|California Pier Report—August 2009
San Diego County Piers
Imperial Beach Pier – Matt, at Cox Bait and Tackle (996 Palm Ave), reports that barred surfperch and yellowfin croaker continue to show up inshore along with a few of the larger spotfins. Further out on the pier some mackerel and sardines continue to show along with the usual queenfish and occasional bass and perch. Good numbers of leopard sharks and shovelnose also continue to provide action. 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 — Billy Barnes, from the Ocean Beach Pier Baitshop on the pier, reports that things have been slow. There’s a good mackerel bite at night, up until about 11PM, but that’s the main action. Other than that it’s an occasional bass or jacksmelt mid-pier to the end, barred surfperch inshore, and a few barracuda being taken with spoons such as Krocodiles. 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 – James, at the newly opened Crystal Pier Bait & Tackle Shop on the pier, reports that things have slowed down after what was a GREAT croaker bite for a couple of weeks. People WERE catching croakers and sargo, now they’re catching some barred sand bass and jacksmelt. A few sardines are also hitting on top and big shovelnose on the bottom. How To get There: Take I-5 to Garnet Ave. then take Garnet west to the foot of the pier. (A license is required from this pier).
Pepper Park Pier — No report this month. 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 this month. 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, turn left and follow the road to the park.
Embarcadero Marina Pier — James at JJ’s Sunset Deli (foot of the pier) says the bass action remains fairly steady although the mackerel come and go. Mix in a few shovelnose sharks and rays and that’s about it. 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) – Apparently a few halibut are showing along with the normal bay bass, stingrays and occasional mackerel. 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 – Action isn’t hot but there’s a steady catch of bass along with the occasional mackerel, barracuda and halibut. The regulars net smelt and use them for the halibut. The Kid’s Fishing Derby was won by a pier regular, Darius Ngo, who used live pinhead smelt to capture 23 small bass. 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 — Karen, at Oceanside Pier Bait & Tackle on the pier, says there’s good action all over the pier. Inshore, it’s yellowfin croakers and sargo providing most of the fun but some barred surfperch and spotfins are also showing up. Mid-pier to the end a lot of halibut are showing (use live bait). Out at the end there’s been a good bite on the bottom for sand bass and a good bite on the top for mackerel. Throughout the pier anglers are also hooking up with shovelnose sharks (guitarfish). 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 — The most un usual fish of the year report goes to this pier that saw two hagfish caught this month. I’ve never heard of another hagfish being caught from any pier. More common are some croakers, smallish-sized bass and occasional shark and ray. 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 — Michelle, at Schleppy’s Bait and Tackle at the end of the pier, says she’s seeing a lot of sharks, smoothhounds and pinback, being caught out at the end while croaker action is steady inshore. She says they caught a strange yellowish colored fish the day I called and I’m awaiting a picture for identification. 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 — No report this month. 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, “It was an off and on month for the good fishing. There were a few keeper halibut caught, but not of great sizes. There were some small halibut and a number of them did go up to 21 inches. Just not big enough. We had to work most of the time for good bait, but we did have some nice smelt and queenfish, and some sardines. The mackerel fishermen caught quite a few mackerel. The yellowfin croaker showed quite a few times. There were a few white seabass around. Doesn't sound too bad, but it just wasn't that good. Again maybe next month. Well Ken, makes us wonder what is going on with our fishing. We know what happened this weekend. That water was biggggg!! It was over 20 feet at the wedge. I got some great pictures! Went down to Dana Point as well to photograph the jetty there with good results as well. Corona del Mar was a good spot up on the hill for pictures 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— Ditto the above info from Balboa. How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway take the Newport Blvd. turnoff and proceed west watching for signs directing traffic to the pier. The pier sits at the foot of McFadden Place.
Huntington Beach Pier — Marion, at Let's Go Fishing on the pier, says there are still a lot of yellowfin croaker and spotfins to be had on the pier as well as a few halibut They’re also seeing a LOT of zebraperch being snagged under the pier. Marion reminds people that the annual “Huck Finn Derby” is Saturday, August 8, and it’s open to all kids ages seven to fifteen (although they’ll take them younger than seven. It’s a big event! How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.
Seal Beach Pier — Ron, at Big Fish Bait & Tackle. 1780-C. Pacific Coast Hwy, said the pier continues to kick out some barred perch, corbina and sargo inshore while a few mackerel are available out toward the end. There’s also some sharks and rays out at the end. 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 — Some yellowfin and spotfin croakers, as well as corbina, are available inshore while sand bass and some mackerel are hitting out toward the end. Hit the pier in the evening for sharks and some big 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 — No report this month. How To Get There: From inland areas take I-710 south and follow it to the Shoreline Drive. From downtown Long Beach, take Pine Avenue south to Shoreline Drive. For the northernmost piers follow Shoreline Avenue west and follow it around the lagoon to where the street ends. For the southernmost piers, follow Shoreline Drive east to the markings for Shoreline Village, continue past the shopping complex, and follow the road out to near the end of the peninsula. You will see the various piers as you drive the road out to the end.
Cabrillo Pier — It sounds like some tomcod (white croakers) and halibut are hitting mid-pier while anglers out at the end also hook up with some decent-sized perch and an occasional bass. The mackerel come and go. 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) – The normal species are all available—kelp bass (most too small), rock wrasse, senorita, opaleye, halfmoon and blacksmith. Schools of jack mackerel and Pacific mackerel come and go with the evening hours often the best time for the pelagics. 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) – There’s the usual mix of bass, opaleye, halfmoon and other Catalina pier species but the bonito seem to have deserted the Mole for the most part. 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 – Pete at “Just Fishing by Pete, in Redondo Beach, says it’s still mainly mackerel at the pier although a few bonito have been taken. Halibut have also shown up, but only a few. 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 — Joey, at Redondo Sportfishing, reports a lot of small calicos but also an occasional legal fish. Mackerel are still making an appearance and a few bonito have joined into the mix but it’s come and go. Perch and perch-like species remain available under the pier. How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway take Beryl St. west to Harbor Dr. and follow it to the entrance of the Sportfishing parking lot.
Hermosa Beach Pier— Pete at “Just Fishing by Pete, in Redondo Beach, says snaggers are snagging corbina inshore while a few halibut are being taken by “live bait” regulars out on the pier. Overall, things are slow. How To Get There: Take the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) to Pier Avenue and follow Pier Avenue west to the pier.
Manhattan Beach Pier – Pete at “Just Fishing by Pete, in Redondo Beach, says it’s the same as Hermosa. How To Get There: From Sepulveda Boulevard, turn west on Manhattan Beach Drive and follow it to the pier.
Burton Chace Fishing Platform (Marina Del Rey) — Mainly it’s an occasional croaker, bass or bat ray on bait while some barracuda are taken on lures. How To Get There: From Lincoln Boulevard turn west on Mindanao Drive and follow it to the park. To reach the dock you must go through the park.
Venice Pier — Ditto Hermosa and Manhattan Beach. How To Get There: Highway 1 to Washington St., turn west and follow Washington St. to the pier.
Santa Monica Pier — John, at the Santa Monica Pier Bait & Tackle, says it’s the normal mix, a few mackerel, an occasional halibut and some sharks and rays. 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 Wylies Bait and Tackle reports Malibu has seen some nice halibut, BIG sargo and good-sized thresher sharks recently. She says there are also some HUGE bat rays. 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 — Baitfish (jacksmelt, mackerel and sardines) continue to provide most of the action although a few croakers are showing inshore and a few halibut mid-pier. 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 — Yellowfin croakers and a few barred surfperch are available inshore while white croakers and queenfish are seen mid-pier. Schools of mackerel (Pacific and Spanish) come and go and provide spurts of action mid-pier to the end. Shark action is picking up at night. How To Get There: From Highway 101 take the Seaward Drive exit west to Harbor Drive, turn right and follow it to the pier.
Stearns Wharf — Frank, at Stearns Wharf Bait and Tackle, said it’s really been hit and miss lately. A few sardines are showing up, some small Spanish mackerel (jack mackerel), and a few lizardfish on the bottom, but not much else. Things just aren’t that good for this time of the year. 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— There’s some perch inshore along with an occasional halibut but most are too small to keep. Mid-pier there’s some small perch and the occasional rockfish. The end is seeing a good mackerel bite—in the evening. 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 — Baitfish show some days and the threshers have followed them in. Other than that it’s a few halibut, an occasional perch or bass, and some big bat rays and smaller sharks at night. How To Get There: From Highway 101 simply take the Gaviota State Park turnoff.
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