Spearfishing On Catalina Island

Catalina Island Fishing Spots

Catalina Island is a favorite for anglers and fishing enthusiasts due to the fishing opportunities it offers. Some common catches around the island include tuna, calico bass, white seabass, yellow tail, black seabass, and spotted bay bass.

Fishing enthusiasts can fish along the shores accessible via chartered boats or venture into the deep sea using kayaks. Catalina has plenty of fish compared to the mainland coastlines, and the average size is bigger. This is a good reason to venture into the island for fishing charters and other expeditions.  

In this article, I’ll answer common questions about fishing on Catalina Island, from the top catches, licenses, spearfishing, fishing spots, and how to get there.  

Catalina Island Fishing

Top Catches on Catalina Island

There’s a flourishing marine life on Catalina Island, which boasts a wide variety of fish and other sea life. 

Calico Bass

Calico Bass has a unique multicolored spotting under the belly, hence the name. It attains a maximum weight of 7.0 kilograms and a maximum length of 28 inches. The species inhabits kelp forests and is mostly found at depths between 0-200 ft.

Calico bass is a great choice for recreational anglers and one of the most sought-after game fish due to its fighting prowess. The island has a big population, which is available all year round. The species has a life span of 34 years. 

Top Catches on Catalina Island

White Seabass

Catching the white seabass can be elusive and unpredictable. The species moves together, in and out of kelp beds and over deep rocky bottoms.

Closely related to the California Corbina, the white seabass stands out from the cloacker family species due to its weight, which exceeds 20 pounds. It feeds on sardines, anchovies, and squids. An average seabass weighs 7.5 pounds at about five years of age.

You can fish the White Seabass primarily with live bait on shallow waters, though love squids are also great baits. The species carries a 28-inch size limit in California. Remember to check current regulations on bag limits.

Yellowtail Amberjack

Yellowtail Amberjack falls under that same weight class as tuna, with a maximum length of 180 cm and weight between 40 -50 kilograms. The species is found on rocky reefs and sandy areas and can easily be found on shallow waters down to depths of 50 m.

Striped Marlin

The striped Marlin is often found near the water surface as it hunts during the day. The species has an average length of 9.5 ft and weighs up to 490 lbs.

It’s preferred as a game and commercial fish, though there are global conservation efforts in place to protect the species from overfishing and commercial landings.

How to Fish Around Catalina Island

There are various fishing methods to adopt around Catalina Island, depending on preference. Whether it’s for adventure, a new hobby, or serious business, there are many options, as highlighted below:

Catalina Island Charter Boat Fishing

Charter boats are one of the most preferred options since they offer an opportunity to explore the deepest parts of the island waters.

Catalina Island Charter Boat Fishing

Catalina Island Kayak Fishing

Kayak fishing is a great option if you are not willing to spend on a more expensive method such as charter fishing. Kayak fishing brings you closer to your targets and gives you access to various fish. Kayak anglers prefer bays and kelp forests, which offer easy access to the onshore, and prefer fishing with live baits.

Kayak fishing on the island is convenient as you only need to paddle a few yards before getting to a great spot. The other option is to paddle to a kelp patch or a sandy bottom, and you will be ready to catch fish. You can rent a kayak or ship your own through the ferry services.

Catalina Island Kayak Fishing

Catalina Island Pier Fishing

Piers are a great option for anglers since they do not have to venture far for a catch. Besides constant movement, some fish get swept to the shores, making piers perfect for those not interested in venturing into the deep seas.

Blue Perch and other perch species, yellow tail, and white sea bass are common catch on the piers. Most rocky species are also available, considering the pier’s strategic location.

Catalina Island Pier Fishing

Catalina Island Shore Fishing 

There’s plenty of fish on Catalina Island, making it easy to fish on most parts of the shore. The calm and clear waters add to the advantage, making most shore anglers use squid strips and swim bait.

The spring season makes it easy to find fish on the margins of rocky points and kelp beds as they move to shallow waters during the spawning season.

Possible catches on the shore include blue perch, calico bass, Sheepshead, and yellowtail. The shorelines are accessible via a boat.

Catalina Island Shore Fishing 

Catalina Island Fishing Spots

Choosing fishing spots on the island mainly depends on the type of fish you are looking for. Some species hover around vessels, while others prefer the kelp forests and rocky areas. Others, such as pelagics, respond to baits. You can opt to explore the shores or go deeper into the sea. However, there are a few spots that stand out:

The Green Pleasure Pier 

The Green Pleasure Pier is a hub for fishing activities and a favorite for anglers due to its convenient location. The public pier does not require licensing, making it a cost-effective venture. The pier hosts the official weigh station for sports fishermen who frequent the island for sports fishing.

Avalon Bay 

The island’s main city makes a great fishing ground. Most fish species are attracted to the buzzing life, considering it’s a tourist attraction and fleet destination. 

Anything Else I Need to Know?

There are a few other things you need to know. Some parts of the island are protected and restricted from all fishing activities. Areas such as Lovers Cove and Casino Point Dice Park are out of bounds.

The city of Avalon hosts a kid’s fishing derby open to participants below 17 years. The derby runs during the summer months, and winners carry great prizes. Participants are required to carry fishing equipment. 

How do I get to Catalina Island?

Catalina Island is easily accessible via ferry or a helicopter ride. A ride on a high-speed ferry takes only one hour, while a helicopter ride takes 15 minutes.

Catalina Express and Catalina Flyer offer scheduled ferry rides accessible from four harbors: Long Beach, Newport Beach, San Pedro, and Dana Point.

How do I get to Catalina Island

Related: How to get to Catalina Island

Fishing Licenses and Seasonality

Fishing on the island requires you to have a fishing license. All shore and boat anglers over the age of 16 need to purchase a fishing license, except those fishing on a public pier.

You can get a fishing license at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) in person or online. For online purchases, the customer must be at least 18 years of age, and a MasterCard or a Visa is required to make a purchase. Fishing licenses are valid for a calendar year.

Fishing Licenses and Seasonality

Besides acquiring the license, it’s important to be well acquainted with local rules and regulations, catch, and size for the targeted species. Familiarize yourself with marine protected areas and specific regulations that may apply on the island.

Most species are open to fishing all year round. However, there are fishing regulations that affect bag limits and size. Some species have a fishing season that opens and closes during particular seasons.

Spearfishing in Catalina Island

Catalina Island’s clear waters and wide range of fish species make it a perfect destination for spearfishing enthusiasts. The best months for spearfishing are warmer months between May and October when visibility peaks and the water temperatures are more pleasant.

Spearfishing in Catalina Island

Several businesses on the island offer spearfishing charters, equipment, guides, and guidance on local knowledge for a great adventure. If you are not interested in hiring gear, you may consider carrying some essential gear. These include a spear gun, pole spear, mask, snorkel, fins, a wetsuit, gloves, and booties. Weight belts, weights, camouflage wetsuits, and safety equipment are also handy. There are local dive shops on the island that sell equipment, offer gear rentals, and also provide advice.

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

You can go fishing at Catalina Island all year round. However, specific seasons have their advantages. 

Best Time to go Fishing at Catalina Island

During spring, fish species that inhabit the kelp forest and other bottom fish begin to emerge, a trend that continues through the fall months.

There’s also an upsurge of pelagic species such as tuna and dorado during summer. Calico bass and blue perch are available during winter, though other species appear depending on the conditions.

Related: Do you need a passport to get to Catalina Island?

Final thoughts on Catalina Island Fishing

Fishing on Catalina Island is an adventure of a lifetime. There are many fishing spots, robust marine life, and crystal clear waters that make it an angler’s paradise. With public piers that allow fishing without a license, the possibility of having a bigger catch compared to mainland fish, and a calm environment, Catalina remains one of the best places to take your fishing adventure.

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