|California Pier Report — April 2015
San Diego County Piers
Imperial Beach Pier – Still looking for a reporter for this pier but I did visit it on 3/28. Anglers were using Sabikis to catch a mix of small fish—mackerel, queenfish (herring), shinerperch and jacksmelt. Only other fish I noticed was one small sand bass. Most anglers were using a Sabiki baited with small pieces of shrimp fished under a float. One detriment to the fishing was red algae that seemed to cover the bottom and yielded up a ball of seaweed on every cast. 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 — Shirley, at the pier’s bait shop, reports that it’s a little windy and fishing is just so so but anglers are catching some fish—queenfish, bass, smelt and mackerel along with a few crabs and lobsters (which no longer are in season). I made a visit on 3/27 that resulted in one sand bass, one brown rockfish and one walleye surfperch. The bass and rockfish were caught on ghost shrimp. I didn’t see too many other fish although a couple of fishermen who had arrived early in the morning had small buckets of queenfish (herring). Other than that it was mostly a few small mackerel. 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 been slow; too much wind and too much seaweed. It’s mainly a few jacksmelt and an occasional mackerel or bottom fish. I made a visit on 3/26 and the fishing was basically dead. I caught a round stingray (on ghost shrimp) and a large jacksmelt (on worms) but really didn’t see any other fish. Even the regulars were leaving after an hour or so of fishing (but not catching). What was way too common was red algae on the bottom that yielded up a ball of seaweed whenever you dared leave your bait on the bottom. 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 — I still need a reporter for this pier. I visited on 3/29 and managed two kelp bass, one sand bass and a diamond turbot. Most anglers were concentrating on the mackerel and catching a fairly steady stream of the macs. Most of the fish were hitting on small strips of squid under a float/bobber. I caught the bass by the float (using bloodworms) and the turbot in the inshore eel grass (using ghost shrimp). I also noticed that the bait shop itself was closed although the restaurant is open. 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 fairly slow although a few croakers are starting to show up in the inshore area. Mainly though it’s an occasional mackerel, small bass or small ray. People are fishing but not getting much. 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 — I stopped in and talked to some regulars at the end of the month and they said action had been dead for over a month; no croakers or sharays and only an occasional mackerel. 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 a few fish, some croakers and corbina inshore, and some sharks (sand sharks and leopards) and rays (bat rays) out at the end. A few halibut have also been taken, mainly on plastics such as white and brown, grunion-pattern Big Hammers. Ivan said the next few days sees predictions for wind and a very heavy surf. I visited the pier on 3/30 with a friend and a couple of hours fishing resulted in a half dozen small spotfin croakers (on bloodworms) and one sargo (on ghost shrimp). I didn’t see another fish caught by any anglers. 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 sent in a report on April 1, “What a month of fishing. We've had so many keeper halibut. It's just what we have been waiting for. At last! Of course all of them were in the surf area. We also had some beautiful just legal white sea bass but only a few. The whales have also been putting on a beautiful show as they return from Mexico. We love seeing them breech. This was all worth waiting for.” A visit by myself on 3/31 produced a couple of dozen mackerel in one hour of fishing out at the end in the morning (on a Sabiki) combined with one jacksmelt while fishing with Snookie and her gang mid-pier later in the morning. We didn’t see any halibut that day. 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 — I visited the pier on 3/30 with a friend and a couple of hours fishing produced several mackerel and a couple of thornback rays (on cut mackerel). Anglers at the end were using Sabikis to target mackerel and they were having sporadic action, which was getting better as the sun set in the west. Mid-pier saw a lot of anglers but only a few fish. 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 things are a little slow with the exception of mackerel, which are providing fairly steady action. A few leopard sharks are also showing up and corbina are seen in the surf but they aren’t biting. It’s windy and the surf is rough. A short two-hour visit on 3/8 produced nine mackerel and one jacksmelt. All were using a Sabiki, 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 big mackerel and jacksmelt are being taken along with some big spotfin croakers and sargo in the inshore to mid-pier area (use fresh mussels and lugworms). A few sharks (leopards, gray smoothhounds, and shovelnose) are also being taken but not too many rays. A short visit on March 4 by myself only produced two jacksmelt (large) and one mackerel, all on lugworms. Other fishermen were not catching any fish. The end of the pier remains closed. 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 — Jimmy, at Big Fish B&T, says he’s getting reports of good mackerel action, some sardines, and big shovelnose sharks (guitarfish) out at the end of the pier. A visit on March 5 produced no fish (“Fishless in Belmont) and I didn’t see too many other fish with the exception of mackerel that were being taken in the mid-pier section (on baited Sabikis under a float). 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 — A short visit on March 7 produced one white croaker (on cut mackerel) and one mackerel (on cut mackerel). Not too many other fish although an occasional mackerel was coming over the railing. 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 — A short visit on March 6 produced one mackerel and one jacksmelt (both on bloodworms). I didn’t see any other fish. 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—mainly mackerel. A short visit on March 9 produced one thornback ray while my fishing companion that day, Mike Granat, caught a C-O Turbot (both on ghost shrimp). Many anglers were fishing for mackerel but nary a one had a fish that day. 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. Nothing else. 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 still 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 fishing has been really good due to the grunion runs. Quite a few halibut have been taken at the pier along with some croakers, sargo, barred surfperch, jacksmelt and black perch (buttermouth). Ginny says another grunion run is coming next week and she’s predicting a repeat of the good action. 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. A great white shark was reportedly caught (and released) from the pier. 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 there are a lot of ronkies (white croaker), a tons of mackerel, and a lot of leopard sharks. There’s also a TON of people. 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.