Catalina Island Fishing

Catalina Island is said to be the birthplace of modern sportfishing. The deep channel, abundant reefs, and position 22 miles off the coast make it the perfect place to catch migrating fish, or any of the resident species. Catalina Island fishing is a year round activity, and people from all over Southern California and beyond come to drop a line in the water.

Fishing in the nearshore waters is perfect for anglers of all ages and skill levels. In fact, many people fish directly off the famous Green Pleasure Pier for fiesty resident Calico Bass. Just a little bit further off shore (accessible my small boat or kayak) you will find Halibut, Barracuda, Mackerel, Sand Bass. If you choose to explore any of the coves, bays, and reefs along the shoreline, you can easily find Yellowtail and White Sea Bass, that come near shore to follow the Mackerel, Smelt, and Sardines.

*A fishing license is not required if you fish from the pier or or the ocean side of the boat landing.

Catalina Island Fishing Licenses

A California state fishing license is all that is needed to fish legally and have a great time. These licenses are easily available on the island upon arrival. A one-day sport fishing license costs $14.04, two-day is $21.86, or you can pay $43.46 for the whole year. Prices are more for non-residents of California, so be sure to check up on prices while planning your fishing trip to Catalina. Visit the Califonia State Department of Fish and Game website for more info.

In Avalon, licenses are available at High Tide Traders located at 415 Crescent Ave., near the Green Pleasure Pier – call (310) 510 1612. In Two Harbors, licenses are available at the General Store – Call (310) 510 4217.

Bait and Tackle Shops on Catalina Island

Live Bait Barge

Live Bait Barge is located at Abalone point near Avalon, offering sardines and anchovies during the summer months. Open from dawn until about 3pm.

Avalon Seafood

Located at the end of the Green Pleasure Pier, offering live bait to anglers.

Joe’s Rent-a-Boat

Located halfway on the famous Green Pleasure Pier, offering dry and live bait to anglers. You can also rent a rod and tackle here, get a few fishing tips, and even rent a small motorboat to get you out into deeper water.

High Tide Traders

No bait. No rentals. Get your fishing licenses here and shop for tackle. Located at 415 Crescent Ave. near the Green Pleasure Pier. Call (310) 510 1612.

Two Harbors General Store

The Two Harbors General Store can sell you a saltwater fishing license, as well as get you equipped with fishing gear, tackle, marine supplies, food, and camping gear. You can also pre-order food and provisions to be ready upon your arrival to the island. Open year-round, call (310) 510 4217.

Catalina Island Sportfishing

Heralded as the home of big game fishing, Catalina plays host to several tournaments throughout the year, including the Gold Cup Marlin Tournament, Zane Grey Riviera Invitational Marlin Tournament, Avalon Billfish Classic, Catalina Classic Marlin Tournament. Each of these tournaments have been a Catalina tradition for decades.

Zane Grey Invitational Marlin Tournament
Sept. 11th-13th, 2011

This is a triped marlin fishing tournament. 45 teams compete for cash prizes totaling over $350,000. The event takes place over four days. Contact Ali Hussainy at, or call (858) 560 5525.

Avalon Billfish Classic
Sept. 18th-20th, 2011

This is a 100% catch and release marlin tournament – circle hooks only. Contact Ali Hussainy at, or call (858) 560 5525.

Catalina Classic Marlin Tournament
Sept. 18th-20th, 2011 (not a mistake – same dates!)

Considered to be Southern California’s largest billfish tournament. 100 teams compete for cash prizes totaling over $350,000. Contact Ali Hussainy at, or call (858) 560 5525.

The Catalina Church Mouse Marlin Invitational
Aug. 29th-30th, 2011

The Catalina Church Mouse Marlin Invitational is a non-profit marlin fishing tournament which benefits the youth of Catalina Island. Over the last 20 years, proceeds have exceeded $825,000. Captain’s meeting is Sunday, August 28th, 2011, fishing on the 29th and 30th. For more information call (310) 467-2371 or visit

The Yearly Catalina Tin Cup Fishing Tournament
Sept. 14, 2011

The Catalina Tin Cup Fishing Tournament is another benefit tournament with proceeds going to the youth of Catalina. Contact (310) 510-1471 for more information.

Gold Cup Marlin Tournament

Gold Cup Marlin Tournament, hosted by the Tuna Club, has always been the main event for sport fishermen visiting Catalina Island. The largest Marlin was taken in 1995, weighing 234.5 lbs.

Catalina Island Fishing Charters

It’s possible to book fishing charters to Catalina Island departing from Dana Point, Newport Landing, and several other towns along the California coast, you can also arrange to be picked up from the island. Or, you can organize your fishing charter with one of the boat captains right on the island. Avalon and Two Harbors both have fishing charter boats for hire.