Dana Point Fishing: What types of fish are you targeting?

Debbie Hanson

Photo credit: Joe Sarmiento

Wondering what you might catch on a Dana Point fishing trip? If you are planning on visiting this Orange County, CA destination, there are a few different ways you may catch up.

If you are unsure where to fish near Dana Point then there is nothing to worry about. Dana Point is a great fishing spot for the whole family. Rent a kayak, launch a boat, fish from the pier, or go on one of the deep sea fishing trips from the harbor.

Dana Point sport fishing tips

What’s one of the reasons Dana Point fishing trips are so popular? Many fishing experiences in Dana Point Harbor include a visit to the nearby kelp beds. These kelp beds are home to an abundance of marine life, including bait fish like sardines and mackerel.

These are just a few of the species of fish you can catch on a Dana Point sport fishing trip, along with tips on when to find them and what to use.

Which fish species should be targeted?

White sea bass

If you want to catch a white sea bass on a Dana Point sport fishing boat, plan a spring or summer excursion. White sea bass can be caught along the coast both in shallow water and near offshore islands. Live squid is one of the best natural baits for this species, especially in the early spring months. When summer comes you can also try using small mackerel as bait.

Sand bass

Sandbass can be an ideal fish to get kids fishing when visiting Southern California. This species weighs an average of one to three pounds and can be found in large numbers during certain times of the year. One of the best times to catch sand bass is in the summer when they are concentrated in large schools at depths of around 60 to 100 feet. Anchovies and sardines are the best natural baits

Calico bass

The calico bass is a non-migratory species that is most common near the kelp beds. The maximum feeding activity generally occurs in the spring and summer months when calicos feed on floating bait, jigs or anchovies. One important thing to remember about the calico bass is that it is a slow growing species. This means that they are prone to overfishing. Conservation anglers often prefer to catch and release with females and larger fish.


The Yellowtail Jack, also known as the California Yellowtail, is one of the most sought-after pelagic fish in Southern California due to its strong descents and the excellent quality of the dishes on the table. While they are an open water fish, they are found near islands, kelp beds, and reefs in the early spring through the summer months. They can be caught on heavy metal devices or on natural baits like sardines.

Now that you know more about some of the species that can be caught on a Dana Point fishing trip, buy your California fishing license and plan a family outing.

Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, advocate of sport fishing for women, IGFA world record holder and freshwater guide in southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has been featured in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @ shefishes2.