Top 10 Saltwater Fish In SoCal

My goal is to catch all of them this year.  So far: 9 of 10

That’s probably it for the year.  Look for the new Top 10 for 2012 coming soon.

(Last updated, Sat. Dec 24, 2011)

This is the criteria I used for inclusion and ranking on this list…not listed by priority or weight.

1. Must be a fish that can be caught locally, so 1 day trip or less.

2. Level of skill required to catch it

3. Table quality

4. Fight

10.  Sculpin:  Status = yes

Joe of Hook Ideas with a trophy sculpin

9.  Bonito: Status = not yet

Lost one at the rail in San Clemente 😦

8. Barracuda!  YES

Oh yeah, Jake and I have crushed the cuda

7. Rockfish: yes

Hunting Bigfoot – Nice red!

6. Saltwater Bass: yes

Monstrous 13# calico I saw caught at San Clemente

5. Halibut: YES! Finally this monkey is off my back

On the Sum Fun out of Dana Wharf, Dec 23rd

4. Ling cod: YES!

FINALLY! on the Pacific Islander, Sept 18

3. White Seabass: Ah yeah!

SoCal catch of the year…so far

2. Tuna: YES – got on the board over Labor Day Weekend

taking 3 schoolie BFT on the Eclipse

Mike Livingston’s 405lb YFT hanging in Fisherman’s Landing SD

1. Yellowtail: YES!

Oct 15 on the New Lo-An

Comment here or email with your votes, trips, tips or pics (



  1. Hi SoCal Salty- What is number 1 on the Tuna or White Seabass? Then it would be which Tuna..??

    • Those are both good ones. Tell me why you think those are the top fish, then tune in and see. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. White Seabass or the ghost, is one of the fish that a lot of fishermen alway hope to catch or the ones that have always talk about the one they got.

    Tuna – What other fish can you catch 4 different kinds of and in different sizes at different places and have so much fun doing.

    1. Albacore – Wide open bite of 12lb to 40lb.
    2. Blue fin – hard to find, but when you do they can be a fighter from 20lb to 100lb. You never know until you see color
    3. Yellowfin Tuna- Small football size to the 300lb. cows.. And they taste so good.
    4. Big Eye – Hard to find and even harder to prove you caught one..

    That is my top 2 fish.. I have caught all as well..

  3. I promise you Tuna, both of those great fish will be represented high on the list. It may come down to your trip in June 😉

  4. As long as Halibut get on this list somewhere, I’ll be happy.

    • Took me all year Joe, but I finally did it!

      • Congratulations my man! My cherry is still very much intact. I suppose that’s to be expected when you don’t fish for months at a time. I applaud your dedication to the quest!

  5. I think that yellowtail (forkies) should be number 1. Tight lines!!

  6. My list from where you are is 5 Halibut, 4 Tuna, 3 White Sea Bass (WSB,Ghost), 2 Leopard Shark (my first fish) and, Forks (Yellowtail). Tight Lines!!

  7. OK, your at 50%, So far I am at the following.
    1. Blue Fin – Check
    2.Albacore – Check
    3.Yellowtail – Check
    4. Calico – Check
    5.Rock Fish (4 types) – Check
    6.WSB – 2 weeks – Castro’s Camp
    7. Yellowfin – July 27th 4 day – I hope
    8. Wahoo – Not yet – Oct. I will try Alajos Rock
    9. DoDo – I hope they show up this year.
    10. Marlin – 1 every year for the last 4 years in a row. – Not Yet

    Let’s see who ends up at 100%
    Cool Tuna

    • Awesome list Tuna, and it highlights the difference (at least at this point) between us as anglers. I added the criteria now, and that’s where some of your fish wouldn’t make my list…local accessibility. If you put that lens on it, let me know how your list would change. Thanks brother!

      • OK, so the only one that would be dropped would be the Wahoo, even though the one was caught on the LA harbor a few years ago. But the rest can be caught here and in the 1 day range.

        So bring it on, who’s list do we go by now? I’ll add the Halibut in place of the Hoo..

  8. So we’re both at .500 so far. Want to bet a 3/4 early next year on who completes their list first, or who gets the most by end of year?

    • Your on.. To bad it isn’t a 10 day trip…

  9. 10 Sculpin-check
    9 Sheephead
    8 Cuda-check
    7 Rockfish-check
    6 Salt Water Bass
    5 Ling
    4 Halibut
    3 WSB
    2 Tuna-still need my first tuna
    1 Yellowtail
    Tight Lines!

  10. Salty might get his tuna and fork this weekend.

  11. And hopefully bonito. We may have to yak MDR everyday til we get a flattie though :-/ grrrr

    • Need the flattie. My biggest was 14″.

  12. I think he will get his Tuna and Yellowtail. He will be done with fishing come Tuesday AM. He might even be glad to go back to work.


  13. I think you’re right…up to the part where I’ll be done fishing 😉

  14. My #31 King Salmon beats your WSB

    • I already told you that you dork 🙂

  15. Salty got his first Tuna, this weekend. I did not know it was his very first or he would have ate the heart. But he is no longer a Tuna virgin, and a Blue fin as his first not bad.. Only 2 more to go, and if I am with him he will eat a heart for sure.

    • Thanks again Jeff! Had a really great time! We’ll do it again soon.

      • It was a blue fin you never told me that!!!!!

  16. You need a bigger cooler as well. Going for big fish you need a big cooler. This ain’t no day boat when you come off holding a small bag of meat.. Great fishing with you as well, you can fish dude..

  17. Check out this fishing forum –
    Nice bunch of guys, fresh and saltwater posts and mostly SoCal

    10: Sculpin
    9: Sheephead
    8: Cuda
    7: Rockfish
    6: Bass
    5: Ling
    4: WSB
    3: Halibut
    2: Tuna
    1: Forkies

    Washington top 2
    2: Steelhead
    1: Chinook

    • Hopefully I get them all.

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