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Manhattan Beach, CA Fishing: A Classic California Beach Town

Manhattan Beach, CA Fishing: A Classic California Beach Town
Published: Tuesday, November 30th, 2021
Updated on: Monday, December 6th, 2021

Located conveniently close to LAX, Manhattan Beach is a California city in southwestern Los Angeles County. Within Los Angeles’ South Bay region, it is one of the three Beach Cities along with Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach. The city’s east overlooks the Pacific Ocean, making it the perfect coastal enclave. In the 1800s, the area that includes Manhattan Beach was divided and sold off to developers by the Spanish Government. The city got its name when developers flipped a coin to decide what it was going to be called and the one who won decided to call it Manhattan because his area was named that.

Compared to other beach cities in Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach draws people in because it offers a more laid-back vibe. With miles of ocean frontage and hundreds of acres of beautiful sandy beach, the sand and surf in the city are the real deal. The southwestern California city is notable for offering fun activities such as beach volleyball and surfing as well as swimming, being home to renowned sporting events and tournaments. Along the beach, one will find The Strand, which is a popular and scenic area for cyclists, runners, and people who just want to stroll along. The bustling center of the downtown area is loaded with high-end boutiques, hotels, bars, retailers, and several popular casual and fine-dining restaurants. Manhattan Beach’s opportune spot beside the sea makes it a worthy destination for anglers looking for their next fishing adventure. 

Manhattan Beach Fishing

Possessing a scenic seaside location, Manhattan Beach offers great fishing action whether it be by the shore or out to sea. The laid-back vibe the city embodies is balanced out with the numerous thrilling experiences people can get when they visit the classic California beach town.

The biggest draw of Manhattan Beach is of course, the beach. Manhattan Beach looks out over two miles of ocean, making it a great place for deep sea fishing. The beach’s waters hosts species like California halibut, Pacific jack mackerel, yellowfin croaker, walleye surfperch, topsmelt, shiner perch, jacksmelt, queenfish, salema, silver surfperch, leopard shark, Pacific sardine, California corbina, bat ray, gray smooth hound, sharpnose seaperch, spotted sand bass, barred sand bass, and kelp bass. Anglers who want to cast a line from the sandy beach area and do some surf casting can hook species like barred surfperch, a variety of croaker, corbina, small rays and guitarfish (shovelnose shark). Pilings around the beach means one can find fish like pike perch, walleye, silver surfperch, sargo and more. To get a bite from those species, fish with mussels, bloodworms or small strips of anchovy.

Around the middle of the main beach area, anglers can fish from Manhattan Beach Pier which sees most, if not all of the fishing action onshore. The pier, that is over 900 feet long, is situated at the end of Manhattan Beach Boulevard houses a Mediterranean-style building at its end as well as the Roundhouse Aquarium which was the location of the surf shop seen in the film Point Break starring Keanu Reeves. At about the middle area of the pier, one can catch species like cod (white croaker), herring, jacksmelt, yellowfin croaker and the occasional halibut. At the end of the pier, there is an artificial reef that has improved fishing conditions. There, anglers have the chance to hook Pacific bonito, Pacific jack mackerel, barracuda, sometimes white sea bass or even yellowtail, as well as reef frequenters like kelp bass, sand bass and sculpin (scorpionfish). The reef may also see giant black sea bass though infrequently. Baitcasting and bottom fishing are the most common ways to be able to hook fish from the pier. Live bait is unavailable at the pier so anglers should be prepared and bring their own. Crabs, bloodworms, mussels, clams, or shrimp are the best to use when bottom fishing. Anglers targeting halibut would be better off using a lively brown bait like tomcod, small sardines, baby mackerel and smelt. Halibut might also bite whole or cut up anchovy if live bait is not working. Live anchovies are great for luring in white croaker and queenfish at mid-depth while fresh mussels and clams can get a bite from yellowfin croaker. In deeper waters, anchovies are also great if an angler is looking to hook bass. Mackerel can be caught without lures or baits if they’re in attack mode but if they’re not taking the hook, cut up mackerel is a good way to entice them. Though waters by the pier aren’t that deep, one still has the opportunity to reel in sharks and rays that swim around during the late evening. There have been reports that great whites and tiger sharks are sometimes spotted as local waters are great nursery grounds for the beasts, but now it is illegal to catch the former. The pier doesn’t allow overhead casting, chumming, fish cleaning or gutting at the pier and the use of multiple poles or fishing lines.

Every year during May, Manhattan Beach hosts its own Annual Fishing Derby that is mainly targeted for children. The event is held at Polliwog Park Pond which is stocked with catfish, bluegill and largemouth bass. All fishing is catch and release and winners are determined by the most, longest and most interesting fish caught within the day.


Top 10 Fish Species in Manhattan Beach, CA

The top 10 fish species found in Manhattan Beach, California are: California halibut, Pacific jack mackerel, yellowfin croaker, walleye surfperch, shiner perch, queenfish, California corbina, barred surfperch, white sea bass and kelp bass.

Manhattan Beach, CA Fishing: A Classic California Beach Town Fish species
Wahoo  fish

Habitat: Nearshore, Offshore, Reef

Weight: 15 - 35 Pounds

Length: 8" - 100"

Shiner Perch
Shiner Perch fish