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San Clemente, CA: Fish Along the Spanish Village by the Sea

San Clemente, CA: Fish Along the Spanish Village by the Sea
Published: Monday, December 27th, 2021
Updated on: Tuesday, December 28th, 2021

In Orange County, California, a coastal city is known for its pleasant climate and Spanish colonial-style architecture- San Clemente. The city is located midway between Los Angeles and San Diego. The southernmost town in Orange County, where San Clemente is situated, is known for its majestic display of nature. 

The stunning city of San Clemente was once inhabited by the Acjachemen people until Father Junipero Serra founded the San Capistrano mission in 1776. After establishing the task, the Acjachemen people, dubbed as Juaneños in Spanish and the Spanish settlers, selected villages near the mission. The property rights to the land had been passed on many times until it was 1925 when Ole Hanson, former Mayor of Seattle, purchased and designed a 2000 acre community with the financial help of Hamilton Cotton.  

Today, San Clemente is the Spanish Village by the Sea, which features shops and restaurants adorned with red tile roofs, cream stucco walls, and dark wood windows and doors. Aside from this, it is also famous for its majestic nature and stunning ocean, mountain, and hill views that both locals and tourists keep on coming back for. The city of San Clemente stayed true to Hanson's vision of being a haven to Californians who are tired of the "big busy city."

San Clemente Fishing

Angling in San Clemente brings families and friends together, as it serves as a great bonding activity that is both fun and challenging. However, if you are a new angler or a first-time visiting angler in the area, the town might overwhelm you with multiple angling spots and opportunities. So, here is a list of places that might help you experience the best of San Clemente Angling. 

boats parked beside the dock with buildings surrounding the lake

The San Clemente Pier is one of the most precious gems in the city. It is not only the town's icon, but it is one of the best spots to go to in the whole of Orange County. The San Clemente Pier has a span of 1200 ft. It was first built in 1928 and was rebuilt twice after due to the damages brought about by heavy storms. The pier was meant to become a wooden municipal fishing and recreational port where people of San Clemente could hang out and have fun at no cost. Today, San Clemente Pier still serves the purpose it was built for. Now spanning about 1,269 feet in length, the pier serves as a hotspot for surfing, watching sunsets, relaxation, and most importantly, a hot spot for fishing. 

San Clemente Pier accommodates anglers because of the availability of bait stores in the area. Likewise, it has sinks that allow anglers to clean their catch of spotfin croakers, yellowfin croaker, great white sharks, black sea bass, bonitabat ray, sheepshead, jacksmelt, Pacific mackerel, queenfish, and stingrays. The pier allows anglers to fish for free as long as they adhere to the size and catch limits. That is why it attracts anglers, novices, or experts, who are looking for an excuse to spend their free time at the beach, or for a fun and relaxing way to kill their time. In addition, pier fishing does not require anglers to acquire a fishing license. If you are looking to explore fishing in public piers, here are some things you need to know: First, overhead fishing is not allowed. Likewise, anglers are advised to let lead weights dangle beneath the pier and swing tackle out as far as the sinker will carry. Experienced anglers also suggest bringing an ice chest with beverages, especially on a hot summer day. The ice chest will also serve as a container to stock their catch to avoid spoilage. 

At the far end of the pier, anglers may yield some mackerel, jack mackerel, bonito, barracuda, and a few yellowtail croaker. Likewise, if you cast your bait far enough to reach the piling areas, you might be able to land on some sheephead, especially if you are angling in the Winter months. 

The following angling destination is a hotspot for surf fishing- the San Clemente City Beach.

At the bottom of Avenida del Mar is a fine beach known as the San Clemente City Beach, where surf-fishing enthusiasts enjoy landing on some bass, croaker, corbina, and barred perch. During times and days with higher tides, grunion comes ashore to lay their eggs in the sand. This is a good opportunity for anglers to catch them by hand. To do so, one must have a valid California fishing license.

While surf fishing is worth your visit, San Clemente also offers excellent and productive inshore fishing opportunities. There are quite some fish species they could land on, like corbina, spotfin croaker, yellowfin croaker, a few sargo, barred surfperch, guitarfish, various rays, and small sharks. 

Finally, suppose you want a more private fishing experience. Charters can help you navigate San Clemente's vast oceans and take you on fishing trips for yellowtail croaker, dorado, yellowfin tuna, blue fin, albacore, barracuda, bonita, halibut, rockfish, and Calico Bass.


Top 10 Fish Species in San Clemente, CA

The top 10 fish species in San Clemente are doradoyellowfin tunablue finalbacorebarracudabonitahalibutsargobarred surfperchguitarfish, and   Calico Bass.

San Clemente, CA: Fish Along the Spanish Village by the Sea Fish species
Barred Surfperch
Barred Surfperch fish

Habitat: Onshore, Nearshore

Weight: 1 - 1 Pounds

Length: 4" - 17"

Spotfin Croaker
Spotfin Croaker fish

Habitat: Harbors, Bays, Sandy to Muddy Bottoms

Weight: 6 - 10 Pounds

Length: 14" - 22"

Albacore Tuna
Albacore Tuna fish

Habitat: Offshore

Weight: 20 - 45 Pounds

Length: 18" - 25"

Barracuda fish

Habitat: Nearshore, Offshore, Reef, Wreck

Weight: 5 - 15 Pounds

Length: 24" - 39"

Fishing Seasonality

Fishing in San Clemente, California, is possible and bountiful year-round. With different fishing hotspots and opportunities, anglers are sure to visit San Clemente with productive catches anywhere in town. However, if you are looking for the best angling opportunity San Clemente has to offer, nothing beats its Spring fishing. Halibut starts to appear in waters near the pier from May until June. 

Primary fishing time in the city would be from 5:32 am to 7:32 am and 5:46 pm-7:46 pm. There are times when fish activity is at its peak because of the temperature and the sun's visibility. To make your experience more memorable, checking the tides before casting your gears is recommended. Fishing during stronger tides is often more favorable as it brings