Fishing with the Family: A Perfect Oceanside Adventure
It isn’t hard to find something to do in Oceanside, but it can be tricky to find something that appeals to the whole family. One activity you can suggest is fishing; most kids love the idea of fishing even if they’ve never tried it before!
The best way to make your fishing experience a memorable one is to of course make sure you catch fish. While you can never guarantee any fishing trip will be a successful one, you can implement the following strategies to help increase your kids’ odds of reeling in some fish. So before you go check out these great spots and strategies for fishing in Oceanside!
Select a Suitable Location
Finding the fish is often one of the most challenging parts of any angler outing, but that’s not much of an issue in Oceanside. Assuming you don’t plan to hire a guide or climb aboard a charter, you basically have three options: You can fish from the beach, or you can fish from either of the two local piers — the Oceanside Municipal Fishing Pier or the Oceanside Harbor Fishing Pier. You may need to walk up and down the pier a little, or drift down the beach until you find a productive location, but you won’t spend all day searching for fish!
You can catch plenty of fish from either location (more on that below), but each offers a different and unique type of experience. Fishing from the beach will give you a little more elbow room, and your kids can run on the beach or build a sandcastle if they need a break. On the other hand, pier fishing tends to be a bit more crowded but this also means that your kids are likely to see people catch some pretty cool fish!
Target Abundant Species
One of the most important things to do is recognize the locally abundant species, and target them specifically. When fishing from the beach you’ll want to target croakers and surfperch which are plentiful off the shore. You may also catch the odd stingray or smooth hound shark as well, which will certainly impress the kids!
While there are plenty of fish to be caught within casting distance of the shore, the pier provides ample access to fairly deep water. You’ll still be able to catch various croakers from the pier, but you’ll also have the chance to catch sand bass, butterfish and halibut. If you make your way out to the very end of the pier you might also have the chance to catch mackerel, bonito, kelp bass and rockfish. If you are really lucky you might even reel in a barracuda!
Use Equipment Suited for Your Kids
Set your kids up for success by providing them with a rod and reel they can handle competently. This means avoiding bait casting reels in favor of spinning reels, and using rods that are a little shorter than average. You can find appropriate rods and other tackle in a variety of area stores, or you can just rent the necessary equipment from the pier’s tackle shop (the staff can also help answer any questions you may have and point you in the right direction).
Don’t worry about using fancy artificial lures when teaching your kids to fish. Most of the inshore fish in Oceanside can be caught with a basic sinker rig, baited with mussels, bloodworms or pieces of cut mackerel. The Pier Bait Shop stocks several different baits that you can purchase as well, and because they keep track of what the fish are biting most you are sure to have the right bait for the job!
Licenses and More
If you plan on fishing in Oceanside be sure to stay on the right side of the law – you don’t want to set a bad example for your youngsters. You and your spouse and any kids over 16 will need a fishing license to fish legally from any location besides the public Oceanside Pier’s. Children under the age of 16 are free to fish without any license regardless of location. Check with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to find more information including current prices and how to purchase your licenses.
If you want to learn more about the best ways to catch fish with your kids, check out Outdoor Empire’s review of the subject. There you can learn about the best equipment and baits for your kids, as well as tips on selecting good locations and targeting the species that are the easiest to catch.