|California Pier Report — March 2015
San Diego County Piers
Imperial Beach Pier – Still looking for a reporter for this pier but did hear reports of continued action on perch and mackerel. How To Get There: From I-5 take the Palm Ave. (Hwy. 75) exit and follow it to where Palm Ave. and Hwy. 75 divide. Follow Palm Ave. to Seacoast Dr., turn left and it will take you right to the pier.
Ocean Beach Pier — Tony, at the pier’s bait shop, reports that the weather is turning a little cold and the water’s choppy but a few fish are still showing up. The morning I called a couple of nice bat rays had been caught, a number of small calico (kelp) bass, and some mackerel. About the only other action was on lobsters and though many had been landed, almost all were shorts. How To Get There: From the north, take I-5 to the Sea World Dr. exit and follow it until it turns off to Sunset Cliffs Blvd. From the south, take I- 5 to the Nimitz Blvd. exit, then follow that road to Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Follow Sunset Cliffs Blvd. to Newport Ave., turn right and follow the road to the pier parking lot.
Crystal Pier – Pamela, at the pier’s bait shop, reports that things have slowed. It’s mainly jacksmelt and perch at this time with an occasional mackerel or bottom fish. However, quite a few lobsters are still showing up. [Do remember that the bugs must be taken with a net, not by hook and line.] How To get There: Take I-5 to Garnet Ave. then take Garnet west to the foot of the pier.
Pepper Park Pier — No report, need a reporter. How To Get There: From I-5 take the 24th Street off-ramp west to Tidelands Avenue and go left (south) on Tidelands to the end.
Bayside Park Pier — No report, need a reporter. How To Get There: From I-5 take the J Street off ramp and go west. Take J Street to Tidelands Ave., turn right. Take Tidelands to Sandpiper Way, turn right. Take Sandpiper to Bayside Parkway, urn left and follow the road to the park.
Embarcadero Marina Pier — No report, need a reporter. How To Get There: From the I-5 south, take the Front Street exit south to Market (just stay on Front Street, it runs into Market), take Market west to Harbor Dr. Turn left on Harbor Dr. and take it to 8th Ave., turn right onto Convention Way (formerly Harbor St.). Follow it a short block to 5th Ave. and the pier. It seems that with the new Convention Center the city is constantly working on these streets near the pier and renaming them; if you get confused remember that the park and pier are immediately to the southwest of the Convention Center. From I-5 North, approaching from the south, take the J Street exit, then go straight, three blocks up to Market, turn left and take it from there.
Ferry Landing Pier (Coronado) – No report, need a reporter! However, smallish-sized bass are almost always available. How To Get There: From San Diego, take the Coronado Bay Bridge (Highway 75) to Coronado. Once over the bridge you are on Third Street. Simply follow it to B Avenue, turn right, and follow it to the front of The Old Ferry Landing - the intersection of First Street and B Avenue. The pier sits behind the shops in the complex.
Shelter Island Pier — Dennis at the pier’s bait shop says the mackerel are in and out while bass are generally to be found around the pier. How To Get There: 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.
Oceanside Pier — Ed, at the Oceanside Pier Bait & Tackle, says things have been dead with the exception of jacksmelt and a few sharays on the bottom. The good news though is that the mackerel returned about three days before I called so the locals are happily catching the macs. An occasional croaker does show up but the bonito have departed. Recently a few cabezon have also shown. Most of the cabbies are shorts but a couple, were legal size. Ed asked if they are good eating and I said, “You betcha, just don’t eat the eggs because they are poisonous.” It’s also surprising to some the first time they fillet a cabezon and see the blue fillets but they turn a beautiful white color when cooked and are delicious. How To Get There: From I-5 take the Harbor Dr. exit off the freeway, follow it and it will wind down to the harbor; where the road splits stay to the right on North Harbor Dr., and follow it to the pier.
Oceanside Harbor Pier — No report this month. How To Get There: From I-5 take the Harbor Dr. exit off the freeway, follow it and it will wind down to the harbor; where the road splits stay to the right on North Harbor Dr., and follow it to the pier.
Orange County Piers
San Clemente Pier — Ivan at Hogan's Bait And Tackle, 34320 Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point, says anglers continue to pull in fair numbers of fish. Inshore it’s the usual croakers and perch with most being taken on mussels or lugworms. Inshore to mid-pier sees jacksmelt on top. Mid-pier to the end sees some leopard sharks and bat rays showing up with squid and mackerel being the bait of choice. Surf areas are producing a few halibut on artificial lures—clear ice white color. How to Get There: From I-5 take any of several exit streets west to El Camino Real, follow it to the center of town, and from there take Del Mar down to the pier.
Dana Harbor Pier — Ivan at Hogan’s Bait said there are a lot of jacksmelt along with some (mostly) small bass—both sand bass and spotted bass. Squid seems the choice of bait for the bass. Some rays are also showing up with squid once again the choice of bait. A few barracuda continue to show, most being taken on Krocodile-type lures. How To Get There: The pier is located in the Dana Cove Park area of Dana Point Harbor. From the Pacific Coast Highway take Green Lantern Road south to the harbor, turn left on Cove Road, and follow it to the pier.
Balboa Pier — Our reporter Snookie says, “It was a slow month, but we did get some bait such as sardines and smelt. Those produced only thornbacks and stingrays. Not too exciting, but at least they were alive. There are some small mackerel on the end and a few jacksmelt left in the surf area. The water is still in the low 60's and quite nice to fish. We have seen some whales coming through going north. A few have come into the shore area to nurse their calves. Those will stay for at least an hour. No, we are not getting any red crabs at Balboa. For some reason they are going into the bay and congregating around Balboa Island. Looking forward to March fishing. It is usually our best month for halibut. Thought the following would be of interest to you as a fisherman since these babies learn to expect US to feed them when returned to the sea. We have been watching the animal control and the group from Laguna Beach that are rescuing young sea lions. I can't figure out what they don't understand about the pups. The pups come out of the water to rest and wait for the mamas to return. People immediately call animal control to come get them as they are surely distressed. Those pups are nice fat ones, and definitely not in need of rescuing. Won't these people every learn about the sea life they are dealing with?” How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway take Newport Blvd. which will turn into Balboa Blvd., follow it west to Palm Street. Turn right and follow it to the pier and the adjacent parking lot.
Newport Pier — No report this month although results usually are similar to those at the Balboa Pier. How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway take the Newport Blvd. turnoff and proceed west watching for signs directing traffic to the pier. The pier sits at the foot of McFadden Place.
Huntington Beach Pier — Nicole at Let’s Go Fishing (on the pier), said there has been a good run on yellowfin croaker with several being large fish. Best baits—fresh mussels and lug worms. [However, she reported a 28-inch yellowfin which would be record size. I wonder if perhaps some are small white sea bass aka sea trout?] Anglers have also been catching mackerel, but Nicole said the macs seem to be slowing down. Last but not least are the sharays on the bottom and recently they’ve mostly been small skates (probably thornback rays). How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.
Seal Beach Pier — Jimmy, at Big Fish B&T, says there are a lot of jacksmelt and sardines being taken on top (try Sabikis or high/low bait rigs) while some surfperch are still available inshore (on bloodworms or ghost shrimp). Some short halibut have also been showing up with almost all being taken on artificial lures, i.e., Big Hammers. How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway simply take Main St. west and follow it to the pier.
Los Angeles County Piers
Belmont Pier — No report this month. How To Get There: From the north take I-405 to the Lakewood Boulevard turnoff, and then go south to 7th Street, turn west (right) until you come to Ximeno Ave. and then turn left. Follow it to Livingston Dr. and go west. You will see signs by Ocean Ave. and Termino Ave. indicating the pier. From the south take the Pacific Coast Highway to 2nd. Street (Westminister becomes 2nd. Street when it crosses PCH), go west, follow to Livingston Dr. Follow it to signs by Ocean Ave. and Termino Ave. indicating the pier and parking lot.
Shoreline Aquatic Park Piers — No report this month. How To Get There: From inland areas take I-710 south and follow it to the Shoreline Drive. From downtown Long Beach, take Pine Avenue south to Shoreline Drive. For the northernmost piers follow Shoreline Avenue west and follow it around the lagoon to where the street ends. For the southernmost piers, follow Shoreline Drive east to the markings for Shoreline Village, continue past the shopping complex, and follow the road out to near the end of the peninsula. You will see the piers.
Cabrillo Pier — No report, we need a reporter. How To Get There: Take the Harbor Freeway (I-110) south; it will turn into Gaffey St. Follow it to 22nd Street and turn left. Follow 22nd St. to Pacific Ave. and turn right. Follow Pacific Ave. to 36th Street and the entrance to Cabrillo Park.
Green Pleasure Pier (Avalon, Catalina Island) – It’s the usual mix of fish —small, mainly illegal kelp bass (almost all under 14 inches), rock wrasse, senorita, opaleye, sheephead, halfmoon and blacksmith. How To Get There: The trick here is to get to Catalina. Ships and helicopters make the journey several times a day from the Port of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Newport Beach. Information is available on all of these by calling the Avalon Chamber of Commerce on the Pleasure Pier (213) 510-1520 or the Visitor's Information & Service Center (213) 510-2500. Once in Avalon there should be no problem in finding the pier, which is located at the foot of Catalina Avenue.
Cabrillo Mole (Avalon, Catalina Island) – Expect some calico (kelp) bass, Pacific mackerel, bonito. (some days), opaleye, and the assorted bottom species—sheephead, halfmoon, blacksmith, etc. Remember the new size limits for kelp bass—14 inches minimum length and no more than five bass total. How To Get There: The trick is to get to Catalina. Ships and helicopters make the journey several times a day from the Port of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Newport Beach. Information is available on all of these by calling the Avalon Chamber of Commerce on the Pleasure Pier (213) 510-1520 or the Visitor's Information & Service Center (213) 510-2500. Once in Avalon there should be no problem in finding the mole that sits right where most boats disembark.
Redondo Beach Pier – Sunny, from Redondo Beach Tackle (on the pier), said the same thing she always says—mackerel and more mackerel. How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway, take Torrance Blvd. west to the foot of the pier and the parking lot.
Redondo Sportfishing Pier — Scott, at the pier’s bait and tackle shop, said (again) it’s small, small, small kelp bass (7-11”) and a few perch and perch-like fish under the pier. The harbor seems to now be cold-water city and the pelagics that used to show up in response to the warm-water bubble hole are staying outside the harbor. How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway take Beryl St. west to Harbor Dr. and follow it to the entrance of the Sportfishing parking lot.
Hermosa Beach Pier— Pete, at Just Fishing By Pete, 2427 190th St., Redondo Beach, said there are a lot of BIG jacksmelt showing up in the inshore areas. How big are they? Big enough to be confounding anglers who are casting out “Lucky Craft” lures for halibut. Big and good fighting and plentiful. On the bottom there are the usual sharays but not much else; it’s slow on surfperch and croakers and halibut, although a few short hallies are showing up. How To Get There: Take the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) to Pier Avenue and follow Pier Avenue west to the pier.
Venice Pier — Ditto Hermosa. How To Get There: Highway 1 to Washington St., turn west and follow Washington St. to the pier.
Santa Monica Pier — Carlos, at the Santa Monica Pier Bait & Tackle says things are dead, About the only fish seen are jacksmelt and even they are few and far between. How To Get There: From I-405 take Santa Monica Blvd. west to Ocean Ave. Turn left, go to Colorado Ave., and turn right onto the pier.
Malibu Pier – Ginny at Wylie’s Bait and Tackle says things are amazingly good. Big jacksmelt are numerous, quite a few halibut are being taken, including several keepers, and mackerel are everywhere. Add in some perch and sharks and it’s one of the better reports for the month. How To Get There: The pier fronts on the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) so just drive until you see it.
Ventura & Santa Barbara County Piers
Port Hueneme Pier — Still closed. How To Get There: From Highway 1 take Hueneme Rd. west until it turns into Port. At Ventura Rd turn left and follow it to Surfside Dr. Turn left again and follow it to the park.
Ventura Pier — No report this month although surfperch action should be decent. How To Get There: From Highway 101 take the Seaward Drive exit west to Harbor Drive, turn right and follow it to the pier.
Stearns Wharf — Frank, from the Stearns Wharf bait shop, says things are slow. The choices are jacksmelt (a lot), mackerel (some), and lizsardfish (too many). How To Get There: From Highway 101 take Castillo St. or State St. west to the beach and follow signs to the pier.
Goleta Pier — No report this month. How To Get There: From Highway 101 take the Hwy. 217/Airport exit. Follow it to Sandspit Rd. and the Goleta Beach Park turnoff. Follow this to the park and the pier.
Gaviota Pier — Still closed. How To Get There: From Highway 101 simply take the Gaviota State Park turnoff.