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>> Growing Up A Pier Rat Update [topic: previous/next]
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 8:52 am
Ken Jones


Posts: 9447
Location: California

I collected these stories (along with others) years ago and hoped to publish them in a book. However, I was unsuccessful in finding a publisher. Today, given the changes in the publishing world, I've decided to self publish the book with (probably) Amazon Books. A lot of old names, many who we no longer see on PFIC, but also many who are still members. Hope you enjoy them.

BTW, if any of you grew up as pier rats and would like to add your story simply list it below or send it to me at kenjones@pierfishing.com

Also, if you see your story and would like to update it send me a note.

Chapter Five
From the pages of “Pier Fishing In California”
The Pier Rat Autobiographies


Listed alphabetically.

Pier Rat Name — Baitfish

Years Fishing: I started fishing around 5-6 years old with my dad, and have fished from Oregon to Mexico and New York to Florida, both fresh and saltwater. My first memories of fishing are mostly of fishing Malibu Pier and the jetty in Oxnard. We would fish the end of Malibu Pier for mackerel and croaker for the most part. But to a kid a mackerel is like a tuna, too much fun! Favorite Piers (and Why): Malibu Pier, Stearns Wharf, and The Green Pleasure Pier in Catalina. Malibu Pier, because that is where I started saltwater fishing and I have had some of my most memorable trips from that pier. Stearns Wharf because of its beauty, location, and some of the best halibut fishing. The Green Pleasure Pier in Catalina because of its variety and one of the greatest locations of most of the piers, also because of the 2002 PFGT. This was by far my single greatest pier memory. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Wow, now this is a hard one. The Pier fishing get together in Catalina was my favorite memory of a couple of days fishing. But for a single trip, I would have to say THE most memorable is almost a tie, but each has it's own reasons. In no particular order, the get together at Malibu Pier was definitely at the top. I was finally able to put a face to all the names on the board, and this was all pre-picture posting ability. After we met up and people started to leave due to the rain, I kept on fishing trying to land a nice halibut through 10-20 mph winds and rain. I stayed at the end of the pier with a fellow pier rat who had dragged out a bunch of live bait from MDR. We were pushed on by the fact that he had a fishing watch with built in Maori Charts that said fishing would be good around 2:30. We waited and waited and got wetter and colder. After 4 hours in the rain and wind with no umbrella we left at 2:33 after catching 4 perch all day. It may not seem like it, but it was a great day! The second most memorable trip was also at Malibu Pier about a year and a half ago. The ongoing construction left the last half of the pier closed so the waters at the end of the pier had been nearly untouched for about 6 years. We got to the pier close to sunset and it was already closed, which we had pretty much expected and were just going to fish the surf right next to the pier. So we started to walk around the fence when I saw one of the security guards and started talking with him. Sure enough, he was friends with one of the other guards and I was saying how I knew him and he asked if we would like to fish the end of the pier as long as we were quiet and did not say anything. I leaped at the chance! I thanked him and my wife and I headed out to the end of the pier, up and over construction equipment and loose boards all the way out to the end where I would fish as a little kid and had not seen in at least 8-9 years. I stated setting up our rods mostly with Sabiki rigs with Cherrystone clams and mussels, and set up my large Ugly Stick spinning rod Daiwa Jupiter Z 3500 with a sliding rig with a 2-ounce pyramid and whole squid on a #1 Owner Octopus hook. Immediately the three smaller rods went off like Christmas bells, a couple of 2-3 pound Sargo then some 2-pound yellowfins and lots of perch, mostly walleyes. But then the loose drag on my spinning rod goes off and the rod is bouncing around. My wife reeled in the other rods and I set the hook. It immediately started head shaking and peeling off line. I fought it for about 10 minutes when I finally got it to the surface. It was the largest shovelnose I had ever seen in person! Quick get the pier net....CRAP! I don't have it because we were going surf fishing... Well only one thing to do, haul it up by hand. I had 17-pound Trilene on the reel, so I figured I could do it. I tried with bare hands at first, but the line started sinking into my skin. So my wife puts a couple of rags on my hands and I try again, this was working until I got it up about halfway up the pier and it came unbuttoned causing the hook and sinker to shoot straight at me, missing me by inches and then dropping down again!!!! After close inspection of the hook, it had almost bent straight! After that I was hooked on shovelnose and maintained my love for Malibu Pier.


Pier Rat Name — bajadave

Years Fishing: I've fished most of my life that I can remember. My father started me fishing on a pier first then surf. First Memories of Fishing: Fishing with pop at the Port Hueneme Pier before it was completed around 1967-68. I would jig for live bait for my father with a Lucky Joe rig It was a light rig with 12-lb test. I was jigging up and down when I snagged a thresher shark that had been cruising right under the pier where I was jigging. He made a blistering run to the south and jumped right out of the water. That's when we noticed what it was. Suddenly it made a turn and came back to the pier and then under and headed north. My father grabbed my rod and fought it from the opposite side of the pier. My father had a buddy who had a gaff, so he picked up the line from the other side of the pier and my father dropped the rod down and picked it up on the other side. My father fought him and won the battle, we gaffed it and brought it onto the pier....a 125-lb thresher shark, I'll never forget that. Favorite Piers (and Why): Port Hueneme Pier. It has everything you need: bait, food, restrooms, lights and fish cleaning stations, and it’s close to home. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): The above story and loading up our wagon with all our fishing tackle every time we went to the pier. Seeing corbina from the pier in the surf line and always catching fish—calico bass, sand bass, cabezon, surfperch and sometimes halibut.


Pier Rat Name — Big_O

Years Fishing: Basically since I was old enough to get around. First Memories of Fishing: My first memory of fishing was at 4 or 5 years old. I was fishing with my dad and uncle and was waiting for one of them to cast for me. Well I got tired of waiting so I gave casting a try, and wound up hooking my uncle in the forehead! Fortunately the hook was not deeply embedded. Favorite Piers (and Why): San Simeon and Cayucos Pier are my favorites because of the atmosphere and having some pretty good success there. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): San Simeon—My brother and I were fishing and chatting with a fisherman and his son when within an hour they landed two huge halibut. Seeing us gazing in amazement after the first fish, the fisherman offered us tips on how to catch them on live perch. They left after the second halibut. Shortly after they left we were watching someone land a fairly big mackerel when all of a sudden we turned around and my brother's pole was bent over the rail with the butt in the air. Mind you this was basically a trout rod my brother caught the bait with. He managed to get the halibut close. We were figuring out how to land the fish when a older guy came over with a pier gaff. Unfortunately on the second attempt to get it the fish made a last gallant effort to get away and somehow the line was cut by the gaff. We thanked the old timer for his help but I knew my brother was dying inside for a while. The kingfish, mackerel, smelt and perch kept us busy after that. We were youngsters that day but I always remembered that friendly fisherman who shared his secrets with us. I hope to have the opportunity to do the same with somebody else.


Pier Rat Name — blast29

I'm a lifelong Californian who goes back to the days when we had "Atomic Bomb drills" in Elementary School (dive under your desk, face away from the window, curl up, cover your head) and when backyard Atomic Bomb shelters were all the rage. I survived that...Years Fishing: I've been fishing off and on for more than 40 years. First Memories of Fishing: My first memories of saltwater fishing go back to the old Redondo Pier with my father when I was about five or six. I don't really remember much about what we caught, but I'm sure they must have been small (perch, maybe tomcod). At that age, I was really there just to spend some family time at the beach. I also recall going up to Pismo in the '50s, where we would go clamming. The world famous Pismo Clams were both plentiful and huge back then, and we would set one day aside to go out to the nearby sand dunes, dig a shallow BBQ pit and enjoy a wonderful fresh clam picnic lunch. Favorite Piers (and Why): The old wooden Redondo Pier--Although I haven't fished there in more than 20 years (actually, it doesn't exist anymore. Redondo still reigns supreme in my memories and in my heart. It's where I started fishing and where I "grew up" as a fisherman. We used to catch bonito all day in the late-'50s and '60s on light setups with Mitchell 300s using live anchovies that we bought for a nickel. I also remember the time when my little brother leaned over the railing to look at his line and his glasses just sort of slipped off and fell into the ocean. Then there was the time I was on the hamburger run and drenched my friend Mike's with Tabasco sauce. (I know that sounds juvenile, but I was a juvenile at the time, and it was really funny. His hair nearly stood on end!) As I grew into my teens, I gravitated to the breakwater, the "short rocks," the barge (the "Sacramento," if I recall correctly) and the "City of Redondo" half-day boat, but every now and then, I still went back to the pier. I haven't fished the new concrete pier. It'll never be the same, not without the old splintered seating, the carved up railings and that smell of decades of anchovies, shrimps, mussels and whatever else ground into the wood. My current favorite pier is Hermosa, where it's clean and convenient...and the fishing can be very good at times.


Pier Rat Name — Bray28


I grew up in San Clemente fishing off the pier every day of my summer vacation from school and then on the weekends. No one ever took me fishing when I was young, I just got into it myself. I like fishing everywhere. Years Fishing: 20. First Memories of Fishing: the first fish I ever caught was a buttermouth perch off the San Clemente Pier with line and a soda can, a trick I learned by watching a homeless person. Since that day fishing has been my greatest passion. Favorite Piers (and Why): San Clemente Pier. It’s the pier I grew up on and holds more memories than any other place. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): There are so many but the best has to be this day...I was sitting down on a bench eating pineapple and I heard my drag start going slowly but steady. I jumped up and went over to my rod and saw that something didn’t even know it had a hook in its mouth. I set the hook and after an hour later and two trips up and down the pier I landed my biggest bat ray ever. It was 151 pounds and big as he...


Pier Rat Name — Breakwall Don

Years Fishing: 40. First Memories of Fishing: Herring caught from Venice Pier using feather rigs with chrome sinkers. Favorite Piers (and Why): The piers of today are not producing fish counts like years before. But years ago Redondo Beach Pier was good. The Redondo rocks were even better. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why) Catching huge piling perch from the cat walks of Pacific Ocean Park, using mussel for bait.


Pier Rat Name — Camaros

Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Let's see, when I was a teenager many moons ago, my father (he is not a fisherman, but a diver), took me to the Huntington Beach Pier to go fishing. He said he had a present for me and pulled out of his pocket a clear, plastic vial with a couple of holes in it. He then showed me some dried blood tablets that came with the vial, to put in it. You attached it to your line, put in the dried blood tablets and went fishing. After about 10 minutes, he "accidentally" kicked my rod (I didn't know that at the time),, I grabbed the rod and set the hook!! Guess what? I caught a mackerel!! Ha ha, I will never forget that!!


Pier Rat Name — Catfish


Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): I must have been around the third grade. My friend's (Tad) dad had taken us to Newport Pier. I remember fishing a multi-hook rig (a Sabiki perhaps?) and was pulling up 3 to 4 mackerel at once. I remember the best setup that I used that day was a Sabiki with a chrome jig on the bottom as a weight. I was catching a mack on almost every hook, including the jig on the bottom. I remember having so much fun! I then got the jig stuck on one of the pier pilings and lost the rig. I distinctly remember feeling bad. I now wish that I could repay my friend's dad for that experience. I guess the next best thing would be to offer similar experiences to other people. Therefore, I try to help others enjoy fishing as much as I can.


Pier Rat Name — CK


Years Fishing: 30. First Memories of Fishing: Fishing with my dad and grandfather on the Gaviota Pier and using one of my mom’s earrings with a hook attached to catch mackerel after losing all our lures to some large macks. Favorite Piers (and Why): Port Hueneme—halibut, halibut, and halibut. It also happens to be just about one mile from one of the best places for Mexican food in the free world. Gaviota Pier—because of the memories associated with the place. The old timers that used to frequent there and have long passed. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Camping at Gaviota as a kid and fishing with an old local who would rig up a Sabiki with 6-7 hooks. When nobody else on the pier was catching anything he would put the pole up to his ear and talk to it. He would say things like "There you are" and twitch the pole. Sure enough he would reel up his line and have a fish on every hook. He was a fishing God to us as kids and we always looked forward to going to Gaviota to see him. I never knew his name and never had the chance to ask my grandfather who he was. From what I understood and caught from some of their conversations, they used to work the oil rigs in Alaska together when they were younger. I miss the both of them tremendously.


Pier Rat Name — Corbinaman1

Favorite Piers (and Why): Aliso Pier because I caught my first bonito ever there when I was about 14. I cast an anchovy out and got a great hookup, but the hook snapped in half. So I put a bigger hook on, cast to the same spot, and hooked up a 2-pound bonito. My drag on my wimpy Zebco pole broke, so my buddy hand lined the fish up the pier and I got it! It seemed that everyone on the pier came over to watch me fight the fish...I was stoked! Favorite Fish: Bonito from piers. Pound for pound they are the toughest fish out there!...Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Definitely catching my first ever bonito in the story above at Aliso Pier...too bad there is no more pier there...had good memories there! Last summer, catching 12 Giant Squid off the Dana Harbor Pier (yes, they were in the harbor for a few days...Thanks Snookie!) on 8/17/02 was a night I won't forget


Pier Rat Name – crazyguy

Years Fishing: I've been fishing since around 5-6 years old. My first fishing pole was a "Snoopy Kiddie Pole." I caught a couple of decent sized trout with that pole. First Pier Memory: Fishing at San Mateo Pier. First trip yielded nothing, as we used red worms for bait. A big no no. We learned a lot from the first trip and as for our second trip, we had better gear, and better bait. My first pier fish were two black perch. I baited up with pile worms and let the high/low rig settle to the bottom. After I rigged my other pole, I see that me first pole is bent down. I pull it up, and bam, two perch. Another great memory was at San Mateo Pier. We never knew that there was such a thing called a "drag." We ran out of bait, but a regular let us have some anchovies. After a few minutes using the anchovies, we had a huge hit, and it began to run and broke us off. That's all it took to get me hooked onto piers. They should really reopen this pier. Favorite Piers (And Why): Berkeley Pier and San Mateo Pier. Berkeley has to be a favorite because I love sharks and rays and you also meet a lot of interesting people at night. San Mateo is where I began pier fishing and it will always have a place in my heart whether it reopens or not. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (And Why): In June of last year, my dad and I nailed two legal leopards and a bunch of other sand sharks and rays. That was a great night with my dad. Another was at Dumbarton when I got my first striper. We didn't bring a crab net, but we had a drop net/umbrella net for bait. It was scary lifting the striper up in that flimsy net, but we got him.


Pier Rat Name — dkkim


First Memories of Fishing: Playing with pile worms and the pinchers. Everyone would be catching fat skunks at the Cement ship (Seacliff), then my dad would camp out at his spot down at the end of the boat and cast out parallel to the boat. Guarantee rockfish of some sort. Favorite Piers (and Why): Santa Cruz Wharf, Seacliff (Cement ship), Half Moon Bay Southern Jetty. I've caught tons of fish at all three places. Would you believe my dad would catch cabezon and lings around the cement boat? I'd be lucky if I caught anything at the Cement boat now. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Catching 20+ mackerel in one hour. I was so excited that I actually threw my rod and reel over the pier on a cast (10 years old). Luckily, there were tons of other anglers who got tangled in my mess.

Pier Rat Name — DOMPFA Ben


Favorite Piers (and Why): San Clemente Municipal Pier is my favorite pier because it sees lighter tourist traffic than most piers, and the fishing for sharks, halibut, exotics, and lobster can be phenomenal. The Mole in Avalon, the now-defunct Aliso Pier, and Balboa Pier also rank very high for both memories growing up, and great fishing/hoping. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): During the summer of 1983, my family went camping above Avalon. At night, we fished the Mole with light Tady 45's and live bait for wide open log barracuda, and calicos that likely pushed the ten pound mark. If your iron sank past the barracuda, you'd pull up a huge calico...if you could turn the fish out of the kelp. The bite lasted for the entire three days we were on Catalina. In my early days of fishing, my family would drive from Pasadena down to Aliso Pier (now torn down) in South Laguna to fish for halibut. The water was sometimes so clear, you could often sight-fish the halibut, and drop shiny sinker rigs with live smelt right on their heads. On one occasion, when the fish were not biting, we entertained ourselves with Nintendo and a television. Every light pole on the pier had an uncovered power outlet. For the sake of telling the story later, we took a television and a Nintendo down to the pier, plugged them in, and played video games with our rods out in the water. Cold winter nights were warmed occasionally with a plug-in heater. It went perfectly next to the "sculpin hole": a consistently-good spot in the center opening of the pier (the end was shaped like a diamond) that always produced sculpin...maybe the same fish, as we always released fish there. With Aliso Creek spewing questionably-clean water onto the beach, we came to call the pier "RELEAS-O." I have many fond memories and fish stories from that pier, and the adjacent rocks north and south. Last I heard, there were no plans to rebuild, and thus, it lives only in memory and photographs.


Pier Rat Name — dufish


Favorite Piers (and Why): Redondo’s big pier ever since I saw this guy back in 1974 reeling in a huge bonito that ended up being a 15-lb bluefin tuna! Favorite Fish: opaleye, golden trout, calico bass, sand bass, WSB, sargo. Heck, anything tasty caught from a rock or pier. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): The time my pal Sam and I fished Manhattan Pier with a cooler full of live anchovies bought from the MDR dock kept alive by a battery air pump/aquarium combo. Sam’s 10-lb 'butt, me a few boneheads and one 7-ft shark who followed up my queenfish bait and looked awfully white.

Pier Rat Name — d fisher


First Memories of Fishing: Fishing at the Pacifica Pier with my father for perch and jacksmelt at the age of 4. Favorite Piers (and Why): Pacifica Pier because there are usually many perch to catch there, plus I also like the beautiful area around the pier. McNears Pier because I have caught a nice sized striped bass and many large jacksmelt there. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): My most memorable fishing trip to a pier was at the Martinez Pier because in one day twenty striped bass were caught ten of them by me, also one estimated 100-pound sturgeon was hooked and after one hour it got off when it jumped. Words of Wisdom for Pier Rats After fishing more than twenty piers I have learned that if I have a problem other anglers are usually very willing to help you or give you good information. And remember, the only stupid question is the one that is not asked.

Pier Rat Name — eddog


Years Fishing: I have fished all my life...since the day I was able to hold my own fishing rod... First Memories of Fishing: When I was fishing with my dad and hooked on to something big on my dad’s pole and it was actually dragging me on the pier. I didn't even say a word until my dad was looking for me. Dad finally took the pole from and fought it for a while then lost it. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Most memorable was this year’s trip to Gaviota. My friends and I had the best trip yet. We hooked up to 10 threshers, 7 bat rays, 1 white seabass 22" and 3 smoothhounds; it was a awesome day...oohhh forgot a lot of sardines!!!


Pier Rat Name — epriemel


Years Fishing: Started pier fishing at about age seven. Started going to Baja about 25 yrs ago. Now I spend at least 3 months a year living & fishing the East Cape region of Baja California. First Memories of Fishing: Going to the Newport Pier while spending summers at my grandma's house at Marcus & 36th St. in Newport Beach. Sitting for hours at a time catching smelt on her boat dock with some Velveta cheese, treble hook, and a few feet of mono. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Catching a 60-lb bat ray off Newport Pier, using my first real saltwater setup, a Penn Jigmaster with 20-lb test. November 2004 I purchased my first lobster hoops. Caught 2 legal bugs the very first time out.


Pier Rat Name — EWWWWW


First Memories of Fishing: Going to Catalina for an Indian Guides trip. I stayed on the d... pier for 10 hours a day and ever since I haven’t stopped fishing. Favorite Piers (and Why): Dana Point Harbor because I landed a 20-lb white seabass and several legal halibut. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Landing the 20-lb white seabass at DP Harbor. I was only 13 years old and the fish seemed half my size.


Pier Rat Name — fishbud


First Memories of Fishing When I first arrived in the US when my uncle use to take us fishing off the Point Mugu Pier (when it was still up) catching walleye and barred surfperch, mackerel, and bonito. Oh, how I've missed that pier... Favorite Piers (and Why): Old: Point Mugu Pier when it was still operable. We've caught many different types of fish there like mackerel, flounder, perch, bonito, jacksmelt, big squid, bass, crabs, octopus, etc... Current: Well, I only fish off Hueneme Pier a few time a year, but hopefully I can do it more often. Got to try Ventura and Goleta in the near future... Still have to go with Point Mugu...I've caught most of my fish there of different varieties.


Pier Rat Name — fishin909


First Memories of Fishing: My father taking me to Redondo Beach Pier on my 5th birthday. I felt the fish pulling my line and I was hooked. Favorite Piers (and Why): Redondo Beach Pier... because it was the first pier I ever fished. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): When I was 5 my father bought me a 7-foot rod combo. He took me to Redondo Beach and put an anchovy on my hook and I caught a 2-lb mac. It was the first fish I ever caught and I’ve loved it ever since.


Pier Rat Name — fishingrod

First Memories of Fishing: My first memories fishing were at Avila Pier, pulling up bocaccio with a spool of fishing line, a small hook, and a sinker that I found. I believe I am personally responsible for the restriction on bocaccio. Favorite Piers (and Why): Avila Pier because I learned how to fish there. Port San Luis (Harford) because they have some good fried oysters. Ocean Beach Pier in San Diego because of the variety of species you can catch along the pier. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): The best trips on the pier were with my dad. It didn't matter what we fished for as long as we got to spend some time together. As I got older, I began to out fish my dad and although he was a little embarrassed, I could tell he was proud of me.


Pier Rat Name — frankythefish


Years Fishing: Ever since I can remember. My father used to take me to Hermosa Pier in a stroller. Ever since I could remember, I was always making bait for him. I finally started going on my own when I was about 13. Favorite Piers (and Why): Hermosa Pier: I grew up on it... literally. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trip (and Why): Hermosa again... one day my little sister bugs me to go fishing. It’s mid-October and I’m thinking we may have a shot at some early season perch. We go and as we arrive there, it’s really overcast and slightly nippy. I’m thinking "great, perfect weather for perch!" because all the big ones I’ve caught have come in that weather. So we get there and the pier is light to moderately packed. After about 30 min or so, it starts to rain. Everyone leaves the pier. My little sister and I are the only ones on the pier. We brave the rain for a while and then decide to pack up. As we do, the sun breaks through a pocket in the clouds. So there is this eerie gloom/bright blast of rays thing going on with no one else in sight. So we decide to stay. Best idea ever. As soon as we drop our poles in the water, we are into barred surfperch in the 2 lb. class non-stop. Between us we caught about 8 of them. Huge slabs. All on 4 lb. test. We also had two corbina mixed in with one going about 19". My sister and I were so elated. She and I still talk about it to this day. She actually pulled in the biggest of all the big ones and her response was "yey!!! mine's bigger than yours!!!. Every time I think of that moment I have to sit and smile because of how happy she was that day. I’ll never forget it. Words of Wisdom for Pier Rats Always take the time to entertain kids/teenagers/adults/elderly/anyone at all even remotely interested in fishing whether you know them or not. Just today I was on the Santa Monica Pier and this 60—year—old Japanese lady comes and asks if she could borrow my fishing pole. I was a little leery about it but before I could answer she said "don’t worry! I know how to use it!" so I said all right. She takes it and whails my lure out there pretty far. Very impressive especially because it just caught me off guard. Anyhoo, we are both fishing bonita and talking at the same time. I’m hooking bonita and unfortunately she wasn’t. I was trying to coach her, but to no avail. So I let her play a few of the ones I was hooking. I have never seen a middle aged/elderly lady so ecstatic before in my life. She was having a blast fighting those bonies. That right there made my day. Fishing is a really big thing to a lot of people and can potentially be a really big thing to people that don’t know it yet. We often get caught up in keeping things hidden from other people about, "where the big ones are at" or "secret spots" and what not. That is totally cool. Fishing is great by itself but what makes it special and memorable are the people you are with when you catch that big one, find that secret spot, or just catch a few drag-pulling bonita.


Pier Rat Name — Frehley 316


First Memories of Fishing: When I was about 10 years old, my dad and uncle used to bring me to the dunes near Guadalupe, where we would fish for Perch. Not long after that, they introduced me to pier fishing at Port San Luis. Favorite Piers (and Why): Avila Beach Pier for the weather. Tie for second: Port San Luis (Harford) and Pismo Beach. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): During the early 1980s, my dad and I would fish at Port San Luis and Avila Pier. We were good at catching smelt and mackerel. We would keep some for ourselves, but also give some away to fellow anglers, who would use them as bait. I remember one angler bringing in a shark with our bait!


Pier Rat Name — geckomd

Years Fishing: Started with dad when I was about 6 years old and off and on until about 8 years ago. Then school and work took over and...anyway, just decided that I had enough of work one day, dug out my fishing pole and went fishing. Now, I'm always looking for an excuse to either leave work early or just waiting for the weekends to arrive. Favorite Piers (and Why): My favorite pier is definitely Pacifica. This is the place that I first had the opportunity to catch a lot of Dungeness crabs and met some really wonderful people including a number of them from this very board. These included but not limited to StinkyFingers and his lady Dolphinrider, Nufo, Red Fish, BigRich, Albert Y., Albert L. Aarondar, Steve O., among others. It is also one of the few piers in NorCal that all sort of fish can be caught: striper, salmon, perch, halibut, shark, kingfish, smelt, flounder, and the list goes on. Additionally, it's also a great place to hang out with your buds or alone (only if you can take care of yourself) especially on star-filled nights with the sound of the Pacific waves crashing against the shore as only mother nature can generate. Ahhhh...reminds me of "The Old Man and the Sea" by Ernest Hemmingway. Favorite Fish: Has to be king salmon since I caught my first one ever on this pier. What a wonderful experience it was. Especially, when I also got to witness the battle between a man and a 50+ lb salmon. Took 3 full grown adults to lift him out of the water and onto the pier. What a battle it was and what a beautiful fish. I'm sure there will be others but for now...salmon it is.

Pier Rat Name — graybeard

Years Fishing: Over 50, fished in over 20 countries. First Memories of Fishing: Fishing Pismo Pier, digging clams, and cooking them at the campground. Favorite Piers (and Why): Pismo-closest to me. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Catching snapper off the Pismo Pier by the bucket full, small buckets, when I was 12 or 13. Fishing Santa Monica Pier and going to POP [Pacific Ocean Pier] with a girl I met. Words of Wisdom for Pier Rats: Always take a kid when you can.


Pier Rat Name — guycognito

First Memories of Fishing: The first fish I caught was an anchovy on a Sabiki at Pier 7 in SF. At that moment, that anchovy was the greatest catch in the world to me. Favorite Piers (and Why): Candlestick Point Pier. I caught my first striper on a lure there. I had worked my way from the parking lot out to the point and was about to give up when I got to the pier, but during my last retrieve, my line stopped about twenty feet in front of me. I immediately thought I got snagged again but suddenly my line started moving and pulling out drag. After a quick fight, I brought in a beautiful 21" striper with perfect lines. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Landing my first striper is one of the best memories I have of fishing. I was at SF's Pier 7 with my dad. I was so excited when I saw my rod bend when the fish hit, and was even more excited when I saw it flash right beneath the surface next to the pier, and I was near passing out when it peeled out my line as it made one final run, almost straight down along a piling! 11-pounds, 30-inches. I was hooked.


Pier Rat Name – Gyozadude

First Memories Of Fishing: Rockfish caught from the shores of Lion's Bay, Howe Sound, B.C. back in 1978. Favorite Piers (And Why): Here in CA, Berkeley and Dumbarton Piers. Berkeley because it's such a diverse pier and you can catch perch, halibut, sharks, skates and rays. Dumbarton Pier because it's close to work and can possibly produce a sturgeon. But my real love is the small pier over looking Howe Sound just 100 meters from my 2nd home up near Squamish/Whistler in B.C., Canada. Salmon, bull trout, Dolly Varden, greenling, ling cod, and rockfish are available. Favorite Fish: Rockfish (i.e. Genus Sebastes). They taste great and make for a great treat at dinner for the whole family when I can get a good one and we steam it. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (And Why): Muni Pier, early spring 1999. Tagged along with my mother-in-law and some co-workers to Muni Pier. Rumor had it that people were catching rock crabs using crab nets and a piece of chicken wire-tied to the center of the net. Weather was cold and bleak and I was freezing. I brought a couple of poles and caught some small perch off bits of shrimp. Lost a lot of bait to unseen thieves below. Back near the entrance to the pier, the rag tag crabbing crew was watching over their two nets... a bunch of ladies who'd be better off playing Mahjongg than crabbing. Then screams. Both nets and the long ropes had been dragged into the water. In the distance, some sea lions surfaced with pieces of chicken still in their mouths. Words Of Wisdom For Pier Rats: Why give words of wisdom to other Pier Rats? The pleasure is all in spending time fishing trying to uncover more fishing wisdom for one's self.


Pier Rat Name — Jack Smelt


First Memories of Fishing: My first fish was a seagull. Snatched my 'chovie before it hit the water... this was summer 1968, Santa Cruz Pier. I was five. Favorite Pier (and Why): Agua Vista: Big sharks. Bizarre comrades. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Hard to beat that sea gull experience, nevertheless: (a) the time a pier in New York came unglued from its rotten pilings and began to drift down the Hudson with me onboard. (b) the time I saw a grey whale come up near the end of the Pacifica Pier and spool somebody's Shimano. (c) the time I hooked and lost a gigantic fish that could only have been a sturgeon or a sea lion. I was using 60-pound test, and when I tightened my drag down all the way—after 30 minutes of battle—it snapped my rod in half like a twig. Oh Yeah... it was my old 8-foot Ugly Stick.

Pier Rat Name — Jason Chin


First Memories of Fishing: Santa Cruz Pier, and I'll never forget it. Kingfish, sanddabs, perch, mackerel, and all the baitfish you could ever want was my first encounter with those that swim. I remember every time my bait hit the water only a minute or two was all it took before a culprit would arrive. Favorite Piers (and Why): Dumbarton Pier I would have to say is my favorite. I've had unbelievable days off this pier hooking up to 4 sturgeon in a day and countless stripers. Not too many piers give you the opportunity to land fish over a 100 lbs, this however is one of them. Largest to date for me there was 68" well over 100 lbs that was lifted in the snare to the Dumbarton deck. Let’s not forget the sharks and rays but the sturgeon is my main attraction to this pier. I was a "pier rat" there for quite sometime and have spent countless hours soaking and landing large fish trying to uncover the "secrets" to sturgeon fishing. Santa Cruz Wharf and Seacliff are also two piers that I would also have to mention. They will always have a place in my heart. Favorite Fish: Probably salmon. FAVORITE PIER FISH: Definitely sturgeon, I can’t think of many other fish that offer such a challenge off a pier. Their large size and great fighting capabilities make it really tough for anglers to land them, and when you do you’re looked upon like a god. Once you withstand the line stripping runs and countless head shake attempts to become unhooked you get to dodge the barnacle covered pilings until the fish is finally ready to give in. Then you have still got to snare them, a challenge indeed.


Pier Rat Name — jbgritz


Years Fishing: I started fishing when I was old enough to hold a pole. I stopped when I was about 45 years old. Now that I have two grandchildren (3 and 5) I decided to start again. First Memories of Fishing: From the time I was 5 until about 10 years old, my father always took me trout fishing at Big Bear Lake and Lake Gregory. One day after church we drove to Santa Barbara (from Burbank) for a Sunday brunch on the pier (the Harbor House). People were catching mackerel from the pier and we had our trout poles in the trunk of the car. My dad let me fish and the smallest mackerel were larger than the largest trout I ever caught. From then on we became pier fishermen (and some barge fishing). Favorites Piers (and Why): Malibu. My dad was 47 years old when I was born. That means that when I was thirteen, he was 60. In spite of his age and in spite of the fact that he worked 52 hours a week, he still would get up at 4 am and drive us to Malibu from Burbank (about a 1 1/2 hour dive—no freeways then). We would always be the first on the pier when it opened. We would always catch big bonita and huge halibut. I usually fished for halibut and the biggest one that I ever hooked filled up the entire space between the pier pilings. We fished at least once a month (usually twice a month). My father died 22 years ago, but he was the greatest guy that ever lived. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): The first time I fished with a lure. My dad and I were at Malibu Pier. It was still dark but we could hear fish jumping out of the water all around the pier. The sun was just coming up with enough light so that we could see hundreds of bonito jumping after anchovies. I cast out my piece of iron and caught a bonito. I was hooked. Too bad that type of fishing doesn't happen much any more.


Pier Rat Name — JFB


Favorite Piers (and Why): Crystal Pier where I caught my first halibut and my first shovelnose all in the same day Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): The second time I went to Crystal Pier, at the time I was nine years old, I forgot my fishing pole at home so I went and rented a pole, bought some hooks, and some frozen squid. My parents dropped me off at the pier at 11 o'clock. On my first cast I pulled in a 2.5 lb sculpin. The bite slowed down after that, we caught a couple mackerel but that was it. Right as I start to think about heading home my rod tip starts to dance. I pick it up and pull back hard. It felt like I was reeling in a piece of plywood (which I had done before), then I saw a white flurry below the pier, my first flatty! It measured 34-in and weighed 17-lbs. I saw a local rat catching sand bass with a jig and a grub; I asked to borrow one. Six casts later, I had landed six sand bass to 4-lbs and kept the two largest. After the bass stopped biting, I threw out a mackerel tail on a high/low rig. About ten minutes later I had a shovelnose on! After a fun battle I landed the fish and thought about heading home after a final cast. But luck was with me that day on my final cast I hooked up with a monster shovelnose. Ten minutes past and I hadn't gained any ground on the fish. Finally after a half hour I had it at the base of the pier. After we gaffed it and hauled it up we measured it — 58-inches, at the time it was larger than me. It would have been a perfect day, except I had to walk a mile back to my condo. It took me almost an hour but me, my rod, and 20 some lbs of fish made it home.


Pier Rat Name — Jim C

Years Fishing: 50 years. Started out fishing on Santa Monica Pier. Became pinhead on the Indiana. Worked on and off as cook and deckhand for 20 years at Redondo Beach, Dana Point, San Diego. Favorite skippers were Joe Schilling, Roy Peters, John Dipley, Barnie Barnes, Homer Lightfoot. First Memories of Fishing with Grandfather on Santa Monica Pier. Favorites Piers (and Why): Berkeley—Best halibut fishing


Pier Rat Name — Jmobfishen

First Memories of Fishing: First fish was a 45-in sturgy back in 1976. Dad had to finish bringing it in for me. Grandparents lived on central coast. Went with granddad to San Luis Harbor, Pismo and Cayucos piers every vacation. Caught lots of fish. Favorite Piers (and Why): Favorite pier ever is Cayucos. Can be hot and cold but by far had more consistent success on big sharks here more than anywhere else. Used to live a few blocks from the pier about five years ago (2000). Here in San Diego, fishing Crystal Pier in PB has been the best for good fishing. In just 3 short months I have landed nearly 25 sharks with the best being a 5 1/2 foot leopard and two 4ft+ shovelnoses. Actually saw a thresher of substantial size land in mid-September. I Like OB pier for the mac's and lobster. Shelter Island is great for getting live bait. And quite a few short hallies. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Cayucos November 2001— my girlfriend LIL (now wife), myself and Alex decided to hit the pier in what was a few hour calm between a two storms. Hit the pier about 6 pm as the rains tapered off. I put the girl’s poles in first and before I could get mine in they both had fish on. Alex, surface bait fishing, had two large smelt and Lil was fighting something good size; helped her land a 4-ft dogfish. In just three hours before the next storm hit we landed more than ten sharks. Alex actually landed a 5-ft nurse shark on her bait pole with 6 lb test!!!. My daughter’s first shark. If you meet us out there sometime ask about her first shark and she will gladly tell ya all about it.


Pier Rat Name — Joromaca

First Memories of Fishing I can remember joining a city recreational program one summer back in the mid 60's called "Tacklebusters" where a bus would go by a few parks and take us kids fishing to a local lake or pier or out on the barges that were popular back then. Even remember one kid getting "sea sick" on a half day boat while we were still tied up to the dock! Favorite Piers (and Why): Belmont—where my first experience with bonito was one in which the fish actually leapt out of the water to engulf the anchovy as it was sliding down the line. Also because this pier along with Seal Beach Pier is where my daughters have won numerous rods and reels and prizes during the annual summer fishing derbies. Darn...they have reached the max. age limit. Also Redondo—for the teriyaki sticks—and where I hooked into my biggest fish ever...a thresher that I didn't land but kept everyone on the pier entertained for a good 35-45 minutes. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): See above and I will also include the Catalina get together as one I hope not to forget for many years to come because of the camaraderie and seeing as how I won all that $. [Joromaca won the first PFIC Get Together in Catalina in 2002]


Pier Rat Name — JROD89


First Memories of Fishing Watching my dad and older brothers fish at San Clemente Pier when I was a very young. Favorite Piers (and Why): Huntington. Although I think it is the biggest tourist trap ever, it is where I learned to fish. I also like San Clemente because it is quiet and peaceful with decent to great fishing as well as variety. I mostly fish Huntington, Newport, Balboa, and San Clemente because they’re closer but I will jump at the chance to go to other piers. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): TRUE STORY, I was at Huntington one day. I had a medium sized pole with 10 or 12-lb test and a whole anchovy fished on the bottom. I was busy setting up my second pole (not paying attention to the one with the line in the water). All of the sudden I look over and see the pole fly into the water! I was angry with my self as well as embarrassed. I could see the pole being pulled through the water out towards sea. One angler had the idea of casting out with heavy line to try to catch the runaway pole so he did. When he got the pole to the pier we let the drop net down to land the monster. It was a 3.5 foot shovelnose. I let the man keep it because he saved my pole.


Pier Rat Name — just4thehalibut


First Memories of Fishing: Fishing Oceanside Pier for bonito in the middle of the night with my mom and dad. The pier was much longer then, and I remember having nightmares about falling into the ocean because the pier moved so much! Favorite Piers (and Why): Oceanside (my first), Newport Beach (if fishing isn't good, I can go shopping! ), San Mateo (caught my first bat ray there... too bad I didn't know you could eat them at the time! ). Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Was about 12, fishing Oceanside Pier, and the bonito where boiling everywhere. Had a green and yellow bonito jig with a rubber ball float. I was killing them, and all the adults around me were not having as good of luck. They hated me, but I was having fun with a fish on every cast!

Pier Rat Name — Kin

First Memories of Fishing: I remember when my dad took me and my brother fishing at Pacifica Pier. Even though I was barely 1/2 the height of the sides, I still had a kick out of trying (but unsuccessfully being able) to catch something from the water that was only visible to me through the gaps on the bottom of the concrete sides. Favorite Piers (and Why): I love to fish the areas off the coast in the North Bay because of its scenic views. If that doesn't count, I like to fish Oyster Point and Fort Baker because of their environment. Can't beat a good relaxing day sometimes. However, I still love to fish Pacifica Pier because of my memories and also its consistent action.

Pier Rat Name — kp

Years Fishing: I've seriously fished since we came from Germany in '78. I always had wanted to fish in Germany but the laws are so tough over there that my dad was not able to get me a license. So when we came over here I was in heaven. My mom used to drop me off at Santa Monica Pier at 6 or 7 on Sunday mornings and pick me up again about 12 hours later. First Memories of Fishing: The first time I fished was off a boat dock in Yugoslavia. My dad was repairing his boss’s boat so we decided to make a vacation out of it. I had borrowed a fishing pole and was fishing off the end of a boat dock using bread as bait. I caught one fish that I'm guessing to be either a mackerel or bonita. It put up a great fight but we were finally able to net it. I was hooked! Favorite Piers (and Why): Aliso Creek Pier. No longer standing. It was never too crowded, the water was always super clean and I never got skunked there. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why) I don’t think there is just one. When I started pier fishing as a kid they were all great. Santa Monica had plenty of large bonita and mackeral. There were also plenty of perch hanging around.


Pier Rat Name — landingcrewman

First Memories of Fishing: Catching my first large (100+lbs) bat ray and my first 10-lb bonito, all at Newport. Favorite Piers (and Why): Newport—that’s where I learned the ropes from the shark and ray club, and Oceanside—that’s where I joined the Oceanside Pier landing crew and caught lots of fish. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Newport—my first 100+lbs ray (almost fell in the drink no railing back then); Oceanside- that’s where I taught my sons how to fish the right way


Pier Rat Name — LazarusX3

First Memories of Fishing: Fishing all day with my uncle when I was young, and eventually getting bored of just sitting around, not catching anything, so I told my uncle that I wanted to go play at the beach. I began reeling in my line, when I suddenly couldn't reel anymore. I thought that maybe I snagged the pier, but when I asked my uncle to help me reel, it turns out that there was a fish on the end of it (don't know what kind, it was so long ago I forgot). Favorite Piers (and Why): Newport because I caught more fish there than any other place; Balboa, because when fishing at Newport eventually turned up less fish for me, Balboa was a good alternative; Hermosa and Redondo, because I first fished there when I was a child; and Santa Monica, because it was the most fun, in general, for a young child. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why:) Fishing at Newport, and catching buckets of mackerel, sometimes catching several on one line at the same time.


Pier Rat Name — Leapin' Bass


First Memories of Fishing: I started fishing saltwater at Goleta Pier in late 1982. For the first year or so it was primarily for halibut and kelp bass. Then I discovered bat rays and sharks. I pretty much spent the 80's either fishing for sharks or rays off the pier or for largemouth and smallmouth bass at a small local pond or the Santa Ynez River. Favorite Piers (and Why): Goleta. Open all night. Good shark and ray fishing. Not crowded on weeknights. Beautiful surroundings. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): August 15, 1983—I was introduced to bonito and had never felt a fish pull so hard. July 22, 1984—I caught my first bat ray. September 4, 1984, hooked about a 7-foot blue shark, fought it for 15 minutes or so before it chewed through my rope leader (didn't have wire). Late 1984,—I don't remember the date but there was a few days on Goleta Pier when yellowtail showed up. I never landed any but it was very exciting.


Pier Rat Name — longboardrder

Favorite Piers (and Why): Newport because that is where I began my pier fishing. I first started going there when my dad would go surfing before I started to surf and I would fish because there wasn't anything better to do. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): One day at Newport abut 10:00 am in the middle of winter a school of barred surf perch swam under the pier. They were about football sized all about 1-2 lbs. And there were just thousands off them. If you could get your bait in there you could get instant hookups. They past fairly quickly and I though that was the that but about 15 minutes later another school about the same size past and it was the same thing all over — good times


Pier Rat Name — mandooz

Favorite Piers (and Why): Seacliff, Santa Monica, and Pacifica, I remember going to Seacliff as a kid and catching those ugly looking fish inside the cement boat. Santa Monica because I used to go there during college regularly. Pacifica is just a beautiful place. I had good experiences fishing and crabbing there. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Santa Cruz Pier has a special place in my heart because I have a wonderful memory of fishing there with my mother once. It was a beautiful day and it was a total spur of the moment kind of thing. We decided to go buy an inexpensive pole at the local store and just took an hour drive to Santa Cruz where we spent the day fishing and talking. I didn't catch anything, but it didn't really matter, you know?


Pier Rat Name — Matt


First Memories of Fishing: Port San Luis Pier, fishing with my dad on the pier with cut anchovies, catching nothing but starfish. Hehe. Good times. Favorites Pier (and Why): Oyster Point and Pacifica Pier. Favs because I have the most memories at Pacifica back in the day when fishing was PHENOMONAL and Oyster Point because I fish there more than anywhere else, and catch more fish there as well. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): First times at Pacifica Pier, when the sun would be setting and the water green. Me and my best friend loved pulling up our home-made cage crab traps and trying to catch bullheads with pile worms. Learned how to pier fish there. Always the best memories I can hold to my own

Pier Rat Name — mikeritr


Long time pier fisherman—Huntington Beach since about 1949 with my grandfather. 59 years old. My Grandpa was Bargemaster of the Elsie II of HB pier around 1955. I fished off the pier with Bushy, son of farmer for which Bushard Street is named. Caught all the usual stuff and remember when the 30+ pound white seabass where caught in the grey dawn when the sardines were in. Firecracker yellows as well. Fished Newport with wooden homemade bonito splasher, and slammed 'em '55-57. Spent a lot of time on the Surfish, a half day boat out of Huntington, killing the bonito, barracuda, and the occasional yellow. Some big sand bass caught too. Latest pier fishing: Berkeley Pier. Nobody catching anything. My daughter used her Sabiki rig to jig up some shiner's. Rigged them on a trolley, sliding sinker rig. Caught two legal halibut, released. People flocked around to find out how I caught them and to complain about the release. Used to kill everything and sell it on the pier as a kid, now release a lot of stuff. Looking to get back into the pier scene. I'll probably fish Berkeley Pier, only an hour away. Probably going to have to put together a pier outfit to roll out on the pier. Got quite a few spinning and conventional outfits. I love to use ultra-light through about a 4/0 conventional outfit. Like to use the lightest possible outfit for the fish I'm catching. Remember some great times on light outfits with big bonito in the 50's. If my back gets better, I may be able to make it out a couple times a month when the season is here. Plan on retiring from my job in about 4 years. Then I'm hoping to move nearer the water and I'll probably become a pier rat. Pier, sand, boat, surfboard, kayak, I love it all. I'd be out on a boat a lot if I could afford it. But I love to fish the pier and the sand too. Years Fishing: 55. First Memories of Fishing: Catching herring off the Huntington Beach Pier. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Catching big, big bonito off Newport pier about 1958 with home made bonito splashers and feathers. Bouncing them from the water to 30' overhead and landing them right behind my feet for all the tourists to watch.


Pier Rat Name — Mola Joe

Years Fishing: As soon as my little fingers could stretch around the reel seat of my Zebco rod. The poor fish have been looking for a place to hide ever since. First Memories of Fishing: My most vivid memories of fishing came from surf fishing with my dad when I was all of 6 or 7 years old. It was like Christmas morning when my dad would come home from work and tell me to "go to the garage and get the rods, were going fishing." In fact, my first memories of fishing, and my fondest memories of fishing throughout my life, have come with my dad at my side. It was one of those surf fishing trips that introduced me to pier fishing. I believe I was around 8 or 9 years old and was surf fishing with my dad and brother down a bit from Hermosa Pier. I was dying to go up on the pier and see what they were catching, and my dad finally caved in and let my brother and I go. I couldn't believe what was going on. Blood all over the pier, rods bent in half, drags singing, this was like nothing I've ever seen. Bonito were coming up all over the pier, and I couldn't wait to go tell my dad we were fishing in the wrong place. We told my dad they were catching tuna, and he decided to take a walk up and see what was going on. We got up there, he looks around, and he says they're trash fish, only bonito. He fished the boats for albacore and yellowtail a lot, so to him, bonito were to be avoided. We left the pier, but we bugged him so much over the next couple of weeks, he finally brought us back out. I can remember like it was yesterday, trying to hold the rod and reel as a 6-pound bonito was tearing line off. This was the start of what turned out to be the best years of my life, spending most every day during the summer on Hermosa Pier. This does not count as a first memory, but it was a huge turning point in my life. Like most teens, my relationship with my dad became strained as I was getting older, never really seeing eye to eye anymore. He fished with his friends, I fished with mine. I turned 18 and was ready to get out of the house. I'm not even really sure why, but that year for Father's Day I asked him if he wanted to take a fishing trip to Loreto, Mexico. We were fighting worse than ever, but he agreed. Me paying for the whole trip probably had a lot to do with it. It was during this fishing trip that something happened. It was the first time I ever really got to know my father. We shared drinks at a bar for the first time, talked about things we never talked about before, and spent 5 great days of getting to know each other again. This trip kicked off almost 20 great years of fishing trips with my dad, who had become my best friend and fishing buddy along the way. As of the last couple of years, my dad has reached the age where he no longer can make the trips, but the memories and bond that we reached through fishing will last until the day I die. Favorite Piers (and Why): This is an easy one. Hermosa Pier, because this pier flat out catches more quality fish than any other pier in Santa Monica Bay. It's longer than most in this area, and has structure around it which makes it a very fishy place to drop a line. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): The one that stands out is one of those first summers that I started spending on Hermosa. My mom would take my dad to work, and then continue on to drop my brother and I off at the pier, then pick us up at 3:30, then on to get my dad at work. Most days on the pier were spent using Lucky Joe's, now called Sabiki rigs. We placed a diamond jig on the bottom, and pretty much caught everything with those things. Everything except something that we could bring home to eat. We always had albacore, yellowtail, white seabass, etc., in the freezer, so we wouldn't dare bring home a bonito to eat. Then one morning that changed. I hooked what I thought was the bottom until it started to move. I still remember the rod and reel, an old Mitchell 300 and a Garcia Conalon spinning rod. I was amazed to look in the water and see what looked like a giant halibut that had swallowed my diamond jig. It took awhile, but we got it in the net. Finally, something I could take home and show my dad. It only weighed 8 pounds, but it may as well have weighed 30. I was so proud when we pulled into my dad's work, and I ran to pull it out and show him. He was pretty surprised, and even took it in the shop to show the guys the fish his son caught. It was the first time I ever put food on the table, and I was so proud of that fish.


Pier Rat Name — Mr. Bojangles

First Memories of Fishing: Busting my new telescopic rod my dad bought me down at one of the Shoreline piers. I swore I had a fish and I kept loading up on the rod till it snapped! Favorite Piers (and Why): Redondo Pier... That’s where Mr. Bojangles lives. Favorite Fish: Bonito... AKA "Mr. Bojangles" Pound for Pound the best fighting fish out there! Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Belmont Pier... This is where I fell in love with fishing. 2-3 nice sized bones on at once. The good 'ol days.


Pier Rat Name — Neptune1234

First Memories of Fishing: Three years old, San Pablo Bay.... Showed my dad how you have to pretend to be asleep so the fish don’t know you want them. Sure enough a 12" baby sand shark hooks himself up just for me. I still have that little guy all dried out on the mantle. Awwww...How cute...Favorite Piers (and Why): I lived about a mile from McNears Pier all through high school. Many an early hangover can be attributed to that fact. Also, many a free dinner. That’s the place that really got me into pier fishing. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Early in May I went out to pitch Hair Raisers at around 6:30 in the morning at McNears Pier. In the next hour I hooked and landed a 28" halibut, two 30" stripers, and a 42" striper. All beached by myself. No one else around to hear my shouts and laughs. That was great. Even made the I.J (newspaper)... MY first keeper sturgeon off of McNears Pier with striperkiller was way cool. Biggest fish I have ever caught. Last cast for the day...BAM!...12 lb test and a 68" fish...amazing...


Pier Rat Name — nomoresculpin

First Memories of Fishing: My dad catching mackerel and croaker. I would always get my line caught in the pilings of Oceanside Pier. Favorites Piers (and Why): Oceanside Pier because you can catch fish anywhere on the pier if you know how and also the variety. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): In high school when I took some friends fishing for the first time and catching a bucketful of mackerel. Also—outfishing my dad and two of his friends when I was a kid at Ocean Beach Pier.

Pier Rat Name — norcalangler

First Memories of Fishing: Fishing with pops at the Marin Rod and Gun Club Pier, an old a.. pier with lots of fishing memories. Favorite Piers (and Why): Fort Baker Pier for the crabs and Pacifica for the variety Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): McNear Beach Pier. [An] old Russian guy took a nap and his rod tip was ripping bell, going off, and he still didn’t wake up... funny as h.... I got to the rod and pulled in a 30-incher right when he woke up. Striper stroganov anyone?


Pier Rat Name — OB Pier Rat


First Memories of Fishing: Halibut fishing in the Mission Bay flood control channel on my Dad's boat; catching perch and croaker when the OB pier opened in the 1960's. Favorite Piers (and Why): OB Pier (the pier that started it all for me, I grew up a half mile from this pier and spent almost every day of every summer break fishing the OB Pier during my school years). Oceanside Pier (IMO the most productive in SD). Shelter Island Pier (great for live bait fishing). Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Catching my first shovelnose shark with the OB pier regulars in 1976, it weighed 37 lbs. Catching two huge opaleye with my brother on the rocks south of the OB pier, these fish were so big we had to strap them to my bike and walk the bike home. June 2003, my wife and I traveled up the California coast and visited Balboa, Redondo, Malibu, Ventura, Goleta, Gaviota, and Pacifica piers, meeting some of the pier rats here and catching fish. Caught my largest bat ray to date on the trip, a 42" wingspan ray at Gaviota Pier. All of the PFIC get-togethers I've been to so far-Goleta 2003, Catalina 2004, Quivira Pt. 2004, Goleta 2004. Really enjoy

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Last edited by Ken Jones on Mon Jan 02, 2017 9:06 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 9:07 am
Ken Jones


Posts: 9447
Location: California

Pier Rat Name — oceanfisher404

First Memories of Fishing: Trout fishing in the mountains, and my dad taking me down to Santa Cruz Pier to catch all the little red octopuses. Favorite Piers (and Why): Probably Berkley Pier because I’ve been fishing there for a long time, Santa Cruz because there’s always something biting and the convenience of having a bait shop at the end of the pier, and Goleta because it is just a great pier for sharays and something is always biting! Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Ok I’ve got two...first is falling off the Santa Cruz Pier because some dumb kid (a.k.a me) was getting attacked by a pelican and fishing for perch and smelt at Berkely with ultralight tackle and hooking up with a bat ray...I lost the pole but that’s not the point.


Pier Rat Name — Paul Grunion


Personal Information and Occupation: Fishing and Boy Scouts got me interested in the out of doors and nature when I was a kid. I went to Humboldt State University. And got a B.S. in Fisheries Biology in 1963. I worked as a Marine Biologist for The Department of Fish and Game from 1964 through 2002, about 38 years... The part of my career which most closely relates to pier fishing is the youth fishing club, Los Tiburones, which I led from 1974 to 2000. We had up to 15 chapters of the club based at Boys and Girls clubs, Recreation Centers and schools in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Nine times each year, we conducted fishing tournaments on various piers from Manhattan Beach to Balboa. You might have seen our kids in their turquoise Los Tiburones T-shirts excitedly bringing us fish to weigh in for the competition. Now that I have retired, I plan to dedicate my life to internet fishing conversations. Years Fishing: I have fished since about 1952, so about 50 years. First Memories of Fishing: I lived in the Richmond District of San Francisco as a kid and used to climb down the cliffs west of China (Phelan) Beach to Camelback Rock, to fish from the rocks with my buddies. We would also ride the Muni to the Cliff House, Chrissie field, Marina Green and Muni Pier. I will never forget the reaction from bus riders when we would get on a bus with fishing poles, crab rings, and a wet gunnysack containing fish and crabs. Favorite Piers (and Why): The old (extinct) Chrissie Field Pier and Muni Pier were my favorites as a kid. When I went to Humboldt State, I fished on the Trinidad Pier a lot; and in So. Cal., I now fish on Cabrillo, Belmont, and Seal Beach Piers as well as from my kayak. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Any of the 90 or so trips I took to So. Cal Piers with the Los Tiburones Youth Fishing Club to teach upwards of 150 kids at a time about the joys and challenges of pier fishing. Words of Wisdom for Pier Rats: There only needs to be one fishing regulation... "Take your fair share"

Pier Rat Name – pescare


Years fishing: Probably around 40. First Fishing Memories: Can't sort them out, but pier fishing at Santa Cruz and Capitola and trout fishing at Lake Merced in SF and the San Lorenzo River in the Santa Cruz mountains are the first things I can remember. Did A LOT of all of those as my dad was an avid fisherman and loved to have the kids (3 of us) with him whenever possible. Mom would often come along for the company and sometimes fished, sometimes read, and always helped untangle our lines. We all had identical Zebco outfits and used them for many years before upgrading. Favorite Piers: Got to be Santa Cruz and Capitola. I never go to either expecting anything to speak of but the memories are great, they are both in beautiful spots and my girls love to go to them. They like Santa Cruz better because of the sea lions and because they think it's cool to have the car right next to us, which I have to admit is very convenient. Beats lugging all of our stuff, and usually our 4 year old up and down the hill and out onto the wharf at Capitola. Memorable Pier Trips: When I was a kid my dad took us to Capitola and the anchovies were running thick. We all had Lucky Tom jigs and filled a big bucket with them. Of course, anchovies aren't high on the list of desirable fish to catch, but for flat out action it was a great day for three little kids. Believe it or not, we actually cleaned every one of those fish and my mom layered them with salt in a big ceramic crock. Italians do weird things with fish. Another is much more recent. My younger daughter is deaf but received a cochlear implant last year which has enabled her to hear quite well now that she's learned to process sounds. I'll never forget the first time we went to Santa Cruz after the operation and she heard the sea lions barking for the first time. We hadn't reached the wells yet but one of them started booming from down below and she got this look on her face like, "What the HECK is that!!?"


Pier Rat Name — pesk21


First Memories of Fishing: First pier fishing memory was at Aliso Pier in 1991, fishing with my dad, mom, and sister. A school of bonito came around and I was introduced to my first real fight (a fish that actually pulled out drag) on my first fishing pole, a 5-foot trout pole. My dad actually had to hand over hand it up to the pier, I will never forget the look on my dad's face, he was even more proud than I was. Favorite Piers (and Why): Down south, my favorite is San Clemente Pier, in the summer I used to hangout there and catch fish after fish all day and night from perch croakers inshore to bass short barracuda and bonito at the end. Up North, I have only recently gotten acquainted with Goleta Pier, but thus far it has been great. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Ha! This one takes me back. It was early summer 1996, my mom dropped my buddy, Adam, and I off (we were 15 at the time) at San Clemente Pier around 10am one morning and told us she'd be back to pick us up by 6pm. We had planned on it being a day of fun at the pier, wide-open type fishing. Man we couldn't even buy a bite that day. Well around 4pm the heat was getting to us and we were going delirious, so we started clowning around. As a group of people came down the pier Adam grabbed my line and stepped on it while I yanked back on my pole, looking like I had a huge fish. We both started talking really loud, to get the groups attention (we planned to let the line go, and pretend that we lost it, as soon as they looked interested). Well the group came over and Adam let the line go, the whole group let out an "awwwh"...we snickered and of course instantaneously something grabs my line, something BIG...its pulling out line like crazy on my 25-lb setup! Me and Adam are shocked, and yelling in excitement (which must have seemed really weird considering we had just appeared to have a fish on and weren't nearly as enthusiastic). Anyway, after fighting the fish for a good 8-10 minutes, I finally get the fish to stop and start to gain back line on it; meanwhile a nice size crowd is gathering so I don't want to disappoint. The fish must have been just out of sight when it decided to make a last ditch run, and as luck would have it my drag didn't give and the line snapped (the crack of the whip sound still haunts me) and the crowd lets out another disappointing "awwwwh!" Didn't even get to see what it was!!! I reel up the line in disbelief and find that there were large abrasions in the line right where it snapped, probably caused by our little game of trick the tourists. Somewhere God must have been snickering. Never again did we play that game nor mention that incident, yet it is definitely etched in my memory forever. Words of Wisdom for Pier Rats: Take a kid fishing, it may just change his/her life. And for you younger guys, take a friend fishing, I can't believe how many people I have been able to open up to fishing. Fishing can be a great bonding experience. "Life is like fishing, everyone has a different approach and a different purpose, yet we all fish and live under the same sun, so respect others and their ways." "Live and fish at your own pace, after all when your day of fishing is at an end, as with life, all you're left with is your memories."


Pier Rat Name — Photomandan


First Memories of Fishing: Going in the early AM with my grandfather from his home in Morro Bay to the Cayucos Pier more than 40 years ago. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Still remember going with my grandparents and siblings to Cayucos a certain time when I was a kid ... bringing up jig lines full of red snappers and even smelt, that made the line so heavy we had to haul it in by hand! Those were the days....


Pier Rat Name — pierangler


First Memories of Fishing: Fishing from piers in Cayucos and Santa Cruz with my father, brother and sisters. Favorite Piers (and Why): Antioch— near home, lots of striped bass; Ocean Beach (San Diego)— I always catch something there; Pacifica—great fishing, salmon, striped bass, crabs. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Oceanside Pier—ran into a large school of bonito. Was able to catch 10 large bonito—really exciting.


Pier Rat Name — PierBum714


First Memories of Fishing: Went fishing with a friend at Seal Beach Pier and all he had was a pair of light tackle fresh water poles with 8-lb test, some small split shot sinkers, and some small hooks. For bait we stopped at the local 7-11 and bought some frozen anchovies. Baited up and within half an hour caught an 18-in halli... Had to toss it back but after that I was hooked on pier fishing... wanted to catch a legal and eat if for dinner. Favorite Piers (and Why): Balboa pier, Newport Pier, Huntington Beach Pier, Seal Beach Pier, Belmont Pier. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): July 8th, 2002, my friends birthday. We decided to go fishing on a 24-hr fish-a-thon, 5pm-5pm. It must have been our lucky day because we caught and released between the two of us over 40 spotfin croakers over the 24-hr fish-a-thon. I’ll never forget it.


Pier Rat Name — PierHead


Personal Information And Occupation: Born under the sign of Sagittarius in Santa Barbara, CA mid WW2. Spent my formative years under the 'cloud' of the atomic bomb—the good nuns did their best to comply with the mandatory duck & cover drills without unduly alarming their younger charges but it left a lasting impression of how temporary and insecure all life is — my outlook is clearly Carpe Diem (seize the day). And fishing became my escape from 'adult' reality as well as my entry into the world of nature. Years Fishing: 50+. Years of Hardcore Fishing: 13. Prior to my father's passing in 1989 fishing was more of an escape than an active exploration... In early 1989 I called my father (my mother had died some time before) to effect a reconciliation and invited him to go fishing with his grandson and myself. But when we got there we found him on the kitchen floor felled by a stroke. I still remember opening the refrigerator later that day and seeing the bait he had prepared for us to use. And the memories of a childhood filled with fishing adventures came flooding back along with the tears of regret for the estrangement. I returned to SB to take care of him until his death later that year but, due to his incapacity, we never fished together again. After the funeral my family and I went to Goleta Pier and soaked some bait in his memory. From that moment on I found myself filled with a desire to take fishing seriously... First Memories Of Fishing: My first fishing trip was with my Dad and my 2 younger (twin) brothers around 1950. He took us down to Stearns Wharf in SB after spending the previous evening sitting around the kitchen table with him learning how to clean the poles and reline the reels that he hadn't had much chance to use following his marriage (5 children — 4 living at that time) some 15 years earlier. Stearns, in the 50's, had an abalone processing plant right at the end of the pier with an enormous pile of discarded shells and big buckets of guts. There was also an anchovy offloading siphon pipe with a large fish-spilling tear in the side that chummed live bait into the water below. We could hardly contain ourselves and Dad reigned us in a very forceful manner for 'our own good' —my ears burned for the rest of the day from that first lesson in pier safety! We caught a full gunnysack of what he called horse mackerel — enormous fish at least 24" in length. I was hooked. From that day on it was a weekly ritual to go fishing. On my own block alone there were 10 boys and 4 girls — quite a sight as we paraded the 2 miles down to the Wharf on our bikes with fishing poles in hand. Favorite Piers (And Why): Stearns Wharf and Goleta Pier. My boyhood was spent at the Wharf ... it was where my father had first fished with his father and where my maternal grandfather had his lumber company in the 20's. And fishing at Goleta for halibut had become my father's favorite form of outdoor recreation as my mother's incapacity increased during her final years. But, in actuality, any wooden pier anywhere on the coast. In fact it was my fascination with wooden piers that led me to pierfishing.com ... I had wanted to write a book documenting the history and social import of wooden piers in honor of my father. Of course the first hit on the search engine was this site! Needless to say the book had already been written by the master himself. Finding this site completed a circle that had been broken by the estrangement and my father's death ... I felt like I had been reunited with the fishing community. In jimbojack's words: 'Like coming home'. Favorite Fish: The first fish of any new species! My first halibut— lost around the pilings at Stearns wharf when I was 9. The 5# Bass at Cachuma Lake taken on a Black Bomber at twilight in a secluded cove shortly after my mother's last call for supper during the summer of my 10th year. The 3.5# cabezon that tumbled me off the riprap and initiated me into the Rincon Rock Diver's Club. A 3# Calico Bass which nailed a frozen anchovy floating on the top of the kelp reef at Goleta before I had a chance to recast. The 3 10#+ Shovelnose caught in a two hour period off the end of the Goleta Pier. My son's first fish memorialized in papier-mâché by his 4th grade teacher. My granddaughter's sand dab caught at Goleta. And last, but not least ... the salamander fished out of the creek behind Mission Santa Barbara using a bent pin and a berry from a pyracantha bush when I was 7 ... my first successful catch! Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (And Why): Every trip is memorable in some way - especially now that I am approaching my 6th decade! It used to be that the memories were created by the fish caught but in the last 3-4 years I'm noticing that people are increasingly at the center of those memories. I've always done poorly with names but since making an effort by introducing myself and keeping a list of the names that I have accumulated there are almost 20 people who I recognize at Goleta alone — not to mention the increasing number of Pier Rats I am running into. But overall — I have to say the Catalina Get Together 2002 is my fondest memory to date. And apparently I am not alone in that given the number and nature of posts on the subject since our return! Words Of Wisdom For Pier Rats: There is more to fishing than catching... slow down and enjoy the whole of creation. You only go around once.


Pier Rat Name — PierPower


Favorite Piers (and Why): Gaviota because I seem to always have a couple of good runs every time I go there. I haven't had the chance to fish a lot of piers (Santa Monica, Ventura, Gaviota, Avila, and Port San Luis) so I tend to get the most action at Gaviota.
Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): The first time I went to Gaviota to meet eddog and his brother. Being into bass fishing at the time my dumb@ss only brought a 7-ft medium action spinning rod (Ugly Stick) and 7-ft baitcaster. So I showed up like I was going to fill a bucket up with sardines not knowing of the monsters that could be landed with the right equipment. So I arrived in the late afternoon to meet eddog who was going to teach me on the ways of Catching TOADS with my chump gear, and before I could even set my stuff down he set the hook on something big with his 12-ft surf rod (set up with either a Jigmaster or levelwind) and I was blown away. If anyone bass fishes on the site you know how exciting setting the hook is. Well it is 100 times better on a huge rod and on a huge fish. So after getting my mind blown he helps me rig up my light tackle for just about anything that bites and I catch about a 10-15-lb shovelnose on 10-lb with my Ugly Stick. I about pushed that rod to the limit but landed my first saltwater fish. Now at this point my girlfriend is whinning because I brought the rod for her so I rebaited and threw it back out. 10 min goes by and bam a puffer shark about the same size as the shovelnose hits my bait, and being the good boy friend that I am I let my girl set the hook and land the fish. At this point in my first pier experience I am stoked so eddog had to show up my beginners luck by hooking up a massive bat ray that three of us couldn't even get out of the water (only one fin came out. At least a 4 1/2 wing span.). So that night I went to bed a happy camper and the following morning eddog rigged me up on one his big rods. This is the part that floored me the most. I get a good run on the clicker and a little panic sets in. Never using a Jigmaster, eddog had to train me on the job. I flipped the bail over and turned the clicker off then I had to reel a tad for the leader to hit the weight (we cast our weights out then slide a leader down with live or cut bait) then eddog said "set the hook" and I hammered it home. But eddog didn't tell me they pull back, so when I set the hook I just about got flung on my face. I was a diehard Pier Rat after that (even though I got spooled my first big hook up). The following week after this trip I started buying saltwater tackle.


Pier Rat Name — Pier Rat


Years Fishing: Since 1989 when I was five years old. First Memories of Fishing: Redondo Pier fishing for mackerel. Favorite Piers (and Why): Newport Pier because it’s near good surf, jetty and bay locations. Balboa pier when the bonito are biting. 72nd street jetty for Halibut and Newport bay jetty for bass. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): My first trip as a kid at Redondo Pier. My dad my brother and I caught so much mackerel it filled a trash bag. Looking back it seems anti-conservation but for a five year old hooking up on so many hard fighting mackerel it was a blast.


Pier Rat Name — plibithman


First Memories of Fishing: Fishing Seacliff Pier (cement ship) back when you were still allowed to fish off the ship itself. I never really caught anything big there, but I fondly remember a local pier rat wrestling a 20 lbs. white seabass all the way on to the beach because no one had a crab net. Favorite Piers (and Why): Capitola Wharf—it’s such a beautiful area, and the bait shop at the end is so convenient, and the guy there is the nicest guy, always willing to give you a tip or two. Half Moon Bay Pier (Pillar Point) because that’s where I spent most of my younger years, crabbing for hours on end. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Really never had any amazing story to tell about pier fishing, I usually fish piers that rarely produce big fish (Capitola and Santa Cruz).


Pier Rat Name — Ray Hawk


First Memories of Fishing: I remember when my dad introduced me to fishing. My dad took the whole family to Embarcadero Pier in San Diego. He introduced me to the basics and I caught on quick and have been a hardcore fishermen ever since. My dad would get the family together and invite the neighbors and we would make it a day at Embarcadero pier. People would catch buckets of mackerel. Back in the days, this pier would be the spot for HUGE bat rays. Favorite Piers (and Why): If I had to pick a favorite pier, it would be Shelter Island Pier. Fishing has not been the same since they took out the old wooden pier and replaced it with the concrete pier. During the 1980's, this pier was the best pier to fish. I recall when I was a kid, this pier would be wide open on mackeral, queenfish, bonita, etc. Hopefully these days will come back. But it is still a nice pier to kick back, fish and relax. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): I have had so many memorable fishing trips. I only wish I had a camera or some kind of camcorder to record my trips.


Pier Rat Name — Red Fish


Personal Information and Occupation: I started on this board as FISH HEAD but then decided that I didn't want to be labeled as being a dead head (literally, not a Grateful Dead fan) lol! The name Red Fish fits me in many ways. They used to call my mom's dad "Red" and he was one of the best golfers in New Orleans (pre-Tiger Woods) in the 40's, and 50's competing in many tournaments. Redfish is a popular game-fish from the Gulf of New Mexico and its tributaries [also the area of New Orleans, Louisiana the home of my kin-folk]. And, my oldest brother once owned a boat named the "Redfish." First name "Red," last name "Fish." O.K., let's see, born! Ha! Born in Berkeley, Ca. in the year the civil rights act was passed. Grew up fishing Berkeley Pier. I used to actually dig up earthworms in my backyard and pick out centipedes from my front lawn to use as bait at Berkeley Pier as a pre-schooler. My parents took me to Berkeley Pier as a toddler often for walks. One day, while walking with my parents on Berkeley Pier, I wandered away from them long enough to pick up a size (12) hook lying on the ground and prick myself with it. One drop of blood came out and I screamed like a baby; I was and I have been fishing ever since! Favorite Piers (and Why): Berkeley because it is my home pier. I say I have "seen it all" out there but there are always new surprises like a miscellaneous thresher shark as the waters and the environment change over the years and we experience El Nino on occasion. I've witnessed the years of halibut-sized starry flounder, all species of perch so thick that you could look down toward the pilings during the summer and see dozens reflecting in the water, salmon being caught the entire length of the pier after a year-long closure for earthquake retro-fitting. And, most recently, seeing the only white seabass ever caught by the resident expert, "Chopper" and it was of legal size. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Let's start at the beginning— (1.) Pricking my finger at age 3 on a size 12 hook at Berkeley Pier. (2.) Having weekly weekend shiner derbies with my brother Martin at age 7. (3.) Catching the biggest striper of the day on my very first partyboat trip at the age of 10 at Red Rock in Richmond, Ca. The skipper (C.Morris) called me "Red" because I was "red hot!" (4.) Fishing with my priest, (Father James P. O'Connor R.I.P.). Thanks for taking my brother Martin and me on many memorable camping and fishing trips including Clear Lake, and various parts of Oregon and Washington. (5.) Catching my first legal of many game fish including blue marlin. (6.) And, meeting many new fishing friends like BigRich McIntosh at PFIC Mud Marlin Get-Together #1


Pier Rat Name — reelly hooked

Favorite Piers (and Why): I only fish a few piers (don’t have a car yet), but the one pier that I've caught tons of fish from is Belmont Pier in Long Beach. I love that pier because it's really low, and most of the times it's very productive. I've practically caught every fish that can be caught in that area from this pier. Another reason this is my favorite pier is because this is the first pier I started pier fishing on... Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Well I was at Belmont Pier and this was when I was about 10 or 11 years old, but I was fishing for mackerel with a Krocodile. You would just jig it up and down about 3 or 4 feet under the water and the mackerel would just go crazy for it, well anyways I had one of those cheap Zebco combos from Big 5 with about 12 or 15-lb test on it. While watching my Kroc under the water and the mackerel just swooping back and forth trying to snatch it I see this big long fish just swim up and snatch the Kroc. I didn't know what it was at the time but dang did it pull hard. My pole bent and the line went straight under the pier. I didn’t know how to set my drag back then so after a few seconds the line snapped. That was my first encounter with a barracuda, and a big fish. I can still remember it so clearly the ‘cuda just cruising and then wham!! straight for my Krocodile.


Pier Rat Name — Rich Reano

First Memories of Fishing: Fishing with my dad on the North Island Naval Base using my Zebco spincast setup baited with a whole squid under a bobber. I didn't catch anything, but being out fishing with my dad was fun. Favorite Piers (and Why): Coronado Ferry Landing. Although it is not as productive as other piers in San Diego, it's in a great location and has a decent variety of fish. Also, I proposed to my girlfriend not very far from this pier. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Catching my first halibut at, again, the Ferry Landing. At the time, the only knowledge of halibut was the large ones they catch in Alaska. I was using a swimbait trying for sand bass. As my swimbait rose to the surface at the end of a retrieve, a dark and large shadow came up from the bottom and inhaled the swimbait. It was quite a sight to see and even more exciting to feel it make a run, peeling line off my reel in the process.


Pier Rat Name — Rita001

Years Fishing: I've been fishing ever since I could hold a fishing pole, probably fishing for 30 plus years. First Memories of Fishing: First memory fishing? I must have been 5 or 6 years old fishing with those cheap kid-type poles catching shiners and whatever would bite in SF waterfront piers near China Basin. Favorite Piers (and Why): My favorite piers are Ft. Baker, Ft. Point and Oyster Point. Ft. Baker because you can always catch something there and its a great pier for kids. Same reason for Ft. Point. I like Oyster Point cause it's close to where I live. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Fort Baker during an El Nino year. I think 1980-82?? I caught a 20-lb halibut on ultra-light gear. It took 25 min. to fight that fish. My Dad was so proud of me! Words of Wisdom for Pier Rats: Be respectful to yourself, others, the pier itself and to the fish you catch—young Pier Rats are watching.


Pier Rat Name — Rockfish59


Years Fishing: Almost 50 years. My mother used to take me when I was real small to Fisherman's Wharf and we'd fish around the old Andy's Lookout and we'd catch all kinds of rock cod, cabezon, perch, flounder, eels, crabs, etc. First Memories of Fishing: That would be at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. Favorite Piers (and Why): My favorite pier before I moved up here was always the Santa Cruz Pier. I always caught decent-sized quillbacks fishing down in the square holes out on the end of the pier. The weather there was always great in summer and also the fringe benefit of watching all the pretty girls. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): My most memorable pier fishing was behind the Ferry Building in San Francisco. These were the old ferryboat slips and this is also the reason for my screen name 'Rockfish59' as my brother Larry found this place in 1959. The piers were old, some were burned and most were in pretty bad shape. But you could see where not to walk in the dilapidated areas. But the area was absolutely teeming with rock cod, ling cod, rubber lip perch (we'd spearfish too as they'd come to the surface by the pilings in the hundreds), rainbow perch, eels, flounders, sea trout, stripers and of course crabs up the ying yang. We'd use the goop from inside the crab shell for bait and the perch would just tear it up. Some of those rubber lips weighed 3-4 lbs and the quillbacks would get up to 6 lbs. We also lost a lot because they would run around the pilings and break the line. Imagine you're a 9-year-old kid catching a 6-pound rock cod with a hand line which was all I used as a kid. We always caught fish there and it seemed we were the only ones who knew about it too. We were still pulling big ones out of there up into the late 60's. But eventually progress caught up with us and they tore them all out and put that ugly BART pier in. I think that when I die and if I make it to heaven, that place would be heaven for me. I really loved it there as a kid and I miss the old wooden structures and the smell of the creosote (which ruined more than one pair of pants). I'll never forget the old ferry slips.


Pier Rat Name — Salty Nick


Favorite Piers (and Why). I have fond memories of fishing off Seacliff Pier for perch with a high school fishing buddy. We used to catch nice-sized barred perch there. We could see these giant perch around the pilings, but could never entice them to bite. The last few times I fished there, recently, the perch seemed smaller, but maybe it was nostalgia at work. I also like Fort Baker Pier. The fishing can be pretty slow sometimes, but I've caught striped bass, perch, jacksmelt, and hooked into some monster fish that have snapped my line. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Once at Fort Baker, I hooked into a fish using a live smelt for bait. It didn't seem that big and moved kind of funny, from side to side. As I got it in closer, it started fighting more, but I reeled it in (way too fast). As it came to the surface I saw it was a large halibut, at least the size of my crab net! As my brother-in-law got the crab net ready, the fish flicked the hook with a shake of its head (I could've sworn it was laughing, too) and floated out of view—in slow motion. Arrgh! Oh the pain.


Pier Rat Name — Santa


First Memories of Fishing: When I was 5 yrs old visiting a grandfather who took me to a pier/wharf somewhere in San Mateo/Belmont area. Caught my first piling perch with an old 2pc lightweight cane pole with string tied to end. I was hooked! Favorite Piers (and Why): Pismo, Avila, Port San Luis (Harford Pier) Because they are close to me and hold many good memories. Favorite Fish: Anything with GILLS!! Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Harford Pier (Port San Luis) June 1974, Brother called me at work saying my sister-in-law had accidentally dropped her car keys into water near the restaurant the evening before. Grabbed my scuba gear and met them there, had my bro drop a heavy weight on line to mark drop spot. Followed line down then swam larger circles outward from line. "BINGO" about 35-ft seaward from drop spot I found her keys. Upon surfacing I found I had emptied the restaurant of curious onlookers who were wondering what the glow was in the water! (search happened after dark using my 1 million candle power scuba lite). YAY! I was the hero, lots of applause, questions, and hand shakes. I then changed out of scuba gear and enjoyed the rest of the evening fishing and crabbing on pier, which turned out to be very productive as well. Words of Wisdom for Pier Rats Best to have a kid standing on a pier catching fish, than on a street corner catching something else.


Pier Rat Name — SD Fisherman


First Memories of Fishing: Fishing from Crystal Pier with my dad and older Sister around 1986-87. We didn't catch too much as I can recall except for a few smelt and mackerel. However, I do remember a kid catching a BIG corbina in the surf at about mid-pier. My dad was a commercial Lobster Fisherman in the 70's and I think he wanted to get me hooked on fishing! According to him, I was raised on fresh lobster, halibut, bass, and abalone. Well, who would've guessed that I would become a FISHING ADDICT!!! Favorite Piers (and Why): Crystal Pier, for sure. I remember walking along the beach at about five years old and seeing the pier pilings strewn about Pacific and Mission Beaches from the big storm that ruined the pier in the early eighties. Of course, after it was rebuilt, I had my first experiences while fishing from the newly elongated pier. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Being dragged around by a big shovelnose from Crystal Pier in August of 2001. I had no crab net to bring up this beast and was forced to cut the line after I brought him to the surface after a fun fight. Oh well, hopefully he's still out there to fight another day!!


Pier Rat Name — Seabass_Seeker


Favorite Piers (and Why): Gaviota, lots of fun memories there, afternoons spent with my family, huge mack runs and monster batrays. Goleta, my "home" pier. I know this pier like the back of my hand. I'm usually there in the summer when the warm water brings in the fish. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Goleta Pier August 2003, my uncle and I started fishing around 7pm, we had a steady bite of rays, sharks, shovelnose... all at the end of the pier. Before we notice, it’s 1 AM!!! My uncle’s Baitrunner sings hooking into another nice bat, while I go get the crab net. I started pulling and felt quite a bit of weight on there. Either I had the mother of all crabs or (as I was afraid) a seal. After getting it halfway up, a couple of guys helped me pull it over. Turned out to be a 53" seven-gill, in a crab net!!!


Pier Rat Name — Shark Assassin


Favorite Piers (and Why): I don't quite know how to answer that, I have a tie up of San Clemente, Balboa, Seal Beach or Newport. Some of my other early memories was when I fished Seal Beach Pier— catching guitarfish longer than I was tall. Favorite Fish: sharks. I love them. Sharks are what I love to catch, they're my favorite fish to read about, plus they're almost always fun... Leopard sharks are always fun. They're absolutely beautiful, and fight good. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Ah, I have countless trips that I could consider memorable, but that'd take up too much space. Here's just a few: I was out fishing at Seal Beach Pier a long time ago, when I fished maybe 9-10 times a year. I had just gotten to the pier, rigged up and placed a frozen whole 'chovy on the hook. Of course, my dad remarked, "You'll never catch anything with a bait that big." Dropped the line down, BAM. Fish on! I reeled in the line after a good fight, to find an 18-20-lb shark, as what I now identify as a Sevengill. Released the shark, put another 'chovy on the hook. Dropped it down to catch ANOTHER shark, also a sevengill but of smaller size—maybe 10-lbs. Also released. I had caught these two sharks, before my dad had even wet his line. Oh so envious was he! Not long ago, I was fishing from San Clemente Pier, I brought along a long rod to fish from the far off structure. Hearing about recent catches of bat rays, I placed a whole squid on the line. Dropped it out, not a huge cast, but not against the pier either. A few moments later I heard my line peeling off like crazy. Clicked the Baitrunner off, to find the fish (presumably a ray or of considerable size leopard shark) still pulling line off like crazy, appearing to have no stop. I tightened down the drag a little, to have little or no effect. It was still ripping line off like crazy, and by now I was half spooled, my 25# SoftSteel on my Baitrunner 6500 looking quite thin, I was handing the rod to my old man so I could yank the bell off when the line suddenly stopped. After some time later (lots of line to reel in) I found my knot had came loose! Blimey! Words of Wisdom for Pier Rats "Get out; fish, hunt, play baseball, football, tennis, whatever. Just get out. Embrace the beauty that is nature around you. Observe the life abroad, keep it in your memory. Always take heed to everything around, keep in mind to tell that loved one that you love them. Because one day this will be all gone, and then only will you realize how short life is, and only then will you yearn for it again." — Shark Assassin


Pier Rat Name — Sinker


Years Fishing: 34 plus years. Not exactly sure. There have been breaks in between and have gone from salt to fresh and back due to location. Now I am fortunate to be able to fish both. First Memories of Fishing: On a pier in Concord, California (not sure which one), my father took the whole family out to fish. My younger brother caught the biggest fish I had ever seen (at that time), I was hooked from then on - No If's, AND's, OR BUT's about it. I think it was a Striped Bass but am not sure. We made my dad clean it and my mom cooked it for dinner. All five of us kids thought that that was just TOO COOL...Favorite Pier: Unfortunately it no longer exists. The Pt. Mugu Naval Air Station Pier. This pier was taken out by the El Nino storms. This pier was incredible — halibut, croaker, bonito, smelt, queenfish, bass, rockfish, perch, sharks, rays, crabs, lobsters, you name it this pier has pretty well seen it. This pier is where I learned the most about fishing, technique, presentation, knots, fish identification, proper and safe handling of fish (for myself and them), how to clean a fish, how to keep my area clean and safe — all this from my FATHER. We spent countless days and nights on that pier where he taught me what I now know and shared the secrets of life, listened to my problems and helped me make them better. Favorite Fish: So many, I guess like this: LOOKS — garibaldi; TO EAT — halibut; TO BATTLE — bat rays. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trip: Was on a freshwater dock in Lake George, NY. Took my young nephews who came out to visit fishing. We got into a mess of smallmouth bass that fought outstandingly. Seeing the smiles and looks on their faces will be with me forever. Then they asked me something, "Can you clean them so we can eat them when we get home." Sounds familiar huh, just like with my dad. My one nephew was instantly hooked as well, he now fishes Largemouth Bass Tournaments on the Pro Am tours.


Pier Rat Name — skimfisher

First Memories of Fishing: Going to Newport Beach and summer when I was in high school catching smelt and using it as bait for halibut. Then by afternoon, I'd put the fishing gear away and skimboard into the surf. By evening, it was back to fishing


Pier Rat Name — Skinner


First Memories of Fishing: Fishing with my Grandpa and Uncles including Sinker at the Pt. Mugu Pier eating cold pizza and chocolate milk. Favorite Piers (and Why): Point Mugu but it is no more. I mainly fish Ventura and Goleta. Goleta produces more fish but Ventura has the size. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Ventura Pier. I think it was the summer of 2001. Sinker and I arrived at dark set up using whole squid and big poles fished till daylight and caught 40 + or- spiny dogfish and all 4-footers. We only went home when we ran out of bait.


Pier Rat Name Slash


First Memories of Fishing: My first fishing memories involve a Southern California pier. I was so young, I wasn't aware of the pier's name—only that I was at The Pier. Dad equipped us kids with bamboo poles and assured us that if we kept the bait in the water, we would catch a fish. I wasn't able to sit still enough to do that, but it didn't seem to matter. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): My most memorable pier-fishing trip was to the Cayucos Pier in the fall of 2003. My friend Dale and I were enjoying a peaceful morning soaking bait at various points along the pier. A spot opened up at the end of the pier, so we moved down there to take advantage of it. Dale had baited his Sabiki rig with cooked bacon after getting an earful from me for using such "unsophisticated" bait, but he was the only one catching fish at that time. They were too small to keep, so they all went back into the water— until he caught a small shiner perch. That one I kept to use for bait. I had just finished reading Ken's book and I was ready to try my hand with live bait. I made up a trolley rig using the little perch and sat back to see what would happen. After 20 minutes of nothing but a little twitch (which I put down to the movement of the bait), I decided to see if my perch was still alive. When I picked up my rod, it was heavy. Darn! I'm caught on kelp! No, something started swimming around on the other end of my line— Fish On! I reeled it in and, as I watched from up on the pier, an ugly face with a wide mouth that had my line coming out of it emerged from the water. As it got closer, I could see the blue markings on its flank—lingcod! Wow! I was sure that I would have to throw it back, it didn't look like it was long enough to keep, but it sure was heavy! We got the fish up on the deck to measure it. It wouldn't hold still and nobody wanted to put their hand in that mouth full of half-inch teeth. I solved the problem by putting the toe of my shoe in its mouth to hold it down and, while we put a tape along it, I could feel the fish chewing on my foot. 24-1/2 inches—a keeper! That was a great day. Words of Wisdom for Pier Rats When you discover something you like, enjoy it! Wallow in its pleasure before it goes away in our ever-changing world. Yet, do not be afraid of change. Embrace it. For, without change, we would never discover that new thing.


Pier Rat Name — Snookie


Years Fishing: I have fished the Newport and Balboa piers for 56 years now. I actually started fishing 62 years ago. First Memories of Fishing: My first memories were at the Newport Jetty in1939 using a bamboo pole with linen line attached to the end and one hook with razor clams. I caught lots of opaleye, most of which were kid's size, but oh, so much fun. Favorite Piers (and Why): My favorite piers are Newport and Balboa Piers. Newport was where I started pier fishing. I got to know everyone, and the fishing was very good. In the winter we would go to Balboa Pier and fish for the bigger halibut which seemed to be there. Of course Balboa Pier is my favorite today. It seems to have a nicer bunch of people most of the time, and the fishing is still quite good. This is the pier all my Newport buddies have moved to. They also like the atmosphere better at Balboa than Newport. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Without a doubt I can say that my most memorable fishing trip was August 8, 1982. It was a busy day on the pier, and my mother and 18-year-old daughter, Vee, were with me. There were lots of people and lots of fish including halibut, barracuda, bonitos, and a few white seabass. In the middle of the day we thought a large bucket of water had been tossed in, but it turned out that a large man had fallen from sitting on the railing. He had hit his head on the beam sticking out and was now unconscious face down in the water. By the time we saw that no one was going to rescue him my daughter who is an excellent swimmer and had just taken a life saving course ran and jumped in with all her clothes and shoes on. She did what was necessary to revive him. That was a scary moment for me because I could see that the man was considerable larger than she was. I hoped he knew how to swim and would not panic. As it was he did not regain consciousness until they got him to the hospital. It took what seemed an awful long time to get the lifeguards out there to her. They brought the boats and took the man back to Newport Pier that had a ramp. He did recuperate at Hoag Hospital. If she had not rescued him when she did, he would have died before the boats got to him. He was lucky. Vee swam back to shore to rejoin us on the pier because she didn’t want to miss the great fishing we were having that day.


Pier Rat Name — SteveO


Favorite Piers (and Why): Berkeley Pier I would have to say Berkeley gets a nod for its good action on rays & sharks. So far I've caught my two favorite sharks from this pier— sevengill & leopard. Plus, as experienced with the MMD, you can gather a large group and have plenty of space to fish and hang out without getting bothered. So far I've met more cool people at Berkeley than any other pier. And what a view. Santa Cruz Wharf—I have to say the most impressive thing about Santa Cruz is the plethora of fish species that can be found there. Fishing the holes for rockfish and lings. Jigging the Sabiki's for bocaccio. Soaking bait off the end for macs, sanddabs, jack smelt, croaker & octopus. But the great catch to Santa Cruz, when the fishing is bad, there's always plenty of eye candy running around. From the stupid tourists getting smacked as they try to get closer to the pelicans for a photo despite numerous warnings by fisherman to all the beautiful people that come to check out the Santa Cruz vibe. When the bite is off, the people watching is on. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): that has not been written about by others yet, was a night Scooter and I fished Berkeley. We spent the night out on the end nailing ray after ray. We lost count half way through there was so many. It was awesome, one after the other. We were there from about 9:30pm to 5:30am. The bite finally died down around 3am but we gave it a few more hours just to make sure. With all the fish swimming around in our bloodstreams we were not ready to call it quits. So we bid Berkeley a fond farewell, made two pit stops, and we were on our way to Santa Cruz. We spent all day there catching macs and rockfish on light weight tackle and Sabiki rigs baited with strips of squid. Finally about 4:30 pm I was done. I was on my 46th consecutive hour of consciousness and the eyes had to close. Scooter on the other hand in his 32nd hour was in a world of bliss and could have stayed another 24. After talking him into dropping me off at home we split and ended the 18-hour fishing mission. I was delirious by the time I got home and dreamed of lots of fish that night. And last but not least, the last day I fished with Scooter at Santa Cruz. Not many fish that day. In fact I don’t think I caught anything at all. We hardly spoke a word to each other all day. We didn’t have to. Shortley after that day I helped him pack the moving truck and with that our days in the bay together were done. Scooterfish, thank you for bringing fishing back into my world. Words of Wisdom for Pier Rats: If ya got a best bud that loves to fish, go with them as often as you can. If you are a person who loves to fish, take your best crew and enjoy these precious moments.


Pier Rat Name — Stinkyfingers aka Predator


Personal Information And Occupation: I am a grizzled bastard shoreliner. I love fish and fish love me. I can't stand society's foul ups... I was born in Poland, and my family escaped to Germany, where we hid out for a couple of years before coming to the United States. The Bay Area is my home, and DolphinRider and fishing are my life. First Memories Of Fishing: I remember, as a kid, seeing my brother catch a striper at the Antioch Bridge Pier. That was my first year in the United States. Prior to that, living in Poland and Germany — we never fished. At that time, I had no idea what a wonderful sport it was, probably because I didn't do it more often. Favorite Piers (And Why): I'd have to say I like the southern piers the best. The fish variety, the chance at big sharks, and the people are all great. Nothing like a southern sunset, string bikini's, and a finned friend tugging on your line. I've had the most fun at Newport and Balboa. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (And Why): Well, very near Berkeley Pier, but the shoreline. On this epic night, Songslinger, Dolphinrider, and I were fishing for sharks. Dolphinrider hooked and landed a big leopard (51" and about 35#) on 12-pound mono, with Slinger's spin gear. 15 minutes after she released it, I hooked into the biggest fish of my life yet — a 100 pound sturgeon, just 4 inches under being oversized. He broke the leader near shore, and I wrestled him with my hands against the rocks, landing him with help of my good friend Songslinger. Truly a moment of glory! Words Of Wisdom For Pier Rats: What you see around you is temporary. The plants, the trees, the animals, and the people. All will be gone in the future. Love it and enjoy it as much as you can while it's here. Teach the kids. Don't just enjoy the nature, become part of it! Feel the animals of our kingdom, love them, respect them. Look into their eyes and guess what they're thinking. And don't forget — animals can't speak, so it's our job to look out for them. Understanding this raises you to a higher quality of life, and you will be rewarded. I promise.


Pier Rat Name — Songslinger

First Memories of Fishing: I was born and raised in a rural community 30 miles west of Chicago. My first fishing pole was a broken piece of metal from a roof antenna with kite string. With it I caught my first fish, a hefty catfish, called a "bullhead" back in the Midwest. There were several farm ponds and lakes within walking or bicycling distance, including a judge's back property where the bones of a mastodon were discovered. Later I fished the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River, and the Boundary Waters of Minnesota and Ontario. I lived in the heart of the Rocky Mountains and then came to California. Favorites Piers (and Why): Berkeley Pier. It has a great view of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. Because it is located near UC Berkeley it has visitors from all over the world. The fishing can be fantastic if you target species according to season and tide. Point Pinole. This pier resides in a beautiful regional park and offers a remarkable view of San Pablo Bay. It is a top sturgeon pier from autumn into spring and also very good for striped bass during the spring or fall runs. Monarch butterflies are thick among the eucalyptus trees in the fall. Favorite Fish: Striped bass, perch, and rockfish. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): 1996, Wintertime, Berkeley Pier. I got there at dawn--if you could call it that. The fog was so thick you could not see across the width of the pier. I got a kingfish on nearly every cast and quit at 25 after 90 minutes or so. But I stayed there and stood in the fog for the next two hours, mystified, hearing the foghorns and the cries of the loons. A magic moment. 2000, Summertime, Berkeley Pier. I was throwing a Fish Trap swimbait and had just hooked into a large striped bass. A young boy came up and began asking a thousand things at once. I told him I had a fish on and if he waited I would answer his questions. In another ten minutes I was lowering the crab ring and simultaneously bringing the fish closer to the pier. This is a very difficult one-man operation, and I was also trying to be pleasant to this little kid, but I managed to cover all areas with success. The look on that boy's face when I brought up the crab ring — and that fat, shaking ten-pound bass — was worth a million bucks. He may or may not have heard my words after that, but I do know a new fisherman was born that day Words of Wisdom for Pier Rats: Curiosity and respect are two good things to being to a pier. On every pier the veterans will be the ones catching the most fish. Observe their methods and ask questions. Most will respond with happiness and enthusiasm.


Pier Rat Name — Sturgeon King

First Memories of Fishing: Fishing for stripers in Benicia with my Father. Also fishing in Tomales Bay with family for rays and sharks. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): I was fishing Point Benicia Pier in 2001. The tide had switched on me and I had to fish on the right side in shallower water than I would like too. I had been fishing the whole incoming tide and got really hungry while doing it. So I ordered a Pizza to be delivered out to the pier. I fished for a little while not getting a nibble. Cast out my grass shrimp a few times with still nothing. Re-baited and cast out again. I started to really doubt the trip. I noticed a car coming towards the pier and sure enough it was the pizza man. Set my pole in the holder and walked about 70 yards off the pier to pay the pizza guy. Ended up paying him and getting my pizza. I was so hungry I opened the box and started chomping on a piece as I was walking back to the pier where my pole was. I get about 30 yards away and notice my pole bent in half about to break. I ran over to my almost broken pole tossing my whole pizza on the dirty pier. A big sturgeon was flying out of the water right where I cast out. Ended up landing the sturgeon. It was in the 50-inch range. I was shocked. Couldn't believe it. I would have to say this was my most memorable pier fishing trip, not to mention probably my luckiest too.


Pier Rat Name —Surf and Pier Al


First Memories of Fishing: Fishing with my Dad on Venice Pier of the 1970s. Favorite Piers (and Why): Venice Pier of the 1970s, for the pretty good fishing, and the camaraderie and eccentricities of the "regulars". Redondo Sportfishing Pier, near the "bubble hole" for the great view of the bubble and feather action by the upwelling. Santa Monica Pier for the whole experience of the 80s. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Late night pinback (spiny dogfish) and stingray fishing on the old Venice pier with nylon covered trolley rigs baited with whole squid and 6/0 heavy hooks, for the experience and the rush. Not an enlightened time, though. The sharks and rays were not released, or treated well. Don't miss that part of it.


Pier Rat Name — tackleholic


First Memories of Fishing: Night run of barracuda off Redondo Sportsfishing Pier and trying to squeeze into a pier of packed adults towering over me. Favorite Piers (and Why): Redondo Sportsfishing. Just the variety of fish you could or you used to be able to catch off there plus it's low to the water and not a lot of people fish it that much. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): No one particular, just fishing off of Redondo when they still sold live bait and just having schools of marauding bonito pass under the pier. Hooking up possibly my biggest bonito off a pier (estimated 6 lbs.) on a cheapie Kmart ultralight special. Having it strip me to the spool about 5 times with only the spool knot holding it on, then regaining line each time, only to have a seal get it and reeling in just the head to what I would estimate was a 6-lb. bonito.


Pier Rat Name — The Fishermans Wife


Years Fishing: 5 years. It was nearly five years ago that I met the man of my dreams, who I fell deeply in love with. Little did I know, he was a “Portuguese Fisherman,” taught by his uncle (another great fishermen). One day to my surprise, he asked me out on a rather unusual date; he asked me to go fishing with him. In honesty, at the time I could think of few invitations LESS appealing that that one! But being absolutely crazy about him, and always eager to spend time with him: I put on a big smile, acted thrilled by the idea, and agreed to go. He told me he was taking me to the coast, but that we had to stop for bait first. I thought to myself, "Bait"..."Ok"..."How bad can bait be?" That was before I met pile worms! These ugly worms that have teeth and try to bite you the moment you pick one up. I was convinced at that point that I was going to hate everything about fishing. We pulled into Half Moon Bay and got everything set up, and for the next several hours, he fished...I watched! Bored with just watching (plus wanting him to believe I was having a good time so he would ask me out again) I promoted myself to "Bait-Girl" and started cutting him pieces of pile worm when he needed it, which made the afternoon a little more entertaining. Hours later, IT HAPPENED! The moment that would change my view of fishing, and really a part of my life forever... It all started when he simply wanted to light a cigarette, and asked me to hold his fishing pole for a minute. Shortly after he handed it to me, I felt something—a little "jiggle," then I felt it again, then again and this time it was a good tug on the line!! It was all over from there! That was the coolest thing I had ever felt, I had no idea you could actually FEEL the fish biting, WOW! I was mesmerized by this one feeling; so much in fact, that for the rest of the evening, my would-be-sweetheart never got to hold his pole again! I mean while you're holding your fishing pole, you can actually feel the vibrations of the fish nibble and tug at your line. As if that wasn't enough, you get to reel it up too, feeling it struggle as your bringing it in, then it breaks the surface of the water and you see it on your line...THERE ARE FEW THINGS AS GREAT AS THIS, WOW, WHAT HAVE I BEEN MISSING ALL MY LIFE!!! A couple months later I had my very own fishing pole, could set up my line all by myself, and stood beside my beloved, reeling up one fish after the other, removing the hook from their mouth, and casting out again. From that point on I gained a nickname we both laugh at every now and then- "The Portuguese Fisherman's Wife," and fishing has become one of our favorite things to do together. First Memories of Fishing: My very first memories of fishing would have to be as a little girl, lake fishing with my mom, using little red fish eggs in a jar as bait, breaking at least a dozen floating bobbers on the rocks every time we cast out, and not catching a single fish all day long; Yet still having a good time: laughing with each other about how bad we were at fishing, and enjoying the great lunches my mom would pack, just relaxing. Favorite Piers (and Why): Pacifica Pier —I will probably always hold Pacifica Pier as my favorite. At least 90% of the time, I have good luck at Pacifica and usually catch quite a few nice fish, plus different kinds of fish. I like the underhand casting, and rarely get my line snagged or tangled. I love getting there bright and early and look out as the whole pier is blanketed in fog and mist, and while the handful of real "sunny" day I have spent in Pacifica are nice, I enjoy the crisp overcast days just as much. Sometimes I just stand there holding my pole and staring out at the rocks in the distance feeling a comfort like coming home. Besides, I have sentimental reasons too. It was the first pier I fished off of and where I learned almost everything I know about fishing. It's where we took my mother when she came out to visit a few years ago and caught over 200 fish in one day. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): My and I were fishing off Pacifica Pier last summer, he was going for striper and I was going for my usual smaller ones like surfperch. It was a normal day, the water was pretty calm and we had already caught a few perch and a couple jacksmelt. My fiancée asked me to watch his pole while he ran to the bathroom. While he was gone I kept glancing at his line, and all of a sudden something huge slams into the line, at first I thought it had to be a bird that flew into the line or maybe a seal, but before long I knew it had to be a fish, just then I see my fiancée walking back down the pier toward me, and I started jumping up and down and the guys next to me were yelling for him to run, he rushes to his line just in time to feel whatever it was break free and fall off. So we were both a little disappointed, but no big deal. Not even an hour later, I see that I have a little tiny nibble on my line, but it so small, I figure I will just leave it there until I finish eating and then it will have either fallen off or I will get to reel up two at a time. I never would have expected what happened next. All of a sudden my fishing pole bows clear over and looked like it was going to fold in half, I drop everything and grab, trying my hardest to reel up this strong, heavy monster on the end of my 8 lbs. test line (because keep in mind, I was going for little fish, perch, etc.). I had no clue what to do, so I start screaming for my fiancée to come help me (which was a tiny kick to my ego because ever since he taught me how to fish, I have never needed help reeling up a fish) but I was trying my hardest to reel it in and just could not bring it up, or even in closer to the pier. So I hand my fishing pole to him and he's battling this thing and unbelievably starting to tire the fish out to where he's getting it closer and closer to the pier, until we finally glimpse its' body break the surface of the water, and both our jaws just drop, all we can see is this huge white stomach of one of the biggest fish I've seen caught on the pier (no exaggeration) and despite our best efforts, he manages to swim under the pier where the line finally snaps before we can gather a net to lower to him. That was the most exciting experience fishing yet I think. To this day I am still amazed he could ever get it to the surface with 8 lbs. test line for us to see it at all. Words of Wisdom for Pier Rats When approaching the arena, all creatures are equal. Which means that some days will be your days to grasp victory, and others will throw you a defeat, but only your appreciation and the respect you extend to your opponent will determine weather or not you're worthy to battle at all.


Pier Rat Name — the ichthyophile


First Memories of Fishing: Eating sand covered Doritos while waiting for the surfperch to bite. Favorite Piers (and Why): Trinidad Pier...good times hanging out fishing the pier when I was going to school at HSU. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): I had a crab ring out at the Trinidad Pier, when I pulled it up it had a small ling cod, a huge octopus, and a Dungeness crab. Kept the crab and released the ling cod and octopus. It was a pretty cool hat trick!


Pier Rat Name — Thunder


Years Fishing: 66. First Memories of Fishing: Fishing with my father in 1939 when I was four at, I believe, the Horseshoe Pier at Redondo. I caught a lot of queenfish—we called them herring. Favorite Piers (and Why): Manhatten Pier—most of my fishing as a boy. Huntington Beach Pier—caught a lot of corbina for a lot of years. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): When I was 16 in 1951 I caught a million bonito on the Monstad Pier in Redondo Beach.


Pier Rat Name — toejamb


First Memories of Fishing: My first memory of fishing was when I was 7 or 8. The first time I came to the U.S. was with my mother, father and at the time, only brother (Patrick—a bad mother, by the way) for a family vacation. You know, the kind where everyone is crammed into the car, dad is swatting the kids in the back seat with his free hand because they're being insufferable brats, mom is telling dad to ask a stranger for directions, etc. Anyway, my dad is a native Los Angeleno (Hollywood High, class of '55) and he took us out to Echo Park. Armed with some night crawlers and my father's steady and knowledgeable hands, I managed to land my first ever fish— a bluegill and a baby largemouth bass. They went into a plastic bucket (my young ears had never heard of such a thing as catch and release) and they (the fish) took a ride for the next six hours in the back seat of a brand new Chevy Caprice Classic until we settled in for the night at a Best Western. My dad and I later returned to Echo Park and released the shell-shocked but still alive fish from whence they came. Favorite Piers (and Why): A no-brainer—Hermosa Pier. Best for quality, quantity and variety. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): My first legal hali around June of '04 and the following: about ten years ago (before Hermosa Pier was renovated) I was fishing for mackeral about 3/4's way on the pier. I was a newcomer to Hermosa at the time and I was more than happy to catch just mackerel on Sabikis. But, on this particular night I heard a distress call (i

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 9:08 am
Ken Jones


Posts: 9447
Location: California

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Years Fishing:
First Memories of Fishing:
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Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why):
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