Maybe it’s a byproduct of the information age we live in, but it seems that we’re constantly being bombarded with a barrage of ads for special interest groups, non-profits, and political organizations. As such, it’s human nature to turn a blind eye to even those groups who claim to have a fisherman’s best interests in mind. Well, I’m here to tell you that if you’re a fisherman living in California, it is 100% in your best interest to become a member of CCA California, an organization that not only fights against those in government who are trying to take our fishing rights away, but also promotes angler based conservation efforts.

“The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) was initially created in 1977, after drastic commercial over-fishing along the Texas coast had decimated redfish and speckled trout populations. A group of recreational anglers gathered to create the Gulf Coast Conservation Association. Only four years later, gill nets along the Texas coast were outlawed and both red drum and speckled trout were declared game fish.

The successful conservation movement that started with the “Save the Redfish” campaign got the attention of anglers across the Gulf and by 1985, chapters had formed all along the Gulf Coast. CCA continued to grow within the South- and Mid-Atlantic regions in the 1990s, and now have chapters formed up and down the West Coast. There are now 19 states with 226 local chapters that have a growing membership of 126,000 members.”


The California chapter came along later, but with the same great intentions. “The Coastal Conservation Association of California (CCA CAL) was created in 2015 when recreational anglers and outdoor enthusiasts grouped together to work for the conservation and enhancement of our marine resources and coastal environments. Today, we are working to protect not only the health, habitat and sustainability of our marine resources, but also the interests of recreational saltwater anglers and their access to the resources they cherish and use on a daily basis.”

So far, CCA California has worked to get quite a bit done.

  • Fought to keep Bluefin from becoming listed as an Endangered Species
  • Continue to fight against destructive fishing gear that hurts our resources
  • Protect against unfair fishing regulations
  • Continue to fight against fishing tackle and lead bans
  • Continue to support and expand finfish hatchery programs
  • Continue to fight for artificial and restoration reefs
  • Support programs to increase fishing opportunities
  • Passed legislation to establish a 12-month fishing license

So, why join CCA California? Well, the CCA is the voice for the recreational saltwater angler when it comes to communicating on a beauracratic level. We’ve seen several impactful legislations being passed or potentially up for a vote which have had questionable information that may need a deeper dive into or further assesment. This is where the CCA has been able to do the most for our community and act a voice of reason to address these topics.

Unfortunately the CCA is not sustainably funded organization and looks to the charitable contributions of their members to keep things moving along at the CCA. These funds ensure that there is someone at the federal level having the discussions and representing the recreational angler on behalf in Sacramento. So, as you go into your 2022 fishing season please take a moment to value what we have access and the fact that we need to continue to make sure it is always within in reach. Please take time to jump on board and have your voice heard and support the CCA in California.

Not only has the CCA been a steward for the California saltwater fisherman but they been a great unifier of the community. Through membership of the CCA you’ll also be invited to join in the many activities CCA members engage in throughout the year. Private boaters can fish their Coastal Social tournaments and sport boat anglers can get spots on members only charters aboard some of the top boats in the fleet. Throughout the year there are seminars and other events, including a golf tournament, where you can meet up with other like minded anglers to raise money for a good cause and you might meet some new fishing buddies as well.



If you’d like to talk to someone face to face, I recommend stopping by their booth at the Pacific Coast Sportfishing Festival at the OC Fair and Event Center on February 18-20.

Erik Landesfeind is BD's Southern California Editor and has over 30 years of experience saltwater fishing for a range of species in both California and Mexican waters. Erik is also an active freelance writer and the author of the weekly column So Cal Scene, which BD publishes every Friday. In So Cal...