BlogJanuary 2018

Dana Point Fishing: Which Fish Species to Target

Dana Point Fishing: Which Fish Species to Target

By Debbie Hanson

Jan 03, 2018

Find out why Dana Point fishing trips are fun for the family, which species you can catch, which baits to use, why plan Dana Point sportfishing trips 

Photo Credit: Joe Sarmiento

Are you wondering what you might catch on a Dana Point fishing trip? If you have plans to visit this Orange County, CA destination, there are several different species you might reel in.

If you're not sure where to fish near Dana Point, you don't have to worry. Dana Point is a place that has plenty of fishing options for the entire family. Rent a kayak, launch a boat, fish off the pier, or head out on one of the deep sea fishing trips from the harbor. 

Dana Point Sportfishing Tips

What is part of the reason why Dana Point fishing trips tend to be so popular? Many Dana Point Harbor fishing experiences include a visit to the nearby kelp beds. These kelp beds are home to an abundance of marine life, including baitfish like sardines and mackerel. 

These are just a few of the fish species you can catch on a Dana Point sportfishing trip, along with tips on when to find them and what to use. 

Which Fish Species to Target

White Seabass

If you want to catch a white seabass while on a Dana Point sportfishing boat, plan to go during the spring or summer. White seabass can be caught along the coast in shallow water as well as near offshore islands. Live squid is one of the best natural baits for this species, particularly during the early spring months. When summer arrives, you can try using small mackerel for bait as well. 

Sand Bass

Sand Bass can be an ideal fish to get kids hooked on fishing if you visit Southern California. This species averages one to three pounds and can be found in great numbers at certain times of the year. One of the best times to target sand bass is during the summer when they concentrate in large schools at depths of around 60 to 100 feet. Anchovies and sardines are the best natural baits

Calico Bass

The calico bass is a non-migratory species that is most often found near the kelp beds. Peak feeding activity generally takes place during the spring and summer months when calicos will feed on swimbaits, jigs, or anchovies. An important thing to remember about calico bass is that they are a slow growing species. This means that they can be vulnerable to over-fishing. Conservation-minded anglers often prefer to practice catch and release with females and larger fish.


The yellowtail jack, also referred to as California yellowtail, is one the most sought after pelagic fish in Southern California due to their strong runs and excellent table fare quality. While they are an open water fish, they tend to be found near islands, kelp beds, and reefs during the early spring through summer months. They can be caught on heavy metal jigs or on natural baits, such as sardines.

Since you know more about some of the species that can be caught on a Dana Point fishing trip, buy your California fishing license and plan a trip with the family.

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.