Advice for a December visit to San Diego?

Hi all,

I'll be in SD attending a conference spanning the second weekend of December, and staying by the convention center. I know Embarcadero Marina South has a pier, and of course would love to hear what species are there, but curious in general what opportunities are available (and angling expectations should be) for pier/shore fishing within a 30 min Uber/Lyft, and for the early December time of year.

I have a 4 section spinning travel rod 7'6" MH fast action I could fit into a carryon, would this be a good general purpose rod? I also have an option to pack something in a checked bag, but I think I should keep my expectations a bit more realistic! Also any recommendations on bait/rigs appropriate for the location(s) would be appreciated.

Thank you all so much in advance for your expert advice!


Well-Known Member
Do you have a CA fishing license or do you need to stick by public fishing piers? You looking to CPR or take something home? If you are staying near the convention center you have a variety of opportunities all over around San Diego bay.
Yes I do have a fishing license. If there is a possibility to take something home, I'd definitely be interested, but that is not my primary aim (plus I would have to think about shipping logistics). If there's a tasty pan-sized catch, I'm not against grilling it whole outdoors while there (no kitchen in the hotel room). I've definitely been reading the articles, but wanted to see if there is any additional info, whether it be super specific to my visit dates, or any non-pier locations. Of course not straight up asking for anyone to reveal their honey holes, but perhaps just a nudge in the right direction and/or general strategies to improve success for someone who is completely unfamiliar with the area.


Well-Known Member
Shelter Island pier is very close to you, just fish there, drop shot zoom fluke for Halibut and Bass, simple 2 foot leader and 1/2 sinker tipped with squid for Mackerel and other things. For live bait fishing buy a few Hayabusa S-002AE size 3 Sabiki to catch jack smelt, use the same 2 foot leader with number 1 live bait hook, with 2 ounce pyramid sinker and hook up a 2 or 3 inch jacksmelt or live bait, you can catch big bat ray or shovel nose guitar fish and or Halibut on that, good luck!!!!
Sounds really cool, thank you so much! Having read through Ken's writeup on the website, but otherwise not finding a lot of information about this, is Sharkey's Bait and Tackle open on the pier?


Well-Known Member
Sounds really cool, thank you so much! Having read through Ken's writeup on the website, but otherwise not finding a lot of information about this, is Sharkey's Bait and Tackle open on the pier?
Angler's Choice on 1910 Rosecrans is very close there, you will love it, they have everything!!!
I travel and fish all over the country. Fishing is fishing no matter where you are. If you know the basics of fishing and different rigs, there is nothing else special you need to know. As a matter a fact I usually find doing something different from what the locals do puts me on more fish. They don't sell gulp sandworms at the shops in Florida for some reason and I make a killing out there with it for example. The two philosophies of "match the hatch" and "show them something different" work. Sometimes I'll go through 5 baits/lures before I find what they like at the moment.
The best way to catch our spotted bay bass, calico/kelp bass or sandbass is to slow roll a plastic grub on a jig head close to the bottom. That's where they hang out. A more sensitive rod with up to 10-12 lb test is better so you can feel the bottom and little nibbles. You can use the heavier rod to bait and wait or cast heavier lures. Current will affect how well you can reach and maintain contact with the bottom. Be prepared to make adjustments on the fly.
When all else fails...small sabikis will get you a smelt or lizardfish at least. Chumming with some cheap white bread will up those chances a lot.
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