The Best California Halibut Fishing Spots in SoCal

Many anglers target a big California halibut during the sports fishing season. For them, finding the best California halibut fishing spots is like discovering a map of the treasure island of southern California. 

A spearo in Santa Rosa island caught a 67- pound 5-ounce California halibut. Anglers know that there are certain waters around Southern California where these halibut fish gather in one big group. 

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california halibut fishing spots
California halibut, the flatties of the sand. Source: James Maughn

Habitat of California Halibut

California halibut depends on crab, octopus, shrimp, and other small fish for food. A steady and non-migratory supply of such allows them to stay in good habitat. The beginnings of a halibut bed are near sand or gravel along the bottom of the ocean at a water depth of 30 to 80 feet.

6 SoCal Fishing Spots for California Halibut

1. Zuma Beach, Above Point Dume

Zuma Beach’s north end, above Point Dume, a small area is productive when fishing for California Halibut. It covers about 200 yards of the beach in 25 to 50 feet of water. Note the river drain that marks this productive spot. 

2. Sunset Beach

In Sunset Beach, there is a shallow spot in 15 to 30 feet of water. This water is tough to fish due to eelgrass, mud, pebbly, and generally foul bottom. One thing anglers love the challenge on this spot is because of the food that attracts California halibut. And it is known that wherever the baitfish is, the California halibut follows. 

3. Twin Towers

These two identifiable buildings are between Venice and Marina del Rey. A good California halibut habitat can be found if you fish in 50 to 70 feet of water. The variations include hard and soft bottom, some rocky formation, and deep kelp fragments.

4. Torrance Beach

Several California halibut were caught during tournaments in Torrance Beach. It has a good drift along a wide section of the beach in 20 to 50 feet deep water. A good break is in 45 feet of water between the beach’s hard and soft bottom.

5. Point Loma Kelp, San Diego

Point Loma guards the entrance to San Diego bay. California halibut gather between rock and kelp in the flat areas on the seaward side of the point. The best spot for fishing halibut is the open water area in the kelp bed between land and the heavy kelp forest.

Experienced boaters who have small, fast skills benefit in this area. Staying alert helps as there are unpredictable swells that break in this spot.

6. Estero Bay

California halibut is present all year in Estero Bay, eighty miles south of San Diego in Baja, California. The small tidal estuary at the north end of the bay is about four miles long. The channels are narrow, where Halibut doesn’t have to work very hard. All the halibut does is keep their eyes open for a tasty morsel. 

California Fishing Regulations

California Fish and Wildlife set a fishing limit on California halibut to avoid a further decline in their numbers. However, their recreational fishery is open all year. You can bag three fish in one day if you are fishing north of Point Sur, Monterey County, and five if south. The size limit of the caught fish is set to a minimum of 22 total inches in length. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best bait for California halibut?

Live baits are excellent in fishing California halibut. Queenfish and squid are top of the list but hard to make available. Bigger California halibut caught on pacific mackerel sardines prove that they are effective. The standard California halibut offerings are anchovies and sardines. 

What tide is best for halibut fishing?

In fishing for California halibut, tides are not much significant on the coastal waters as these fish are on the bay and estuarine waters. However, a good slow drift is important as this allows anglers to keep the bait along the bottom.

Where do Halibut like to hang out?

California halibut loves the sandy bottom of the ocean. These fish usually stay to the depths of 300 feet. 

Insider Advice

Most anglers spend a lot of time in the water waiting for a California halibut along the bottom to bite their live baits or take their lures. But some part without the fruit of their efforts because they used the wrong tackle or because they are in the wrong spot. Fishing on the wrong spot will not help you find this halibut fish. More so, because these fish are elusive and don’t show up right on the surface.

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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Articles » Fishing Locations » The Best California Halibut Fishing Spots in SoCal