Sand Bass Fishing Spots in Southern California

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When bass fishing, southern California (SoCal) has many of the great barred sand bass fishing spots. At certain times of the year when bass spawn, sand bass usually aggregates in specific SoCal waters.

If you have been fishing these waters, you probably already know where to find the school of sand Bass usually. But if you haven’t, here are a few spots in SoCal where you can bag your sand bass limit. 

Best Southern California Spots for Barred Sand Bass

San Diego Bay

sand bass fishing spots san diego
Port of San Diego Bay. Source: Port of San Diego

For frequent Cali anglers, San Diego Bay can be a great spot to catch sand bass. They usually take different approaches to fish the water as the bay is a big, busy, and crowded area.

The bay has the usual commercial traffic with boat ships and military vessels. So if you plan to fish on weekends or during warm spells, expect a significant amount of traffic. At this time, “Price Clubbers” are out in force along with the usual commercial traffic in the bay.

The best time to land a great catch in this bay is on a cold, gloomy weekday for the local regular anglers. While you will still have to contend with the usual commercial and military traffic, there will be fewer “Price Clubbers” out.

Every angler knows that fishing along the shore, rocks, and docks will land you some good fish. Fishing on a boat may be just as good as well. But the actual secret is down deep in the water where your bigger catch is waiting in the clam beds below.

These larger quality fish that swim in the bay are rare but not uncommon. Anglers put in time and effort to land one or, if you’re lucky, two of this species. 

San Onofre

sand bass fishing spots san o
Fishing in San O. Source: AJ Feducia

The clam beds of San Onofre are one of the great places where you can catch clouds of sand bass. Sand bass fishing is one of the many in-season activities you can do in San Onofre.

Its water is a popular spawning aggregation site for sand bass. Anglers love to fish at either the extreme north or south ends of the beach, as local surfers are also in the area.

There was even one ten-inch albino sand bass caught near the San Onofre area, just one mile offshore from the power plant. This recorded albino bass is currently in the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History.

Additionally, it is a hot spot for great whites, particularly juveniles. So make sure to take precautionary measures for a safe fishing experience. 

Huntington Beach

sand bass fishing spots huntington
The famous pier of Huntington Beach. Source: Waqas Ahmed

Because Huntington Beach is a public beach pier, a fishing license is not required. We still recommend bringing your license when you go fishing anywhere.

Local visitors love to stroll the Huntington. But you can also bring out your lawn chairs, buckets and rods, and reels and go fish for some game fish, including barred sand bass. Catch-and-release fishing is popular on this beach as Huntington beach anglers fish for sport and enjoyment.

Spawning Season

Sand bass usually leaves their usual rock and rubble haunts for flat, sandy bottoms during the spawning season. In April or May, sand bass hovers over different SoCal fishing sites to spawn.

Anglers usually feast on this fish in July as this is the peak month of spawning. Boat and shore anglers go out on the SoCal water in hopes of bagging this game fish.

California Fishing Regulations

California banned the commercial fishing of sand bass to avoid the further decline of their numbers. The government provided guidelines to regulate the fishing of this game fish.

Fishing for barred sand bass, along with calico bass and spotted sand bass, is open throughout the year. But the California government issued restrictions to control the recreational fishing of this game fish.

Anglers are only allowed to fish a total of 5 species in any combination, including barred sand bass. Plus, your catch must only be fourteen inches in total length or ten inches in alternate length. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best bait for sand bass?

For most SoCal game fish, the best and most effective bait is the live squid, but several other options can be baits as well. Small and other fish species like anchovies, Spanish mackerel, and “brown baits” can effectively bag you your sand bass catch. Some anglers and boat fishers also keep one or two artificial lures to use for sand bass fishing. 

What do sand bass look like?

The barred sand bass is a slender fish with a pointy head. Its color usually ranges from dark grey to greenish, with faint bars on the side. Keep in mind that the smaller sand bass typically has brighter colors compared to that of the more massive bass’ faded ones. It has a white belly and a freckled snout.
Knowing some sand bass facts may be essential in your fishing guide, so you’ll know what the fish looks like and where their usual spot is. 

Diana Nadim
Fishing Expert
Diana began fishing at the age of seven, as it has been a long-time family tradition. From catching small bullheads to catching strippers on the backwaters of Bighorn, she loves to get out in the wild and have a marvelous day on the water. Her dad was an expert angler, and he taught her fishing along with her two siblings. They used to go to the Bighorn River in Montana and Henry’s fork, Idaho. As a pragmatic person, she is obsessed with creating well-researched and practical guides and reviews of the best fishing methods and gear.
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