most effective gear usually involves surf fishing rods that may reach 12 feet. These have a long butt for leverage to make long casts. Line weight and sinker size varies greatly, depending on the surf conditions and the targeted species. Many kinds of lures will work as long as it can be casted long distances. However, check with a local bait store and set your surf fishing rigs with circle hooks for your best chance at some action.

To save time before going SoCal surf fishing, do some online research. For example, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has a handy interactive map of California where you can click on a fishing site and learn what species have historically been caught there and what amenities (boat ramp, fuel, etc.) are available. Don’t forget to also check the saltwater fishing license requirements and study the fishing regulations! 

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org 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.