|March 2017 Fishing Report, SoCal (#221)
San Diego County Piers
Imperial Beach Pier – Need a reporter. How To Get There: From I-5 take the Palm Ave. (Hwy. 75) exit and follow it to where Palm Ave. and Hwy. 75 divide. Follow Palm Ave. to Seacoast Dr., turn left and it will take you right to the pier.
Ocean Beach Pier — Shirley at the pier’s bait shop, reports that anglers are catching a LOT of queenfish along with good number of mackerel and sharks, especially gray smoothhound sharks (one of which was reported at 6-foot in length). Wonder if it might have been a soupfin shark? Apparently the sharks are hitting from mid-pier near the bait shop out to the end. Shirley’s trying to get the picture of the shark. How To Get There: From the north, take I-5 to the Sea World Dr. exit and follow it until it turns off to Sunset Cliffs Blvd. From the south, take I- 5 to the Nimitz Blvd. exit, then follow that road to Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Follow Sunset Cliffs Blvd. to Newport Ave., turn right and follow the road to the pier parking lot.
Crystal Pier – Randy at the pier’s bait shop said it’s basically two fish—small mackerel and large jacksmelt and apparently most days sees only one or the other. A few perch are showing on the bottom but no croakers, sharks or rays. How To get There: Take I-5 to Garnet Ave. then take Garnet west to the foot of the pier.
Pepper Park Pier — No report, need a reporter. How To Get There: From I-5 take the 24th Street off-ramp west to Tidelands Avenue and go left (south) on Tidelands to the end.
Bayside Park Pier — No report, need a reporter. How To Get There: From I-5 take the J Street off ramp and go west. Take J Street to Tidelands Ave., turn right. Take Tidelands to Sandpiper Way, turn right. Take Sandpiper to Bayside Parkway, urn left and follow the road to the park.
Embarcadero Marina Pier — No report, need a reporter. How To Get There: From the I-5 south, take the Front Street exit south to Market (just stay on Front Street, it runs into Market), take Market west to Harbor Dr. Turn left on Harbor Dr. and take it to 8th Ave., turn right onto Convention Way (formerly Harbor St.). Follow it a short block to 5th Ave. and the pier. It seems that with the new Convention Center the city is constantly working on these streets near the pier and renaming them; if you get confused remember that the park and pier are immediately to the southwest of the Convention Center. From I-5 North, approaching from the south, take the J Street exit, then go straight, three blocks up to Market, turn left and take it from there.
Ferry Landing Pier (Coronado) –Need a reporter although bass always seem to be around as well as sting rays. How To Get There: From San Diego, take the Coronado Bay Bridge (Highway 75) to Coronado. Once over the bridge you are on Third Street. Simply follow it to B Avenue, turn right, and follow it to the front of The Old Ferry Landing - the intersection of First Street and B Avenue. The pier sits behind the shops in the complex.
Shelter Island Pier — Dennis Borlek from the pier’s bait shop says most of the action is on mackerel although a few short halibut are also making an appearance. How To Get There: Take I-5 or I-8 to Rosecrans (Hwy. 209) and go west, turn left at Shelter Island Dr. and follow the road until you see the pier and the entrance to the parking lot.
Oceanside Pier — Ed and Chris at the Oceanside Pier Bait and Tackle said there are a LOT of herring (queenfish) and small kelp bass in the mid-pier area while anglers are catching good numbers of mackerel mid-pier to the end. Inshore, good numbers of barred surfperch are showing up as well as a few spotfin croakers although the croakers are really good size. Shark action also seems to have picked up with quite a few caught the past few weeks including some nice-sized fish including an angel shark and a big leopard shark. Opaleye and halfmoon are also available down around the piling for those who know how to catch them. Water temperature is still a cool 58 degrees. How To Get There: From I-5 take the Harbor Dr. exit off the freeway, follow it and it will wind down to the harbor; where the road splits stay to the right on North Harbor Dr., and follow it to the pier.
Oceanside Harbor Pier — No report, need a reporter. How To Get There: From I-5 take the Harbor Dr. exit off the freeway, follow it and it will wind down to the harbor; where the road splits stay to the right on North Harbor Dr., and follow it to the pier.
Orange County Piers
San Clemente Pier — Mike at Hogan's Bait And Tackle, 34320 Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point, says there’s been a really good early-season halibut bite going on with a number of legal-size hallies being taken, most caught on whole frozen anchovies. Inshore, there’s a consistent croaker bite, mostly yellowfins (but some spotfins), with the usual baits, i.e., lug worms, providing most of the action. Mid-pier to the end is seeing a lot of bait, especially of the mini-mack variety, which has translated into some decent shark fishing including some nice-sized leopard sharks. How to Get There: From I-5 take any of several exit streets west to El Camino Real, follow it to the center of town, and from there take Del Mar down to the pier.
Dana Harbor Pier — Mike at Hogan's Bait And Tackle, 34320 Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point, said anglers continue to pull in a few yellowfin croakers along with quite a few bass, mainly calico (kelp) bass. Most of the bass are falling to plastics although cut anchovies are also yielding some fish. How To Get There: The pier is located in the Dana Cove Park area of Dana Point Harbor. From the Pacific Coast Highway take Green Lantern Road south to the harbor, turn left on Cove Road, and follow it to the pier.
Balboa Pier — Our reporter Snookie says, “There isn't much to report. Lots of rain and wind much of February I did catch a 20-inch halibut and several smaller ones, and saw some thornbacks caught plus the usual mackerels on the end of the pier. Have been rained out several times. The bait situation has been good this week and off and on several times this month. We have been getting lots of small smelt and a few Pacific Herring. The whales started heading north again yesterday. We had one whale breach next to the pier on the parking lot side. It did it 6 times before it gave up. That is a sight to see. No, we haven't had any white sharks yet this year, but we keep our eyes open. There is a body of an 18 year old missing from Huntington Beach this last week. The last one from there ended up against the southeast end of the pier and a fisherman caught him. Hope that doesn't happen this time. Unfortunately he was wearing red and white shorts. Not a good color with great whites around. Well this week is going to be a much nicer week weather wise. Let's hope the fish think so too.” How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway take Newport Blvd. which will turn into Balboa Blvd., follow it west to Palm Street. Turn right and follow it to the pier and the adjacent parking lot.
Newport Pier — I fished the pier late in the day on February 28—after the rain had finally stopped. Turned out to be a nice evening but not as far as fishing. I didn’t even get a bite in 2 ½ hours of fishing and only saw one lone fish, a jacksmelt, caught on the entire pier. Anglers though reported that jacksmelt had been making a good showing along with the mackerel that seemed to come and go (you just had to be there when they showed up). But things were dead on the bottom. With the end of the rains and a warming trend things should improve. How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway take the Newport Blvd. turnoff and proceed west watching for signs directing traffic to the pier. The pier sits at the foot of McFadden Place.
Huntington Beach Pier — Mike at “Let’s Go Fishing” on the pier says there have been a variety of fish hitting. In the mid-pier area (near the bait shop) and out a ways, there’s been a good number of kelp bass being taken while inshore some nice-sized spotfin croaker are showing up. Lots of bat rays are being taken, mid-pier to the end, as well as a few leopard sharks. Top action includes a LOT of BIG jacksmelt and increasing numbers if mackerel. Locals are just hoping, with crossed fingers, for the bonito to show up. Biggest news lately was the capture of a great white shark that was hooked, fought, treble-hook gaffed and brought up to the pier. After a long time on top, and a lot of photos, it was returned to the water where it probably died. There’s an ongoing investigarion by the Department of Foish and Wildlife. I wrote a tory to be found at — http://kenjonesfishing.com/2017/03/great-white-sharks-at-huntington-beach/ How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.
Seal Beach Pier — Jimmy at Big Fish Tackle says anglers fishing inshore continue to pick up some yellowfin croakers on mussels and ghost shrimp while both herring (queenfish) and mackerel action remains fair to good mid-pier to the end (although the far end is still closed). Even though action on the bottom species remains slow, some halibut have begun to show up. How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway simply take Main St. west and follow it to the pier.
Los Angeles County Piers
Belmont Pier — The pier reopened March 7 after being closed for two weeks following damage from a storm that ripped two docks away from the end of the pier. Before the closure a few mackerel were being taken along with some croakers and small rays. How To Get There: From the north take I-405 to the Lakewood Boulevard turnoff, and then go south to 7th Street, turn west (right) until you come to Ximeno Ave. and then turn left. Follow it to Livingston Dr. and go west. You will see signs by Ocean Ave. and Termino Ave. indicating the pier. From the south take the Pacific Coast Highway to 2nd. Street (Westminister becomes 2nd. Street when it crosses PCH), go west, follow to Livingston Dr. Follow it to signs by Ocean Ave. and Termino Ave. indicating the pier and parking lot.
Shoreline Aquatic Park Piers — I fished Pier #2 for a couple of hours on March 2 prior to the Fred Hall Fishing Show and caught the usual species—mackerel, jacksmelt, and tomcod (white croaker) along with an unusual small sculpin. All of the fish were caught while fishing straight out from the end of the pier. The sides, which often yield good numbers of bass, perch, croaker and sargo, failed to yield a bite. Locals reported that a very good mackerel bite had been going on for several weeks. How to Get There: From downtown Long Beach, take Pine Avenue south to Shoreline Drive. For the northernmost pier #1 follow Shoreline Avenue west and follow it around the lagoon to where the street ends. For the southernmost piers #2-#5 follow Shoreline Drive east to the markings for Shoreline Village, continue past the shopping complex, and follow the road out to near the end of the peninsula. You will see the piers.
Cabrillo Pier — I received one report that fishing was slow with the exception of jacksmelt that were making a fairly good showing. Not much else. How To Get There: Take the Harbor Freeway (I-110) south; it will turn into Gaffey St. Follow it to 22nd Street and turn left. Follow 22nd St. to Pacific Ave. and turn right. Follow Pacific Ave. to 36th Street and the entrance to Cabrillo Park.
Green Pleasure Pier (Avalon, Catalina Island) – It’s the usual mix of fish —small, mostly illegal-size kelp bass (almost all under 14 inches), rock wrasse, senorita, opaleye, sheephead, halfmoon and blacksmith. How To Get There: The trick here is to get to Catalina. Ships and helicopters make the journey several times a day from the Port of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Newport Beach. Information is available on all of these by calling the Avalon Chamber of Commerce on the Pleasure Pier (213) 510-1520 or the Visitor's Information & Service Center (213) 510-2500. Once in Avalon there should be no problem in finding the pier, which is located at the foot of Catalina Avenue.
Cabrillo Mole (Avalon, Catalina Island) — Expect some calico (kelp) bass, opaleye, and the assorted bottom species—sheephead, halfmoon, rock wrasse, senorita, blacksmith, etc. Remember the size limits for kelp bass—14 inches minimum length—and no more than five bass total. Unfortunately the action on bonito is dead. How To Get There: The trick is to get to Catalina. Ships and helicopters make the journey several times a day from the Port of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Newport Beach. Information is available on all of these by calling the Avalon Chamber of Commerce on the Pleasure Pier (213) 510-1520 or the Visitor's Information & Service Center (213) 510-2500. Once in Avalon there should be no problem in finding the mole that sits right where most boats disembark.
Redondo Beach Pier — Melanie at the pier’s bait shop says mackerel (as always) are the main fish being caught although action has been inconsistent. How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway, take Torrance Blvd. west to the foot of the pier and the parking lot.
Redondo Sportfishing Pier — Sam at the pier says things are still fairly slow. He’s still seeing a lot of small, illegal-size kelp bass and small perch or perch-like species but not much else. No mackerel or bonito have shown recently. How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway take Beryl St. west to Harbor Dr. and follow it to the entrance of the Sportfishing parking lot.
Hermosa Beach Pier — No report but expect some mackerel mid-pier to the end and a few croakers and perch inshore. How To Get There: Take the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) to Pier Avenue and follow Pier Avenue west to the pier.
Venice Pier — No report but expect some mackerel mid-pier to the end and a few croakers and perch inshore. How To Get There: Highway 1 to Washington St., turn west and follow Washington St. to the pier.
Santa Monica Pier — It sounds most of the action is on mackerel although action has been slow. How To Get There: From I-405 take Santa Monica Blvd. west to Ocean Ave. Turn left, go to Colorado Ave., and turn right onto the pier.
Malibu Pier — Ginny at Wylie’s Bait and Tackle says anglers are seeing some perch and jacksmelt along with an occasional croaker. Things should improve now that the weather is improving. How To Get There: The pier fronts on the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) so just drive until you see it.
Ventura & Santa Barbara County Piers
Port Hueneme Pier — No report this month although this is typically a good pier for mackerel. How To Get There: From Highway 1 take Hueneme Rd. west until it turns into Port. At Ventura Rd turn left and follow it to Surfside Dr. Turn left again and follow it to the park.
Ventura Pier — No report this month. How To Get There: From Highway 101 take the Seaward Drive exit west to Harbor Drive, turn right and follow it to the pier.
Stearns Wharf — Mike, from the Stearns Wharf bait shop, said action is fair but a variety of fish are being caught. Mackerel are showing up in good numbers, small ones in the morning and during the day, larger ones in the evening. Lots of bat rays have also been showing and some are really good size; one weighing 90 pounds. People using Sabiki’s are getting fair number of jacksmelt and quite a few small 6”-long, ‘throw-em-back’ lingcod. Inshore, past the Sea Center, some barred surfperch are making a showing. As for crustaceans, a lot of crabs are also present, both rock crabs and spider crabs and again some are good sized. How To Get There: From Highway 101 take Castillo St. or State St. west to the beach and follow signs to the pier.
Goleta Pier — The pier is currently closed but apparently (or at least hopefully) will soon be repaired. How To Get There: From Highway 101 take the Hwy. 217/Airport exit. Follow it to Sandspit Rd. and the Goleta Beach Park turnoff. Follow this to the park and the pier.
Gaviota Pier — The pier remains closed. March 1 marked the third anniversary of when the pier was damaged from storms and high tides. When will it be fixed and reopened? Who knows? Sate government at its worst. How To Get There: From Highway 101 simply take the Gaviota State Park turnoff.