Newport beach spearfishing

Newport beach spearfishing DEFAULT

California has a beautiful coastline that stretches roughly 840 miles long. With such a long beautiful coastline where are the best places to spearfish in California?Simply put there are many, but we have put together this list of the ones we feel you will enjoy and will prosper when spearfishing.Read on to find out our list of the best places to go spearfishing in California.

If you are interested in taking a look at the best spearfishing equipment click here.

Northern California

For line anglers and spear fishermen in Northern California, Lingcod is one of the primary fish targets. They are also known as Ophiodon elangatus (scientific name). These species of fish are one of the biggest fish in Northern California with great eating qualities. Sometimes the most difficult endeavor in spearfishing the Ling Cod is locating their reproductive ground. In this article, we are going to discuss the most ideal places in the Golden State to spearfish.

Big Sur

Big Sur is another location along the Northern California coastline that has fish with a suitable size for spearfishing. This part of the state is known for the presence of thick kelp that rapidly grows through the summer. On the upside, the summer has calmer ocean conditions that allow better visibility for divers a few feet from the surface. This part of the coast is pure beauty. If you are willing to do a little hiking there are many places that have been hardly touched. Use a great deal of caution when diving and spearfishing in the Big Sur area the water can be extremely rough. Big Sur is not for the novice spearo. Always be safe and find a safe calm spot. Never rush a dive. Go and find a different spot.

Glass Beach

Glass Beach, Located in Fort Bragg, gets its name from the glass-like sand on its shores. This is because it once served as the town’s glass bottling pot and dump site. Diving in the fishing grounds is very easy as it is merely a few steps from the shore. The grounds are popular with spearfishers and abalone hunters. Moreover, there is also a great destination for divers and exploration.

Caspar Bay

Caspar Bay is a premier site where the local population suggests that the south side of the bay is a great spearfishing destination. Sea urchins and kelp encourage different types of pelagic fish to invade the grounds. This makes it one of the most productive fish and hunting grounds in Northern California. It features sandy bottoms and sand dollars that encourage kayakers and divers to consider it as a recreation zone.

Stewart’s Point

Stewart’s Point. What can I say…this is one of my favorite places to scuba dive and to spearfish. I speared my first decent size lingcod off this point in about 30 feet of water. It was actually the end of dive and my buddy and I were on our way in. The visibility was great that day and the ling was just kicking back on a rock out in the open. I took a double take and moved in for the shot. I’m trying to find an old picture of my buddy and me after the dive holding the fish up with some kids that were fascinated by this prehistoric looking fish. Just to the south is Carmel River Beach and to the north is Butterfly House. All around this area is great diving and spearfishing.

Gerstle Cove

Gerstle Cove is part of the stretch for shore diving. It is a great dive site being the home to the Gerstle Cove Marine Reserve. This area has great restrictions to fishing that makes it unpopular among spear fishermen.

South of Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

First, you can’t spearfishing in the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve (great for just diving) but just south of this location and all along the coast to Big Sur is some absolutely fantastic spearfishing (check your area for spearfishing regulations). Just take a drive along the coast and take your pick. In most cases, you are in for a bit of a hike, but you won’t see another person in many spots.

This is some beautiful country, but I would strongly suggest this area is for advanced spearos only. The conditions can get extremely rough and the kelp is abundant in the summer. Always bring a dive knife so you can cut yourself out if needed and practice your kelp crawling…you will use that technique here.

I will say it again this area and much of the Carmel area is for advanced spearos. I had a close one in this area many years ago and it was in conditions I never should have been in. The fortunate part I was with about five of my best buddies. We did make the local nightly news. I will leave it at that. Always use caution and your best judgment. There’s always another great day to spearfish. Be safe at all times!

Southern California

It is hard to find many more places with the adequacy of Bass and Bluefin Tuna that is available in Southern California. The Southern California fishing charters can be found all along the coast from the border, all the way up to Santa Barbara. The Los Angeles area, San Diego and Dana Point are host to a horde of the largest and most widely recognized charter fleets in the United States. Many of them also share fishing and breeding grounds.

It is difficult to say that you will be party to some of the best angling in Southern California with the diversity of opportunities. In fact, you might find it rather difficult to find a starting point with the variety of lakes, rivers, reefs, islands and an endless deep sea. The locations described below might make your selection easier and give you an idea of what it is like to fish in Southern California.

Hunting Sea Bass in southern California is interesting. However, it is also coupled with the challenge of finding spearfishing locations. The White Sea Bass is the main fish target in San Diego and is also famous for their resistance to the bait. This gives the fisher a great sensation after catching it in the blue waters. The month of June and early July are the best months to go spearfishing in San Diego. The two months have tides that are calmer than the rest of the year and bigger schools of fish, making baiting much easier.

Catalina Island

Catalina Island, a boat ride from San Pedro Harbor is an ideal location to go spearfishing in southern California. Yellowtail is the common fish here in a spot that is two miles off the shore. They are found between 70 and 80 feet deep and are very wary of intruders. These make spearfishing these fish quite an uphill task. However, with the right instruments and a skilled diver, it is always a thrill to catch the Yellowtail that often get tangled in the kelp.

The fisherman has to be very patient with little flapping to avoid scaring them off as they are swift and hard to spear when they are on the move.

Santa Monica Bay

Santa Monica Bay is also a major go-to-fishing location with more than 30 different types of game fish. The species found here include the Calico Bass, Barracuda, Halibut and some Rockfish. However, the larger types of fish like Barracuda and Yellowtail frequent the bay in summer. Given its easy accessibility, the bay is a great location for spear fishermen. In addition, the south end of the bay on Palos Verde Peninsula is popular with fish like Yellowtail, the White Sea Bass and many more.

Horseshoe Kelp

Horseshoe Kelp on the shores of Southern California also boasts of Yellowtail, White Seabass and many more species. Boats running from Long Beach and the Newport Beach have easy access to these fishing hotspots. The grounds offer every kind of fish from Yellowtail to Seabass and Rockfish. In early fall and summer, the big game fish swim to these grounds. These fish include Tuna and the Mahi Mahi fish.

Huntington Flats

Huntington Flats is another hot spot for the Southern California fishing charters. There is a wide variety in the bottom structure in these fishing grounds that give them the wide popularity. The sandy sea floor, flat shale, underwater shelves, oil drilling platforms, artificial reefs, shipwrecks, kelp beds and sunken airplane attract all shapes and sizes of fish to these fishing grounds. A variety of the most popular fish around these grounds include the Seabass, Halibut, Barracuda, Rockfish, and Yellowtail.

Point Loma and La Jolla

Another hot spot for spearfishing in southern California is the Point Loma and La Jolla. These fish grounds are right from the dock of San Diego. There are miles of Kelp forests extending between them that draw hordes of game fish right to the doorstep of San Diego. Types of fish that can be found here include the Halibut, Calico Bass, Barracuda, Rockfish, and Yellowfin Tuna.

Catalina and San Clemente

Catalina and San Clemente Islands sum up deep sea fishing for California. It stands 20 miles offshore and is party to full day charters by a lot of towns from Los Angeles to San Diego. From April to November, the deep seas fill with Barracuda, Mahi Mahi, Sharks, Yellow Fin Tuna, Yellowtail, and Marlin attracting anglers from all over the country. Overnight trips to deeper waters that are beyond sixty miles provide anglers with the unique opportunity to catch Albacore Tuna. This happens towards the end of summer.

The Pipe

The Pipe is a fishing spot off the coast of Dana Point. It is an excellent spearfishing spot with the diversity of game fish that is found in its fishing grounds. It is located just a few miles beyond the harbor. The underwater spill pipe has slowly grown into an artificial reef that hosts a horde of game fish including Calico Bass, Rockfish, Sand Bass and more. The Pipe, just like Horseshoe, Kelp and the Huntington Flats is synonymous with inshore fishing and has a good reputation up north.

Rules and Regulations for Spearfishing in California

California arguably has the highest regulated fishing grounds in the world today. It is important to keep up with the ever-changing regulations as a spear fisherman in the Golden State. Section 18 of the California Fish and Game Code sets limits on the size of bags and the maximum limit in amount and number of fish, mammals, reptiles, birds or amphibians that may be taken by one person lawfully in a specified period of time.

The limits on the possession and bag size are frequently changed so you must keep up with the changes in regulations, especially for fish. It is important to pay attention to the changes in either bag limit or possession limit to make sure that you do not take more than the authorized limit. For example, a spear fisherman is allowed to catch no more than three White Sea Bass in a day. Section 19 defines the possession limit that refers to the maximum number of fish that one is allowed to possess lawfully. The fine fishing with no license comprises base fine, court fees, county and state penalty assessments that are generally $485. However, this amount could go higher.

The California code of regulations Title 14 in section 4, contains rules pertaining to the legality of bait. An example is that processed foods are legal in inland waters. The authorized fishing hours run from thirty minutes before sunrise to a half hour after sunset. Any shooting outside this time limit is illegal.

Top Gear Recommendations

Here are a few of my top recommendations, I found super useful when spearfishing:


Spearfishing is a popular activity in California with the great variety of fish available in their waters. It is important to know the types of fish available in the different fishing grounds along the coast of California. It is also critical to be wary of the types of fish that are regulated by the authorities. It is hard to choose between the numerous fishing destinations in the state of California as they are all unique and have large numbers of game fish. I hope this article will be of use to you the next time you want to take a trip to one of these destinations.

It is also important to know that spear fishermen are responsible for the identification of fish targets before they can spear them. They are also held accountable for shooting prohibited species like the black giant sea bass. They are also responsible for the size of fish they shoot as there are regulations to the minimum size that has been authorized for hunting.


Divers who enjoy hunting their own seafood from South Orange County waters should consider a trip to Corona Del Mar State Beach. While this beach is part of the Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area, spearfishing of finfish as well as hand grabbing lobster and urchin hunting is allowed. And it is also an appealing dive for sightseeing or practicing underwater photography.

Spearfishers will find hunting the barred sand bass — relatives of the coveted calico, or “kelp” bass — the most rewarding. Some are quite large and there seems to be no shortage. Keep an eye out when crossing the nearby sand flats, too, as you may find the occasional halibut.

Lobster hunters will find legal-sized bugs in moderate supply. Remember to follow all fish and game regulations including the proper season, this year beginning September 28 and running through March 19, 2014. Night diving is an option but keep in mind the park closes at 10:00 p.m.

The last time I visited here my main goal was sightseeing and photography and there was no shortage of material. My favorite was the large bright yellow lemon nudibranchs on the rocks. We spotted several lemons along with the many vibrant orange and purple-blue Spanish shawl nudibranchs. Other shell-less molluscs (slugs) here are the nudibranch-eating navanax and the passive, vegetarian sea hare. 


Like most of South Orange County reefs, colorful orange garibaldis are very common. Schooling fish here include opaleye, jack mackerel, and blacksmith. Small sheephead patrol the reef and painted greenlings, island kelpfish and ghost gobies give you more material for challenging macro photography.

Attracting the marine life is the thick and healthy kelp forest and excellent reef structure, most of it to the southeast. As you face the ocean head to the farthest buoy to the left, out about 100 yards. These buoys mark the boundary for personal watercraft. Descend and head left and southeast toward the major section of the kelp forest. There are a number of low-lying reefs but if you continue down the coast and offshore you will come across a couple of major pinnacles, the largest of which rises from a 28-foot bottom to nearly eight feet from the surface. Big boulders, small caves, and deep crevices surround this pinnacle. This entire portion of the reef is probably the size of a small house with mini-walls and overhangs. Decorating the rock faces are sponges, anemones, stars, and small stands of gorgonian. Kelp is healthy here.

The farther you head southeast, the thicker the kelp, so venture into this area only if you and your buddy are trained and equipped for kelp diving. 

Save enough air on your dive to spend time in the shallows. Although you’ll likely encounter surge here, you may see rays and leopard sharks lounging on the sand, especially during the summer and early fall. Follow the reef ridges that run in toward shore along the southeast side of the beach. 

Access to the shoreline is easy. Located just to the southeast of the outside of the Newport Harbor breakwater, the beach is well protected from prevailing northwest weather. Waves are usually small. Surf entries are easy across a gently sloping sand bottom, but avoid this area when a southerly swell is running. 

Off Ocean Blvd. in Newport Beach, it is a short drive down Breakers Drive to a parking lot right on the beach (Actual address is 3001-3099 E. Shore Ave., Newport Beach). Facilities are excellent with restrooms and showers. Access to the park carries a hefty entrance fee of $15 per car. 

Inspiration Point overlook on Ocean Blvd. has limited free street parking and a paved path that leads to the beach at the point of water entry. It is long and steep but it’s free. Even if you choose to park on the beach you should come to this overlook first to check conditions from the bluff view. Bring binoculars. 

Corona Del Mar State Beach is a popular beach, especially on summer weekends. Arrive in the early a.m. to get the best parking spots. The beach opens at 6 a.m.

In spite of the entrance fee, this is one of my favorite dives off South Orange County. With the popularity of nearby Laguna Beach, this spot gets less diver pressure and here you can hunt seafood if desired. 


Location: Car access to beach at the intersection of Ocean Blvd. and Breakers Drive in Newport Beach. Check out conditions first at Inspiration Point at the intersection Ocean Blvd. and Narcissus Ave.

Access and entry: Easy walk across sand to sandy beach surf entry. Alternate access is from Inspiration Point overlooking site from the bluffs above.

Skill level: All.

Depths: Shallow to 30 feet.

Visibility: Averages 15 to 20 feet.

Snorkeling: Good on shallow reefs when calm.

Photography: Good for both macro and wide-angle.

Hunting: Fair to good for barred sand bass and occasional halibut on the sand. Lobster hunting is fair to good also. Taking of rock scallops is prohibited.

Facilities: Excellent with restrooms and showers.

Conditions: (949) 494-6573.

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MJsizzle's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2012

Location: Orange County, CA

Age: 26

Posts: 17

Re: Is it legal to spearfishing at newport beach jetty?

Corona del mar is legal, along the jetty just stay away from swimmers and lifeguards wont hassle you, newport i think is legal, but probably not that good, as a rule of thumb stay out of chanells as mentiopned above, the corona del mar spot is only on the beach side, don't dive the other that is a channel for boats.

also, if your going to corona, might as well try little corona, in my experience, way better than the corona del mar jetty. you want reef and kelp over jetty

goodluck spearing (Pm me if you ever want to go to little corona, i'm down to dive, i'm no pro but i know some things)
Newport Beach Diving Adventures / Inner Wedge Jetty !

LAGUNA BEACH – Arching his fins in slow, smooth strokes, Jeremy Caulkins glided down past a kelp forest that swayed back and forth with the tide, leaving behind the plum-sized jellyfish and golden trout that swam near the surface.

His hand grasped a wooden speargun – about three feet long. Glints of silver from a shiny plastic disc attached to his belt – a “flasher” for attracting fish – followed him deep into the ocean.

Caulkins, 30, hunted for under a minute, hugging a reef in the waters off Crystal Cove Beach, running only on the air in his lungs. Fish that were legal to shoot passed him, but he never fired. He swam back empty-handed, keeping to a spearfishing code of ethics: “We shoot what we eat, and we eat what we shoot.”

The entire experience, from the breathing patterns that slow his heart rate to the ocean drift that carries his body, is calming, Caulkins said.

“It’s like yoga,” said Caulkins, who lives in San Clemente and works at an engineering and construction company. “It feels like you’re flying.”

Spearfishing, an esoteric sport with a small but devoted following, is typically done while free-diving, or swimming to depths of 40 or 100 feet on one breath. Fatalities are common enough that most spearfishers know personally of someone who has died in action, usually from a blackout.

Caulkins’ club, OC Spearos, focuses on preventing such incidents. Started in 2010, the club educates its 70-plus members on the physiology behind free diving, safety and spearfishing techniques, in addition to holding group dives. Many of its members joined with little background in spearfishing.

For decades, the sport maintained a quiet presence in Orange County, but the club has fostered a more cohesive community of young spearfishers, said Jacob Master, manager of the Titan Spearguns store in Laguna Niguel.

OC Spearos began after Fernando Gutierrez, 28, saw a couple of guys emerge from the water at Laguna Beach with a string of fish and guns in their hands. Intrigued, Gutierrez searched for information, but most spearfishers were tight-lipped, wanting to keep their fishing spots secret.

With a few friends, Gutierrez founded his own club.

“(OC Spearos) definitely filled a gap and a need,” said Jaeson Plon, 28, a member of the club.


On a bright Saturday morning, three guys from the club took a boat out from Newport Beach. They dropped anchor at a peaceful stretch, where small silver fish were visible through the water.

A collection of spearguns, which look like a cross between a rifle and a fishing pole, rested in a corner of the boat. All the guns were powered by thick, black rubber bands that spring back, releasing a thin spear, when the trigger is pulled. Recoil is strong.

“These guns can knock your teeth out,” said Gutierrez, a law enforcement officer who lives in Santa Ana.

Within 20 minutes of entering the water, Chan Bulgin, 43, caught a calico bass.

Bulgin said he chose to hunt a smaller fish rather than a larger one.

“I don’t want to take the best out of the breeding pool,” he said.

Spearfishers pride themselves on their selectivity. At the end of that day’s fishing trip, they had caught nine fish total.


Right now, Caulkins’ main focus is teaching safety to others. He said he dived for years without knowing basic diving techniques, such equalizing, which prevents ear pain.

Shallow water blackouts are the largest safety concern, Plon said. As divers go deeper, their lungs compress and feel full. Divers stay down longer than they should, and as they return to the surface, their lungs expand and suck oxygen out of the brain.

Caulkins remembered a bull shark snipping at his fins and being butted in the back by a hammerhead shark in the Gulf of Mexico.

Other marine life is harmless. Dripping on the boat after his dive, Bulgin talked about swimming with a manta ray, stretching out his arms to show how wide it was.

“I’m quietly exploring,” Bulgin said later. “And it’s always amazing.”


Classes: On Aug. 25-26, OC Spearos and Titan Spearguns will hold a weekend-long course where participants may become freediving certificated, go on an open water dive, and learn how to handle a speargun in water. Classes are hosted by Titan Spearguns, 27965 Cabot Road, Laguna Niguel.

For information, email [email protected] or call 949-582-3141. The next class will be in September.

Meetings: OC Spearos holds monthly club meetings at Round Table Pizza, 1175 Baker St., Costa Mesa. Visit or

Contact the writer: [email protected] or @a_lim91


Spearfishing newport beach

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