Dana Point Harbor
The bottom inside the harbor is mostly sand, but due to the presence of the nearby rock jetty species normally found around rocky areas will put in the occasional appearance. Expect to see seaperch and opaleye around the pier, and croaker farther out. Halibut, kelp bass, spotted sand bass, mackerel, and small sharks and rays are all found here as well. The sharks and rays are caught mostly at night. You may also see mullet and needlefish jumping in the shallows or swimming near the surface, but these are typically almost impossible to catch.
Best results can be had using ghost shrimp, squid, mackerel, bloodworms, or artificial baits such as Scampis or Fish Traps. At night, use squid to fish for sharks and rays. Frozen green peas often work well for perch under the bridge connecting Dana Island to the mainland.
The jetty, located on the other side of the Ocean Institute from the pier, offers anglers an opportunity to get their bait out into the unprotected water outside the harbor. Here kelp grows close to shore and gives protection to several different species of fish. Be careful, though, if you decide to fish here. Getting out along the top of the jetty involves some degree of scrambling and jumping from rock to rock, and at times waves will break over the top. Make sure you heed any warning signs posted at the foot of the jetty, since during periods of high surf it may be closed to public access.
The harbor features a number of amenities for fishermen and sightseers, including public restrooms, and several restaurants ranging from casual to dressy and expensive. Picnic tables are also strategically placed along the shoreline throughout the harbor area. Numerous shops are located along Dana Point Harbor Drive and on Dana Island, which is accessible via Island Way. Dana Wharf Sportfishing, located near the harbor entrance off of Dana Point Harbor Drive, offers fishing and whale watching trips, as well as boat charters for any occasion.
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Camping is also available for those so inclined. Doheny State Beach is conveniently located right at the entrance to the harbor,and Capistrano Beach (949-661-7013 for info) is reasonably close to the north. Other campgrounds can be found throughout Orange and San Diego counties, including San Clemente State Beach and San Onofre State Beach to the south.