• Primary method is surf fishing. You cast out a rig (e.g. sinker at the end of a leader that has 2 baited hooks), then set the rod in a rodholder and wait for a bite. Reel the fish in steadily and time the retrieve with surf so the momentum of a breaker skids the fish up onto the shore.
  • Keep the rig on the bottom since this is where the flatfish feed.

Flounder (Sole) fishing: Fishing is good from mid-December to March, peaking in February. Fish shallow water with sandy or mud bottoms, and seek out areas around bays and coastline where fresh water runs in (e.g. river inlets, sloughs, and creeks).

Sanddabs fishing: Best fishing is off the Northern California coast at depths of about 120-250 feet.

Tackle & Equipment

Any freshwater or light saltwater tackle and line is good. Try using a 10-12 foot surf spinning rod with a two-handed grip. Saltwater spinning reels are most popular, wound with 200-250 yards of 15-20 lb monofilament line.

Bait & Rigging

Flounder Bait: Pile worms, blood worms, mussels, grass shrimp, mud shrimp or ghost shrimp.

Sanddabs Bait: Squid, pile worms, grass shrimp or ghost shrimp.




Best Bets

Best spots for flounder include South San Francisco Bay (west shoreline at Pt. San Bruno, Folger’s Pt., and along the Millbrae and Burlingame Flats to Coyote Pt.), Richardson Bay (beneath Highway 101 bridge at Mill Creek), San Pablo Bay (at the mouth of the Napa River, the mouth of Napa Slough, the mouth of Petaluma River, Novato River and Gallinas Creek), and Suisun Bay (at the South Hampton Flats, and at the Middle Ground by the Mothball Fleet).

Sanddabs are plentiful in San Francisco Bay when ocean waters are warmer than usual and the fish migrate into the bay.