Visitor Comments and Letters - March '97

These messages have been edited. Although I feel the content is of interest, Iwant to provide as much privacy as possible to the various people who have takentime to comment. Let me know if you feel this is an interesting page. KJ

March 7, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Thalia Zepatos
Subject: I'd like to interview you...

Hello Ken,

I'm a travel writer for USA Weekend, the Sunday magazine of USA Today. I'm doing a story on fishing in the US, and would like to interview you by phone about pier fishing. I may be able to mention your book, which I'm sure would be helpful to sales. Would you be available this Sunday evening...

Thanks, Thalia Zepatos


I would be honored to be interviewed and yes, I will be home those hours. My phone number is...

Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman


Just wanted to let you know that USA Today will run the fishing story on the weekend of May 9th, in 500 newspapers across the U.S. It is ready by over 40 million people each week, so I hope you sell some books!

Newport Pier is the lead piece in the story.

Bye for now,


The article appeared in the May 10, USA Today Sunday magazine.

Date: March 9, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Wildhorse
Subject: Piers

HI! Great site!!!!

Anything on Gaviota pier? You know, north of Santa Barbara off of US 101 right before you turn inland? I live 15 minutes away and both me and my 5 year old boy wanna fish it!



Attached is the section out of my book on Gaviota. Hope you find it useful. Good luck fishing!

March 10, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Tom Levine
Subject: What about us Venturites???

Hi Ken:

I really enjoyed perusing your website. Thank you for setting it up, and giving all of us a chance to enjoy your skilled prose and photos on pier fishing.

I live in Ventura, California, and I really enjoy surf-fishing and pier-fishing. I'm fairly new at it, and can always use good sound advice. But when looking over your reports, I noticed that the Ventura Pier and the Port Hueneme Pier were not listed, although the Santa Barbara Pier was.

I'm hoping you may have contacts in this area, so I too can enjoy your expertise for local fishing.

Thanks again Ken for your hard work and your expert wisdom.

Sincerely, Tom Levine


Unfortunately I haven't had any luck in finding reporters for those piers. There is a shop at the foot of the Hueneme Pier but I haven't been able to get in touch with it. As for Ventura, there used to be a shop on the pier but it is now closed. Do you perhaps know anyone who might be interested in being a reporter - or know the telephone numbers of some local tackle shops that would have information?

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

March 13, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Dennis Rogers
Subject: Illustrations??

Hi Guys:

Just found your page in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Great job and it's very informative. I am interested in surf fishing as I live in Santa Rosa and close to Bodega Bay. But, I read what equipment you said to use (sand dabs,worms) etc. however there was no illustrations on how to use such items. Like how to fish rubber worms or how to rig same. Would it be possible to show somehow in a small illustration. This would be great for anything you folks suggest to use for equipment. There are a lot of us out here that need a picture. Is there a publication out that shows how? Please let me know.

Again, great fishing page and good links too.


Yes I do plan to show some of the things you mentioned. Each month each page will be updated and that includes illustrations and tips on such things as fishing artificials and the correct riggings for baits. Currently I do all the pages and have asked Ron to contribute a tackle tips article every month or every other month (we may alternate months). This tackle page is the one page not already planned out for the year so I am looking for ideas like yours. And, I will ask Ron if he plans to do any illustrations in his articles.

My book does contain some illustrations. Unfortunately, it does not contain one for using grubs (although there will be an illustration in the second edition when it comes out). Ron Kovach in his books, Saltwater Fishing in California and The Serious Pacific Angler, does offer a lot of tips and illustrations on the use of saltwater lures so you might check them out. However, the majority of those books deal with fishing from boats. As mentioned, I think my book would help you out.

For your particular request, check out the following link. Hippo has some good suggestions on surf fishing for perch -- and illustrations. His address is:

Also, sand dabs are not a suggested bait (at least not for surf fishing) but sand crabs are, and they are easy to catch.

Best of luck in your fishing endeavors, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

March 16, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Victor
Subject: preferred reader name is Victor. I live in San Jose, California. I have a very good friend named Huy , who is also my best fishing partner. We started fishing last April....which now brings our fishing experiences to close to a year. We had started off with trout and then to bluegill and bass. From April to September it was all Trout and Bass fishing. After Summer was over we were eager to head on to bigger and better things. Close by was ever so popular San Luis ....Striper Town. So now we had to get bigger and better tackle also to learn new techniques. In 5 straight weekends of San Luis , Huy and I figured we have had enough knowledge to be proud of the 32 inch ..10 pounder we had caught. That victory had also led us to Saltwater for perch or kingfish...but the almighty white sturgeon. So from December to February Huy and I had visited the Delta (Sacramento river) over 2 dozen times..impressive? That leads me on to the night of our first Sturgeon. There were so many cold and endless nights to be endured just for that very fish. It was a Friday night cold, wet and very foggy. So foggy you couldn't see 5 feet in front of you. It was around 1 am when me and Huy had fallen 3:30 am I awoke to find nothing wrong...absolutely nothing..So I got up to refresh the bait..out of nowhere Huy's rod which was next to me started to bend and it stayed that way as if it was stuck. So, I set it and there goes something on the end of my line..pulling the drag for a countless 20 seconds..I was also using 20-pound line with Ugly Stik..model Tiger (great rod)..It took Huy and I over 30 minutes to pull up the giant ..It was a 5-foot., 41-pound White Sturgeon. We were screaming our brains out at 4 in the morning because of this fish......not to be conceited or anything but I am so proud of me and my friend's achievements that I wanted to share it with you.......

Hooked On Fishing.... Victor To & Danny Vu

P.S. If you would like to go fishing sometime feel free to call us...we go fishing every weekend.....and if anything unusual springs up then please tell me...........thanx


Sounds like you are doing GREAT. I've fished most of those piers and have had generally good success. I don't know when I'll be back down to your area but I'll keep you in mind. In the meantime ... continue to catch those big sturgeon.

Best wishes, Ken Jones

Date: March 19, 1997
To: Tom Levine
From: Ken Jones
Subject: Re: News?


Any news about what's being caught on the Ventura or Port Hueneme Piers? If you have any information I'll be glad to put it in the monthly report (just make it as accurate as possible).

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Hi Ken:

Thank you very much for responding to me. I see you're the author of "Pier Fishing in Southern California". I have 2 of the books in this series (Fishing in Southern California and Saltwater Fishing in California). I'm going to go purchase your book and support your efforts. I also read your bio, and I note you're a fascinating individual. You're a social science teacher and an athletics director, and you also travel the State of California extensively. I tip my hat to you, as I appreciate a person who can live their life so creatively.

Anyway, getting back to following up with you...I have, in the past, done some pier fishing off of the Ventura Pier and the Port Hueneme pier. I usually would drop like a Lucky Joe, and catch just smelt. My luck was usually better in Ventura.

Recently, however, I've been doing a lot of surf-fishing. Right now, I'm using red curly grub with a #2 hook and a pyramid sinker. I just started and I'm trying to get some tips on where to go and how to fish for surf perch (to start out with). I've fished about 8 hours total on the Beach just south of the Port Hueneme pier, but without any luck. I did catch a 6 inch Perch (my first one) next to the Ventura Pier about 4 days ago, on a minus tide if you can believe that. Anyway, surf-fishing is what I'm into at the moment, and if you have any good tips, pointers, hot-spots, or anything else to share, I would be much obliged.

I can tell, however, that I think you're right about the Ventura Pier. Recently, a restaurant called Eric Ericksons, which used to be located at the end of Seaward, has now moved onto the pier. I don't know if they're discouraging fishing, but that small tackle-shop is no longer open.

I walked by the tackle-shop at the Port-Hueneme Pier, but I was a little intimidated to go inside. By the way, did you know that Pismo Clams are growing at the Port Hueneme beach? They are open for harvest, with a minimum size limit of around 4 1/2 inches. I haven't tried this yet, but I'm taking my wife out there in a few weeks to go clamming. Should be fun. Do you know of any other beaches which I could find clams for harvesting?

A popular local tackle shop is Eric's Tackle Shop in Ventura on Thompson Blvd., and their phone number is 805-648-5665. You may also want to try Sport Chalet in Oxnard, and get one of the employees to participate in reporting to you. Their phone number is 805-485-5222.

I hope this information helps you with updating your website. Thanks again, and please let me know if you have any helpful tips on my surf-fishing.

Sincerely, Tom Levine

March 20, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Charlie Hills
Subject: Loved the way you treated your subject!

I've just read your article about the Pacifica Pier. What I liked about it most was that you showed the same enthusiasm for fishing for panfish as you did for the salmon and striped bass you referred to. Panfish are good eating, plentiful at times, and give plenty of action, but I find that all of the "professional" fisherman who write for magazines act as if the things don't even exist. With them it's bass, fluke and slammer blues, or nothing at all. Plus, not everyone can afford a boat, which is something these guys, like the ones who write for "The Fisherman" or "In-Fisherman", etc. don't seem to acknowledge. Not everyone wants to invest hundreds of dollars in tackle and gear.

You're right on the money with this idea.


I'm glad you liked the article. It seems to me that both piers and panfish are overlooked by most publications. Fishing is big business today and what makes money is the sale of rods, reels and tackle -- especially artificial lures. Unfortunately, piers and panfish don't fit into that equation as well as some other types of fishing. However, until quite recently more angler days in California were spent fishing on piers than in any other type of angling. When you add in the fact that more than 90% of the fish caught are probably pan fish, it makes sense to showcase the reality, not just the "dream." I hope my site will be able to provide a little reality into the scene. But, dreams are also important so there will always be articles about the "dream fish" that is out there waiting to grab our bait.

Keep in tough and let me know how we can improve our site.

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman


Where do you do your fishing?


I do my fishing around Boston. One of my favorite places is the Boston Edison power plant in downtown Boston, on Summer Street. The blues and stripers like the warm outflow. From July to October it's a good spot.

I do the Cape Cod canal only occasionally. It's a 1-1/4 hour drive for me, so when I go it's got to be for most of the day or evening.

My project for this season is to check out shore fishing places within 30 minutes of Boston. I've heard about the town of Winthrop, and the Saugus River over in Lynn, but I haven't gotten over to them yet. The bridge in Duxbury is good too, and for me that's about 45 mins. away.

In October I take my family to Martha's Vineyard for a week, and I last time I got a couple of days' fishing in.

I'm just scratching the surface. When it comes to fishing, I'm a worm-dunker at heart. I like it, but I don't like working too hard doing it, and it's got to be low-budget. I'll cast lures, but unlike some I tire of that pretty soon unless I get some hits. That's why I liked your site so much. A person just has to get to the piers at the right times with good, fresh bait and tackle. No fussing around with all the accouterments.

Lots of times I've said, "Well, if I had a boat, I could get some fish." Hell, I'll be buying a new car, re-doing the kitchen and bathrooms, setting up my kids college funds, or buying my wife the diamond engagement ring that I never got around to giving her, before I buy a boat, new, used, or...whatever. Besides, if the inside of my car looks like Kramer's closet now, what would my boat look like?

If there were piers around here like the ones in California, I'd just fish those and be very happy.

March 26, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Wildhorse
Subject: Doesn't sound too good!

After the L.A. Times article today, I swearing off piers! As a kid growing up in Catalina, I knew the waters were polluted with PCB's. I saw them ax oil drums full and let it go into the ocean. Up here in Gaviota, there is plenty of pollution from the refineries close by. Never fish Santa Monica or Huntington Beach Piers --- heavily polluted sediment!!

Oh well, better write a book about something else.

March 27, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Wildhorse
Subject: About your site!

Hi it's me again! Had to switch to Eudora -- Microsoft mail is giving me major problems again!

That article is in the LA.. Times, Wednesday edition. By all means GET IT! It's very insightful and powerful and should be in your hands. The info on their web site only touches the basics.

Like I said, even as a kid in Avalon, I was leery about catching anything. The article proves my doubts. Even at Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara, the sediment and muck full of poison is so thick that any smart fisherman wouldn't go near it. Only the illegal immigrants that constantly over-fish or the nearly dead seniors fish it. The smart guys go a six pack or day boat way, way out.

Good luck!

No reply...

March 31, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: David D. Feasel
Subject: About your site!


Your site is just great! This weekend my son and I are going on a car run to Cambria with our local Corvair club. I have your book Pier Fishing in California (1992) and have been using it off and on ever since. It is really nice to find a site that can help those of us who like to fish, but unfortunately live so far from the coast to fish every day. (I live in Fresno). Thanks for posting all this info and I'll be back!

Dave, Thanks for your kind words and hope you catch some fish on your trip. The site is a labor of love and I plan to make it even larger and better -- but it will take some time.

Best wishes, Ken Jones, the Pier Fisherman

(By the way, Thalia turned out to be a very interesting person, one who has written several books. They include: A Journey of One's Own: Uncommon Advice for the Independent Woman Traveler, 2nd Edition, 1996, Eighth Mountain Press, and Adventures in Good Company: The Complete Guide to Women's Tours and Outdoor Trips, 1995, The Eighth Mountain Press. She also has an interview on, Microsoft's travel page, under the heading of EXPERTS. Check it out.)