Catalina Island Fishing Charters

Catalina Island Fishing Charters

With its turquoise waters, rugged shoreline, and abundance of marine life, Catalina Island is an angler’s paradise. From kayaks and paddleboards to power boats and yachts, Catalina Island has no shortage of vessels to explore its bountiful waters. Read on to discover the island’s top spots for boat rentals, fishing hot spots, target species, and everything you need to plan a memorable fishing getaway.

What are some top boat rental options on Catalina Island?

Boat Rentals on Catalina Island

Want the freedom to discover Catalina Island on your own terms? With dozens of boat rental outlets offering everything from skiffs to cruisers, you can easily find the perfect vessel to meet your needs and budget. Here are some top options for renting boats on Catalina:

Catalina Island Fishing Charters

Joe’s Rent-A-Boat

With one of the largest rental fleets on Catalina, Joe’s has you covered if you’re looking for a peaceful paddle along the coast or an offshore fishing adventure. Choose from powerboats, kayaks, paddleboards, and more. Fishing tackle is also available to rent. Joe’s Rent-A-Boat is open daily from April to October.

Afishinados Sportfishing

Make memories of catching yellowtail, sea bass, and more with your own private charter boat and crew. Afishinados outfit groups of up to six with all the poles, bait, and gear needed for a successful day on the water. From casual anglers to serious sport fishermen, they’ve got you covered.

Memory Maker Fishing Charters

Another top choice for fully guided private charters, Memory Maker, caters to both families and hardcore anglers aboard its 35-foot cruiser. All equipment and refreshments are provided as you try for yellowtail, barracuda, calico bass, and more.

Now that you know about boat rental options on Catalina, let’s discuss the prime spots for fishing off the Island.

Where to Fish Off of Catalina Island

Catalina Island Fishing Charters

While fish are in the island’s harbors, they see heavy boat traffic from sailboats, cruisers, and day-trippers. Most anglers heading to Catalina will fish in the open ocean or around the coves and points along the island’s shoreline.

The drop-offs around Catalina are quite steep and rocky. These areas hold good numbers of fish for much of the year. Fish are also drawn to the kelp forests and reefs surrounding the island.

Keep an eye out for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

There are several Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) around Catalina, some with no-fishing zones. Check the fishing map before going out to avoid these restricted areas.

Choose your location based on your target species

Choose your fishing location based on what you want to catch. Some species stick close to kelp and rocks, while other pelagic fish swim in open water chasing bait fish.

What should you watch out for when fishing Catalina Island?

What to Fish for at Catalina Island: Top Species List

The diversity of Catalina’s underwater habitats supports more than 150 fish species. These are some of the most popular targets for visiting anglers:

Catalina Island Fishing Charters


Barracuda – Aggressive predators that strike flashy lures and live baits. Find them prowling open water.

Dorado – Acrobatic fighters are also called mahi mahi or dolphinfish. Attracted to flotsam and jumping baitfish.

Tuna – Speedy open-water hunters. Bluefin and yellowfin tuna arrive in summer, chasing anchovies and sardines.

Reef & Kelp Species

Calico Bass – Aggressive biters that hit jigs, plastics, and live bait. Hunt the edges of kelp forests.

Lingcod – Bottom-dwelling bruisers that live among rocky cliffs and ledges offshore.

Cabezon – Odd-shaped but hard-fighting. Found on rocky reefs and kelp beds.

White Seabass – Elusive trophy fish that prowl kelp forests and rocky structures, seeking squid and small fish.

Now that you know the species at Catalina Island, when is best to catch them?

When is the Best Time to go Fishing On Catalina Island?

Catalina Island Fishing Charters

One of Catalina’s greatest assets as a fishery is that something is almost always biting. That said, there are optimal times to target certain species.

Spring (March-May)

Increasing sunshine and nutrient upwelling kickstart the food chain. Calico bass, rockfish, barracuda, and halibut go on the feed.

Summer (June – August)

Warm-water pelagics like yellowtail, barracuda, and tuna arrive on seasonal migrations into the island’s abundant waters.

Fall (September – November)

With cooling water, the kelp and bottom fish bite continues strong. White seabass and yellowtail hang around through October.

Winter (December – February)

Storms and cold water slow the open water action, but hearty rockfish, lingcod, cabezon, and perch still prowl rocky structures.

Ready to go Fishing at Catalina Island?

With its undersea cliffs, kelp forests, and rocky reefs, Catalina Island offers amazing habitat and nutrients to sustain a diversity of sportfish year-round. Do your homework on the regulations and protected areas. Choose your fishing spots wisely to target your dream catch. Load up on the right bait and gear for the species you seek. Catalina’s bountiful waters await your line!

Still have questions? Check out these answers to some commonly asked questions. 

What are the best private fishing charters on Catalina Island?

Some top-rated charters are Sealutions Sportfishing, Mystic Queen Sportfishing, and Full Spectrum SF’s Sea Monkey charter boats. These companies offer trips from 4 hours to full days focused on different species.

How much does it cost to go charter fishing in Catalina Island?

Based on prices listed on, expect to pay an average of $836 for a 4-hour private charter or $1,599 for an 8-hour trip. The boat, crew, gear, bait, ice, and fuel are included. Gratuities are extra.

What are the top fish species I can catch on Catalina Island?

Halibut, calico bass, and yellowtail amberjack are prime targets for most visiting anglers.  White seabass, tuna, barracuda, rockfish, lingcod, and sheepshead are also popular catches.

What are the top fishing techniques in Catalina Island?

The most productive techniques are deep sea fishing, bottom fishing around rocky structures, and light tackle jigging/bait fishing along kelp beds. Trolling open water with skirted lures is also effective for tuna and gamefish.

What fishing trips are offered by fishing charters in Catalina Island?

Catalina Island’s charter boats offer a variety of trip lengths to match different interests and budgets. Below are some typical per-boat prices:

2-hour trip$483 Extended offshore trips give more time to locate schools of pelagics.
4-hour trip$806This full day opens the door for trophy-sized halibut, yellowtail, and tuna over 20 pounds.
6-hour trip$1212Increases the chances of species like tuna and white seabass roaming farther offshore.
8-hour trip$1524Extended offshore trip, give more time to locate schools of pelagics.
10-hour trip$2040It is famous for targeting rockfish, bass, barracuda, and potentially yellowtail.
12-hour trip$2539 Maximizes your time chasing open water gamefish like marlin and giant tuna.

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