Halibut fishing in the San Francisco Bay Area has been spectacular over the last few years and 2022 has been by far the best. So if you love fishing or you’re just starting out, it might have crossed your mind. How do you catch halibut from shore in San Francisco?
The best way to catch halibut from shore in San Francisco is by using a high low rig with swim baits, attached to a 2oz torpedo weight. This method allows you to continuously cast and cover as much ground as possible. Other Common methods include using a drop shot rig with a fluke bait, Casting Kastmasters or hair razor jigs and live bait on fish finders or live bait rigs.
Thanks to Gus’s Discount tackle in San Francisco and additional research we will cover all methods and best locations to help better your chances of catching that keeper halibut.
Where To Catch Halibut From Shore In San Francisco
With San Francisco having around 38 miles of shore line with approximately 30 miles of bay shore and 8.25 miles of ocean coast line. You have lots of areas to fish. This is a great thing when it comes to halibut fishing due to halibut typically moving in schools. The best places to catch halibut from shore in San Francisco according to Gus’s Discount Fishing Tackle in San Francisco is Oyster Point Pier and Candlestick Park Area.
Although in 2022 the halibut fishing has been great in these two locations you can still catch halibut in other areas. Therefore I will list all locations I would recommend when fishing for halibut.
Oyster Point Park is a go to spot for halibut fishing in San Francisco. It offers a 300 foot pier and lots of shoreline to cast and cover ground. Typically halibut fishing in this area is always good and should be on your places to go when trying to catch a halibut from shore in San Francisco.
Secondly Oyster Point Park offers public parking and no fishing license is required when fishing from the pier. This makes it a great location if you are just getting into fishing and or want to take the family.
If you want to learn more about pier fishing I recommend this article from pierfishing.com: Oyster Point Fishing Pier
This recreation area is another great option for halibut fishing. Candlestick Recreating Area offers lots of shoreline and a fishing pier. Park hours are from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Most importantly fishing on the Pier requires no License, however all fishing regulations are still enforced.
If you would like to know more about pier fishing at Candlestick Recreation area I recommend checking out pierfishing.com: Candlestick Point Park Piers
Pier 14 is a very large 637 foot pier featuring some iconic views. This spot is great for halibut fishing and a must stop on your journey of catching a halibut from shore. The benefits of this pier is its size. Therefore you can cover a lot of ground when casting for Halibut
Hours of operations are from 5:00am to 10:00pm
The Fisherman’s Wharf offers a 1,850 foot pier. Although this isn’t a prime location for California halibut you still can catch them here. Take advantage of the length of this pier, put in the time you’ll be sure to pull up a halibut. Pier hours are from 6:00am to 5:00pm.
Torpedo Wharf offers a very popular fishing pier with sandy beaches near by, making this a prime area for halibut. It’s a great place to throw some swimbaits or cast out a live bait. Secondly this area offers spectacular views of the golden gate bridge. This is a must stop spot on your journey to catching a halibut from shore. The hours of Torpedo Wharf are 8:00am to 5:00pm
Baker Beach & Ocean Beach Halibut Fishing
Although I couldn’t find much information about catching halibut at ocean beach or bakers beach. It’s still worth giving it a shot. After speaking with Gus’s discount tackle in SF. Reports are that most of the halibut being caught in 2022 are in the San Francisco bay. If you’re dead set on catching halibut from the surf. Your best bet would be to head down to Halfmoon bay or up towards Stinson beach. Although if you’re local and want to give the beaches a shot; I’m sure if you put in the time you will catch a halibut.
The Best Methods For Catching Halibut From Shore In San Francisco
We’ve mentioned the best method for catching halibut previously but there are many other methods. Sure fishing with a swim bait will get the job done but it shouldn’t be your only method. When the fishing gets tough it’s always nice to switch things up. Other great methods for catching halibut from shore include:
Fishing with swim baits is typically the most common way to fish for halibut from shore. There are two different ways you can fish swim baits.
Jig Head & Swim Bait
The first method is to use a jig head. I recommend 1oz to 2oz UV Shad Jig Head by Pitbull Tackle. As well as a pearl white 5 to 6 Inch UV Hot Tail by Pitbull Tackle. They are a local California based business and make killer lures. It’s always great to support the locals.
With this method you will do as follows. First cast out your line and let it hit bottom. Secondly start to slowly reel in. Pause every few seconds to let that swim bait fall back down to the bottom. Thirdly, Cast back out just a couple feet from the last place you cast. Repeat this method until you’ve covered as much of that area as possible.
High Low Rig
The Second popular method for fishing swim baits is the high low rig. According to Gus’s discount tackle in San Francisco this is the method used by most to catch halibut from shore. For simplicity purposes I’ve added a how to video for making a high low rig.
The great thing about this rig is that you can try different types of swim baits. It’s good to try different colors, sizes, and types. Common swim baits would be the 4 inch UV Hot Tail by Pitbull Tackle, Berkeley Swim Mullets and Fluke Baits like the Zoom Bait. Although using a fluke bait on a high low rig isn’t as common as the drop shot rig.
Another very popular method for fishing halibut from shore is using the drop shot rig & fluke bait. This is often used by surf fisherman.
To properly use a drop shot rig you will need around an 18. inch fluorocarbon leader (20lb test). At the bottom of this leader you will attach your 2oz torpedo weight. From the bottom add a loop and 1/0 Gamakatsu or Owner Baitholder hook. To this hook you will attach your fluke.
Cast this rig out and with a very slow retrieve. While retrieving twitch the rod with short small twitches. This will give that fluke a zoom motion in the water enticing the halibut to bite.
Although I have not personally used Kastmasters to catch halibut in the SF bay. It was told to me by Gus’s Discount Tackle that people have been using them to catch Halibut from shore near Oyster Point and Candlestick Park.
With this technique all you need to do is cast out and retrieve slowly. Pay extra attention to keeping that lure close to the bottom.
Hair Razor Jigs
This is another option recommended by Gus’s Discount Tackle in SF. With this technique head to the piers and jig around the pylons. First cast out and let that jig hit bottom. Second give that jig a few cranks and let it glide back down.
This gliding motion on the way back down to bottom will entice a halibuts bite if they are in the area.
Using live bait is probably one of the most common methods of catching halibut around San Francisco. To catch live bait first head to your local pier or dock. Second toss out some balled up small pieces of bread. Thirdly cast out your sabiki rig or cast net. Make sure you have an aerated bucket or live well to keep your bait alive.
Now that you have your bait head to your fishing spot. Personally I recommend one of the piers. Set up your bait on a live bait rig with a 2 to 8oz ball weight. This allows the rig to move around in the current. Use your judgment based on how fast the current is moving on that particular day. This is a killer method of fishing.
You can also set up your live bait on a fish finder rig, Although I don’t think this is as common as the live bait rig.
The Best Time Of Year To Catch Halibut From Shore In San Francisco
You can catch halibut from shore in San Francisco from March all the way into August. Although the halibut bite really picks up around May and is great all the way through July. This doesn’t mean you can’t catch halibut in February, It’s just not as common.
How To Check The Tides To Catch Halibut From Shore In San Francisco
Checking the tides before you go out fishing for halibut from shore is very important. Lots of areas can be very shallow in low tide and not ideal for casting. Although you can still catch halibut in shallow water, this might determine where you want to fish.
Typically the halibut bite is better during shifting of tides. When the water isn’t moving as much. Although this isn’t proven and opinions from local anglers. You can check the tides using willy weather and other numerous apps. I stick to willyweather for tides and swells in the bay area.
Gus’s Discount Tackle In San Francisco
If you are planning your halibut fishing adventure in San Francisco. Go down and visit Gus’s Discount Tackle. Stephanie is extremely friendly and knowledgeable. She will get you set up with all your halibut fishing needs.
You now have a better understanding of where, when and how to catch halibut from shore in San Francisco. It’s now up to you to go out there and get them. You can make it a family trip and bring out the BBQ. Or just spend a day casting and enjoying some nice San Francisco weather.
My only recommendation is that you don’t miss out on this great halibut bite that we’ve had in the San Francisco Bay Area over that last few years. So get out there and catch some halibut.
If you are wondering where else you can catch halibut in the San Francisco Bay Area. Check out our article: Where Can I Fish For Halibut In The Bay Area?