|California Pier Report — April 2016
San Diego County Piers
Imperial Beach Pier – Expect some mackerel mid-pier to the end, some perch and croakers inshore, and a mix of small sharks and rays throughout the pier. 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 the fishing for mackerel has been very good recently and apparently they are hitting throughout the day. The macks are available mid-pier to the end. Inshore, some spotfin croaker are showing up while out towards the end anglers have been reporting some bass, rockfish and a few sheephead. Some big spider crabs have also been making an appearance for the hoop netters. 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 – Pam at the Crystal Pier B&T (on the pier) says things are picking up a little with the improved weather (and smaller waves). Expect some perch and croakers inshore to mid-pier with mackerel out at the end. 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) – Expect a variety of fish with small bass— kelp, sand, and spotted bay bass leading the hit parade. Cast into the deeper waters for some rays and sharks. 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 Borlek from the pier’s bait shop says most of the action has been on mackerel and jacksmelt although a couple of legal-size halibut were landed in the past week. 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 — Chris, at the Oceanside Pier Bait & Tackle, says the biggest news lately was a large, 7-8-foot-long mako shark taken out at the end of the pier on a live mackerel. That was one happy angler! Apparently bat rays are being taken in big numbers along with quite a few halibut (to regulars who know what they are doing, i.e., using live bait). Chris says there is also a good run on 2-3 pound sargo taking place with most landed on ghost shrimp. Where do they get the shrimp? Most are heading down to the lagoon and pumping their own shrimp. The alternative place for live ghost shrimp is Squidco in San Diego. Mix in quite a few small kelp bass and some decent runs of mackerel and it sounds like anglers are enjoying a good spring. 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 — Things have been slow although an occasional bass, perch or croaker does show up. 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 — Stephanie at Hogan's Bait And Tackle, 34320 Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point, says that anglers inshore are having good action on surfperch and croakers using live baits—fresh mussels, lug worms and bloodworms. Mid-pier to the end, anglers are picking up some bass, mainly kelp bass, along with a few mackerel. No word on the sharay action. 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 — Stephanie at Hogan's Bait And Tackle, 34320 Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point, said anglers are picking up some perch and croakers using a variety of bait. Apparently the city is dredging the back bay which, surprisingly, has resulted in an uptick in the number of barracuda being caught. As always, also expect a mix of bass—kelp bass, sand bass and spotted bay bass. 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, “Not too much to write about. There have been some small mackerel, a couple of small halibut and lots of jacksmelt. I did catch a nice sized barred surfperch on a piece of shrimp. Needed more shrimp. At least there are a lot of whales to watch. Even saw some blue whales out farther today. You can tell right away that they are blues because of the tall spouts compared to the grays. The water is not good looking right now because of the winds. The whale watching boats and the Sportfishing boats didn't go out this afternoon because they expected big winds. They are getting soft in there old ages. There are a lot of people here for Easter Vacations. Today a man near me who was fishing finally asked us just what BRIDGE this is. That's a first. Let's hope that this spring brings better fishing again. We got spoiled in the fall with all those yellowtail.” “Forgot to tell you about the big black seabass caught on Balboa Pier last week. It was told to Ketchum tackle store here by phone. I don't believe it. Supposedly it was a 300 pounder and released. You know how many people I know out there, and not one person knew anything about it. Sounds like the young man we used to have on the website who tried to pass off a 300 pound mako.” 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 — Usually pretty similar to Balboa. 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 — No report this month although croakers should be available inshore and mackerel from mid-pier to the end. How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.
Seal Beach Pier — Ron, at Big Fish B&T, says most of the action has been on mackerel (throughout the pier) and spotfin croaker (inshore). Use fresh mussels or lug worms for the spotties. The halibut action is still slow but shark and ray action has picked up. Most of them being caught out toward the end of the pier. 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 — Waiting for a report. 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 although perch, sargo, and bass should be available inshore with some mackerel and white croaker available with a cast out from the piers. 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, 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-size 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, opaleye, and the assorted bottom species—sheephead, halfmoon, blacksmith, etc. Remember the size limits for kelp bass—14 inches minimum length—and no more than five bass total. Bonito are hitting but mostly in the morning and evening and only on some days. 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 — Things have slowed but there are still mackerel and jacksmelt available. 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 — Jake at Redondo Sportfishing on the pier says most of the action has been on mackerel and small calico (kelp) bass although some keeper-size bass are also showing up including a 20-inch fish last week (taken on an anchovy). A 17-inch sheephead also grabbed some bait, although it preferred a strip of squid. He says quite a few sargo are also showing up and some are pretty good sized. Expect the normal perch and perch-like species under the pier. 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 — No report but expect some mackerel, jacksmelt and an occasional sharay. How To Get There: Take the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) to Pier Avenue and follow Pier Avenue west to the pier.
Venice Pier — No report but expect some mackerel, jacksmelt and an occasional sharay. How To Get There: Highway 1 to Washington St., turn west and follow Washington St. to the pier.
Santa Monica Pier — No report but expect some mackerel, jacksmelt and an occasional sharay. 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 the fishing has been really good—if you like mackerel and (huge) jacksmelt. But, that’s not all. The grunion have been running and halibut apparently followed the baitfish into the pier’s water. Quite a few halibut were landed, mostly shorts, but a 36-inch fish was also recorded. Use live bait, especially small smelt, to get the flatties. Apparently some sharks and small rays also followed the grunion into the inshore waters since good numbers of those were also taken. Not much else although a few perch and occasional small croaker do show up 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 — No report this month although this is typically a good pier for mackerel, jacksmelt and perch this time of the year. 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 (and the pier may still be closed). 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 has been a mix of mackerel, jacksmelt and (recently) sardines. They’re the first sardines he’s seen in several months and he’s hoping for more since they make great live bait for halibut and sharks. He said it’s been a little windy but when the wind dies down the fishing shoots up. 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 — Capt. Tiffany at Hook, Line and Sinker (4010-5 Calle Real, Santa Barbara) said anglers are catching quite a few mackerel and jacksmelt on the top while anglers casting out to the pipe-reef are still pulling in rockfish, cabezon, and lots of calicos. Inshore to mid-pier sees a few halibut and several nice leopard sharks have also been landed. She says anglers using 2-inch Berkeley Gulp baits have been pulling in some surfperch while 2-inch Big Hammer lures are successful on both perch and bass (and it doesn’t seem to matter what color you use). It sounds like action is holding steady. 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 — The pier remains closed. How To Get There: From Highway 101 simply take the Gaviota State Park turnoff.