A Few Simple SoCal Surf Fishing Tips to Get Started

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 Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. He says there are “people who fish”… and there are “fishermen”.  One of the few things he knows is that he is a “fisherman”...  To the point it could be classified as borderline illness.  Sharing this obsession is rewarding, therapeutic. He likes to encourage people to “stop and smell the crappie."  Enjoys catching fish, but gets a greater thrill out of helping someone else hook up.
Born in Florida, but raised on the banks of Oklahoma farm ponds. Now relocated to western Pennsylvania. He has fished, worked, lived all around the US.  He has a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State as well...
And he met his wife while electrofishing. He has been contributing weekly to www.takemefishing.org since 2011.