Visitor Comments and Letters - April '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

April 1, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Martha
Subject: What a great site!

Searching the internet for something specific is a lot like fishing--sometimes you don't get sh**!

But in searching for a response on pier fishing, I was delighted to find your site. I have a specific question: my husband and his two favorite fishing friends like to bring along all their/our families, which includes an assortment of children ranging from one month to eight years old. We're looking for piers on the Pacific Ocean (not the bay) near the San Francisco area with pier fishing and a nearby spot for kids and picnic, beach/sand/playing, etc. Half Moon Bay was pretty good for us last weekend, but we wanted to try something different.

Any suggestions? Any archives from a pier of the month clip on Pacifica or something like that? Any tips or ideas would be appreciated.

Sincerely, Martha

Martha, Sorry you don't want to try piers in the bay; the McNears Beach Pier in Marin county, the Point Pinole Pier, the pier on Angel Island and the Fort Baker pier are all piers/areas that are great for families and kids.

There really aren't too many ocean front piers along this stretch of coast. To the north you could head up to Lawson's Landing. It is located just inside the entrance to Tomales bay and offers extensive camping areas, lots of possibilities for clamming, and surprisingly good fishing and crabbing off a dinky, ramshackle little pier that looks like it is ready to fall apart.

To the south, your next best choice after Half Moon Bay is to go all the way down into the Santa Cruz area. Three excellent piers exist down there, all are slightly different, and all have good beaches for the kids. Santa Cruz Wharf itself is huge and offers the nearby excitement of the Boardwalk and all its attractions. Capitola is a beautiful setting and has both a beach and shopping areas within a block of the pier. Seacliff is a great spot for picnics and fishing and has a very safe beach for the kids.

It just depends on where you want to go -- or try them all.

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

April 9, 1997
To: Barry Melton
From: Ken Jones
Subject: Guitarfish

Mr. Melton,

While checking out the local web sites today, I saw your pages. They were very interesting but what intrigued me the most was your fish/guitar logo. That's because I have a web site that deals with fishing called Pier Fishing in California. One part of the site is a Fish of the Month page and this month's fish is the Shovelnose Guitarfish. I'm in the process of making a potpourri/fun page and immediately thought it would be fun to contrast your guitar/fish logo with a picture of an actual guitarfish. What do you think?

If I have your permission, I will copy your logo and put it next to a picture of a guitarfish. I will, of course, credit your site and put a link to your site from that page so people could check out your pages (if you wish).

If it sounds like a dumb idea to you, just let me know. But, if it sounds like fun, e-mail me permission to use your logo on that page (just for the month). If you would like to check out my site, and the guitarfish page, you will find it at:

Hope to hear from you, Ken Jones, Boonville


Wow! What a great site you've got! I've done a bit of pier fishing myself over the years (not so much these days now that I live farther inland) and can see that you're really making a big contribution to the art of fishing--what a terrific idea. Years ago there was a fishing "bible" published by Sunset Books called something like "Fishing the Pacific Coast" (I may still have a copy around) that I used to carry with me and particularly use when fishing in strange locales. It was the book that came in handy when you pulled up something that you didn't recognize. Sounds like you've gone one step further than all of that with things like fishing line tips, etc.

My most recent "pier" fishing experiences were in San Francisco, when I fished for stripers in the Marina (outgoing minus tides are generally the best), though I probably spent more time at the Brisbane tubes and, before they shut it down to fisherman for all practical purposes (due to some unfortunate deaths), at Seal Rock (just beyond the Cliffhouse).Seal Rock in San Francisco was a scene you'd probably well appreciate: Two dozen guys at dawn (of all races and colors, including many Chinese who spoke little or no English), rocky sandy bottom with plenty of snag potential, somewhat treacherous footing and, if one inexperienced person joined the lot, constant line entanglements (casting from the rock required an absolute, but generally unspoken, order). Of course, even if casting were in absolute synchronicity, as soon as a fish was hooked there was no guarantee that the fish wouldn't ensnare the neighbors to the left or right, but the technique of fishing Seal Rock involved running down the rock with fish hooked and landing it on a small rocky shoreline, or at least nearer the access point to the rock (and closer to shore). I have fond memories of one of the best fisherman on Seal Rock, a Chinese guy named "No Touchee" (I never actually knew his real name) who was constantly hooking fish and very picky about who touched his line during the landing process. Like casting, the landing process also involved synchronicity because if your fish went left or right, the people to your left or right often had to lift your line over their heads so you could get to one side or the other of the pack to exit and land your fish without line entanglements.

Anyway, this is all to say that one of the very most special things I remember about pier fishing is the special etiquette and cooperation of the fisherman who synchronized their casting order and had a careful and graceful way of helping each other land their fish when hooked. I've seen this special etiquette in play fishing a pier in Florida and fishing from rocks and piers along the Pacific Coast.

So, back to your letter and my reply: I'd be quite honored in you used my fish picture but, for the artist's protection, I must ask that you include the copyright notice (even if in small writing) with the picture (Copyright 1979 Seafood Music (BMI)). You can use an encircled c instead of the word "copyright" and I can tell you how to write it in HTML if your program doesn't have it. Finally, I'd love to put a link to your page on my site (with your permission, of course).

Best regards, Barry


Sounds great! I need to check with my web master to see if he needs any information but I think he can do it all.

As for your thoughts on pier fishing, you hit it on the nail. The social aspects are probably the most special aspect of this type of fishing. You meet every imaginable type of person and, for the most part, the barriers which normally seem to divide our society are dissolved -- at least for a period of time. People are actually able to get along and to help one another. Too bad the experience couldn't be expanded. By the way, it sounds like you had some great times. Unfortunately, I never had the joy of fishing Seal Rock although I've been to the Cliffhouse many times. As soon as my archive page is up (soon, I hope), check out last month's pier -- Pacifica Pier; it isn't too many miles away from the area you fished.

Finally, I would be pleased to be linked to your page. I think your site is one of the best personal; sites I have seen (and I say that with all sincerity).

Thanks for your help, Ken

April 16, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Ed Caluza
Subject: Rock Fishing


My name is Ed Caluza. I'm not a pier rat but I do fish for opal eye off the rocks in Laguna Beach, CA. I like you web page, it's very informative. If my secret pile of rocks don't hit I may check out one of your piers. The reason I wrote is to ask if you have any tips for fishing off the rocks?

Thanks again, Ed

#2 - Use a bait natural to the area you're fishing and the type of fish you're after. Opaleye love moss and frozen (thawed) peas but also like fresh, fresh, fresh mussels. I have also found that you can sometimes stimulate them into a feeding frenzy by tossing out some pieces of bread - but this works much better in calm water around a pier than in most rock fishing types of environments. #3 - Use as light a line and as small of a hook as feasible; you'll lose a few fish but get many more bites. However, in rock fishing you sometimes can't use too light a line. #4 - Use a good rod and reel - and good, tough, abrasion resistant types of line. #5 - Watch out for the waves - I've gotten soaked a few times and those killer waves are always out there. #6 - Look for deep water holes or channels by the rocks and especially look for areas where there are under cuts under the rock; fish love those spots. You'll lose some gear but often get some really nice fish in those areas. #7 - Try some artificial lures like grubs. Root beer colored grubs can be deadly on perch (in your area buttermouths, rubberlips, and possibly Catalina blue perch/halfmoon). Sometimes if you add a small strip of squid to the grub it helps, or cover the grub with one of the various liquid fish attractants.

Those are a few ideas although none are very original (there are many more in my book). If you do decide to try some pier fishing, check out Aliso Beach or even try up at Newport or Balboa. I'm looking for someone to report the action from those piers. What is hitting, what types of bait or lures are working, and special/ /interesting/big fish recently caught.

Best Wishes and Good Fishing! Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

April 16, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Brice Mason
Subject: About your site!

I am a student at RPI in Troy, NY who is doing a research project for the city. My team is proposing the construction of a fishing pier in the city of Troy. I was wondering if you could tell me a few things. First off, I would like to know how the piers there have impacted the communities. Are there just fishermen that come to them or does the rest of the community go there too? Who funded the projects? How valuable is the pier to the lifestyles of the majority of the people? Anything that you could send me would be very helpful. I would appreciate any response available and I thank you for taking the time.

Thanks Again, Brice Mason

Dear Brice,

I'll try to answer your questions.

1) The impact of piers depends on a number of factors and thus can vary from town to town. As a general rule, piers offer aesthetic, recreational, and economic benefits to most communities. Fishing piers, designed mainly for recreation, are used by a plethora of groups, many with little interest in fishing. They're great for a stroll, a place to clear the mind, or a meeting place for romantic liaisons -- you name it. As for the fishing, the piers are populated primarily by the young, the elderly, the poor, minorities, and increasingly, the handicapped. In my eyes, piers serve as a democratizing force among our diverse society.

Of course, that scares some people and there have been a few towns where the "town fathers" were bothered by the antics of the "common" fishermen. A prime example is Newport Beach, California where there was a somewhat nasty attempt to limit the rights of fishermen to use the local (and famous) pier. The fishermen were seen as dirty and messy -- and fish guts and blood can disturb some people. Of interest to your specific question however would be the fact that no one wanted to get rid of the pier, all agreed it was an important asset for the community, with or without fishermen.

Almost all towns agree that piers, especially the larger piers, provide an economic stimulus to the area and the city. Bait and tackle shops, restaurants and other businesses seem to spring up around most piers -- but not all. Much of this depends on the size of the pier. Small piers, built solely for angling, offer the esthetics and recreation, but may have a minimal impact on other aspects of the community. California has over 100 public piers and each offers its own unique answer to your question.

2) In California, two agencies are primarily responsible for pier building and repair. The Wildlife Conservation Board, part of the California Department of Fish and Game, was for many years the prime shaker and mover in this area. In simple terms, they would agree to fund 50% of a pier project when cities and towns proposed and could come up with the money for a pier. In exchange, the city had to agree to make the pier a Public Pier where anglers could have free access (and no fishing license is required). In some cases this was done for new pier projects; in many instances money was used to rebuild or repair piers damaged by winter storms. The program continues to today although the board's role has decreased somewhat.

In the last few years, the California State Coastal Conservancy has taken an increasingly active role in pier preservation and building. This organization today oversees many of the pier projects and acts as sort of a coordinator between the various groups. For instance, they will try to find funding for a town that is proposing a pier project, and then work to convince the WCB to go along with the project. Thus, their job is a little different than that of the WCB. Whatever the case, the two organizations have done a pretty impressive job during the past ten years -- a time of tight money for almost every government agency.

I'm sure both agencies would be of tremendous help if you contacted them. The addresses are:

Wildlife Conservation Board
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, Ca 94244-2090
State Coastal Conservancy
Urban Waterfronts Program
1330 Broadway, Suite 1100
Oakland, Ca 94612

I'm afraid I could go on for hours but I'm sure you can feel my attachment to the piers already. I think they are an important source of recreation and one of the best values for government funding of recreational projects. As a way of closing, I'm going to enclose a few paragraphs from the second edition of my pier fishing book...

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

might just be the push that the city has needed for a long time. Thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions.

Brice Mason

April 18, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Victor
Subject: New Pier??

Hello Ken,

I thought that maybe I could update you on the Antioch pier since I'm a regular over there. Well if you want to know the pier is Striper heaven...At night you get bites up until maybe 3 am and in the morning until around 9 or 10. I guarantee a bite every cast from schoolie size stripers.. none of which meet the minimum size requirement. But if you are bored, those critters can be pretty fun! And also 2-3 lb. Largemouth Bass are caught everyday!! And I forgot to tell you about the Sturgeon I caught so here goes: It was January 26...a very cold and foggy day! My friend Huy and I had decided to go try our luck. So we had bought Grass Shrimp and headed down to Rio Vista's a small(50 ft) pier in the Delta! At around 3:30 am we hooked the monster...after 45 min. of yelling and line drag we finally hauled in the 5-foot, 40-pound white sturgeon! We were so happy because it was our first fish! After that we still had continuous action on Bullheads and another Sturgeon that broke our line! ....I'm gonna be starting to go for Salmon this month so I'd appreciate it if you can possibly send me some tips on how to get them off of piers...I live in San Jose.....and regarding your potpourri page I can't seem to find it!! Until next time: May you catch a bigger and better fish...not to show off but for the thrill!!!


Victor To

P.S I also have the pix of the Sturgeon if you decided to take a look!

Hi Victor,

Thanks for the information. I plan to have all the piers up through Antioch in the second edition of my book (although I have to finish selling out the first edition first). So, I'm continuing to do research on those piers.

I called my webmaster and he said it sounds like your hitting the main page and not the index page. He said to type in the following:

That address should access the index page and show all the pages.

Let me know how it looks and keep me informed about those piers -- I may add those piers to the monthly report. Also, take some pictures and send them to me for inclusion on the pictures page.

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Date: April 21, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Audrey
Subject: Huntington Pier Reporter?


I read that you needed a reporter for Huntington Beach Pier. My dad fishes there a few times a week, and only there. I fish around the San Francisco Bay and in Huntington Beach about once a month with my dad.

I'd be proud to report to you on my dad's behalf about Huntington Beach Pier, if you'd like.

Let me know,

thanks, Audrey

April 21, 1997
To: Steve Lau
From: Ken Jones
Subject: Potpourri Page

If you get a chance, check out the new Potpourri Page on my website. I'm looking for some feedback as to whether or not people will find it interesting. And don't be afraid to offer some helpful suggestions.

Thanks, Ken

Hi Ken,

I took a quick look at your Potpourri page. I haven't had a chance to go over it in great detail but here are my general impressions...

First, when I saw the "Potpourri" button on your menu frame, I didn't know what it was about. If I was just surfing the internet and didn't want to spend a large amount of time on any one particular web site, then I would probably have skipped the "Potpourri" button. So you might want to consider

calling it "free prizes" or something more catchy. Or, since it is a potpourri of information, you might have to break the page up into several topics like "free prizes", "trivia", "jokes", etc.

Second, I really liked the largest fish section. I wish I could have seen that giant sea bass. Can you add more to this section? Maybe if you have stories about them that would be good too. For example, I would love to know what was used to catch the giant sea bass. Do you know? Did it take a little cut anchovy or was something like a live anchovy used?

Third, do the organizations have web sites? I wanted to take a look at them but there were no links.

Finally, I don't have time to download the plug-in right now. I check that out later. (By the way, is the word "plug" or is it "plug-in". Your site uses the word "plug."

I hope this helps. You don't have to make these changes. I won't be offended. It's just my opinion.

I'll talk to you later, Steve


Thanks for your feedback, I think you make some very good points and I might need to consider some changes.

As for the largest fish, I don't have too much additional information. I plan to return to Newport in July and do some further research. I do have some interesting information about a giant sea bass taken from the Redondo Beach Pier barge about the same time, but since it wasn't taken from a pier I didn't mention it. If you like I could send you the passage out of the second edition of my book (rough draft) about that fish.

I'm also thinking about adding: (1) a section where viewers can send in questions or comments of their own, and (2) having viewers vote on their favorite pier. What do you think?

Best wishes, Ken Jones

April 26, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Nelia Alfuente
Subject: About your site!

The reports are great but they would be better if they were updated weekly or daily.


I wish I could update the site more often but the reports take a lot of time, and they cost a lot of money (to pay a webmaster to make the pages). I do most of the writing myself and my webmaster does all the pages himself. We're stretched very thin for time and for money (so far I've sold only a few books). So, I need a real job to live, let alone pay for the site. Maybe some day the site will make some money but until that day the best I can do is update it monthly.

Sorry, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

April 26, 1996
To: Ken Jones
From: Jesse Parsen

I usually go to either Redondo or Santa Monica and I seem to only catch squat or bat rays. Any suggestions on a hot pier I can catch a little variety or some bass, shark, something other than bat rays and mackerel? I'm going fishing today. Maybe I'll go to Ventura if you can help!!

Dedicated Fisherman,



All I can tell you is what they report, but the latest I have heard is that fishing is supposed to be: (1) good at the small Redondo Sportfishing Pier for bonito - and this is not the big Redondo Beach Pier - this is the little pier over where the sportfishing boats go out; (2) fairly good at the Seal Beach Pier - especially in the shoreline area for croakers and surfperch using bloodworms and fresh mussels; (3) good reports from the Oceanside Pier - again on the inshore species - yellowfin croakers, spotfin croakers, corbina and surf perch - and again on fresh mussels, bloodworms or ghost shrimp. Most other local piers in your area are only reporting so-so action. From the reports I am getting though, it sounds like the inshore surf areas of most piers will yield a few croakers and perch. Try the right baits and fairly small tackle, nothing larger than a size 4 hook. But also remember that this is still the slow time of the year because of the water temperature.

The new report, by the way, will probably be up early; I think by Monday night.

Good Fishing, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

April 29, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Benjamin Szu (Master of the Universe)
Subject: Ocean Beach

Hi, I was thinking of going fishing this Friday afternoon at the Ocean Beach Pier north of San Diego and had a few questions. First, do I have to have a license just for pier fishing? Also, if you know, what type of fish are common there and what type of bait and lures should I use? Thanks a lot.


Hi There,

North of San Diego? It's actually part of San Diego. But to answer your questions: (1) A fishing license isn't needed to fish on public piers, the only places in the state, with the exception of a few jetties, where that is true. (2) Usually bait is the top producer unless schools of fish such as mackerel or bonito are around - and I don't think they are currently at Ocean Beach.

You might want to check out the pier at Shelter Island; evidently the action has been good at that small pier. I am attaching part of the May report which is set to be uploaded tomorrow. It is based on phone conversations from last Saturday so should reflect pretty current conditions. I think if you visit one of these piers almost any of the mentioned tackle shops would be glad to show you what tackle to use and what rigs are working.

Attachment - Reports from Imperial Beach Pier, Ocean Beach Pier, Shelter Island Pier and Oceanside Pier.

Ben, I hope this information will prove useful. Keep in touch and let me know how you did. By the way, let me know what you think of the site and feel free to offer suggestions or ask any further questions you might have.

Good Fishing, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Ken Jones,

Well, thanks for the info. Did I hear right that there is a bait shop on the pier? Well, I'm not really a serious fisherman, but I enjoy it when I get to fish. I think the sight is really good, the best sight based on pier fishing. One suggestion that I have though is not to concentrate so much on just some of the piers, but have a more brief description for a larger number of piers. But the info provided right now is great. From the report, squid is sounding good. Thanks.

One more thing, where is this Shelter Island pier that is having good fishing?



Take I-5 or I-8 to Rosecrans (Hwy.209) and go west, turn left at Shelter Island Dr. and follow the road until you see the pier and the entrance to the parking lot.

By the way, if you begin to turn into a pier rat you might want to order my book from the book page; it details 92 piers and 100 kinds of fish. The new pier of the Month tomorrow is Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach, just down the road from you. Also, my son graduated from UCSD a couple of years ago (which is where I see your address is located) -- small world.

Do let me know how you do which ever pier you visit.

Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman