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>> History, Through the years at the Belmont Pier in Long Beach [topic: previous/next]
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:30 pm
Ken Jones

Posts: 9780
Location: California

A BATTLE with a monster jewfish off Belmont Pier occupied Lester Bobb, jeweler, for more than an hour. The fish, which weighed 415 pounds, was caught with a cane rod, reel and silk-linen line.
—Long Beach Press-Telegram, June 15, 1929

Pier fishing has been exceptionally good. In addition to the halibut there have been good catches of corbina, spotfin, large yellowfin croaker, and sea trout.
—Just Fishin’, Friar Tuck,
—Long Beach Independent, May 24, 1940

Belmont and Seal Beach reported pier fishing excellent, perhaps the best of the season so far. Belmont reported corbina, spotfin and yellowfin being taken.
—Just Fishin’, Friar Tuck,
Long Beach Independent, June 7, 1940

Boy Anglers Make Unusual Kill —
Youths Take Yellowtail in Belmont Pier Battle

TWO Jordan High School boys, an anchovy and a 17-pound yellowtail made local fishing history at Belmont Pier at an early hour yesterday morning.
Eugene Twombley, 16, of 5859 Gardenia Ave., and Tommy D'Amico, 15, of 1701 E. 60th St., started fishing at the pier Friday night about 7o'clock. Eugene said they fished by the shelter house for a while and then all along the pier.
They rested at times but kept at it all night. They snagged several jack smelt, five sand sharks, one shovelnose shark and scads of herring and tomcod.
But, it was along about daybreak that Eugene baited up with the anchovy and made a mighty cast out into the ocean from the end of the pier.
“Wham!” Out went a hundred feet of line. The fight was on. Tommy said Eugene battled a while and then he took a turn. The yellowtail went to the bottom, it darted one direction and then another but gradually the boys worked it into the pier where a lone spectator stood ready with a net to help the lads.
Eugene was at the reel when the fish neared the pier. It darted under the pier and the boys just had enough strength left to pull the fish back from under the pier long enough for the stranger to lower the net and bring up the prize.
Mel Mclntyre, veteran fish tackle man at the pier, says there had not been a yellowtail caught at the pier for several years and that he doesn't remember one that large ever having been caught there before.
—Long Beach Press-Telegram, June 13, 1948

38 Lb. Halibut Off Belmont Pier

Pals of William Dehnel, 424 ½ Atlantic Ave., toasted him Wednesday night. Dehnel was in pretty good spirits too. He landed a 38-pound halibut off Belmont Pier.
—Long Beach Independent, August 4, 1949

Belmont Pier Fishermen Catch Spotfin Up to 8-Lbs.

Spotfin weighing up to eight pounds were caught by Belmont Pier fishermen last night as the long-overdue run of surf fishing apparently hit its stride.
Four, five and six pounders were plentiful, Martha Carls, who handles the ticket end of the business for the sport fishing boat Fortuna, said.
Ed Mack, who lives at Broadway and Molino, caught the eight-pound spottie along with a six-pounder, Martha reports.
Two Poly High lads, Arlan Marshall, 25 Argonne Ave., and Barry Pantell, 1632 Henderson Ave., each caught five spotties and each had one that weighed five pounds.
More than 50 fishermen lined the rail at the end of the pier and hauled in fish throughout the run that started about 2 p.m. yesterday and continued until after 7.
Al Morgan, 1075 Molino, caught two six-pounders and a pair of four-pounders and R. L. Wagner, of Compton, went home with six that varied from four to six pounds each, Martha said.
—Long Beach Independent, May 3, 1950

At Belmont Pier Spanish mackerel and smelt among other fish being snagged at night under the floodlights.
—Los Angeles Times, March 22, 1953

Lab Studies Rare Albino Halibut

Terminal Island—A rare albino California halibut is under study at the marine laboratory at Terminal Island.
The halibut, one of the most unusual fish catches on record was caught yesterday from the Belmont pier at Long Beach
—Hayward Daily Review, July 6, 1956

Results on the [Belmont] pier showed a nice run of halibut, plus spotfin croaker and corbina in the afternoon hours.
—Van Nuys Valley News, July 10, 1956

Shark and ray fishermen are a breed unto themselves. Go to Belmont Pier any night and you’ll see them just sitting and waiting. They may wait that way night after night, but when action does come, it’s fast and furious, and the lucky fisherman running up and down the pier trying to keep up with a big fish in the dark.
The reel sings and the line vanished quickly. Yes, even at times, the line vanishes completely and the angler is left with an empty reel. Ask Matt Zimmerman, he knows.
The Belmont Bait and Tackle Store had a contest for that type of fishing this summer and fall. Bill Sanders took home the top prize with a 90-pound ray. He caught it on a 7-0 hook, 30-pound-test line, and squid for bait.
—Fishing Around, Donnell Culpepper,
Long Beach Independent, December 5, 1957

Oldtimers on the Belmont Pier were treated to a rare sight Wednesday morning when an angler caught a 47 ½-pound white seabass. After the battle was over, he left in such a hurry that no one got his name.
While not a record bass, the fish certainly was the largest game fish caught at the Belmont Pier this season—or for many years, in fact.
—Fishing Around, Donnell Culpepper,
Long Beach Independent, October 30, 1959

Another breed of fishermen, those addicts who like to spend their nights trying to land the big bat rays that come up near shore to feed—have just finished their contest, sponsored by Belmont Bait and Tackle, Belmont Pier.
Biggest was Wendell Burdine’s 122-pound prize winner. Fred Reineke checked in 22 fish totaling 1,503 pounds. A third prize for “hidden weight” was won by Bill Mercer’s 83-pounder.
This sport required extra heavy tackle and a pair of hefty shoulders if you don’t want the big ‘wings’ to pull you off the rocks. Rays were checked in from a dozen “secret” fishing spots between Newport and Long Beach Harbor but the biggest came from Rainbow Pier.
—Fishing Around, Donnell Culpepper,
Long Beach Independent, October 30, 1959

Wally Wallace, catching a bat ray that weighed 110 pounds, won the annual ray and shark derby conducted by Belmont Bait and Tackle, of 20 39th Pl., Wally caught his fish on the Marina jetty. Bill Kerby was 2nd, 106 ½-pound bat ray, caught on Belmont Pier. Dave Feske, 3rd, 104-pound bat ray caught off Rainbow Pier.
—Fishing Around, Donnell Culpepper,
Long Beach Independent, October 14, 1960

Belmont pier fishermen were bagging plenty of walleye and forktail perch, good piling perch and a few barred perch.
— Fishing Around, Donnell Culpepper,
Long Beach Independent, February 16, 1962

Belmont Pier has produced some of the season’s best surf fishing during he past week. A fine run of spotfin croaker is continuing on the pier, and some barracuda. Best of all, there was a run of white seabass, some of them to six pounds.
—Fishing Around, Donnell Culpepper,
Long Beach Independent, September 26, 1963

Rare Bonefish Caught in L.B.

Returning home from a long weekend trip to Northern California, I find that two rare bonefish, one 16 inches long, the other 15 ½ inches, have been caught in Alamitos Bay. The fortunate angler is Howdy Ramsey… who fishes the bay and surf at every opportunity.
Howdy caught the fish last Friday, He was using ghost shrimp for bait and took the fish in succession… Howdy was fishing on Bayshore Drive just south of the East Second Street Bridge...
Only two other bonefish have been caught here in the last five years. Both were small and were taken on Belmont Pier earlier this summer. They were so small that no mention was made in this column at the time. Howdy caught a bonefish—also in Alamitos Bay—in 1945.
— Fishing Around, Donnell Culpepper,
Long Beach Independent, October 30, 1963

Fine Pomfret, Patrick Day

It’s not every Irish-American lad who gets a rare Bigscale Pomfret for St. Patrick’s Day. But Kevin Desmond did, and he put up quite a fight to get it, too.
Kevin, 13-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Desmond of 2725 E. First St., went fishing that day because St. Matthews School was closed in honor of the saint. Kevin went to 6 a.m. Mass first, and then to Belmont Pier with some other boys.
And pretty soon, along came this strange looking fish. Everybody tried to catch it, but it wouldn’t bite. It got closer and closer to the beach, so Kevin left the pier, waded 40 feet out in the water, cast his line a dozen times and hooked the fish.
“I thought it was a shark,” he said Wednesday. “It fought like one.” Kevin finally landed it with the help of a guy who belted it over the head with a board a couple of times.
Nobody could figure out what it was, so Kevin took it to Pierpoint Landing, where a man from the State Fish and Game Department identified it as a Bigscale Pomfret.
It is the fourth Bigscale Ponfret to be taken in California waters. It weighs 13 pounds; Kevin weighs 80 pounds.
The Fish and Game Department man said Kevin’s catch is a deep-water fish that came in close looking for food and then couldn’t dive deep because there was no place in which to dive deep.
Kevin donated his prize to the department for study. From there it will go to the Los Angeles County Museum or the UCLA Fish Museum with an identifying plaque that has Kevin’s name on it and everything.
“And do you know,” said his mother, “some people don’t believe in the luck of the Irish on Sr. Paddy’s day?”
—George Robeson, Long Beach Independent, March 18, 1964

Along The Shore—Halibut fishing has been good on Belmont Pier and is picking up at Seal Beach. At Belmont, 8-year-old Eugene Tyler is leading with a 7-pounder for the monthly prize, but his father, Robert, and brother, Robert Jr., are pressing him closely. Dad last weekend listed 4, 5 and 6-pound fish in competition.
—Fishing Around, Donnell Culpepper,
Long Beach Independent, April 23, 1964

Pier Fishers Net Some Big Halibut

Salvador Briones of Compton and his little daughter were proudly displaying daddy’s catch Monday — a 17-pound, 1-ounce halibut taken on Belmont Pier. The fish, which reached taller than the girl when Salvador held it up, was the biggest of a number of large halibut which the pier had been producing.
Anthony Melici, Norwalk, was beaten out for the week’s honors after catching a 12-pound, 1-ounce flattie, while Jim Willet’s 7-pound-13 beauty was overshadowed. There were numerous small fish, as well as a few bass, including a 3-pounder.
—Lew Allison, Long Beach Independent, May 6, 1965

Salmon Surprise at Belmont Pier

Fred Burkett, 14, using an extremely light outfit, was casting an anchovy and hoping to catch a bonito at Belmont Pier Tuesday when an unexpected fish hit the bait. Fred finally won the battle and discovered that he had caught a silver salmon. When weighed at Belmont Bait and Tackle, the scales registered 24 pounds.
Earl lives with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Virgil Burkett… and is one of the “regulars” at Belmont Pier. A silver salmon, or salmon of any kind, is unusual in Southern California and certainly more so when caught at a pier.
—Fishing Around, Donnell Culpepper,
Long Beach Independent, September 30, 1965

With Bare Hands No Less

Ronnie Standridge, student at Pacific Christian Collehe, was fishing near the land end of Belmont Pier Friday when this fish made a grab for his anchovy bait. The fish misses, floundered in the said. Ronnie raced down the pier stairway and caught it with his bare hands. It was an 18 ½-pound skipjack, far out of usual habitat and one of the most unusual catches ever made.
—Fishing Around, Donnell Culpepper,
Long Beach Independent, March 23, 1968

Belmont Halibut in Fantastic Run

Halibut were flopping on Belmont Pier Thursday and Friday almost as fast as fishermen could bait hooks with live anchovies and cast out practically in the breaker line. All of the fish were being caught in extremely shallow water.
More than 100 halibut were caught within three or four hours Wednesday afternoon and the pace was keeping up Thursday morning. Most of the flatties were in the small class, one or two pounds, but there were some larger. For instance, Al Koerner had one that weighed 11 pounds, 4 ounces. Wayne Harris had a 5-13 fish and Paul Kardell had one that tipped the scale at 5-101/2.
There were losses, too, as fishermen tried to wind up the fish and toss them on the pier. Hooks came out of monofilament knots, lines broke and other fish just fell off when the hooks came out of their mouths. Along with the halibut came a run of small bonito and occasionally a barracuda.
Belmont’s Pier’s smiling woman manager June Ascolesi, and her helpers were kept busy scooping live anchovies out of the tank for the customers, who stood almost shoulder to shoulder at times along the pier near the land end.
Sportfishing boats and private craft goy into the act when it was learned that the fish were so close to shore. The G. W., out of Seal Beach Pier, has been harvesting a beautiful catch of halibut every day just outside the Long Beach breaker line…
One might well wonder why so many halibut are showing inside Long Beach Harbor, in water ranging from a few feet in depth to 40 or 50 feet. Jack Schott, one of the expert biologists on inshore fishing at the terminal Island headquarters of the Department of Fish and Game, explained it this way:
“We can call Long Beach Harbor a ‘nursery ground’ for small halibut. Naturally, larger halibut are there, too. Feed is plentiful, the water is smooth and the fish tend to move around the shallow to deeper water just as they choose. On our tagging expeditions, we usually run off Belmont Pier in preference to other parts of the harbor. The entire area is a natural place for quiet spawning.”
—Donnell Culpepper,
Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram, May 24, 1968

Catching Tomcod His Frustration

When Adrian J. Reid, 5943 Oliva Ave., Lakewood, goes to bed at night, he thinks about tomcod. When he sleeps, he dreams about tomcod, and when he fishes off Belmont Pier, as he has done for 15 months, he catches tomcod—nothing but tomcod.
He thinks it’s about time that he caught something else. He fishes like all the other anglers on the pier, uses the same tackle, bait, etc., but they catch halibut, bonito and perch, but Reid gets nothing but tomcod.
Reid, in a letter to this department, says he’d like to get past this tomcod bit and really hit the jackpot some day..
First of all, Adrian, I’d like to point out that you are not catching true tomcod. Yes, I know that everybody calls the fish you catch a tomcod or a tommy. Actually, what you are catching is a white croaker, and it comprises about one-fourth of all the fish caught off piers, moles, and even on boats in the harbor.
Most fishermen toss the fish back into the ocean, but others take them home and try them in the skillets. I have tried the fillets, and I won’t say that the fish is delicious, nor will I say that it tastes badly. It's oily and there are many species that I’d rather eat…
However, this doesn’t solve your problem, Adrian. I take it from your letter that you are in that sunset-of-life stage—just where the age begins none of us knows and that you fish on a limited budget.
With the water clearing and spring just one week away, I do hope that you catch something beside the “tommies” that have been grabbing your bait day after day.
Here is my suggestion: Get acquainted with June Ascolesi, “the lady with the constant smile,” who holds the master lease on the pier and who is in the tackle shop most of the time at the end of the pier. June can put you next to some old-timer who perhaps can help you get a nice fish.
If June can’t help you out of that “tommy division.” I don’t know who can. June is a lovely person, but don’t make any passes at her. She is a happily married woman; if she weren’t there would be many eligible males chasing her all around Long Beach. She has won the hearts of many persons who are constantly on the waterfront.
Adrian is not the only person who complains about the “tommies.” There are many others who watch men next to them catch nice “eating fish” but yet they can’t seem to connect with similar fish.
In his letter, Adrian admitted that he was frustrated, that he had been here as British subject for 15 months, that for years, he went to England once a year and fished there and caught nothing but sharks, that he reads my column daily, hoping to find a solution to his “tommy frustration.”
Pier and surf fishing probably is the most frustrating type, and don’t think for one moment that I haven’t experienced the same situations. Adrian, if I fished alongside you, I might not catch anything, and I have had a bit of experience at it.
Please don’t consider fishing a frustrating thing. Remember that you are in the outdoors and able to fish, even if you only catch “tommies.” That’s better than sitting in a rest home waiting for the opportunity that all of us resist—the chance to fish in the Great Beyond, about which we know nothing.
—Donnell Culpepper, Long Beach Press-Telegram, March 13, 1969

A man who says that he caught yellowtail on the old Pine Avenue Pier in 1907-08 and that he has fished from Ensenada to the northern boundary of this state, says that the starfish have denuded Belmont Pier of mussels and that, as a result, there are no perch, no herring and almost nothing else.
He thinks that Art and June Ascolesi [at the pier’s bait shop] should hire skin divers to get rid of the starfish and also provide free live bait to all persons fishing on the pier.
I don’t intend to mention this man’s name because I think he would be embarrassed by what I am about to write. First of all, the starfish is a problem everywhere. They have even destroyed most of the coral along a 100-mile stretch of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia (see the June issue of the National Geographic magazine).
Skin divers or professional divers of any kind don’t come cheap and nobody can afford to hire them to clean off a pier’s pilings and the artificial reef. Even though they were cleaned out, others would be back.
As for live bait: Far too many persons don’t realize the cost of getting live bait into the tanks at Belmont Pier. A bait-hauling boat with crew has to seine for the bait, then bring it to the pier.
Once at the pier, it must be kept in natural sea water with constant circulation by pumps. Part of it dies and nobody wants a dead anchovy. Think it over, E.M.B.
— Donnell Culpepper,
Long Beach Independent, July 11, i973

17-pound yellow on Belmont Pier

That widely-spread rumor that two yellowtail had been caught ON Belmont Pier has been partially verified. At least we know that one yellowtail was caught by Mrs. Gloria M. Miller, Bell Gardens, at dawn early light last Saturday. The catch was verified by her husband, Allen, and by a neighbor, Robert McClure, who witnessed the rare catch. The fish weighed 17 pounds..
McClure said that two schools of yellowtail breezed by the pier between 6 and 7 a.m. He thought that they were bonito, but somebody saw they were yellows. Mrs. Miller was experimenting wit a jig which her husband had used aboard live-bait boats. It resembled a squid. She tossed it out and made a couple of short retrieves when the fish hit.
It took her 35 minutes to bring the fish to a crab net. Then it was hoisted to the pier’s deck. Naturally, excitement among the early morning fishermen was intense. It was the first time in years that anybody had caught yellowtail of any size while fishing the pier.
McClure said that there was a rumor that another yellowtail had been caught in the surf line, but that he never saw it. The only fish that was weighed was the one Mrs. Miller caught. She took it to Art Ascolesi, who was manning the tackle store at that early hour. McClure said that there were other witnesses to the catch and weigh-in.
— Donnell Culpepper,
Long Beach Independent, April 7, 1974

Rare fish caught at Belmont Pier

Casting a bait and then sitting down and watching the rod tip on Belmont Pier isn’t the most glamorous and exotic fishing along the Pacific Coast, but it’s restful and sometimes productive for perch, an occasional halibut and other species. Then too, you meet interesting people.
Gerald Osier of 221 Grand Ave., who has worked on the pier and still does some part time work there in the summer months, likes to fish the pier and just loaf.
Just recently he caught one of the rarest fishes in the Pacific Ocean. It was small, and there was no way that he could have filleted it and got a dinner for two. So he reported to the Department of Fish and Game, and one of the DFG biologists came to take a look and carry the fish back to the laboratories at 350 Golden Shore.
The fish was red, looked like a perch, had large blue eyes almost the size of nickels, weighed 11 ounces, and was 9 ½ inches long.
Now Osier has a letter from John Fitch, research director of the State Fisheries Laboratories at Long Beach DFG, saying that the fish is a catalufa, extremely rare. In fact, said Fitch, fewer than 15 had ever been caught either by hook and line or in commercial nets in all the time that he has been with the DFG.
Fitch, in his letter to Osier, said that the largest catalufa that he had ever seen was 13 inches long and weighed two pounds. He also told Osier that the fish was being sent to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. It will be made into a mount and displayed.
This is just one sample of what can happen in pier fishing, which can be fun for individuals or a family except for the fact that all piers now are afflicted with vandalism. What public facilities are not endangered the same way? Belmont Pier is the one remaining public fishing facility in Long Beach and it deserves enough security protection to keep it clean.
—Donnell Culpepper,
Long Beach Press-Telegram, November 21, 1975

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