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>> Huntington Beach Pier — Update [topic: previous/next]
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:42 pm
Ken Jones


Posts: 9461
Location: California

From Pier Fishing in California

Huntington Beach Pier

“Surf City, U.S.A,” that's what the town (they went to court) and locals like to call Huntington Beach. It's appropriate given the steady stream of surfers to the local waters and sunbathers to the local beaches. The pier itself serves as the focal point for these beachfront activities. Surfing competitions, band concerts, professional volleyball tournaments, you name it, the pier is home to these and many more activities. It's also home to the thousands of anglers who visit the pier each month, many on a daily basis.

That fact seems kind of funny today because this was a pier that I used to ignore. Newport regulars, myself included, were prejudiced. “Good” anglers fished the deep waters of Newport Pier for bonito; “others” were content to fish Huntington Beach for tomcod. It wasn't that the pier wasn't nice; it simply offered the wrong kind of fish. Unfortunately, it took years for me to discover the simple fact that there were far more fish than just tom cod at Huntington Beach. In fact, the pier yielded a lot of bonito and large sharks and in many ways fishing was as good or better than that at Newport. But back in the early sixties, I never made the effort to traverse the few miles that separated the two piers, even when nothing was being caught at Newport. Looking back, I wonder what I missed by making that decision.

Environment. This is a huge pier, 1,856 feet long, and the area offers an eclectic southern California mix of fishing and non-fishing sights. Located smack dab at the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and Main Street, there always seem to be a mix of tanned SoCal yuppie crews—complete with expensive cars, or hot rodders displaying their ‘50s and ‘60s vehicles (especially when the sun sets in the west). Cruising PCH in your car is a tradition. On the street corners and entrance to the pier stand orange, green, or purple-haired (and) tattooed girls. They’re competing with Caribbean-types with birds on their shoulders, skateboarding dogs and skate rats. It’s reminiscent of Venice to the north although the surfer dudes and dudetes provide a distinctive flavor for the area. The tourists with their thousand and one languages and dialects increasingly bring in a new element to the scene although their impact is usually transitory. Then again, there are always the un-card-carrying, proletariat pier fishermen, the prole rats, making the trek out to the pier to test the waters. Our heroes.

There is considerable water and fishing space to test. To the north and south of the pier are wide sandy beaches (Huntington City Beach and Huntington State Beach). Offshore is the region known as the Huntington Flats, a sandy-bottom area known for sand bass and halibut. Inshore, the bottom is primarily sand. There aren't many rocky areas nearby and the water is not as deep as at the piers on the Newport Peninsula. However, this is one of the piers near an artificial quarry rock reef. Although noted for sandy-shore species, pelagics do show up, primarily Pacific mackerel and bonito. Unfortunately the pilings, once heavily encrusted with fish attracting mussels and barnacles, are now often bare due to city efforts to keep the pilings lean and mean (for storms).

The pier itself is large and presents somewhat distinct fishing zones. The end is where most pelagics will be caught, especially the larger bonito and barracuda. It’s also the best area for the larger sharks and rays although both can also be caught in shallower areas. Still, most of the biggest sharks and rays seem to be caught at the end.

Mid-pier is ideal for California halibut, sole (and I caught a nice-sized fantail sole here one day), turbot, sanddab, butterfish, tomcod (white croaker), herring (queenfish), sand bass, jacksmelt, sculpin (California scorpionfish), mackerel, some bonito, and sharks and rays (mostly thornback rays and shovelnose guitarfish).

Down around the pilings (especially when they still contain mussels), fishermen try for pileperch, rubberlip seaperch, kelp and sand bass, halfmoon, a few opaleye, and even an occasional cabezon. Some summers also see large schools of mullet hanging down under the pier.

An unusual catch in February of '02 was a two-foot-long silver salmon, a now illegal to keep species that was mistakenly kept and taken home by the angler (could have been a big fine.) An almost identical catch of another silver was made in June of ’08 and once again the fish was kept. It followed by two days the catch of a 30-pound or so illegal giant sea bass that was hoisted up onto the pier. By the time the pictures were taken and all the pomp and circumstances were over, including lowering the fish back down into the water where it floated before being snagged and dragged back up onto the pier, it was dead.

For years the pier was noted for its steady and dependable catch of tom cod (white croaker) but that may have changed! Trips to the pier over the past few years have seen fewer and fewer as well as smaller and smaller white croaker.

Inshore is the premier area for barred surfperch, corbina, spotfin croaker, yellowfin croaker, and (sometimes) sargo. Numerous sound stingrays are also caught inshore as are thornbacks (good ‘ol throw-em-backs) and some guitarfish.

As mentioned, the human environment here includes surfers, surfers and more surfers. Huntington Beach fought Santa Cruz for the legal right to use the name Surf City and surfers are forever present. Given the numbers, it’s perhaps inevitable that there will be occasional conflicts between anglers and SWAs (Surfers With Attitudes). Rules do stipulate that surfers must stay a certain distance from the pier, rules that should help prevent surfer-angler conflicts. Rules also say that surfers are not supposed to shoot the pier (surf between the pilings) but it happens and it’s almost a rite of passage. So much for the rules!

One day (at the old pier) I witnessed several surfers surfing through the pilings and one angler repeatedly being forced to move his line. After shouting at the surfers, and receiving only a one-finger reply, the angler decided to retaliate. He tied a sinker weighing at least five or six ounces directly on to the end of his line. The next time the surfers headed in toward the pilings our noble but impetuous and emotional fisherman aimed and let the sinker fly. Luckily, for both he and one surfer, he missed. But he didn't miss by much—less than a foot. By this time, calmer heads prevailed and Macho Man realized the danger of his action. He moved. Don't try such an act or allow a buddy to try it. Such actions produce only losers, no winners. However, also don’t be afraid to complain to the lifeguards on the pier since they are supposed to keep the surfers away from the pier.

Fishing Tips. Several varieties of the family Sciaenidae (croakers) lead the hit parade here. The inshore area of the pier can yield yellowfin croaker, spotfin croaker, corbina and even a few black croaker. This area is also good for the croaker-like sargo. All will fall for mussels (especially fresh mussels), bloodworms, lugworms, ghost shrimp, and pieces of market shrimp or razor clams fished on the bottom. The corbina will be in the shallowest water; the other species can range from the surf to out past the lifeguard tower. Most anglers simply use a high/low leader and size 4 or 2 hooks but many also use a modified sliding bait leader. For this leader, buy an egg sinker that has a hole through the middle. Run your line through the hole and then attach a swivel to the end of the line (which prevents the sinker from sliding down onto your leader). Next attach a 3-4 foot leader that has a size 6-4 hook at the end. This leader works well for the larger croaker (spotfins up to around 6-pounds in size, yellowfins to about 3-pounds in size) and has the advantage of also being a good halibut rigging. Some years these croakers will be joined by their croaker cousins—white seabass—but most of those fish will be the juvenile seatrout, misnamed and illegal fish. A large run of the white seabass took place at the pier in October 2006.

Best croaker action (especially for yellowfins) is during the late summer months, but the same location, baits and riggings will yield barred surfperch during the winter months. If you're after barred surfperch or corbina, you might also want to invest some time and catch yourself some sand crabs down near the water's edge; they're a superior bait for those two species.

Some years will also see runs of zebraperch (Hermosilla azurea) being caught in the shallow-water or mid-pier areas; try frozen peas or corn for these vegetarians. It’s hard to get them to bite so unfortunately most are taken on snag lines much like those used for mullet. It’s legal but doesn’t seem too sporting. Some of the zebraperch by the way are an impressive 3-4 pounds in size.

A lot of small round stingrays, thornback rays, shovelnose guitarfish, gray smoothhound sharks and leopard sharks are also taken in the shallower water, from the surf zone out to the mid-pier region. As usual, the best bait for the rays and sharks seems to be squid or a bloody piece of mackerel (although live mackerel and other small live fish are good bait for the bigger sharks). Although the larger sharks are more common out at the end, an unusual run of thresher sharks did take place in the inshore surf area in September 1998—approximately 40 fish being spotted. The threshers would come up and slap baits with their tails, some were snagged, and four of the 30-80 pound fish were eventually landed.

A wide variety of fish are caught from the middle of the pier to the end. One of the most common has always been tom cod (white croaker), although, as mentioned, the numbers seem to be going down and for the first time, in 1998, a 10-fish limit was applied. Most tommies are caught on cut anchovy or small strips of anchovy and often they will strike as the bait is settling down into the water. A slow retrieve will also often entice the fish to hit. Herring (queenfish) are another common little croaker and will hit on strips of anchovy or be caught on Sabiki/Lucky Lura-type bait rigs. Salema will hit almost any bait as long as you're fishing with small hooks and at mid-depth levels (in fact they're often just under the topsmelt and jacksmelt). Topsmelt and jacksmelt are usually caught on multi-hook bait rigs fished near the top of the water. The topsmelt can be snagged with size 10-12 unbaited hooks, the larger jacksmelt prefer size 8 hooks sweetened with a small piece of bait. The topsmelt are almost always at or near the top of the water, the jacksmelt will sometimes go down a few feet in the water.

Halibut and good-sized shovelnose guitarfish are common inshore and in the mid-pier area. The halibut, being ambush predators, prefer a live bait fished on the bottom—a small smelt, mackerel or shinerperch—or a moving lure, with locals taking quite a few of the hallies on AA sized Cotee Lures (white and blue, white and green, clear silver and blue, or clear silver and green). Some flatties will also be taken on cut anchovy or mackerel, but not as many as the live bait. The shovelnose are less discriminating (although they also like live bait). Generally the shovelnose prefer anchovies or pieces of squid. Sand bass, and sometimes there are good runs of these fish, are generally caught on anchovies fished at mid-depth levels.

Do remember the grunion runs! Halibut will often follow the grunion into the shallow waters and provide some hot fishing if you can time it right. By the way, the halibut also reach a pretty good size with a 37’ fish being caught in January of '02, a 37 ½-incher in May of the same year and a 49-inch fish in October 2004 (on a live sardine).

From the mid-pier area, but especially at the end, is the home of most of the pelagics. The most common riggings used here are probably bait rigs. Mackerel will often attack a size 4 or 2 Lucky Lura leader baited with small pieces of mackerel. Keep the leader just under the surface of the water or cast it out and slowly retrieve it; either method should result in fish. If the mackerel are in a light-biting mode, switch from the bait rig to a single hook on your line with a split-shot or twist-on sinker a few feet up the line. This rigging is a little harder to use here than at piers close to the water but works fine if the wind and current aren't too strong. Bonito will often show up and when they do try a bonito feather trailing behind a cast-bubble. Summertime to fall should also see some barracuda, especially at night. The best rigging for the barracuda is usually a 1 1/2-2 1/2-ounce silver or gold colored spoon.

Nights will also see anglers trying for sharks and rays, especially the larger leopard sharks (to 4-5 feet in length), thresher sharks (to 9 feet in length), and bat rays. Most seem to be taken out toward the end of the pier and (in my visits) most often at the northwest corner. Since many rays exceeding 100 pounds in size (including a 123-pounder by Robert Gerber in March of '99), and threshers to at least 80 pounds have been taken here, remember to bring strong ropes and gaffs with you to the pier.

The bat rays, by the way, can make some fairly interesting runs at piers sometimes. A big run occurred in April of '99 when a number of the batties were caught. One angler alone, Greg Taite, caught 12 bat rays over 50 pounds in one five hour period, two of which weighed about one hundred pounds each. A few days later he returned and in a short time hooked and landed a bat ray estimated to weigh 125 pounds. He used 40/50 pound test line, a 5/0 hook, and the same bait for all—squid.

Several runs of thresher sharks have taken place, most out toward the end of the pier. August ’99 saw a run lasting for several weeks with some days seeing ten or more of the six-foot-long sharks being hooked on the live bait (mackerel or sardines) sliding leader riggings. A long cast from the pier followed by sliding the bait down to the water produced lively looking bait that attracted the long-tailed sharks.

Many other sharks have made appearances at the pier. A mini run of soupfin sharks took place in August of 2002 when several were landed, the largest one a six-foot-long, 65-pound fish. A single hammerhead shark was caught in June of 2004, a fish estimated to weigh 50-60 pounds. A 35-pound, 39-inch horn shark was taken in June 2005. A 5-foot-long blue shark estimated to weigh 75 pounds was take in July of 2005.

Although not as common as at Newport and Balboa, occasional flurries of action will be seen from the large Humboldt squid (August 2002, May 2007), squid reaching 4 feet in length. The pier also isn’t known for lobster action although a large bug, 10-12 pounds in weight was taken in September 2003.

Author's Note No. 1. When it was decided to rebuild the pier in the early 1990s, the question came up as to what to do with the old material. Why not use the concrete to construct an artificial reef in this relatively rock-free stretch of coast? Plans were made to do just that but they couldn't be carried out. Once the cutting of the structure began, it was determined by the Fish & Game that the concrete was simply too old to be used for a reef— it turned into powder as it was cut.

Unfortunately, after spending several million dollars to rebuild the pier, the pier has serious deficiencies. Very frustrating are the railings that are made of anodized aluminum. They look nice but are very slippery and do not provide an adequate support for fishing rods. Most poles simply slide down the railing and wind up falling to the deck. One solution is to bring a couple of pieces of rope or a couple of towels. Tie them to the railing and place your poles between them. Another, even more frustrating mistake is lack of bait cutting boards. There are really no places to cut your bait other than the fish cleaning stations. Since it is against the law to cut your bait directly on the deck (and you risk a very real $600 fine), the bait shop offers pieces of cardboard to put under your bait. Often these pieces of cardboard seem to wind up in the water. What to do? I generally fish right next to a cleaning station and cut my bait there. Obviously this will not work for everyone. Next best thought is to bring along some newspapers upon which you can cut your bait, and do put the papers in the trash can when you leave. There are also very few benches! I hate to say this, but I wonder if the needs of the fishermen were considered as important as the pier looking nice for the tourists. But perhaps such criticism is picayune; perhaps the designers of the pier (and city fathers) simply overlooked such basic pier fishing necessities.

One thing the city has done a great job on is its yearly “Huck Finn Fishing Derby.” The kid's fishing contest normally has three divisions, age 7 and under, 8-11, and 12-15, with many prizes awarded for the biggest fish and best dressed young anglers. It's a program that others cities should copy.

Author's Note No. 2. Two state record fish are recorded from Huntington Beach: (1) An 181lb 0 oz bat ray taken on July 24, 1978 and (2) A 5 lb 8 oz mackerel jack taken on September 1, 1988.

Author’s Note No. 3. Not every pier has a “queen” but Huntington did. The following is taken from Justice For All, the Official Publication Of The Huntington Beach Police Officers' Association. “Ella Christensen 1913 – 2003—Ella was the ‘Queen of the Pier,’ the ‘Mom’ of the police department's men and women. She had, for whatever reason, adopted every member of this police department and made them a part of her family. Just like a proud mother taking care of her children, this special individual went that extra mile every minute, every hour and every day. Ella was the owner and operator of several of the old concession stands, the Tackle Box, Captain's Gallery and Neptune's Locker on the pier until it collapsed in 1988, covering 37 years of service on the pier. Our favorite watering hole then, Neptune's Locker was the best place to get a sandwich and cold mug of beer served up in glass-handled Mason jars after a long duty shift. People of substance and character such as Ella only come around but once in a lifetime. Because of her special character and support of us, we (the POA) awarded Ella, our ‘mother’, the 1st Annual Supporter of the Year Award in 1991. So, on behalf of so many of the members of the department, thank you Ella for your many years of kindness and generosity, and may you now rest in peace.”

Author’s Note No. 4. Fish Bulletin #96 issued by the Department of Fish and Game in 1953 said: “It is a well known sport fishing town with a large fishing pier and an anchored barge offshore. In 1952 there were three sport fishing day boats operating out of the town.”

Special Recommendation. When you're on the pier check out the pictures by the lifeguard office. One series shows wounds caused by round stingrays and the ways to treat the injuries. The pictures are rather gruesome but also educational.

E-Mail Messages

Date: July 1, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: “Jerry & Cheryl O”
Subject: Seal Beach Pier

Dear Ken, The action at Seal Beach has been slowly picking up, with a lot of Shovelnose, Croaker, Thornbacks, and some Halibut being taken. Most of the Halibut is still undersize, but I have seen a couple of nice keepers, one almost twenty pounds! Water temps. are staying in the 63-65 degree range, but should slowly start creeping up as a few spots around the San Diego area have already seen occasional 67-68 degree readings ( get ready for White Sea Bass and Bonito!!) I have already caught 1 WSB, but it was way undersize so it went back. Squid and salted anchovies have been rather productive; mackerel still not around in any great numbers, but if you can find it fresh in the store (thank God for Asian supermarkets!) that's always a good bet too. Early morning and later in the evening have been the best times for the bite. Strange species award this month goes to my wife (!) who caught a needlefish last week. While not all that strange off So. Cal. piers, it's still been awhile since I have seen one. Happy fishing!

Date: November 25, 1999
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Quik2
Subject: Shark attack at Huntington Beach Pier!!!! 11/24/99

Lots of Sharks at Huntington Pier. Lots of bites, lots of action. We caught over 12 fish, got over 20 bites and two broke our lines really fast. My roommate started the day catching a 2.5 ft mako shark, then I hooked on to a 2.5 ft gray smoothhound. 30 seconds after my hit, my roommate hooked on to a 3 ft smoothhound. All were huge, from 7-15-lbs at least (we had no measuring scale). Anyway, had about 8 thornback rays, really big ones too. Also caught a kingfish, and one bullhead. One shark hit my pole and my reel went zee zee zee. Then I tried to set the hook and snap, I heard 20-lb test snap in 2 sec. I didn't even flip my switch to on yet on my Sealine reel. I think it chewed through the line... then my roommate also lost his line too. It was a great night, lots of big sharks swimming around. I did a really stupid thing because there was a hook stuck down in the mako shark's throat and we were using live bait hooks. So, I tried to get it out, with my roommate holding the jaw and it's mouth, but I accidentally hit my thumb on his mouth and got a ... (censored) thumb bleed. For 15 minutes it was like dripping out. Had no Band Aid so I just put a napkin on it and tied it with a 40-lb test fishing line. I had it like that for 20 minutes before I ran into Ruby's and asked them for a Band Aid because it wouldn't stop bleeding. Luckily they had one. I felt pretty stupid, cause the teeth don't look sharp. They looked like teeth on thornback rays. Plus, I've never caught such a big shark. Most of the ones I caught at Berkeley Pier in the S.F. Bay Area are mostly 1 ft. and they don't have much teeth. But this one tore me up. Anyway, it was a great night; all we used was squid. We never got to sit down for more than 10 minutes except the last 30 minutes. We fished 9-12 p.m. Pretty good night!

To: Quik
From: Snookie

Dear Quik,

Sounds like you had a great time. As to a mako shark, look up a picture of one. If yours was a mako, it was a newborn baby, and even at that makos usually don't wander that close to shore here, even to have their young. It is certainly of interest if your shark was a mako. That means there is a big mama around. Hope your next trip is as fun as the last one. Snookie

To: Snookie
From: Quik

Went Friday and Saturday night! Lots of sand sharks or what the DFG website called a spiny dogfish. Up to 4' and over 20 lbs. Between me and my roommate we lost over 6 sharks over 3' in 3 nights because we didn't bring our crab net. So Sunday we brought our net. We caught one that was 3.5' and over 15-lbs— didn't have a scale. A 36," a 35," and some others that we didn't measure. Got it all on camera though. We had over 20 bites last night from 7:30 PM-12 PM. Landed around 8 fish; 6 sharks and 2 thornback rays. Snookie that first one we caught was definitely a mako, all others that follow were sand sharks. People who helped us pull the line to land the fish on to the pier also ID it as a mako; too bad we didn't bring our camera. It was a baby though, only 2' long, about 8-lbs I assume; cut my thumb trying to get the hook out. Damn thing still stings as I am typing. People left and right of us also landed sharks. Lots of people there last night, probably more people tonight. I think this will be our last night until my roommate gets done with finals plus there are way too many people now. For the past three weeks no one ever fished the end where Ruby's is. Now that we started catching sharks there at tons of people, especially kids trying to catch a shark. One kid cast over all four of our poles, which gets us pretty upset. We have lots of fillet white meat in the fridge that will last us at least 2 weeks, we kept three of the biggest we caught and tossed almost all back; gave two away. I've never seen so many sharks caught on a pier in my life, at least not in the 3' range. I often caught 1-2' sharks at Berkeley Pier but those 3' and beyond are rare for me so that got me and my roommate excited. Too bad they don't fight too hard; they mostly jerk left and right trying to free themselves, instead of a tug of war fight. Oh well. I hope you guys go our and see it for yourselves, go between 7 PM-12 PM and use big chunks of squid. It's almost guaranteed you will get sharks. It was pretty fun catching three 3' sharks on my 6' trout pole, and a Daiwa Jupiter reel. hehehehe seems like I am catching a whale on it. Lucky we had a net. We now call it the little trout pole that could. BTW is there a size limit on these sharks or any sharks, except leopard sharks? BTW keep your catches away from sight, lots of pi.... off people these three nights talking about how sad it is for those sharks, and how crude we fishermen are. Hehehe, luckily for us last night we gave ours away or tossed them back. The guys to the left and right of us received some really nasty comments from people walking around the pier. I wonder if they also felt sorry for the chicken and that cow they ate for dinner or maybe that Thanksgiving turkey. Hummm there's something they could think about.

To: Quik
From: Snookie

Dear Quik,

Glad to hear it was a Mako. Interesting! As to size limits, the leopard is the only one so far with a size limit. Keep watching though as DFG is still thinking about more size limits on some other sharks such as the mako. Keep up the fun fishing, Snookie

Date: January 16, 2000
To: PFIC Message Board
From: scott lopez
Subject: Huntington Beach

1/16/00 went fishing at Huntington Beach this morning we hooked up on thresher sharks sizes from 4 to 7 feet long. Four sharks were hooked up but no one was able to bring them up. They were actually able to be seen from the pier before and after they would attack our bait. We were using Penn 500 reels with 30-pound test and steel leaders. One guy after loosing a shark pulled is line up to find his hook cut in half. What a great morning. They were biting from around 8:00 am to 11:00 am. Some small king fish were caught but nothing else.

Date: April 16, 2002
To: PFIC Message Board
From: MBP
SUBJECT: Huntington Beach Pier 04/15/02

Big night at the pier last night! I fished from 6:30-11:00pm at the end of the pier. My first time out with my new Penn Power Stick 7' rod and Penn Jigmaster 500, so I was excited. After 10 min, BOOM - fish on! I knew this was no ordinary bat ray... this one was fighting and BIG. I wrangled him up the side of the pier... 45"! My biggest yet. Probably weighed around 50-75lbs (no scale). I let him go with a large SPLASH and take off. The night was only getting started. I caught a skate, then another bat ray, and then I moved to the other side of the pier, behind Ruby's (due to wind). That side was ON FIRE! I caught a skate almost immediately, then a bat ray, then 3 (three!) starfish on 1 cast (one of them a big mother), then a spider crab, another bat ray, a small leopard shark (2ft.), a JUST BARELY illegal halibut (on squid, too!!! 19", heartbreaker!), another big bat ray, then the fish which ended my fishing for the night... a stingray. It was a round stingray, which I stupidly mistook for a skate (didn't flip it over). I had him on his back, and went down to take the hook out. Then BAM!! I have a puncture wound on the backside off my right ring finger, blood spraying everywhere. Not fun. I STILL didn't think this was a stingray at that time, I really believed my hook had stuck me when he twitched... I should have known better. I tried to keep fishing after cleaning up the puncture with some freshwater and a band-aid. I started feeling a bit dizzy, but it passed quickly. Then my hand started throbbing. OMFG - the pain! Ever been stung in the MEAT of a FINGER by a stingray? ArGh! Went home, boiled up some water, let it cool a second, then in goes my hand.... ArGH! Left it there for an hour, then pulled it out, but some peroxide on the puncture and went to bed. All in all, a GREAT day fishing (tons of variety and lots of catching!) - with a bad ending. Watch out for those rays! If I had been allergic... I'd probably be dead right now (since I tried to ignore it).
Total fish caught (all released):
1 halibut (19")
1 leopard shark (2ft)
3 skates (or so... didn't count em really)
5+ bat rays (didn't count em after 5)
1 spider crab (pretty big one)
3 starfish
1 stingray
Caught on 30lb test with squid and salted sardine pieces.

Date: May 3, 2002
To: PFIC Message Board
From: Ken Jones
Subject: April 29 – Day 4 of trip – Huntington Beach Pier,

By this time I wasn’t expecting much action one way or another. No one showed any fish inshore when I checked out the buckets (and there weren’t many anglers—a bad sign). Finally headed out to a spot I like about 3/4 of the way out next to a bait cleaning station. At 11 a.m. I cast out a high/low on the heavier pole and continued with the Sabiki on the light pole. Nothing to report. Tried out several different areas under the pier and finally found some fish. Again nothing big but non-stop action. Fished two hours and caught 51 fish—mainly queenfish but also jacksmelt, walleye surfperch and white croaker. Again, not a bite on the heavier pole and it was beginning to dawn on me how hard it was to even tell nibbles on the pole with the wind blowing so hard. If you wanted fish you had to keep the pole in your hand and feel them.

Date: July 24, 2002
To: PFIC Message Board
From: cougar
Subject: Huntington Beach Pier

After a nice drive down 5 settled in HB. Took care of business and hit the pier from 10pm-midnight. Lots of variety, fished w/ mussels and squid on hi/lo w/ 3oz. and size 6 hooks. 4 guitar/shovel nose, largest 26" not sure which one they were but were very cool and had spikes up and down back; turn ‘em over and they be smilin’ at ya. 2 yellowfin croakers up to 2pds. 1 leopard shark at 22", first one ever landed—beautiful fish. 2 corbina 10-12" and 1 barred perch 12"...had a blast...grunion running Fri. night at 11:04 pm. found this cool coffee shop at on PCH nxt to pier w/ this public access internet. Sippin’ on sum banana nut iced coffee and off for sum business.... later daze.

Posted by cougar on July 25

9:30pm-12midnight...as draco said earlier, think they may be thornbacks...caught 4 more 2night w/ one double hookup. 1 zebraperch...my 2nd leopard at 25" and 2 sand sharks bout 16" each...only fishing bout 20 yards from shore at high tide on light tackle...fun...boy ole boy has Huntington changed since the 70's...still has the charm but big money is here now...ala hotels...beach closes at 10pm and pier closes at midnight, what’s up wit dat....later daze.

Posted by cougar on July 27

8-10:30pm...2 yellowfin croakers and 1 20"halibut on sardine...released unharmed...yes grunion ran last night, headed in for sum java and back out to see if my hands are quick enuf 2 catch the little critters in about 1/2 hr. lots of croakers and perch...small rays also...later daze.

Date: April 18, 2003
To: PFIC Message Board
From: John Mykkanen
Subject: Huntington Beach pier also

I caught my first Halibut at age 9 in 1972 off HB pier on mussels. I hand lined it up only to have it pop off just as I touched it. I'm calling it my first. Same year watched a big thresher get hooked and lost by the same guy twice. Each time he surface cast to it and it bit. It fell off the wharf gaff and swam away the second time. 4.5' Body about 70#

Date: July 10, 2003
To: PFIC Message Board
From: SandCrab
Subject: Huntington Beach Pier Corbina!

YES! Finally got my corbina of the season! Used the sliding sinker rig baited with mussels. The Corbina were at the lifeguard tower, so were some YFC, and barred surfperch. I always release my 1st corbinas so next time I’ll keep a few. And all fish released Time fished was 12-4 and used fresh defrosted mussels. Saw a 3-foot shovelnose landed and a 2-foot smoothhound shark. The Bait shop reported that 1 salmon was caught and a 106-lb bat ray. But I didn’t get a chance to fish for mackerel... maybe next time! So the fish count was 3 YFC, 2 Corbina! and lots of BSP. The waves were good for spongers, wish I had my boogie board with me, and the weather was great. A lil overcast, lil sunny, and breezy. Kevin* ><> J

Date: October 25, 2003
To: PFIC Message Board
From: SandCrab
Subject: Huntington Beach Pier 10/25/03

I went out today around 1 and came home around 6 (bus closes at 6) = (so anyways.... no more bonito seems like but the macks and smelt are there, fished the surf a little past the lifeguard tower. Used some frozen mussels like always, well the corbina are still there, caught 3 smallish medium ones. And one YFC and the humble BSP. Moved half way to the bathrooms and fished with some ancient shrimp catching some thornbacks and another YFC, also a small, about 15-inch leopard shark. Man next to me caught a zebra perch and an opaleye. Moved out to the end around 3:00 while I was jigging with a Sabiki for macks and smelt action. Homeless guy walked up to me and started to talk, so we started to talk and he said “wish I could fish” so I went down to the bait shop and rented a rod for an hour. Set him up with a Sabiki and taught him how to jig for the fish. He looked like he had the best time of his life. Felt good knowing that I made his day. Well after that we returned the rod and he couldn’t thank me enough. So jigged for about an hour...after that he stayed a while watching me fish so, changed my setup to a Carolina rig and fished with some squid strips for the rest and caught 2 small sculpin and a starfish. Some bait was boiling pretty far out and that was my day. BTW: ALL fish was released. -Kevin* ><>
Support United Pier and Shore Angers of California, UPSAC!

Date: May 29, 2004
To: PFIC Message Board
From: Pierhead
Subject: —and the reason you are calling 911?

Huntington Beach Independent
5/27/04
Police Files
• Pier: A man reported his cell phone was missing after it fell into the ocean because he bent over the rail to reel in a fish he referred to as “the big one” at 12:02 p.m. Thursday.

Date: December 14, 2004
To: PFIC Message Board
From: bdwloco
Subject: HB encounter...

I fish HB pier quite regularly, and surf there all the time. So I find myself always looking down into the water (when it's actually clean and clear!) to see what the fish are doing. I always see surfperch, baby leopards, and other random fishies. So I was on surfline, and read this! “Huntington Beach Shark Encounter: December 6th, John Thomas spotted a 12-foot hammerhead shark. Although not generally observed close inshore, Hammerhead Sharks are frequent visitors to Southern California and caution should be exercised in their presence. Please report any shark encounters or sightings to the Shark Research Committee link below. (A couple divers also reported seeing a hammerhead shark around this same location a few days previous.) “ O !!!!!!!! yikes! I thought it would be kind of interesting for people on this board. That’s all.

Date: December 21, 2004
To: PFIC Message Board
From: mikeritr
Subject: Newbie on board intro/history of self

Mike here; 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, half-day boat out of Huntington, killing the Bonito, Barracuda, and the occasional Yellow. Some Big Sandbass caught too... Used to kill everything and sell it on the pier as a kid, now release a lot of stuff...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.

Date: February 20, 2005
To: PFIC Message Board
From: SLO_GIN
Subject: Huntington Beach waterspout

I was just listening to the radio news [ksfo] and there was a report of a water spout [tornado on the water] 100 yards off of Huntington Beach Pier. Crazy weather 4 sure. Was wondering if anyone down there witnessed it?

Date: July 2, 2007
To: PFIC Message Board
From: JohnG
Subject: HB pier + Zebra Perch Poachers !

Ken mentioned the Zebra Perch on the Huntington Beach pier report. That brings up a rant. Well, I saw them Saturday. What an amazing sight, a bait ball 30+ feet in diameter, solid with foot long Zebra Perch. Another amazing sight were anglers (so called) snagging fish one after another, running up and down the rail, with total disregard for others (like me). Some even mentioned the term foul hooked. What a bunch of poachers! Buckets of fish came up. Next time I call Cal-Tip. PERIOD. On to better thoughts. The fishing was a bit slow. I usually fish Bass, and Halibut at night, because that is the only time I can, so I was really excited to fish during the daytime. I hit the pier at 5am to find very little bait, and very little action over all. Picked up a nice Spotted Sand Bass on the plastics, and a couple micro Butt's. I also got spooled by a Bat Ray, I'd have to guess, on my 20# Newell rig. Nice day of fishing, I went home after watching the poachers. Sorry about the rant.

Pier Fishing In California Fish Reports

June 1997—Our reporter, Audrey Kim, reports that fishing was hot until about a week ago when things slowed. Anglers were getting a mixed bag with some nice-sized barred surfperch and quite a few sharks at night. She says one angler hooked and landed a 50+pound black sea bass that was spirited away to the car. Dumb move! PLEASE, let these magnificent fish grow, have some babies, and repopulate our waters.

October 1998—Cliff, at Let's Go Fishing (on the pier and on Beach Blvd.) reports that anglers continue to pull in a large variety of fish. He says inshore anglers are getting barred surfperch, spotfin croakers, yellowfin croakers and corbina while using bloodworms, ghost shrimp, fresh mussels, razor clams and pieces of shrimp. Down around the pilings, some opaleye perch and zebra perch are being landed by anglers using green moss or frozen peas. At the end, lots of mackerel, many the large 2-4-pound horse mackerel variety, are being taken, and on some days Cliff says it is a fish on nearly every cast. A few halibut are also showing up but almost all are short. One guy caught 8 one day and Cliff says the key is to catch a live anchovy or sardine with a bait rig and then fish the live bait down between the pilings. Perhaps the biggest news recently was a run of thresher sharks that showed up in the surf area—approximately 40 fish being spotted. He says the threshers would come up and slap baits with their tails, some were snagged, and four of the 30-40 pound fish were eventually landed.

September 1999—Cliff, at Let's Go Fishing (on the pier and on Beach Blvd.), that some people are staying away because the local beaches have been closed (due to water contamination). However, there's been some fantastic fishing for thresher sharks; the run started three weeks ago with all the fish being over 6 feet in size. One day saw 10 threshers hooked in a four-hour span with five landed. One angler, John Stavrakos (sounds like a good Greek name to me) has landed threshers every Saturday for the past three weeks; two on one Saturday—both over 6 1/2 feet in length; another 6 1/2 foot fish the next Saturday; and another 6-foot fish this past Saturday. All of the fish were landed out at the end of the long pier. Most anglers are using 40-50 pound mono line and large, 8-12 ounce sinkers which are cast out as far from the pier as possible. The normal leader is a 6' wire leader with 8/0-9/0 hooks. Live bait (small mackerel) is best but whole sardines are also used. The bait and leader is then slid down the main line into the water. There have also been some 100+pound bat rays and big shovelnose sharks mixed in with the threshers. Inshore, anglers continue to catch spotfin croakers, corbina and yellowfin croakers using bloodworms, ghost shrimp and fresh mussels. Cliff also reports that quite a few zebraperch are being landed next to the lifeguard station. Lastly, anglers are picking up a few mackerel on top, as well as some small halibut and undersized white seabass.

July 2001—Cliff, at Let's Go Fishing (on the pier), reports some really interesting fishing action. He says a lot of zebraperch are being taken out at the end of the pier on mussels and moss and they're huge—3-4 pounds each. Fish down around the pilings. Sargo are also showing up, from halfway out on the pier to the end and they're also good size—2-3 pounds. Thresher shark action has also added excitement when as many as ten fish were hooked in one day. However, only one was landed as almost all were broken off around the pilings. The sharks have ranged up to 8-9 feet in length. Inshore, he's seeing some barred surfperch and corbina in the surf area while some shovelnose sharks and halibut are showing up further out. He says he is also seeing quite a few legal size calico (kelp) bass, something he rarely has seen on the pier. And lastly, two fighting species have been seen out at the end: a few barracuda have been taken on spoons, and bonito have been seen boiling about 100 yards off the end of the pier. So far none of the bonito have been caught but he figures it's only a matter of time.

November 2001—Cliff, at Let's Go Fishing, reports a variety of action. Interestingly, he says a lot of halibut have been taken recently including fish of 30” and 31”; most are being taken in shallow-water, inshore areas using live smelt or AA sized Cotee Lures (white and blue, white and green, clear silver and blue, or clear silver and green). He says anglers are casting them in the surf area and letting the action of the waves and currents provide the movement for the lures. Sounds interesting. Corbina to 4 pounds have also been taken inshore on fresh mussels, shrimp and clams. Out at the end lots of mackerel are showing up with an occasional; bonito (mostly small). A few shovelnose sharks (Big Guys) and leopard sharks are also showing up with an occasional thresher but he says he hasn’t seen a thresher successfully landed in quite a while.

June 2002—Marion, at Let's Go Fishing, reports some great fish this month including an 8 1/2-foot thresher shark, a 37 1/2-inch halibut, a 5-foot leopard shark and a 4 1/2-foot shovelnose guitarfish. She says LOTS of BIG spotfins (to 4 pounds) are being taken as well as some large barred surfperch inshore (one weighing nearly 3 pounds). She says there haven’t been any mackerel or bonito but the action on the bottom has been so good nobody misses them. She also said she’s seeing increasing numbers of red crabs. Is El Nino on its way?

September 2002—Marion, at Let's Go Fishing, reports pretty good action and some unusual species this month. Most unusual were two soupfin sharks that were landed this week, one a six-foot-long, 65-pound fish. The giant squid also showed up but only for a few days. Lastly, about 9 legal-size barracuda have been landed. Action has been steady on sardines but the mackerel come and go. There are still some halibut, including several 28-32-inch fish, and some perch and croakers in the inshore area.

July 2004—Eva, at Let's Go Fishing, reports a nice mixture of fish. Inshore, some yellowfin and spotfin croaker are making an appearance while further out on the pier some sand bass, halibut and even barracuda are being seen. She reports there are also quite a few zebraperch showing up, mainly mid-pier around the pilings. Biggest news recently was a hammerhead shark taken—and released—on June 20 that weighed an estimated 50-60 pounds.

November 2004—Alex, at Let's Go Fishing, says there are still bonito to be had; they’re mainly falling to feathers and shiny lures. Although it’s been fairly slow on halibut, a 49” flattie, estimated at 30 pounds, was recently landed on a live sardine. Anglers are also pulling up quite a few shovelnose sharks (guitarfish).

July 2005—Henry, at Let's Go Fishing, reports fishing is just so so. He says some yellowfin croaker, corbina, walleye perch and barred surfperch are showing up inshore but not in big numbers. There was a nice run of 3-6 pound spotfin croakers being taken on mussels and lugworms but it has slowed. Meanwhile, the mid-pier area has seen a few small white seabass, small rays and shovelnose sharks (guitarfish) although halibut have been slow. Not much has been seen on top. Big fish of the month was a 35-pound, 39-inch horn shark.

August 2005—Henry, at Let's Go Fishing, reports fishing is picking up. He says there are lots of baitfish—sardines, jacksmelt and queenfish along with a few halibut. Henry says the short flatties outnumber the legals 10-1, so handle them carefully. Out at the end, mackerel are showing along with some small bonito. A few barracuda have been spotted but not hooked. Inshore, spotfin croaker, yellowfins and barred surfperch continue to be available along with too many baby leopard sharks. Sharks have been in good supply with leopards, sand sharks (gray smoothhounds), and shovelnose (guitarfish) being common most days. Recent shark catches have included a 5-foot-long blue shark estimated to weigh 75 pounds and a 3 1/2-foot-long soupfin shark estimated to weigh 25 pounds. Some thresher sharks have also been hooked but most were lost. Almost all of the large sharks were hooked on live mackerel.

November 2006—Marion, at Let's Go Fishing, reports a good run of leopard sharks ranging from 36” to 46” along with quite a few shovelnose sharks (guitarfish), bat rays and stingrays. Be careful because two of the anglers got stuck by the batties and both had to go to the hospital. She said there’s also been an unbelievable run of white seabass with, of course, almost all being under the legal size; she said she’s trying her best to make sure all are returned to the water. Bonito are in and out; generally they’re following the sardines, while mackerel have been sparse. Inshore, the action on spotfin croakers and yellowfin croakers remains strong and while lots of corbina are being spotted in the shallows they swim up to the bait, turn their heads and swim off.

June 2007—Marion, at Let's Go Fishing, reports outstanding action on BIG spotfin croakers (to five pounds) and corbina (to five pounds) along with the smaller yellowfin croakers. Best bait has been fresh mussels, which she says is even out producing her worms. Best hours are the evening hours. Some perch are also showing up as well as shovelnose guitarfish and thornbacks but basically it’s been all bottom action with one exception—giant (Humboldt?) squid. The squid are hitting both at day and during the night and not in big numbers but often enough to make it interesting. Size—about 4 feet in length. Red tide has been coming and going. The day I called it was clear but the three previous days were murky. Not a good sign.

History Note. The history of Huntington Beach exemplifies what happened to many seaside areas in California in the 1800s and early 1900s. Much of the local area was originally part of the “Nietos Grant” given to Manuel Nieto by the Spanish government. In 1834, part of the land was split off as Las Bolsas (the pockets of bays), and later, in 1843, a new split created Bolsa Chica (the little pocket).
In the 1850s, after the creation of California, much of the local land was acquired by Abel Stearns, a trader in Los Angeles. In 1894, a drought caused Stearns to turn over part of his land to a trust and eventually part of it was purchased by Col. Robert J. Northam.

Box and highlight—

In the early 1900s the story went round Los Angeles about a little girl who rode with her mother to the beach in a Pacific Electric car.
“Mother,” she inquired, “whose streetcar are we riding in?”
“Mr. Huntington’s” was the reply.
Farther along they passed a new town.
“What place is that?” came the inevitable question.
“Huntington Park.”
Finally they arrived at the seashore.
“Where are we now, Mother?”
“Huntington Beach.”
A moment later they stepped onto the sand and looked at the surf.
“Mother,” asked the little girl, “does Mr. Huntington own the ocean or does it still belong to God?”
—Remi Nadeau, Los Angeles, From Mission to Modern City, 1960

In 1900, the area was visited by the person who was probably most important to the founding of the city. His name was Pililip A. Stanton, the founder of Seal Beach, and later Speaker of the California Legislature. He visited the local beach (then called Shell Beach because of the numerous bean clams that dotted the beach) together with S.H. Finley, a Santa Ana engineer. According to the popular legend, Stanton expressed his belief that the climate and beach rivaled the East Coast's famous Atlantic City. “Let's build a city here and call it Pacific City,” Stanton said. Finley agreed and soon the West Coast Land and Water Company was formed. It purchased 1,500 acres of land, began to lay out streets, built a pavilion on the ocean front, and by August the first lots of Pacific City were ready for sale.

“Build it and they will come” did not prove true—sales were slow! Company directors soon became convinced that transportation was needed to their “Wonderland by the Sea.” Stanton sold his shares in 1902 and his fellow investors began to court a partnership with Henry Huntington, the owner of the Pacific Electric Company and its electric powered “Red Cars.” In exchange for extending his inter-urban electric railway, Huntington was offered stock in a new company at an unbelievable 17 cents a share, free right-of-way along the ocean front, one-twelfth of all subdivided lots, and one-fifth interest in all ocean front bluff property. Nevertheless, Huntington was still reluctant until told the company and city would be named after him. In May of 1903, the Huntington Beach Company was incorporated; it purchased all the holdings of the West Coast Land and Water Company, and an additional 1,400 acres. Pacific City now became Huntington Beach. When the “Red Cars” finally arrived in Huntington Beach, on July 4, 1904, there was a huge celebration with more than 50,000 people and land sales began to boom. The boom began to fizzle by 1905 and by 1909 Huntington withdrew his support. However, the city grew and the Pacific Electric continued to run its railway line until 1961.

Most important for our story, 1903 saw the construction of a wooden pier, approximately 1,000 feet long, at the end of Main Street. Nearby, on a bluff, set the Huntington Inn. A plunge was built west of the pier and a band stage was built on the beach between the pier and the plunge. A “Reynolds Wave Motor” was apparently added in 1906 in an attempt to generate electricity for local residents.

The pier was built of untreated lumber and suffered attack from various marine organisms that weakened the structure. Nevertheless, that original pier lasted intact until 1912 when a major storm demolished the middle part of the pier. Although it continued to be used for a period of time it was clear that a new, stronger pier was needed in the city.

A $70,000 pier construction bond was soon approved, building began, and a new 1,350-foot-long concrete pier was dedicated on June 20-21, 1914. The local Huntington Beach News proudly proclaimed: “Pier Celebration Was Gigantic Success; Twenty Thousand Visitors Entertained; Fifteen Hundred Automobiles Here Sunday.” On the front page were “Three views of the Longest, Highest, and Most Artistically Designed Solid Concrete Pier in the World.” Festivities that day included a concert by the Municipal Band of Long Beach, swimming and diving events, a “surfing” demonstration by legendary board rider George Freeth, a casting tournament by members of the Southern California Rod and Reel Club, and Japanese fencing and sword dances. At 7:30 the lights on the pier were turned on and a carnival band played for a dance and “serpentine battle” out at the end of the pier.


The City Has One of the Finest Concrete Piers in the World
An Elaborate Program Has Been Prepared

For the Dedication of One of the Finest Pleasure Piers In Existence; Music Will Be Furnished By Donatelli's Famous Italian Band and Long Beach Municipal Band; Southern California Chorus of 150 Voices Among the Many Attractions.

It is certain that no more elaborate preparations were ever prepared in a city of like population than those that have been arranged for the celebration of the one of the most magnificent concrete piers to be found on either of the American coasts, in this city, June 20 and 21.
Huntington Beach News, June 12, 1914


Interestingly, anglers were apparently able to fish from both the old and new piers for a period of time. A Los Angeles Times fish report dated May 30, 1915 reported the following: (1) Huntington Beach concrete pier: Kingfish, mackerel, smelt, a few rock bass. (2) Huntington Beach wave-motor pier: Surf [corbina] generally procurable with soft shelled sand crabs; kingfish and jacksmelt.

In 1926 construction was completed on the Pacific Coast Highway making access to the town and both pier easier and faster. Faster that is with the exception of “race weekends” when Angelinos clogged the highway heading south to Tijuana and the Agua Caliente racetrack (sounds like SC traffic has always been a mess). During the 1930s, the beaches on both sides of the pier were acquired for public use, some by the city, some by the state. Today there are 8.5 miles of nearly unbroken beach.

Like most southern California piers, sportfishing barges were headquartered on the pier. Here it began in the '20s with Bill's Barge and continued into the '30s with the Annie M. Rolph and the appropriately named Huntington barge. After World War II and into the 1950s, the pier would have a series of new barges—the Elsie I, Elsie II, Neptune, Swallow and Varga.

The pier built in 1914 would last more than seventy years. It did however suffer occasional damage, as do all piers. A 500-foot extension, together with a café at the end, was added to the concrete pier in 1930. However, the new addition was built four feet lower than the original pier and built with flexible pilings to make boat landings safer. The end area would sway and in 1933, when an earthquake hit the area, the movement separated the two parts of the pier. To fix the breach the city paved over the break.

Next up, in 1939, a tropical hurricane attacked the pier and during the 20-hour onslaught the storm’s waves and wind destroyed nearly 300 feet of the far end of the pier. Pier and café now set on the bottom of the ocean. Work began almost immediately and by August of 1940, the pier had been restored to a length of 1,821.8 feet.

Next came World War II and concern about a Japanese attack. In December of 1941, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the pier was commandeered by the military and fenced off from the public. The pier basically became a submarine lookout station. The buildings on the first T were shared by an Army radio station and the Coast Guard. Mid-pier set a radar-searchlight installation. The end of the pier included a heavy caliber machine gun manned by artillery from Fort McArthur. The pier returned to its status as a fishing pier in June of 1945.

Over the years other attractions have centered themselves near the pier. In 1939, the Pavilion dance hall was built near the left entrance to the pier. It quickly became a local center for the swing and jitterbug of the big band era. In 1941, it was renamed the Pav-A-Lon, a play on the word Avalon. After WWII, it served as a hall for concerts and festivals and then, in 1955, was converted into a skating rink. In 1966 it became The Fisherman Restaurant, and still later, in 1976, it became Maxwell's, a restaurant and center for jazz. By 1947, there was also a "Fun Zone" adjacent to the pier that included a few rides and a Pier Cafe on the right side of the pier.

The pier itself suffered damage in 1958 when a storm damaged the final 600 feet of the pier, but it was soon repaired. But all good things must come to an end (sounds trite)! The combination of huge El Niño storms in 1983 (which necessitated $1.4 million in repairs), a winter storm in 1988 (which washed away the final 250 feet of pier—including the landmark End Cafe), and simple old age, brought an end to the majestic old pier. The pier was declared unsafe and closed on July 12, 1988.

Local pier partisans soon sprang into action to find money to rebuild the pier. They formed P.I.E.R. (Persons Interested in Expediting Reconstruction) and raised over $100,000 by selling T-shirts and other items. An additional $92,000 came from the people of Anjo, Japan, Huntington Beach's sister city. Construction of a new pier began in October of 1990.

The new pier replicated much of the architectural form of the original pier but used state-of-the-art building materials in the new construction. Reinforced steel was used, then coated with epoxy, to protect it from the damp salt air. The new pier was also built 13 feet higher than its predecessor and included a diamond-shaped end designed to (hopefully) better deflect incoming waves. When completed following 18 months of construction, and a cost of $10.8 million, the pier had 312 new piles and was 1,856 feet long,

The new pier was dedicated on July 18, 1992 in a ribbon cutting ceremony during Pierfest 92'. Reports said 300,000 people were on hand at the grand opening while an estimated half million people visited the pier by the end of the day. It was the largest number of people ever seen at the pier in a single day.

But change continues. In 1996, a large Ruby's Restaurant opened at the end of the pier and became an instant success. Then in 1997, Maxwells was torn down to make way for a new $12-million Pier Plaza and promenade. Maxwells became into Duke's Surf City.


Huntington Beach Pier Facts

Hours: The pier is open 5 A.M. till midnight.

Facilities: Lights, restrooms and a fish cleaning station are located on the pier. Parking is available adjacent to the pier for $1.50 an hour (or $12 for the day) and there is some metered parking on nearby streets ($1.00 an hour with a six hour maximum length of time). Ruby's Surf City Diner is located out at the end of the pier and although somewhat ugly from the outside, it offers good food for a reasonable price—the same as the Ruby's on the Balboa, Seal Beach and Oceanside piers.

Handicapped Facilities: Handicapped restrooms. The pier surface is cement with a 30-inch rail height. Posted for handicapped.

Location: 33.654959222951774 N. Latitude, 118.004150390625 W. Longitude

How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier. It is located at the end of Main Street.

Management: City of Huntington Beach.

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