Visitor Comments and Letters - November '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

Date: November 4, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: David Almanza
Subject: Balboa Pier

This is a great WEB page! I notice, however, that you don't list the Balboa Beach pier. How come?

-D "....and life limped along at sub-sonic speeds."

Hi David,

Thanks for your kind comments!

As for Balboa, I simply don't have a reporter for the pier at this time. Do you know anyone that might be a regular that would be willing to send me a report each month?

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman


Unfortunately, no. I've just started to gear up to begin surf fishing, but haven't been able to get started yet. I just bought a rod and reel a week and a half ago. I did finally manage to throw a line in the water on Saturday, though. I was right by the Balboa Pier, just on the north side. I wasn't fishing very long, but managed to pull in two fish. I think they were some kind of smelt. I've been trying to get some information on what the different species are that I am likely to haul in. That's how I happened to be on your page the other day. I plan on surf fishing more often now that I have my gear. I'll let you know if I meet any Balboa Pier regulars that might want to give you reports. By the way, do you know of any pages on the WEB that specialize in surf fishing, or might help me in
identifying the different species I am likely to encounter in So. Cal.?


-Dave "....and life limped along at sub-sonic speeds."

Date: November 5, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Mike Reid
Subject: Mackerel?

I fished off the Huntington beach pier for the first time to try to catch mackerel for when I go to the lake and catch catfish. I had no luck. What is a good rig setup to catch mackerel? Thanks

Hi Mike,

Almost any thing will work when they're in a biting mood (and a school has to be around). The most basic outfit is to simply tie a size 4-2 hook on the end of your line with a split shot sinker a few feet up your line. Use a small piece of bloody mackerel or a small strip of squid for bait and fish it just under the surface of the water. A second outfit that is very productive when they're in a biting mood is a Lucky Lura type bait rig -- it will often catch mackerel 3-4 at a time. I imagine the mackerel simply weren't around when you tried the pier (and the best time is often right at dusk when the sun is beginning to set).

Best wishes,


Date: November 6, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Gil Sperry
Subject: Archives

I'm a first time visitor to your site, Ken, who is very impressed and for a variety of reasons. A little over a year ago, after being "downsized", I was soothing my psyche down in Cabo San Lucas and met a very interesting young man by the name of Jeff Klassen. Jeff's specialty is fishing with both feet on the ground(which, of course, includes pier fishing). He currently holds seven IGFA world records(all set from the surf and/or shore) and has an 8th one pending (34 lb. snook on 8 lb. test), all with lures he designs and builds in his shop. To make a long story short, the old timer (me) and the kid (him) got together and planned an organization called PESCA (Professional Surf and Shore Casters Association) and moved forward. Our Mission Statement is to unite all those who participate in the original, purest, and most common form of recreational sportfishing To date, we have had our first series of shows called "Surf and Shore Fishing the World" picked up by ESPN 2 (will begin to air in April of '98) and have just started to sign on members (you can get more details on our We definitely want to do a show on pier fishing (Pete Thomas of the LA Times suggested the "combat fishing" for salmon after July 4th at Pacifica) and would definitely like to get your expert opinion. I'd also like you to consider being the "local guide" on the show when we "shoot" it. Suffice it to say, I wanted to make the initial contact now and discuss how we can talk (via e-mail or in person) in the near future. Keep up the good work.

Gil Sperry

P.S. We just moved to San Clemente after living in Rancho Palos Verdes(between Redondo Beach and San Pedro) for 31 years. I'll be sure to check out some of your Southern Orange County reports soon..

Hi Gil,

Sounds interesting! Let me know what you have in mind; I'm generally available.

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

After "punching up" the Pacifica Pier in your Archives, I'll let you make the call when and where (we might actually be able to do a show featuring the different types of pier fishing available in the state, sort of an overview of what your book does in great detail). Wonderful Web site, Ken!

Sincerely, Gil Sperry

Date: November 6, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Ben Szu
Subject: hello

Ken, I have a question for you. Does any company make conventional cast reels where you reel with your left hand and hold the rod with your right? I really want to get a conventional cast reel, but I like using my stronger arm (my right) to hold the rod and crank with my left. All I've seen in my experience are people holding the rods with their left and cranking with their right. This is the only thing holding me back in investing in a conventional reel. I saw in the Penn Reels catalog a convertible crank, but I don't know how that works or if it's any good. I really want a conventional reel, but am only comfortable with cranking with my left, which forces me to use only spin so far. Can you help me? Thanks.


Hi Ben,

There are several different brands that allow you to convert from a left handed to a right handed handle. I suggest you go down to a good bait and tackle shop and ask; they should be able to help you out.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: November 8, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Scott Low
Subject: Thanks

Hi Ken, it's Scott Low again.

Well the time is drawing near and my family and l are looking forward to our vacation! We fly out Thursday, stay overnight in Vegas, drive out to Carlsbad Saturday morning. Is there any night pier fishing at Oceanside ? Don't know if l will have the energy Saturday evening but l can't wait to
drop a line in the water !

Thanks for all your assistance, you have been most informative. We plan to dine at that restaurant you mentioned at the end of the pier [Ruby's]. Also we might go to the "zoo" that has a more natural habitat, that you mentioned.

I decided to bring my rods and reels in my travel case. l hope l do not get "tackled" by the R.C.M.P at the Toronto airport, the case looks like a gun case !

When l get back l will e-mail you to let you know if l caught a 91 lb albacore. If l only snag a 6" sardine l hope you won't mind if a pull a fisherman's
story and tell you it was 45 lb sardine !After reading "the old man and the sea" way back when, l tend to, well lets just say, stretch the truth a "trifle".

Well again thanks Ken. If you have any hot fish or weather news between now and Thursday afternoon please drop me a "line" [har har !].

Take care, your fellow fisherman [minus the "SALT"] Scott Low.

Hi Scott,

Just to let you know, yes there is night fishing at the Oceanside Pier although the primary species at night are sharks and rays. However, if the weather is warm, night fishing is a great experience. And, I hope you do catch that 45-pound something. By the way, I've never had trouble taking tackle on planes.

Best wishes and I hope the entire family has a great trip.


Date: November 10, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Tom Tran
Subject: Help


I was looking through your great web site, which is very helpful, and I was just wondering if you know when the Cabrillo Beach pier will be open. Although I live in San Pedro, no one seems to know when the thing will be open. I tried asking L.A. Dept. of Parks and they are not responding. Anyway I was just wondering if you would know. Surf fishermen there are catching huge macks and plenty of bull Calicos down in the breakwater, if you wanted to know. The problem at this place is that it is very polluted and dirty, but it does offer plenty of action with very, very big macks. Anyhow, if you do know when Cabrillo pier will be open please let me know when... please!!! Thank you very much.

Tom Tran

Hi Tom,

Thanks for your kind comments. I'm really not too sure about Cabrillo. I was down there in August and it was closed but the sign said it would reopen in October -- but, I haven't heard any reports on if it is open yet. I imagine it should be open any time.

Let me know if you find out (and I'm looking for a reporter for the pier).

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Mr. Jones,

Just today (November 16) I went to Cabrillo pier and it was open! This is great isn't it ? Problem is, I caught nothing, not even a freeking bait fish. I saw some people catching huge sargo and I think opaleye, and an old man caught a 19-inch halibut and kept it. I hate that, stupid people keeping undersized fish and knowingly keeping it. I would have called DFG but there was no phone. That kinda sucks to, the pier is totally boring: no phone, no lights, and no freeking bathroom. Just as you said in your book the pier is totally out of funds. The only "new" thing in the pier is that they got rid of that old shack and put some new cement and new rod holders. The only good thing about the pier is that it actually allows fishermen to do overhand, vital the conventional reels. Anyway thought you wanted to know. K.I.T.

P.S., If you ever go to Cabrillo to fish please contact me I'd like to meet you.


Thanks for the report and I'll let you know when I'll be down there.


Date: November 10, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Mike Watson
Subject: Your Web Site

I would like to add a link to your site on my Web Site if you don't mind.

Thanks, Mike
Bay Area Regional Fishermen
Dedicated to Saltwater Fishing and Saltwater Fishing Boats of the Monterey Bay Area, Halfmoon Bay Area, San Francisco Bay Area and the Surrounding Ocean.

Hi Mike,

No problem! Do you mind if I also link to your site?

Thanks, and I would be honored to have a link on your site. Your book was a true fishing inspiration and was influential in changing me from freshwater to saltwater. It all went crazy from that point on...

Hmmm... So actually it is YOUR fault! I have spent a fortune on lures, tackle, boats, gas....... Just kidding!

Hi Mike,

Well, I know I've spent a fortune on tackle and lures. It certainly isn't too hard given all the new stuff that comes out. Funny though, I still catch most of my fish on the old basics.

Oh well,

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman (I get too seasick to go out more than a few times a year -- and NOTHING gives me complete protection).


That is true. One of the "HOT" Albacore lures is the Cedar Plug, which is not much more than a piece of broom handle with a hook on the end. The "Natural" Cedar Plug isn't even painted. This is pretty ancient fishing technology, but works consistently.

There are three types of fishermen, those who never get sick, those who build up a tolerance, and those that will always get sick. I am the second kind and hardly ever get sick anymore. I have a friend who is the third kind. No matter what he does he gets sick. Too bad.

Date: November 15, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: David Ralin
Subject: Venice Pier

Any and all: What's doin' at Venice? Rumor has it that it's like a fresh gold strike since the unofficial re-opening. Some coverage would be appreciated.


Hi David,

Wish I had a reporter for the pier, but I don't -- do you know anyone who would have the information? It should be fantastic when it opens!

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Date: November 20, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Matt Shockney
Subject: Hello fellow pier rats.

Hi, my name is Matt. I am a 14 year old freshman in high school who just started to fish piers about a month ago and I love it! Now I go every weekend and day off of school I can., I live in Montara, close to Pillar Point Pier and Pacifica Pier. It all started when my friends and I tried crabbing at Pillar Point Pier. We caught a few big ones but not many. Then we tried Pacifica Pier. Our main focus was crabbing but then, I lowered my fresh-salt rod into the water and caught a big-ass bullhead. It was cool. I started to focus more on fishing. Now I fish and catch jacksmelt, perch, croaker and every once in a while a sea trout. Once, me and my friend caught 30 fish and ate them all. To get to the point, I just wanted to say that I would be a reporter for the Pillar Point Pier but a storm drain just off it has been reported to be leaking dangerous bacteria and so I don't go there any more. Oh, I also have a question. It is Thursday and I am going to Pacifica Pier Saturday, and I have heard a lot about some rig named the Lucky Lura? I would just like to know what it is and how it is rigged (Length of leaders, bait, bobbers etc.) Anyway, I'll stop wasting your time but would greatly appreciate it if you could send a response as soon as possible. Thanks!

Hi Matt,

Sorry I didn't get back to you before Saturday but I've been gone a couple of days.

As for your question. Lucky Lura rigs are simply bait rigs which contain anywhere from four to six small hooks. Lucky Lura is simply the name of one type of bait rig but there are several different brands which are all fairly similar; some have colored beads, some have flashy plastic strips, and some have fish skin reflectors. All of these are excellent for catching certain species of perch and are absolutely great for catching species like Pacific mackerel and jack mackerel. They will also take jacksmelt but small hooks baited with pile worms are better. As for how to use these rigs, that is simple. They are pre-made leaders and usually have a snap-swivel at one end and a swivel at the other end. Attach the swivel to your line and attach the snap to a light sinker (I use a one or two ounce sinker depending upon the outfit I'm using and the wind/wave conditions).

For species like jacksmelt, a bobber/float attached a couple of feet above the rig keeps it at the right depth in the water. For mackerel, perch, and most other fish I don't use a float. I cast out and reel in slowly until I find where the fish are at. Then cast and retrieve, cast and retrieve. The key is usually to keep the rigging in motion. Perch need very little action and sometimes like a hook sweetened with a piece of pile worm (silvers) or anchovy (walleye). Mackerel also like a hook sweetened with a piece of bait but like a faster retrieve. Do be careful, if you get a leader with size 8 or 6 hooks for the perch then you don't want to use a very large piece of bait.

These bait rigs are found at almost every tackle store and are probably the most common rigging used by light tackle anglers at piers. Unfortunately, they've been so successful that too many small fish are being kept.

Matt, you can be the reporter for the Piller Point Pier if you fish the pier. I'm looking for what is biting, what the fish are hitting on, any unusual catches you see, and information such as that about the leaking pipes. Let me know. Also, are people allowed to fish from the Johnson Pier any more?

Lastly, send me your reports about Pacifica. I already have a reporter but will include your messages if useful. Also, send me pictures of fish you catch for our pictures page. You can e-mail the pictures if you have a scanner. If you don't have a scanner, send the pictures to me at the following address (and I'll return them after I scan them):

The Pier Fisherman
P.O. Box 529
Boonville, CA 95415

By the way, I need reports by the last week of each month so that I can write out the reports and have my webmaster post them.

Best wishes and continued good fishing,

Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Hey Ken!

Well, thanks for informing me about the Lucky Luras, Ill be sure to look for them in tackle shops. Anyway, I went to Pacifica Pier yesterday and man it was nice. There wasn't a wave in the ocean. Not even swells were building. The ocean was as flat as ice. It was great. No other fisherman out there were getting snagged or anything. My friends and I arrived at 9:00 and left at 5:00. In all, we caught about 50-60 fish but we let a lot go because we didn't intend on eating that much. Here is my fishing report for Pacifica Pier:

Fish caught: Sand dabs ( a lot, everyone had them in their buckets) Kingfish, Jacksmelt, perch (looked tropical because of colors). Unusual catches: Big 2-3 ft. Leopard shark Weather: Because of the storms we've been having, It would normally be quite rough but today was an exception.

Pier status: After people kept on seeing our numerous catches, many anglers started to pile up near the end of the pier where we were.

Crabbing status: Okay crabbing. Some huge Dungeness crabs But that was it. We caught one big rock crab in our net and I ate it last night for dinner.

Missing: Striped Bass, anchovies, smelt and other types of perch.

Other: My friends and I were the only ones on the whole pier to catch jacksmelt and more than two kingfish. We caught em off of pile and bloodworms and squid tentacles

Got to go golfing. I'll mail you back soon though. Hope to get a response.


Hi Matt,

Thanks for the report and it will be included in the December report.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: November 17, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Kevin Cheung
Subject: Flounder, sole, sanddabs and more?

Hi Ken,
I have some questions regarding the identification of Flounders. How can I identify a small California flounder from a sole or a sanddab or a starry flounder? What are the differences between a California flounder, sand sole, sanddab and starry flounder? Other than the California flounder, sole, sanddabs, and starry flounders have no size regulations. I am worried about catching a decent size flatfish without knowing if I have caught an undersized California flounder.
I hope you can help me to solve this puzzle. I have browsed around the web to try to find something to help me. Unfortunately, there isn't much available out there to help me.
So, I am counting on your expertise.

Looking forward to hear from you!


Hi Kevin,

I think I can help you by copying some information to you from my book. However, it would probably pay to buy an identification book at some point. Did you look in my book? I just looked, and it seems fairly clear on the different flatfish (the pictures should be acceptable to your needs).

Anyway, here are some text descriptions:

California Halibut

Species: Paralichthys californicus; from the Greek word paralichthys (parallel fish) and californicus (Californian) -- a California fish that lies parallel to the bottom.

Alternate Names: Halibut, flounder, flattie (or flatty), chicken halibut, alabato, Monterey halibut, fly swatter (small halibut); extra large halibut, rarely seen on piers, are called barn doors.

Identification: California halibut are in the left-eye flounder family, although nearly half of these fish are right-eyed. Halibut are noted for their sharp teeth, a large squarish shaped mouth, and a high arch in the lateral line above the pectoral fin. Their coloring is normally white or yellowish on the blind side and a muddy brown on the colored side. Often there is splotching or even white spots on the colored side, especially in smaller fish.

Size: To 60 inches and 72 pounds; most caught off piers are under 24 inches.

Gulf of California, and from Magdalena Bay, Baja, California to Quillayute River, British Columbia (although one source says only to Alsea, Oregon).

Habitat: Shallow-water, sandy-shore areas, oceanfront and in bays.

Piers: Most common at oceanfront piers. Best bets: Crystal Pier, Oceanside Pier, Redondo Beach Pier, Hermosa Beach Pier, Goleta Pier and Cayucos Pier. A few are caught each year at Monterey Bay Piers such as Capitola and Seacliff. An increasing number in the '90s have been caught at Pacifica, and at San Francisco Bay piers such as Berkeley Pier and Candlestick Point Pier.

Bait and Tackle:
By far, the best bait for California Halibut is a live bait, preferably a live anchovy. However, since fewer and fewer piers have live anchovies, the next best bait is a live bait caught by the angler. Small queenfish make excellent bait as well as small white croaker, topsmelt, jacksmelt, California butterfish and shinerperch. Whichever bait is used, the key is to keep it lively and keep it near the bottom. A sliding live bait leader works fine, especially with a small slip-on sinker added to get the bait near the bottom. Another approach is to tie a snap-swivel to the end of the line with a hollow-center egg sinker directly above the swivel. Then attach a three to four foot leader with size 2 to 4 hooks to the snap. High/low leaders can also be used but are far less effective unless the angler keeps his line in motion. Some regulars "drag" or "troll" for halibut; they put a long-shanked hook into a headless anchovy and then walk slowly along the edge of the pier pulling the line behind them. If the pier is crowded, they will cast out and retrieve slowly. In either case, be alert for the soft mouthing of the halibut. Halibut will hit cut bait -- including anchovies, mackerel, sardine and even squid -- just be sure to keep the bait in motion. Halibut can also be caught on artificials. Lures like scroungers should be cast out, allowed to settle to the bottom, and then given a slow to moderate retrieve. Halibut will often follow the lure almost to the surface before striking, so be prepared.

Sand Sole

Species: Psettichthys melanostictus; from the Greek words psetta (flounder), ichthys (fish), melas (black) and stictos (specks).

Alternate Names: Halibut.

Identification: Most easily identified by the fact that the first four to five dorsal rays are long and free (seemingly disconnected). Their coloring is generally gray to tan above with light speckling.

Size: To 21 inches; most caught off piers are under 16 inches.

Port Hueneme to the Gulf of Alaska.

Habitat: Shallow-water areas, both sandy shore and rocky shore.

Primarily landed at piers from Monterey Bay north. Best bets: Seacliff State Beach Pier, Santa Cruz Wharf, Pacifica Pier, Candlestick State Park Pier, Berkeley Pier, Point Pinole Pier, Fort Baker Pier, Del Norte Street Pier in Eureka and the "B" Street Pier in Crescent City.

Bait and Tackle:
Generally taken on cut bait such as anchovy, sardine or squid. Live grass shrimp and pile worms also make good bait. Most often landed on high/low leaders fished on the bottom but many are also taken in the Bay Area by fishermen using the live bait sliding rigging common for flounder. Hooks should be size 6 to 4.

Diamond Turbot

Species: Hypsopsetta guttulata; from the Greek word hypsopsetta (deep flounder, referring to the oval shape) and the Latin word guttulata (with small spots).

Alternate Names: Turbot or flounder.

Identification: Diamond turbot are (surprise) diamond shaped and a right-eyed member of the flatfish family. They have a small mouth with the dorsal branch of the lateral line extending more than half the distance to the caudal fin. Their coloring is dark gray, brown or green with bright blue round spots on the pigmented side; there is a yellow rim near the mouth on the blind side.

To 18 inches; most caught off piers are under 12 inches.

Gulf of California, and from Magdalena Bay, Baja, California, to Cape Mendocino.

Primarily found in bays, over sand and mud.

Piers: Most common at bay piers. Best bets: Bayshore Park Pier, Embarcadero "Marina" Park Pier, Shelter Island Pier, Oceanside Small Craft Harbor Pier, Dana Harbor Pier, Burton Chace Park Pier and Morro Bay T-Piers.

Bait and Tackle:
Diamond turbot are small flatfish which prefer a small hook and live bait -- blood worms and ghost shrimp are the best. However, many are also caught on cut anchovy, strips of squid, and pieces of shrimp or clam. Hooks should not be larger than size 4. Although most of these fish are caught at bay piers they can also be caught at oceanfront piers, generally just out past the surf area.

Starry Flounder

Species: Platichthys stellatus; from the Greek words platy (flat) and ichthys ( fish) and the Latin word stellatus (starry).

Alternate Names: Rough-jacket, great flounder, grindstone, emery flounder, sand paper flounder, and flounder.

Identification: Most easily distinguished by the alternating orange and black stripes on the fins. In addition, there are patches of very rough scales throughout the pigmented side of the body. Considered a member of the right-eye flounder family but sixty percent have eyes on the left side.

Size: To 36 inches and 20 pounds; most caught off piers are under 18 inches .

Reported from Santa Barbara to Alaska and the Sea of Japan and Korea. Uncommon south of Pismo Beach.

Habitat: Most common in shallow-water areas, primarily those with sand, mud and eelgrass.

Common in central and northern California. Best bets: Cayucos Pier, San Simeon Pier, Capitola Wharf, Santa Cruz Wharf, Piller Point Pier, Berkeley Pier, Point Pinole Pier, Dowrellio's Pier, Martinez Pier, Vallejo Pier, McNear Beach Pier, Paradise Beach Pier, Adorni Pier, and the "B" Street Pier in Crescent City.

Bait and Tackle: Heavily fished in the San Francisco Bay Area where the most common rigging is a sliding live bait leader with a live grass shrimp or ghost shrimp. Many are also taken on high/low leaders baited with grass shrimp, ghost shrimp, cut anchovy, squid or even pieces of shrimp. Medium-size tackle with number 6 or 4 hooks is adequate. These fish are especially prevalent around the mouths of streams and rivers in the winter and early spring.

Longfin Sanddab

Species: Citharichthys xanthostigma; from the Greek word citharichthys (a fish that lies on its ribs or side) and xanthostigma (yellow colored with a pointed bone -- referring to the long fins).

Alternate Names: Sanddab.

Identification: Longfin sanddab have very long pectoral rays -- longer than the head. Their coloring is brown with a black pectoral fin.

Size: To 10 inches; most caught off piers are under 8 inches.

Range: Costa Rica to Monterey Bay.

Habitat: Found from shallow to deeper water, primarily over sand.

Piers: Usually found in deeper water. Best bets: Balboa Pier, Newport Pier, Redondo Beach Pier and Redondo Sportfishing Pier.
Size and Number Limit: There are no size or number restrictions on longfin sanddab.

Bait and Tackle: Use light tackle and fish on the bottom with small size 8 hooks. Longfin sanddab will hit most baits but prefer small strips of squid, pieces of anchovy, or worms.

Pacific Sanddab

Species: Citharichthys sordidus; from the Greek word citharichthys (a fish that lies on its ribs or side) and the Latin word sordidus (sordid or dull-colored).

Alternate Names:
Sanddab, soft flounder, sole, mottled sanddab, megrim, and Catalina sanddab.

Identification: This is the largest of the sanddabs and a left-eyed flatfish. They have a small mouth, unmarked fins, and a pectoral fin on the eyed side that is shorter than the head. Their coloring is generally light brown with yellow and orange mottling.

Size: To 16 inches and around two pounds; most caught off piers are under a foot in length.

Range: Cape San Lucas, Baja, California, to the Bering Sea.

Habitat: From shallow to deep water; primarily over sand.

Piers: Generally taken in deeper water. Best bets: Balboa Pier, Newport Pier, Redondo Beach Pier, Monterey Wharf #2, Seacliff State Beach Pier, Capitola Wharf, Santa Cruz Wharf, Pacifica Pier, San Francisco Municipal Pier and Fort Baker Pier.

Bait and Tackle: Pacific sanddab can be taken on light to medium tackle baited with small hooks, generally size 8 or 6. When sanddab are present, almost any type of outfit will work. Most anglers catch them on high/low leaders, but snag-line-type leaders made up with four to six small hooks can be deadly; at times every cast will produce four to six fish, the only limiting factor being the number of hooks. The bait can be almost anything but strips of squid stay on the hook the best.

Speckled Sanddab

Species: Citharichthys stigmaeus; from the Greek word citharichthys (a fish that lies on its ribs or side) and the Latin word stigmaeus (speckled).

Alternate Names: Sanddab, soft flounder and Catalina sanddab.

Identification: Speckled sanddab have eyes on the left side of the head, a distinct caudal fin and scales covering the body. Their coloring is brown or tan with black spots throughout the pigmented side.

Size: To 6.7 inches; most caught on piers are 4-5 inches.

Range: Magdalena Bay, Baja, California, to Montague Island, Alaska.

Habitat: Shallow-water areas; primarily over sand or mud.

Piers: Common throughout California. Best bets: Balboa Pier, Newport Pier, Redondo Beach Pier, Avila Beach Pier, Monterey Wharf #2, Santa Cruz Wharf, Pacifica Pier, San Francisco Municipal Pier, and the "B" Street Pier in Crescent City.

Bait and Tackle: Very small hooks fished on the bottom with strips of squid, pieces of fish, or small pieces of worm will attract these fish.

Butter Sole

Species: Isopsetta isolepis; from the Greek words isos (equal), psetta (flounder), isos (equal) and lepis (scale).

Alternate Names: Scaly-fin sole and scaly-fin flounder.

Identification: The dorsal lateral line branch extends below the first one-third of the dorsal fin. The main lateral line has a low arch over the pectoral fin. The blind side is white; the colored side is brown, with mottling, sometimes spotted with yellow or green. Their fins are usually edged with yellow.

Size: To 21 3/4 inches but most seen at piers are under a foot in length.

Range: From Ventura to the Bering Sea.

Habitat: From shallow water (summer) to 1,200 feet depths (winter). They are generally found over silt and sandy bottoms.

Piers: Most common north of Point Conception. Best bets: Monterey Wharf #2, Santa Cruz Wharf, Pacifica Pier, Fort Mason Piers, San Francisco Municipal Pier, Fort Baker Pier, Eureka Municipal Wharf, and the "B" Street Pier in Crescent City.

Bait and Tackle: Most often caught on a high/low leader (hooks size 6 to 4) fished on the bottom. Preferred baits, in order, seem to be pile worms or tube worms, small strips of anchovy, or small strips of squid.

Date: November 24, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Mark Grim
Subject: Monthly Fishing Reports

Hi Ken,

Here are a couple of pier reports. I've been spending much of my time lately at the Antioch piers. I'm planning on visiting Benicia and Martinez piers next month and will include them in that report.

Talk to you later,
^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~Mark Grim~^~^~^~^
~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~ Antioch CA^~^~^~^~
[To view the Reports, check the Antioch Reports on the November '97 Reports Page]

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the report. I'll be down there this weekend so I might try out the Antioch Bridge for a couple of hours. However, I need to double-check all the East Bay piers so most of my time will be over there. Maybe I'll see you at Christmas time when I will once again be down at my mom's house in Pittsburg.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: November 24, 1997
To: Ken Jones
From: Boyd Grant
Subject: November Report

Ken -

Sorry I'm late this month but I wanted to get in one more day's fishing at Goleta. I was hoping for a break but it looks like things are still pretty slow. Lots of mackerel though and a few small shovelnose - that's all. Gaviota slow also.

Did manage to hook a fair size bat ray off the inshore portion of Santa Barbara Wharf last week - played it for 10 minutes and then it broke the line (20# mono). Kind of glad though because I don't know how I could have landed it with only a 36" hoop net.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Boyd Grant


Thanks for the report; hope you have a nice holiday season.

By the way, I tried to send you the new pier rat picture but for some reason it isn't going through. Hope to have the shirts soon.

Best wishes, Ken