3 Pier Fishing Spots in San Diego

Photo of author
Last Updated:

Have you ever gone fishing but ended up toiling piers without any catch? Or maybe you caught some fish, but your catch was not impressive? Maybe that is because you did not visit the right spot. 

That is not to say that you do not know fishing tactics. It only means that there are tactics that you can incorporate into your fishing to make it better.

This article will help you discover some fishing piers, best San Diego fishing spots, and tactics to fish in these spots.

pier fishing San Diego
Source: Canva Pro

Best Fishing Piers in San Diego

In the first chapter of the article, you will learn about some fishing piers in San Diego, whether you are in the north or south.

If you are an inshore angler, these pier fishing San Diego spots are some of the best you can find during summer. 

That time of year when the grunions are all around, you can trail them to find big fishes like bass, bonito, halibut, and so on. Fishing piers are some of the best locations that any angler can locate. 

Source: Canva Pro

1. Imperial Beach Pier

The Imperial Beach is a pier in the southern part of San Diego, and it is about 20 feet deep. This pier is close to shore, making it the right spot for catches like barred surfperch, yellowfin croaker, and other fishes. You can fish in this place with light gear. 

If you go at night when grunions are all over the place, you can get catches like sand bass and halibut. If you want more species, you can go to the end of the pier. You can find other fishes on the extreme side, including barracuda, white seabass, bonito, and mackerel. 

This pier is in the southern part of San Diego at Palm Avenue, Seacoast Drive. There are provisions for a fish-cleaning space, a restaurant, and restrooms. This place is open from morning till evening.

Source: Canva Pro

2. Coronado Ferry Landing Pier

This fishing spot located on Coronado Island is not so long, about 377 feet, but is home to so many fishes. It is a rich spot for spotted bay bass, bonito, sand bass, and other species. 

One good thing about fishing in this spot is that it is almost effortless. The water is shallow and, therefore, requires light tackle. However, you might want to take bait along if you are not coming from very far. You can also get some at the Coronado Ferry Landing shopping center. 

This spot is also rich with mackerel, sharks, perch croakers, and rays. The place is open from early in the morning till late in the evening.

Source: Canva Pro

3. Crystal Pier

This pier is one place where you can fish for species like barred surfperch, shovelnose guitarfish, corbina, and others. Some fishermen catch halibut there sometimes. If you move farther down the pier, you can find calico bass and sand bass in abundance. 

It is also a rich sport for lobsters if you visit in the right season and is open to anglers and enthusiasts all through the day. 

Other good spots are Shelter Island Pier and Embarcadero Marina Park South Fishing Pier.

How to Spot Structures 

Getting familiar with the surf and reading is essential to having a successful outing. Therefore, you need to know how to spot the right areas to fish.

Some structures in the surf, like deep pockets, troughs, and rip currents, are the best places to target for the best fishing experience. This part of the article introduces you to some structures and teaches how to harness them to your fishing advantage.

Rip Current Structure

A rip current provides a great fishing spot with light gears. You will see a rip current when the water flows to the beach in a high current and recedes, taking everything in the area along with it.

The water can pull sand crabs due to the high current. When these sand crabs get exposed, fishes rush towards them to feed.

Then, you also go forward to catch the fish. Locating these areas is easy. You will see the sand has been washed to an appreciable level, and the water is shallow.

Trough Structure

Troughs are dents in the sand that create a spot for fish to swim in. Fishes locate these spots in search of food. You will get there in search of the fish.

These troughs are more visible at low tide. When the tide is high, you can locate the troughs by looking for choppier spots as the water flows to the sea.

The water flowing through the trough areas seems faster and marks out the deep shape of the troughs. In these areas, you can catch fish of different species as they make for food.

Deep Pocket Structure

Deep pockets are other areas where you can fish in abundance. You can find these locations when you watch the water flow.

It will not crash as frequently as in other spots as the water flows, looking more rippled. Also, the water will appear bluer in these spots than in other areas.  

Fishing Tactics to Improve Your Targets

Being a successful fisherman depends on several factors and not just fishing skills. Aside from knowing how to throw the bait and pull out the fish, you need to know when to go fishing, where to cast, and so on. 

The technique of sight-casting is a viable way to catch fish. In addition, you need to know creative ways of stalking these fishes and baiting them.

Anglers are having fun while at it.

Sight-casting Skills

When it comes to fishing in the surf, there is the popular notion that casting far yields more catches. However, you can get as much without so much effort. Fishes usually visit the shallow waters in search of sand crabs. 

These fishes even visit the sand beside the water to grab crabs. If you watch the shallows, you can catch spot-fin croakers, guitar fishes, and corbina. 

Stalking and Bait Placement

It would help if you stalked the fishes to understand their movement pattern when visiting the shallows. When they get close to the surface, you will cast your bait.

The right way is to cast the bait father from them when you have envisioned where they will move in the next 10 seconds. 

The fishes will sense your presence if your weight impacts the watered sand, so be careful of your movement.

Also, they can sense the change in the water surface if your bait is too close to them. You can aptly catch a lot of fish if you time them well. It calls for precision and watchfulness.

Best Time

One aspect of fishing is timing. The time you go out will determine how many catches you can make. Dawn and dusk are great times to fish.

Fishes are more likely to be harsh and bite in the morning than at noon. The summer months are also great for fishing in terms of the year. 

You can catch just about any fish with the right timing

Best Tides

Tides are either low or high, and both are great for fishing. Depending on what you have noticed over time and what is convenient for you, you can fish at any tide. However, take note of those areas that are easily accessible before tide than after tide. 

Also, it may be easier and more productive to catch some fish at certain tides. For instance, minimal tides recording almost negligible differentials are better for catching fish like leopard sharks.


San Diego is one of the best places to fish. However, you can only record much productivity and success if you know the spots to go to. While there are many fishing spots in San Diego, you can only get many catches if you visit spots where fishes are in abundance. 

Spots like the Coronado Ferry Landing Pier and Imperial Beach Pier, among others, are great for catching a variety of species. Also, some structures like rip currents, troughs, and deep pockets aid fishing. 

To get the best results from fishing, you need to combine some practical tactics with knowing the right spot. As such, apt sight-casting skills and effectively stalking and placing your bait will yield more catch. It also helps to know the best time and time to go fishing.

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
× How can we improve it?
× Thanks for your feedback!

We're always looking to improve our articles to help you become an even better fisherman.

While you're here, why not follow us on Facebook and YouTube? Facebook YouTube