Destination: San Clemente Island

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San Clemente Island is the southernmost of California’s Channel Islands, located about 50 miles south of Long Beach and 60 miles west of San Diego.

     The U.S. Navy acquired the island in 1934 and has maintained a presence on SCI since that time. 

     It operates an auxiliary naval airfield, Naval Auxiliary Landing Field San Clemente Island. 

     The main runway 24/06 is used for carrier training by the Navy. Other branches also use this airfield, including the United States Coast Guard.

     Due to frequent military training activity, civilian vessels may have limited or restricted access to the waters immediately surrounding the island when military exercises are underway.

Fishing the deeper water just off SCI

Fishing San Clemente Island

     Variety, options, and a more remote location is the appeal of fishing at Clemente.

     For variety you can mix it up in the kelp beds tight to the island for calico bass, sheepshead, halibut  and yellowtail. 

     If the surface action isn’t happening, a short move into deeper water will help fill the sacks with whitefish, rockfish and lingcod.

     The summer and fall months are prime time for offshore fishing.  You can find bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, yellowtail, dorado, and striped marlin all on the menu here. 

     Of course, availability of those warm-water species depends on ocean currents and water temperatures.

San Clemente Island Yellowfin Tuna
The author with a school-grade yellowfin tuna caught off SCI

    Due to the closer distance, sportfishing boats out of Long Beach, San Pedro, Newport Beach, and Redondo Beach are the most frequent visitors to SCI.

    It’s a long run out there with no civilian facilities available to private boaters, so prepare and plan!

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