Sitting in the heart of San Pedro, CA is the Cabrillo Pier. Cabrillo Pier is a unique pier in that it is both very close to neighborhoods and right next door to a full Aquarium and marine center (the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.) So it’s got a great mix of the local fishing community with the larger scale resources brought in by the multi-million dollar Aquarium – it is undoubtedly one of the very best fishing friendly places in Southern California to take a family on the weekend.
Like any pier that extends a decent way out into a bay (1,200 feet to be exact,) you’re able to fish for a healthy variety of fish. The sandy sea floor and the low sitting pier means halibut are there for the taking, as are a fair number of perches, rockfish, bass and croaker. Unfortunately, a few of the species that you can easily catch off of San Pedro are unhealthy to consume because of high levels of certain contaminants (Don’t Eat the white or black croaker, the topsmelt and the barred sand bass you reel in on Cabrillo.) Although for a fisherman who knows the area, the prize catches in Cabrillo are really your mackerels and halibuts – so go out there specifically rigging for those species. As a whole, you are likely to see a lot of full buckets out on Cabrillo.
The true beauty of Cabrillo is in its family friendly accessibility: you’ve got a reasonably priced parking lot that is open from 5am to 10pm available virtually on the beach itself, there are often neighborhood spots for the taking if you don’t mind walking a little while, there’s a beautiful little beach with a cliff view to lay out on, the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is right there full of cool creatures, which is not to mention that Cabrillo Pier is about a mile drive from the Fisherman’s Wharf where you can pick up dinner, drinks and a night’s entertainment.
The people of Cabrillo Pier reflect its community draw – many of the locals from San Pedro spend a lot of time out on Cabrillo. You will see a lot of large family outings on Cabrillo with the men out fishing on the Pier, the teenagers laying out on the beach or playing volleyball and the younger kids with Mom and her sisters strolling around, headed out to the aquarium. Unlike many viable piers in Southern California, there’s a sense of a quaint community out on Cabrillo pier. That community feeling combines with the terrific Cabrillo Marine Aquarium to make this is one of the real family fishing spots in Southern California.