Cortez Bank

Cortez Bank: Southern California's Premier Sportfishing Destination

Cortez Bank, a submerged reef system located approximately 100 miles southwest of San Clemente Island, is a sportfishing mecca that attracts anglers from across Southern California and beyond. This remote and isolated fishing ground is a haven for a diverse array of pelagic species, offering thrilling opportunities for seasoned anglers and novices alike. In this article, we'll delve into the unique characteristics of Cortez Bank, the abundant marine life that frequents its waters, and essential tips for a successful and memorable sportfishing experience.

Our Multiday Charters can take you there on any of our SIX PACK or larger vessels. We offer both private and open party trips going to this secluded and sparsly fished desitination


In the waters surrounding Cortes Bank, anglers have the opportunity to target a variety of prized species, including tuna, swordfish, and marlin. These impressive game fish can be pursued using a range of techniques such as trolling and live baiting. While this spot is known for presenting a more challenging fishing environment, the potential rewards for those who persevere can be truly exceptional.

Location, Depth, and GPS Coordinates

Cortez Bank is situated in the vast Pacific Ocean, southwest of the Channel Islands, at the following GPS coordinates:

The bank extends over a large area, measuring approximately 30 miles long and 7 miles wide. The waters surrounding Cortez Bank vary in depth, with the shallowest sections reaching depths of around 40 feet, while the deepest parts plunge to over 300 feet. This varied topography creates a diverse and productive ecosystem for a multitude of game fish species. The distance between Cortes Bank and San Pedro is 96 miles, while the distance between Cortes Bank and San Diego is 111 miles. It is noted that this distance is considered quite far for any vessel to travel.

A Pelagic Paradise

Cortez Bank is renowned for its exceptionally rich pelagic fish population. Here's an overview of the sportfish you can expect to encounter on your fishing adventure:


Late-season tuna at Cortes Bank can be targeted by positioning the boat over the structure, which requires a decent GPS/PLOTTER. It is important to monitor weather conditions and sea surface temperatures to determine the best day to make the run to Cortes Bank. When water temperatures remain in the mid-60s, Cortes Bank typically holds late-season tuna. Finding ideal water temperatures on top of the structure is key to locating the tuna, along with keeping an eye out for birds and other signs of life. Dropping down to lighter line and smaller hooks may be necessary to connect with bluefin on the bank.  Use Fish Dope or other Surface water temp monitoring sites to pinpoint the exact right week to go, and then head out when the weather is calm. It is worth the trip!

Sportfishing Techniques for the cortez bank

Cortez Bank is a sportfishing paradise, offering anglers the chance to target an incredible variety of pelagic species in a stunning offshore setting. With its diverse depths, rich marine life, and challenging fishing opportunities, it provides an unforgettable adventure. Whether you're a seasoned veteran or a novice angler, Cortez Bank promises the thrill of the chase and the satisfaction of landing a lifetime catch. So, prepare your tackle, sharpen your hooks, and set sail for Cortez Bank—an angling journey of a lifetime awaits!