Pacifica Fishing Odyssey: Unlocking the Secrets of Coastal Angling

Embark on a fishing journey like no other in the inshore waters off Pacifica, where a five-week window from the last week of June through July, extending into the first week of August, offers anglers a shot at some of the finest fishing experiences in the United States. This coastal haven, nestled within a rocky coast adorned with small bays, becomes a hotspot for a variety of fish species, creating a dynamic and challenging angling environment.

Types of Fish You Can Expect to Catch:

  • Striped Bass (Migratory): From April to September, these majestic fish cruise the shoreline and rocky areas, actively pursuing baitfish. Trolling lures or baitfish near the surface or mid-water is crucial for a successful catch.
  • Surf Perch (Year-round): Barred, Calico, and Redtail Surfperch thrive near rocks and sandy stretches. Enjoy a light tackle experience by using lures or bait near the bottom.
  • Rockfish (Resident): Sculpins, Grass Rockfish, cabezon, and the occasional Lingcod inhabit rocky areas and reefs. Entice them with jigs, bait, and sabiki rigs.
  • Sharks (Seasonally): Leopard Sharks and Bat Rays make occasional appearances, particularly at night near the sandy bottom. Exercise caution and respect when using bait in their presence.
  • Halibut (Occasionally): Venture to deeper areas during migrations, where large baitfish or jigs fished slowly might tempt these elusive creatures.
  • Herring (Seasonally): Large schools of herring, especially in spring and fall, attract other fish, offering exciting jigging opportunities near rocky areas and shorelines.

Local Insights:

  • Know the Tides: Incoming tides bring baitfish closer to shore, attracting predators like stripers and perch. Outgoing tides are ideal for bottom feeders like rockfish and crabs.
  • Fish the Rocks and Reefs: Cast jigs, bait, or sabiki rigs near these structures for rockfish, Cabezon, and pleasant surprises. Prime territory for sculpins awaits.
  • Trolling Secrets: Experiment with trolling lures or baitfish along the shoreline towards Sharp Park or Pescadero, yielding stripers, herring, and occasional halibut. Vary depths and speeds for success.
  • Night Fishing: Experience the lively nocturnal activity in Pacifica. Try bait near the sandy bottom for sharks and rays or lure stripers chasing baitfish near the surface.
  • Respect the Environment: Pacifica is a natural treasure. Be mindful of the ecosystem, properly dispose of trash, and avoid disturbing wildlife for a sustainable angling experience.

Unique Things to Pay Attention To:

  • Limited Access: Some of the best spots, like reefs and deeper areas, require a boat. Consider joining a charter or renting a kayak for exploration beyond the shoreline.
  • Strong Currents: Exercise caution near points and during outgoing tides where swift currents prevail. Proper anchoring may be necessary.
  • Ocean Conditions: The Pacific Ocean’s unpredictability requires preparation for wind, fog, or sudden weather changes. Dress accordingly for a comfortable outing.
  • Waves and Shore Access: Check forecasts and avoid areas with limited access or dangerous conditions. Some areas may have rough waves and cliffs, posing potential dangers.

Specific Locations (A Few Examples):

  1. Pacifica Pier: An iconic landmark offering pier fishing and shoreline access. Try surf perch near the rocks, stripers around the pier, and rockfish near the pilings.
  2. Sharp Park Beach and Linda Mar Beach: Sandy stretches perfect for surf perch fishing year-round. Cast lures or bait near the shore for a relaxing light tackle experience.
  3. Rockaway Beach and Pescadero: Rocky shores and deeper waters. Try jigs or bait for rockfish, Cabezon, and even the occasional halibut during migrations.
  4. Mori Point: A rocky outcrop providing access to deeper water and strong currents. Troll for stripers and halibut or fish the rocks for rockfish and Cabezon (permits required).
  5. Offshore Reefs: Explore reefs with a boat, teeming with rockfish, Lingcod, and the occasional halibut. Use jigs, bait, and proper safety gear for a thrilling deep-water adventure.

Additional Tips:

  • Grab a California Fishing License before heading out.
  • Check seasonal regulations, especially for halibut and sharks.
  • Pack snacks, drinks, and sunscreen for a comfortable fishing experience.
  • Be prepared for changing weather conditions, particularly on the coast.
  • While shore fishing favors lighter tackle, consider heavier gear for deeper waters or larger fish.

Check out our Gearlist for the gear we for trips like this

Our Gearlist account lists all of the gear we use. Discover our top picks, where to snag them, and stay informed with our regular updates.

Pacifica offers something for every angler, from families enjoying a casual pier session to experienced kayakers seeking a thrilling offshore adventure. Explore the diverse fishing opportunities and make the most of your angling experience in this coastal paradise.