Visitor Comments and Letters - August '98

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

Date: August 1, 1998
To: Boyd Grant
From: Ken Jones
Subject: Fishing


How are things in Texas/Florida? Hope you are getting a chance to do a little fishing.

Best wishes, Ken

Ken -

Finally got back into town for a few days and then back again.

The new format is superb! Can't say I could have done as well myself. And I especially enjoyed the new reporter for Gaviota, Zoy Hann. He would make an excellent addition to your regular crew and you can tell him I said that!

Haven't done any fishing yet (or even had time to check it out) -- I don't think I will even be back in SB until October or later ... so I guess I will just have to "get my fix" from your site. Sure glad its there!

Best wishes, Boyd

Hi Boyd,

Thanks for the kind comments. We miss you!

Hope your work settles down enough where you can get some fishing in. I've fished a little back East and did very well. Of course the key is to watch the locals and see what they're catching, then use your own knowledge and techniques as well. Sometimes the newcomer has better success -- but not usually.

Hope things go well, Ken

Date: August 1, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Sandy
Subject: Membership

To whom it may concern;

Please put my name in your membership list. My family (my husband and my nine year old twin daughters) enjoy pier fishing quite often and I think it is the best family activity I had ever experienced.

Regards, Sandy


I'll be glad to put you on the PESCA list but I need your snail-mail address to send you the brochure.

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Date: August 1, 1998
To: Ron
From: Ken Jones
Subject: Tackle

Hey Ron,

I'm working on the tackle chapter and decided to ask the real/reel expert -- you.

What light/medium/heavy rods/reels, conventional/spinning outfits would you recommend to pier anglers -- and why.

I basically feel that almost all of the reputable lines make decent tackle that will work on the piers. But are there some reels/rods that you've seen problems with and would advise against? Also, I know you mentioned once about inferior/superior guides, a fact which most fishermen would know little about. Are there things such as that you would warn against -- or things they should look for when they are buying tackle? Although I generally recommend buying tackle at tackle shops, many anglers buy their stuff at places like WallMart, KMart, or other discount stores. What are the advantages of sticking to tackle shops?

Lastly, what's biting in the Bodega Bay area? I hope to fish it this week or next.

Best wishes, Ken

PS -- I think we have most of the kinks worked out about the Tackle Page.

PPS -- Have you heard about PESCA. I think it is something that would interest you and you might be the person to form a PESCA branch in the Santa Rosa area. If interested, let me know.

Dear Ken,

The shore fishing in and around Bodega Bay is very poor, beautiful water just no fish. Rock fishing from access points north of Jenner is fairly good in the deeper holes. Offshore salmon trolling is being done successfully off ten-mile beach.

Tuesday, 2 hours before and up to high tide, I caught 6 varieties of surf perch off South Beach in Point Reyes. (Including the largest Red Tail I have ever seen).



Doesn't sound like a good time to fish the Bodega piers. Maybe I'll head down to Fort Baker or Paradise Beach, I hear they're picking up salmon and halibut at those piers.

Best of luck, Ken

Date: August 1, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Brian
Subject: Catching a big Blue

Thanks for helpful info. You must be a great fisherman. I'm just beginning to lean how to fish. I wanted to know if you had any information on how to catch Blue Sharks from the Oceanside Pier area. If I use Macro for bait how big should the piece of Macro be. Please e-mail me back if you get a chance.

Thanks, Brian

Hi Brian,

Not too sure about being a great fisherman, I've just been around a long time and have picked up a few tips and techniques that allow me to catch a few fish.

As for the blue sharks, are you talking about catching them from the pier? If so, your chances are fairly slim. It's not too often that a blue shark is taken from the pier -- although it does happen. You're much more likely to catch leopard sharks, gray smoothhounds or thresher sharks from the pier. If you're in a boat, the blues often find you instead of you finding them. Wherever there seems to be a congregation of boats, and thus bait and chum, you will generally find a couple of blues. However, your local sportfishing landings would know more about fishing for blues from a boat than me, even though I have caught a number of them. As for the bait, you can normally use a pretty good piece of bait. Remember, these are fish that can weigh several hundred pounds and have pretty good size mouths so you want something that is going to attract them (smell) and convince them it is worth their time to bite. By the way, did you know that far more people have been attacked by blue sharks that the white (maneater) shark? Check out the story of the USS Indianapolis sometime.

Best wishes on your shark hunting expedition, Ken

Date: August 2, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Ron C
Subject: Old San Francisco pier fisherman SPEAKS

Hey, what a great site. As an old San Francisco waterfront pier fisherman I really appreciate what you are doing. Keep up the good work.

Hi Ron,

Thanks for your kind comments. Unfortunately I haven't gotten any regulars to report from the SF waterfront piers -- but I'm trying. Know anyone?

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Date: August 2, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Michael D
Subject: Hermosa Beach Pier

Dear Mr. Jones,

I recently purchased your book "Pier Fishing In California." My compliments to you for an excellent volume. I used to be a "pier rat" back in the '70s when I lived in Los Angeles, but I now live in Phoenix, AZ and have not lived in Los Angeles since 1980.

I have a question regarding the Hermosa Beach pier (which I used to fish on an almost daily basis at one time). Is the bait store still open during the day and is live bait available during the summer? At one time it used to be an excellent bait and tackle store, but I had heard it had closed down. I don't know if it reopened and to what extent it does business, if at all.

BTW when I was regularly fishing the pier in the '70s, I often would fish at night and many times all-night until the next day. I would fish for sharks at the end of the pier with frozen squid as bait. One species which was frequently caught was the Spiny Dogfish (Squalus acanthias) and most of the ones that I caught or saw caught were females. I suspect that there is (or was) a nursing ground at the end of the pier. I once saw a female dogfish caught which was obviously quite gravid. A young boy caught her and cut her open only to discover several pups inside which appeared to be full-term (as best I could tell not being a fish biologist). He was going to kill them, but I persuaded him to throw them back to give them a chance to grow and get caught another day.

I say this only because I did not see S. acanthias mentioned in your book as a species often caught at the pier. Perhaps they are no longer caught there. If they are caught, perhaps mention could be added to subsequent editions of the book. I have heard they are supposed to be good eating and at one time they (or the Smooth Dogfish) were used in England for fish and chips. This led to a severe depletion of the dogfish resource there.

Thanks for your help and I hope you will be able to answer my question regarding the Hermosa pier.

Sincerely, Michael , Phoenix, AZ

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your comments! No, the bait shop on the pier was closed quite a few years ago and live bait is unavailable unless you take a net and catch your own. Just Fishing by Pete, near the front of the pier, offers some bait but he's more geared up for the long range boats and rod/reel repair. Unfortunately, the pier is also closed at night and no one seems to know when they will reconnect the lights (or if they will reconnect the lights). The city at this time seems to have the attitude that the pier is more of a liability than an asset.

As for the sharks, I had never seen dogfish out there but I appreciate your detailed information and will certainly add it to the second addition -- which I am hoping will be available next year.

Best wishes and send along any other interesting stories or information you might have about the pier.

Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Date: August 2, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Gil Sperry
Subject: Lightbulb

I recently got what I think is a reasonably bright idea...a series of pier fishing seminars co-sponsored by PESCA and you to be held up and down the coast at community centers reasonably adjacent to Fishing Piers. How to catch more fish would be first and foremost, obviously, but PESCA and your book could be major incentives to attend, too. I believe I can get us a lot of ink in the local papers and we can talk it up on our web sites and the TV shows, as well. What do you think?

Lets chat.

Sincerely, Gil

PS Have you had a chance to work on something for our next Newsletter certification while fishing from structure would be my first choice if time and your schedule permit?

Hi Gil,

I like the idea and will give you a call. As for the articles, I'm finishing up several short articles and you can take your pick as to which one (or ones) you want to use.

I'll send them down.

Best wishes and hope your Alaska trip went well.


Date: August 3, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: JD
Subject: license needed?


This is a really neat web-site. My question is, do you need a fishing license to fish off of California piers?

Thank you very much, JD


No you don't need a license to fish off a PUBLIC pier in California. Piers and some jetties are the only places so honored. Do be sure it is a public pier though. Crystal Pier in San Diego and the Paradise Cove Pier in Malibu are both private piers and require a license.

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Date: August 3, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: DryRice
Subject: Join Pesca

I would like info on joining PESCA.

Rice, Can do but I need your snail-mail address to send you a brochure.

Best wishes, Ken Jones

Date: August 4, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: John
Subject: I need tips

Hello, my name is John,

I am a starter at fishing, and I need to know what kind of bait to use on what kind of fish. In case you needed to know, I usually fish in southern California, like Seal Beach, Oxnard Beach, Pismo Beach, Santa Monica Beach, Lake Balboa, etc. I would really appreciate if you could send me a list of the things I need to get started. Oh ya! I forgot to mention...right now, my budget is only up to $50.00-considering that I already have the tackle box, the rod, hooks, and weights. Thank you very, very much. My email address is ....

Hi John,

If you already have your rod and reel, and hooks and sinkers, then you are about set. Buy some Lucky Lura-type bait rigs to use on the top and mid-depth water for perch, queenfish and mackerel (without bait), and then buy either anchovies or squid if you're going to fish on the bottom for halibut/bass/sharks, etc. Use ghost shrimp, bloodworms or fresh mussels if you're going to fish the inshore areas for croakers.

Good luck and let me know how you do.

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Date: August 4, 1998
To: Gil Sperry
From: Ken Jones
Subject: PESCA Newsletter


Here are three short articles. Use one or all -- and I hope you find at least one you like! (Attachments)

Best wishes, Ken

Great stuff, Ken...thanks for taking the extra effort to e-mail the text to me. I'm looking forward to your first "pass" at the rules and regulations re certification for structure caught fish... I'm heading out this morning to make a presentation to the 85 member strong Oceanside Senior Anglers...I'll float a trial balloon with them re the seminar series...

Later, Gil


Well the electricity is back on and my fans are running full throttle. I would like to have headed over to Point Arena this morning for a little fishing (where it was 65 degrees yesterday versus 111 in Boonville), but I have a meeting.

Glad the stories met with your approval. Do feel free to let me know if the articles are too short or take a different slant than what you are looking for in the newsletter. I have another short story (almost done) about kids and fishing but since you just had a similar story in your summer letter I thought you would probably want to wait on that story. Let me know.

Good luck at your meeting and hope you make some recruits.

For now, Ken

Hi, Ken...glad you're a cool guy (again) your articles, the slant on them is what the writer wants, not what I want...just do your thing and say it the way you want to...we never have too many articles on kids and today's meeting of the Oceanside Senior Anglers (sold three copies of your book...have a few still in inventory) I mentioned the possibility of the Pier Fishing seminar (and your success, recently, at San Clemente Pier) and I got a very positive response (81 of their 183 members were in attendance). This is a very good club and I am sure that we would get a good response in this area: they all want to catch more fish without going out in a boat.

A funny story...they were discussing a tuna boat trip of 1 1/2 days duration when a woman in the back raised her hand and said "Make it for two days". I asked her if she were married and I think she got offended until I told her that she was the kind of girl that every fisherman looks who wants to do more fishing. She said the reason for that was because she has been fishing since she was 5 years old. Kids are the key.

Watched "Fish'n Canada" yesterday and found out that 25% of all Canadians fish and that 25% of the fishing population are juniors. In this country, those percentages would pencil out to 75 million Americans , with 25 million of them youngsters...I bet those numbers are pretty darn accurate, especially since the young fishermen don't need licenses.

Looking forward to your proposed certification regulations.

Later, Gil

I'll send you my ideas on the record rules later today.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: August 5, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Felix
Subject: Fishing Central Coast Beaches

I moved to Atascadero ( 15 minutes form Morro ) about a year ago and have taken up fishing as a way to spend more time outdoors. Your site was sent to me recently and I was so fascinated at all the information you had on my local area. But, I would like to know more about fishing out of the local beaches. I fished off the beach in Morro bay this weekend and caught a couple skates off anchovies, I let the little kids running around the beach throw them back for me.

My question would be too broad to answer here so maybe you can give me some basics on fishing off the beach in Morro bay. I think a great addition to your wonderful site could possibly be beach fishing, around the piers, and local areas in between. I'll even be happy to send you reports and pics on what I'm catching from the shores.

I looked all around for a web site that talks more about fishing the Central Coast beaches but did not find much. We are going out this weekend out on the left side of Morro Rock, right off the beach. We are going to be using anchovies and mussels and hoping to catch anything. I'm going to be taking pics so maybe I can share something with you. Any secrets or experiences you have fishing Morro Bay would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Felix

Hi Felix,

Wish I could offer some insights but I really haven't fished off the beach down there.

As for surf reports, it's an interesting idea and I think there is a definite interest since I've had several letters similar to yours. But I'm not sure if the reports would fit into my pier reports. For now, if you send me reports I will include them and perhaps something new will open up. Wish I could be more definitive but I am already stretched thin and am not sure how much more time I would have for a surf fishing site (nor do I consider myself an expert on surf fishing even though I have done a lot of surf fishing over the years).

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Date: August 5, 1998
To: Gil Sperry
From: Ken Jones
Subject: Rules for record fish

Hi Gil,

Enclosed you will find a rough draft for the rules/regulations on record fish. I didn't feel like reinventing the wheel so it matches fairly close some old IGFA forms I had (which may or may not be good) but it is a start.

A couple of things:

1. I wasn't sure if the records are only open to PESCA members so I didn't mention that requirement.

2. I added some inshore California species but feel we need to look at additional species from other areas (which might be a good little question or article for the PESCA newsletter). I did not limit the species to IGFA game fish. I think PESCA will get more interest and members if it is less inclusive than IGFA even though the matter of "game fish" versus "rough fish" is a source of irritation to some anglers. To some degree I see PESCA as being an organization for the "proletariat" fishermen (such as pier rats), and for those anglers catching a big 'ol carp or gar may be as thrilling as catching a steelhead.

3. The questions involved in setting up the rules are similar to those of government. How do we set up rules that insure honesty and give validity to the records without becoming bureaucratic and overbearing. I can already see that considerable time (and $$) may need to be spent to oversee this program once it is in full swing.

PESCA World Record Requirements

Only fish that are caught according to the rules of the Professional Surf and Shore Casters Association can qualify as PESCA world records. The following are the PESCA rules and regulations... (attachment)

Best wishes, Ken

Great work, Ken...I will be forwarding this on to other people for their input...I want to move on this so that we are ready to send out with our next Newsletter.

Your efforts are much appreciated.

Sincerely, Gil

First feedback from a key member...ideas re lat/lon (gps) and e-mail are good suggestions...more to come, I'm sure...

The only thing I can think of that can be important is the Lat/Lon on the site the fish was caught. In the near future most every serious fisherman will have a hand held GPS unit. They will be $49 dollars in the next few years. The same information for the place the weight is recorded. There is a push in some new communities to have the lat/lon as an address on homes. All cars will have then soon.

A place for email address of all that sign the application.

We must get into the 21st century.

See ya soon I hope, Larry

Later, Gil


More input for you...I'll forward it as it arrives.

Dear Gil:
Wow, I thought I went wading in the shallows, and it has suddenly gotten deep! But OK, I will take a look at the proposed regs and offer you any comments that come to mind. I should warn you though that, although I am a microbiologist, not a lawyer, I was, from 1978 through 1996, the chairman of the Judicial Commission of the International Committee for Systematic Bacteriology, which was responsible for the Code that governs the naming of all bacteria, and for resolving conflicts under that Code. From that background I might get a little picky in spots, but I will try not to let that get in the way of fair assessment of the proposed regs, which are intended to contribute to the fun of fishing.
Off the top, and after only a quick scan, I have a couple of suggestions.
1. Although the proposed application form asks for the scientific (Latin or Greek) name of the submitted fish, the list in the proposed regs themselves do not include those names. In view of the great regional variations in fish names, I presume you folks do intend to add official scientific names to the list.
2. Did I just miss it in the first scan, or is there no specification of required method of catch? I presume throw nets, spears and gigs, and even hands (as for grunion) are not to be acceptable methods of catch, but hook and line should be specified and the other methods specifically excluded in the regs if you are to avoid some conflicts later on.
3. The affidavit statement on the last page of the form mentions "brought to gaff", when only rarely will that be done with shore fish. Does that phrase have to be included?
I will try to give the draft another look within the next week, unless you have already heard more about it from me than you really wanted!
Best wishes, Larry

Hi Gil,

I think Larry makes some great points. I did intend to add scientific names to the reg's but decided to wait until there was more discussion on acceptable species. It's an important point, not just for areas overseas but even in California. What we call a black sea bass, or more commonly today a giant sea bass, is quite a different species from what people on the East Coast call a black sea bass.

Don't know why I didn't think about method of catch since it is such a basic question. I'm assuming we're talking hook and line only.

Also agree with his point about the change in complexity but it seems to be a necessary evil if we are going to have a record program like this.

Good comments/ideas, Ken

Date: August 6, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Vick
Subject: Fishing piers in far northern CA

Just found your spot, cool. I live inland (Redding) and only it to the coast one or two times a year. About the only type of fishing my wife likes is pier fishing, only we have had little luck finding many north of Eureka. Is your list in the reports complete? and does a pier need to be "posted" no fishing or fishing? I hate getting kicked out of places I didn't know I didn't belong.

Keep up the good work, Vick

Hi Vick,

No, my monthly report is not complete as far as all the piers in the state. Each month I get reports from about 50 piers while my book has 92 piers in it. Unfortunately, there aren't too many piers in the northern part of the state, at least not in the far northern part. There are four piers in Eureka, one just north of Eureka in Trinidad, and two in Crescent City. Those are really the only piers although there are a couple of small docks in coastal rivers -- the Klamath and Smith, but I don't believe they are too good for fishing.

As for posting, all of the northern piers in my book are open to the public although you need a license on the Trinidad Pier because it is private. There is one pier in Eureka that has "no fishing signs" (the Commercial Street Dock) but I have talked to the people that own the dock and they say fishing is allowed as long as the anglers are courteous and clean up after themselves. If in doubt, I always ask.

I really think the only place I would be concerned is if it was a very small dock (that looked like a private dock) or if there was obvious industrial activity going on that might not allow fishing. Even at the Citizen's Dock in Crescent City, where trucks are almost always moving in and out, and loaders are constantly moving around, I've never had to move or leave. I simply make sure to find a spot out of their way while I am fishing.

Wish I could help you out but there just aren't as many piers as I would like to see.

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Ken, Thank you for the informative reply. Again, I really enjoyed your website and look forward to visiting again in the future. When Mona and I make it to the coast again, I'll let you know how the fishing is. Vick

Thanks, Ken

Date: August 6, 1998
To: Bombermom
From: Ken Jones
Subject: Fishing Clubs

In an old message you wrote: Ken, do you know of any clubs that go fishing? I would love to go with other people who also can't get their families together. Perhaps there are some. Could you please let me know? Thanks, Trudy

And, I never really found out the answer to that question for you.

Perhaps you might check out PESCA. Several clubs are starting up with PESCA and they are devoted to shore/surf/pier fishing. One might be in your area (I'll try to find this out also). You might even consider starting one of your own. It's a good way to get a group of people together that have like interests in fishing.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: August 9, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Twins
Subject: Cabrillo Beach...a little late...

AUG. 1, 1998

Started fishing at 6:00 with mackerel rigs and bottom rigs. Finished fishing at noon -- all during high tide. ONLY ONE STINKING MACKEREL!!!! There were 5 of us with 10 lines in the water and we only nailed a single mackerel all day, and it wasn't even on a Mac rig. Oh well go figure...the fishing in Cabrillo is as unpredictable as a bull in a hurricane -- one day you get blanked, and the next you catch a million. Who knows...

Hi guys,

Doesn't sound like your trip to Cabrillo was too productive. However, things have got to pick up whenever it is that slow.

Best wishes and good fishin,'


Date: August 9, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Brian K
Subject: Fishing Report

You got Goleta and Gaviota piers mixed up this month. Don't feel bad, though. I live in the area and still do the same thing. As an added note, I've been to Goleta pier several times in the past week or two, both day and night, and seen very few fish being caught.

Hi Brian,

Actually my webmaster got them mixed up (and he was supposed to fix it) but thanks for the note -- and glad to see you're watching the report.

Best wishes and hope the fishin' is fine.

Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman


I check it often, always looking for information. Was at Goleta last night, very slow. A couple of macks on salted anchovy, and some kind of croaker with yellow fins were all.

Hi Brian,

Sounds like a yellowfin croaker -- although I've never caught one at the pier.

Good luck in your fishing, Ken

Date: August 10, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: TTsui
Subject: a report

Hey kjcapfish,

On Sunday, August 19 , 1998, at Pier 7 in San Francisco, I went fishing and I lost a lot of fish. I lost a 15-lb. striper, a 17-lb. halibut, and a 20-lb salmon all in one day. I did manage to catch a 6-lb pound striper and pull in a lot of kingfish. Fishing has been really good for many anglers. An angler pulled in 10-lb. striper and lost another. I recommend heavy enough tackle for the "Big One" and a net.

P.S. put this letter in the reports section in you web sight for August. Update your sight every week please. The reports are getting old.


Thanks for the information, I had been told it was "slow" down there. Unfortunately I have neither the time (full day+ of calls) nor money (phone calls/webmaster fees) to do this on a weekly basis -- sorry. Maybe someday when this site makes a profit.

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Date: August 11, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Mary C
Subject: Pier Fishing

Hello! Was wanting to know of any public piers between Albion and Fort Bragg area? We are new to California and read in the regs that you do not need a license to fish the public piers. True? Also, is crabbing still okay? We have two crab nets and will take them if its open. I appreciate your reply!

Hi Mary,

Unfortunately there aren't any public piers in the Albion to Fort Bragg area. Inside the entrance to the Albion river there are a few small boat docks (mostly floating) and the people there will generally let you crab off of them. Fishing however is not usually too good although occasionally people will catch perch, jacksmelt and bottom species like flounder.

In Fort Bragg you can fish off the jetty without a license as long as you are on the ocean side of the jetty (the bridge up above is considered the dividing line between freshwater and saltwater). There are a number of wharves and piers along the waterfront, and many will let you fish from them as long as you stay out of the way of the workers. However, the fishing is generally slow -- mostly shinerperch and staghorn sculpin. There is one pier that I think is a public pier; it is located next to the Noyo Mooring Basin. To get there, take Highway 20 to the South Harbor Dr., turn north and follow the road down to the parking lot and the pier. Fishing is generally slow at this pier also although there can be decent perch fishing in the spring and herring often make runs past the pier during the summer months. When the herring are running, snag line leaders can fill up a bucket.

Best wishes and hope you can find some fish,

Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my email! I appreciate it! Regarding Albion, you mentioned we might be able to crab off the docks. Could I trouble you with one more question? Is crabbing okay right now? When is the season? Thanks!!


I wish I could help you but I really don't do any crabbing. I know the piers in Eureka provide a lot of crabs during the summer months (can't keep them off my hooks) but I'm not sure if it would be the same at Albion.

Wish I could be of more help,


Date: August 11, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Mike M
Subject: Ocean Beach Pier

Do you have any information on the Ocean Beach Pier? I did not find any info on your web page. The Pier is located in San Diego, CA.

Hi Mike,

Wasn't there a report on the monthly Report Page? There should have been a report but I must admit I didn't check it after giving it to my webmaster. However, I haven't made it the Pier of the Month yet so you will not find too much information on the site.

The fishing down there was slow when I was there mid-month, but I was told it picked up just after I left. Mackerel, small perch, small croakers and some bass/sharks/rays. The usual.

It's open and a lot of fisherman are out there.

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Per Fisherman

Date: August 13, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Ben S
Subject: San Diego Piers

Hi Ken,

Went to Shelter Island Pier on Tuesday night from only 10-11. It was pretty dead. I was using strips of squid to see if I could hook a shark or ray, but nothing. Didn't see anyone else landing anything. Lots of people, no fish. Planning to go to Crystal Pier soon. Sounds good according to your website's report. I'll give it a shot. Good fishing to you.


Hi Ben,

I fished the piers while I was in San Diego; had the best success at the Embarcadero Pier and at the Ferry Landing Pier in Coronado. Also caught several kelp bass, although none were keepers, at the Shelter Island Pier.

Good fishing, Ken


I have a friend who has a crab net. Do you know of any places we could use it? I don't really care of the quality of the crabs, it would just be fun to catch them, even little ones. Please let me know if you know of any piers or places I could do that is SD. thanks.


Hi Ben,

Crystal Pier was doing pretty good at last report. As for crabs, none of the San Diego piers are really known for crabs. Sorry!

Best wishes, Ken

Date: August 14, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Bayan K
Subject: Help!!!

To whom it may concern:

I wanted to inquire on where the best sites to go fishing here in Northern California. I live in San Jose, about 40 minutes south of San Francisco, and I wanted to take a fishing or crabbing trip with my dad. We're both very new at this new hobby of ours and I've tried looking for places close to me for my dad and I to go to, but I just don't have much luck. I was wondering if you might be able to help us. Please e mail me at... Thank you very much for taking the time to read this e-mail and I hope to here from you soon...Thanks, again...

Hi Bayan,

A couple of spots that I've heard good reports on recently have been the Pacifica Pier and at Pier 7 in San Francisco. An angler reported hooking striped bass and salmon from Pier 7. I also got one good report from an angler who fishes Berkeley Pier at night.

Most of the piers in the main part of San Francisco bay should be producing at this time.

Another pier that seems to be doing o.k. is the pier at Capitola. However, the Santa Cruz Pier seems slow at this time.

Best of luck, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman


Thanks for getting back to me early! My dad and I will definitely try to hit those piers that you advise. Again, thanks...

Date: August 15, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Chris
Subject: reports


I've been fishing at Pier 7 and seeing anglers catch plenty of jacksmelt and few strippers, salmon , halibut landed near the end left corner. Anchovies are being caught. Mostly bat rays are being caught


Thanks for the information, I hope to be down there this week. By the way, would you like to be the regular reporter for the pier?

Best wishes, Ken

No sometimes I go to the pier and sometimes not. I go to different piers like McNear Beach, Half Moon Bay, Pier 7, Berkeley Pier, Pacifica, etc.

bye now

Chris, Thanks for the report and keep them coming.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: August 16, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Gil Sperry
Subject: PESCA Record Regulations

In a message dated 8/15/98, John D writes: Ken has done an excellent job in putting this info. together and it will provide us with a good model to work with. I really agree with the reference to the proletariat fisherman. Ken is right on the mark when he states "How do we set up rules that insure honesty and give validity to the records without becoming bureaucratic and overbearing." If not designed correctly disastrous results are guaranteed. A fishing club that I belong to (no names shall be mentioned) has just about lost its reputation because of this. Simplicity is what we need to keep in mind. "KISS".

Matt F..... has some past experience working with the IGFA on a similar project and has some very good ideas. Let's get him involved in helping out.

Here are a few fish to add to the list: Corvina (orangemouth and Shortfin), Sheephead, Saltwater Sturgeon, Sierra, Talipia, other Trevally, Tuna (sooner or later some will have to added) and White Seabass.

We're getting closer...


Date: August 16, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Tom
Subject: Fishing

Hey, this a pretty cool web page. I'm hoping to find some good fishing spots in Huntington Beach -- my local fishing grounds. Do you know where the fish are? Have GPS, will travel. By the way, is that the fish I see atop the yummy Crab Cooker restaurant? When the fish aren't hittin', I find them there. Thanks for the page.


I can only tell you that the spot to go in Huntington Beach is the pier but evidently the fish have been in one day and out the next.

Yes, that is the Crab Cooker Restaurant in Newport Beach! It's one of my favorite restaurants and I've been going there for the past 30 years. By the way, since you're the first person to identify it from the Games 'n Things Page, you win a free book. Send me your e-mail address and I'll send it down.

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Ken, thanks for the fishing spot tip. I just went pier fishing Sunday and caught a bunch of mackerel. A lady I met there said she marinates them overnight in soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic and then smokes them. Wow, I'm surprised to be the first to identify the Crab Cooker! It is truly a landmark. My wife and I go for the chowder. Thank you for the book, I'm eager to check it out. My mailing address is 19282 Salmon Lane, Huntington Beach, California, 92646. Good fishing to you!

Date: August 16, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Mike M
Subject: Games Page

Hi Ken,

Thanks for using my pic on the game page..By the way, that page looks great and is very interesting..I enjoyed the black sea bass article..It reminded me of some of my fish stories (in my dreams) and definitely the stories expounded by a few of my friends...

I haven't fished very much this summer..once in the ocean with very limited success out of Albion...

I was in the southland last week -- didn't fish, but I visited Seal Beach Pier and Huntington Beach ...Took a few pics--I'll send them your way this week..

Thanks again Ken,


Hi Mike,

Thanks for the comments. I'm having trouble going fishing too, every time I get set to go something seems to come up.


Date: August 17, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Gil Sperry
Subject: More comments on record rules

Dear Gil:
I have come up with a few more comments concerning the proposed PESCA rules for record fish. Some things may seem petty, but as I mentioned to you in my last letter, I had many years helping to adjudicate disputes about names of bacteria, and it is amazing how intense the disputes can get between supposedly mature and rational scientists. There are two main categories of conflict. One is when someone wants to add a new name, and, if the rules seem to deny the claim, the individual can get pretty unhappy. The other is when a new name is proposed to replace an older one for some technical reason, and then the person who first applied the older name gets mad if it is replaced. It is a matter of trying to achieve some level of immortality in the textbooks. I suspect exactly the same problems come up when individuals are trying to establish fish records. The claimant of a new one can get mad when the committee rules against him, and the holder of an old one can get mad if he feels that proper application of the rules should not have permitted the new one to displace him. So the rules have to be pretty clear, or you get into a lot of time consuming hassles. This introduction is longer than my actual comments.
First, the proposed rules say only fish caught from shore or pier qualify, and a boat disqualifies. Is a fixed dock a pier? Is a floating dock moored at the shore a pier? Is a moored floating dock in a bay or lake OK? A moored barge? It's a pain in the butt, but the definition has to be clear.
As I mentioned last time, I assumed hooked fish were the only ones qualified, not speared or caught in throw nets. If so, some distinction should be made between a net used to catch a fish, and a hand net or a net on a rope that may be used to help land a fish that has been hooked and fought up to the shore or pier.
Are rod and reel required, or is handlining OK?
I don't know if this is at all important, but I note that steelhead trout and shad are in the freshwater list, and striped bass and salmon in the saltwater, when all of these fish can be caught in both fresh and saltwater. Should they appear in both to avoid questions, or would there be any reason to have separate records for each category?
I am not a freshwater fisherman, but it seems to me that there is not much difference between shore and boat fishing in freshwater, i.e. the target species and methods are much the same. On the other hand, I think there is really a big difference between surf fishing and fishing from a boat in salt water in terms of dominant target species and to some extent in types of tackle used, and even the psychology of the practitioner. Are one-size-fits-all rules for fresh and salt the way to go, or should separate systems be developed for fresh and salt? It seems to me that the target audience for your TV series has been the salt water surf fisherman. I couldn't get excited about the one on catching crappie through cracks in the dock at (I think) Irvine Lake. And, of course, there are plenty of clubs specializing in stream fishing, and plenty of TV programs about fresh water fly fishing.
I especially enjoyed the last couple of weeks' programs on fishing for jack crevalle and roosterfish near Cabo. Unfortunately I always have to leave the house a little before the end of these programs, so I do not know how they close, but I would like to see a little discussion about the types
of lures, and where appropriate, bait and end tackle rigging for surf in each of the featured locations.
I look forward to hearing of progress in setting up an Orange County chapter of PESCA.
Best wishes,
Larry W

Date: August 22, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Dwight H
Subject: Pier Fishing

Hey Ken,

I just got back from fishing Pismo Beach Pier and Fort Baker!

At Pismo Beach...I caught 27 barred surfperch and about a dozen smelt and mackerel! Of which, four of the perch were nice enough to bring back to the camp for a fish fry! I caught all of them on cut anchovies!

At Fort Baker...things were different. I caught one rather large rubberlip perch and a skate...but what really irks me is that I had three HUGE unknown fish fight with me for a while and subsequently snap my line! The first one was like a large wave of fish that just took my bait and snapped my line! The second one, I fought for a good while...running up and down the pier in order to keep up with it...and then IT happened! The third one was ferocious! I don't think I've ever had anything on that big before! But after a few seconds of fish wrestling, that one too got away! Ugh...I"M SO PI....!!! It's time for Dwight to head to the sports shop and buy super thick fishing line and head back out there! I was using anchovies. Any idea what it could've been?


Hi Dwight,

It's hard to say. Where were you fishing and with what? If you were fishing the top it might have been a salmon -- although it doesn't really sound like it. Could have been a large lingcod, halibut, shark, skate or bat ray if you were on the bottom. Don't forget that some of the big skates and bat rays that are so common get up over two hundred pounds in weight. And, there are some local 7-gill sharks that weigh in at several hundred pounds. Lastly, don't forget that the Golden Gate is great white shark territory -- although I've never heard of any being caught at the local piers. However, if a big one hit I don't imagine many anglers would have the tackle to land it. They would just have a memory of something big taking out their line. Sound familiar?

It does sound both exciting and frustrating.

Hope the next time you are able to land the fish.

Best, Ken

I was fishing at night with anchovies...close to the rocks. I'm going back on Friday, this time better equipped! Heh heh, heavier line, appropriate drag, unbreakable hooks! BWA HA HA!!!


Date: August 22, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Tom B
Subject: Vallejo's "pier"

The Vallejo waterfront, from the public ramp to the marina (seawall, concrete walkway with metal railing, benches, and bait cutting pads) is now the designated "public fishing pier" in Vallejo. Haven't fished in years but went there twice this week. Six stripers to 12 inches one day and three the next, all on anchovies. Fished mid-day, about two hours each time.

Hi Tom,

Do you know if there are any plans at all to rebuild a pier down near the old location? Also, any plans in the area to convert wharves or piers on Mare Island into fishing piers?

If not, I guess I'll have to check out the seawall and figure out if it qualifies as a pier.

Best wishes and thanks for the information, Ken Jones, The Per Fisherman

Date: August 23, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Michael C
Subject: How do you land big fish from a pier?

I will be going to Santa Cruz next weekend, my son is getting married. Will probably do some fishing at the concrete boat in Aptos. What is the best bait or lure and how do you land a large fish from a pier?

Hi Mike,

The answer for your first question depends on the fish you are seeking. I advise you to check with the two tackle shops on the wharf and see what is hitting -- along with the appropriate bait. As for landing the fish, basically you have two choices. One method is to use a net which can be dropped down to the water and then the fish is worked into the net. The second option is a treble hook gaff which is attached to heavy line and then lowered into the water where you snag the fish. For most fish, and especially any in which you need to check the size before keeping it, a net would be preferable.

Best wishes and let me know how you do,

Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Date: August 24, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Ramiro V
Subject: fishing tips

Hi, I just recently picked up the bug for fishing. I have gone fishing five times off of Newport and Huntington Beach Pier in the last 3 weeks. I've only been able to catch 2 small fish in that time. I've used blood worms, sardines, and squid as bait. I know this sport takes patience and luck but when I'm out there other people fishing seem to be luckier than me...much, much luckier. My questions are what type and what size of hooks should I use, how should I tie them to my line, how big of bait should I use, what size of line should I use, when is the best time to fish off the piers, and should I use floaters? I know these are a bunch of questions but I any info would be greatly appreciated.... Thanks

Hi Ramiro,

Your questions are a little hard to answer because hooks, line, etc. all depend upon the kinds of fish you are seeking and the conditions you are fishing. As a general rule, I use fairly small hooks (size 6-2) and fairly small pieces of bait. It depends upon the type of fish you are catching. The same with floats -- you really don't need them most of the time but they sometimes work great on fish like mackerel. The best teacher is one of the regulars at the pier and I have found that most regulars are very happy to answer questions and show you what to do if you ask them. If they aren't helpful (and I will be very surprised if they aren't) then check out my book at a library for more detailed information -- or see my merchandise page. I try to give some tips each month on my pier page but the book has much, much more information.

Also remember that it takes time to become good at almost anything. When I began to learn to fish at Newport Pier it took me several months to begin to understand the basics needed to become proficient.

Best of luck and let me know how you do, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Date: August 25, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Patric Sheldon
Subject: F.Y.I.

While on-line I hit your site and enjoyed my short visit...I will be back!

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Flying Fisherman sunglasses have been sold world wide since 1985 and our customers will attest to the quality and value of our product. Located in Islamorada, in the Florida Keys, we know the fishing and boating industry well and pride ourselves on quality products, excellent customer service and great prices.

If you don't already know about us...please visit our web site at to see our on-line product catalog.

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Date: August 25, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Takeshi K
Subject: Fishing

My name is TAKESHI K...... I am a foreign student from Japan. Nice to see you! I heard about you from MILIAN H..... who is my English teacher in SSU English school .You like fishing, right? I go fishing in Clear Lake, Lake Sonoma, Russian River and SF BAY. I like every kind of fishing. Yesterday, I went fishing in SF BAY, and caught a striper and rock fish. If you have time, please contact with me and lets go fishing together. I want every kind of fishing experience. Please keep in touch. Thank you .


Hi Takeshi,

Thank you for your letter, I'm always glad to hear from a fellow angler. Perhaps we can get together at some point to go fishing but right now I am extremely busy. School is starting up and it will have most of my attention (but not all) for the near future.

Sounds like you have tried most of the local hot spots and you should have gotten a good taste for what fishing is like in the Redwood Empire. Perhaps this winter you will be able to try out the steelhead fishing and certainly you should try out some pier fishing. There are several piers in the Bodega Bay area and an excellent pier (at times) in Point Arena. Currently anglers are also catching a lot of nice fish at the Paradise Beach Pier near Tiburon and Pier 7 in San Francisco. There are a lot of places to try and simply not enough time.

Keep in touch and maybe some day we can go out.

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

PS -- I had a Japanese foreign exchange student at my house two years ago. Her name was Kimiko, I consider her a daughter, and you can see her picture on my web page if you check out the striped seaperch page in the archives section. I taught her how to pier fish.

Date: August 27, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Matt O
Subject: Ventura pier

This pier was pretty slow but I saw a few maybe keeper barracuda I caught two sand bass on live anchovies and one halibut (released) on smelt or herring. Thanks for your time, and I hope this helps you


Matt O


Thanks for the report and I will put it in the Sept. report.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: August 28, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Matt Shockney
Subject: Fishing?

Hey Ken, how goes the fishing? Sorry I haven't been able to mail you for a while. I haven't done too much pier fishing lately because of the weather and conditions we've been having. I rode my bike down to the Pillar Point "disaster" (some people are really abusing the pier!) and just saw the usual bucket load of kingfish perch and those feisty little smelt. I called the bait shop at Pacifica the other day and it has been slower than traffic on the San Mateo bridge on a busy Saturday. One guy did catch a 15 pound striper from the surf right next to the pier (of course) so I canceled that trip. I think the El Nino is teaching us a lesson. Well tell me how your angling adventures have been.


Hi Matt,

Wondered what happened to your messages -- and apologize for not writing you a letter or sending your pictures back yet. I've been very, very busy trying to get ready for school and was also gone for a period of time. By the way, I was down in the Bay Area last week and planned to go to Pacifica until I heard of the poor fishing. I did go to Pier 7 and had some decent fishing (and saw a couple of nice halibut caught). Also went to Oyster Point where I landed some big jacksmelt and saw one 7-gill shark landed. Was told they are catching a LOT of striped bass at the pier at night. Unfortunately, there was also a lot of moss in the water which made it hard to fish on the incoming tide. Also hear fishing at Fort Mason has been pretty good.

Best wishes, Ken Jones

Date: August 28, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Russell Grossbard
Subject: Crystal Pier

Hi Ken,

This last month has been a up and down one with a 4 1/2 ft leopard shark being caught on a whole mackerel by SAM the shark man on 8/8/98. I too was lucky and caught a 23 1/2 inch halibut on a small live mackerel. There were a lot of people caching mackerel and smelt at the end of the pier. The shark was caught at the end of the pier and the halibut was almost at the end as well. In the mid-section, there were a lot of croaker being taken on squid/shrimp/blood worms. On 8/12/98, I caught a 18-inch halibut which I returned; after that I didn't have any more luck. The bait shop informed me that someone had caught a 35-lb bat ray early that week and that there hadn't been much action other than the ray. On 8/14/98 I was back at the pier hunting that allusive big halibut but I didn't have any luck. But there was a lot of people having luck with mackerel and smelt, and one person caught a nice 14-inch bass off the end of the pier. There were a lot of thornbacks being caught as well. Down in the mid-section there wasn't a lot going on as most of the fishermen and women were at the end, and ever since the Fish and Game has been coming down there hasn't been as many fisher men & women on the pier. On 8/22/98 I was back down and this time I was lucky and I caught a 19-inch halibut which was released. There were a lot of shovelnose sharks caught and most of them were released. There were some small striped perch being caught at the end of the pier and a lot of yes mackerel and smelt.

well that's all there is for now; I'll be in touch soon!!
cheers Russell grossbard .

Hi Russell,

Thanks for the report and wish I were down there.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: August 29, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Mark A Grim
Subject: Monthy report

Hi Ken,

Here's my report for this month.

ANTIOCH BRIDGE PIER -- Fishing here is a bit slower compared to last month. Stripers are still
biting on frozen anchovies and shad -- but seem to be smaller in size and the wait between bites is longer. Catfish have begun biting on anchovies or sardines. I've heard that a few fairly large ones have been caught. One fisherman on the pier had hooked a catfish that was large enough to look like a salmon as it was fighting.

CITY OF ANTIOCH PIER -- Fishing continues to be slow here. I was able to catch 2 small stripers
during a one hour visit to this pier. I was using frozen anchovies and casting out from the east end of the pier.

CITY OF BENICIA PIER -- Fishermen have had some luck catching stripers here recently. They are
biting on frozen anchovies, shad, or pile worms. One successful angler told me that he uses pile worms because only the larger stripers will bit at them and you don't waste your time catching and releasing all those small ones.

Hi Mark,

Missed seeing you down at Antioch.

Best wishes and thanks again, Ken

Date: August 29, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Cary Gatchet
Subject: Long time no email

HI Ken,

Well last weekend I did some fishing out in Antioch, at the pier. There sure were a lot of bites, unfortunately just little striped bass for my self. At the beginning of the pier, I saw a 7 year old boy catch a good 5 pound catfish, and towards the end of the pier, a poor angular lost a very nice cod due to his lack in bringing a net. I tried to fish at the Dumbarton pier at the beginning of the month, but it was closed down. The sign read that it was going to reopen on 8/31/98. Apparently this was due to some sort of shoreline bird, and the effort in trying to leave it alone, from the general public. I hope I hear from you soon, and enjoy your weekend. Again sorry for the late response, works just so hectic. I'll get in touch with you later, and let you know where the fish are at.

Cary Gatchet


I know what you mean by the heavy workload. Just be thankful that you could get out for a few hours. By the way, I hear anglers are catching a lot of striped bass at the Oyster Point Pier -- but mainly at night. Went there the other but only got some nice sized jacksmelt. Incoming tides were tough because they brought in a lot of moss but as said, the regulars told me they were limiting out on big bass at night.

Enjoy the fishing when you can get out, Ken

Hey Ken.

Thanks for the info, I have never fished out there, maybe next weekend I'll give it a try. Enjoy your weekend.


Date: August 30, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Zorro
Subject: Gaviota

I was only able Fish Gaviota on the third of August. Fishing was fair with a little of everything except Halibut. The only excitement was a guy who hooked a BIG bonito. The fish went out to sea like a rocket and went airborne twice. Just when it looked like the guy would land it, it did an about face and went under the pier and cut him off.

If he had a fast retrieve reel, and no stretch line he might have been able to take up the slack fast enough to land it. That is why I use spinning reels and spider wire, the nasty under the pier maneuver.

All I caught was 3 mackerel and 4 smelt, the halibut line drew a zero.

The pier is still only half open.

Any Threshers reported this month? There was a 100 Pounder out at Morro bay last month but I did not catch it. I have not caught one this year.

I guess I need to target them specifically I might go down to Pismo tonight and give it a dedicated try.

Date: August 31, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Audrey
Subject: Huntington Beach Pier

Hey Ken,

This past month has been fairly slow going in terms of big fish. We've had to enjoy catching the little ones- like sardines, little mackerel, smelts, and occasionally, grunion and small perches.

Today and yesterday, the red tide was in, so the fishing got even worse. Not much to write about.


Hi Audrey,

Sorry things are so slow. Maybe the big one is on the way?

Best wishes, Ken