|California Pier Report—Jan. 2010
San Diego County Piers
Imperial Beach Pier – Matt, at Cox Bait and Tackle (996 Palm Ave), reports that some barred surfperch are available inshore while sculpin (scorpionfish) are a fairly steady bite at night out toward the end of the pier (use strips of squid). Both white croaker (tomcod) and jacksmelt are showing in decent numbers mid-pier. About the only rays seen lately are small thornbacks. 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 — Jim at the pier’s bait shop says things are fairly slow although some fish are still being taken. The biggest news has been the capture of several big, 6-foot and up, 7-gill sharks. They’ve been taken both during the day and at night with a big chunk of mackerel being the primo bait. Inshore, there are a few perch, while small white croakers, jacksmelt and an occasional bass hit mid-pier to the end. Not too many lobsters have shown although anglers are still seeking them out. 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 Crystal Pier Bait & Tackle Shop on the pier, says the pier’s been rocking from the large waves and strong current. When calm, there’s a good bite on walleye surfperch mid-pier. A few barred surfperch show inshore. Not much else is happening with the exception of a few jacksmelt on top and an occasional visit from schools of mackerel. Sharays have been slow. A few people are trying for lobsters but it’s a hard pier to throw out nets due to the way the pier is built. 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) said there’s been a pretty decent mackerel bite going on both during the day and night. Unfortunately not much else is showing up other than an occasional bass and an infrequent shark or ray. 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) – The pier continues to mostly offer up small bass (both sand bass and spotted bay bass), along with a few halibut and an occasional ray. Some mackerel have been seen but it’s hit and miss. 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 – Frank at the bait shop said the mackerel are still biting but they come and go; if you’re there when they show up you’ll catch some fish, if they’re missing you will not see many fish. Most other species are slow, even the perch, bass and sharays. How To Get There: Take I-5 or I-8 to Rosecrans (Hwy. 209) and go west, turn left at Shelter Island Dr. and follow the road until you see the pier and the entrance to the parking lot.
Oceanside Pier — Ed, at the pier bait shop, reports that things have been quiet. The mackerel are in and out (and hard to predict) while some perch show inshore while a few bass and fewer halibut show mid-pier to the end. However, some lobsters, including a few legals, are making an appearance, primarily at night. No sharks have been caught recently. The pier’s bait shop also has a new website, check it out (along with some interesting stories on Charlie the Pelican) at pierbait.com. How To Get There: From I-5 take the Harbor Dr. exit off the freeway, follow it and it will wind down to the harbor; where the road splits stay to the right on North Harbor Dr., and follow it to the pier.
Oceanside Harbor Pier — No real report this month although apparently some BIG jacksmelt are available as well as some perch inshore by the rocks (buttermouth and opaleye). 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 — Randy, at Schleppy’s Bait and Tackle near the end of the pier, said the pier has been very slow, very little on top and much the same on the bottom. If you’re lucky you might pick up a bass or decent-sized perch. Lobsters are missing in action. Reminder: the end of the pier is closed until May for renovation and bird netting. That means the main area for sharks is closed. 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, “This has not been a great month at the pier. The weather hasn't been too bad, but the fishing is not to be talked about. We have had lots of bait and birds. Have seen some jacksmelt caught and a lot of smaller mackerel too. I hope something happens soon. At least whale-watching season is upon us now, so we will have something of interest. Watched a big PBY land a couple times near us on the water a couple weeks ago. That was interesting. Something out of the past. Looking forward to this next month. Maybe something will happen.” 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 although it’s generally a little more crowded. Some sculpin should be available out at the end at night. 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 — Things have slowed although a few surfperch and yellowfin croakers continue to be available in the inshore areas, a few jacksmelt and mackerel mid-pier to the end. The bait shop continues to be closed; the original end-of-November opening morphed into a December opening followed by an end-of-January date. Why have I never heard of city repairs/renovations such as this being completed early? How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.
Seal Beach Pier —David, at Big Fish Bait & Tackle, 1780-C. Pacific Coast Hwy, Seal Beach reports some good perch action inshore by the lifeguard station (use lugworms or ghost shrimp) along with a few yellowfin croakers. Not much is happening out at the end of the pier with the exception of small sharks and rays. How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway simply take Main St. west and follow it to the pier.
Los Angeles County Piers
Belmont Pier — The pier continues to kick out some yellowfins inshore along with a few barred and walleye surfperch but action at the end has mostly been slow. Expect an occasional shark or ray and an occasional visit by a school of mackerel. 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 — The piers are hit and miss and while there is a lot of trash in the water the number of fish has been down. Some sand bass are available (use anchovies or plastics) as well as an occasional sargo or buttermouth perch (use ghost shrimp or bloodworms/lugworms) but it isn’t the kind of action seen just a few months ago. Best action is at night but be sure to come with a group and be sure to bring your own lights. 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 piers.
Cabrillo Pier —The pier continues to see waves breaking over the adjacent jetty and that’s about the most exciting action to be had. Some perch (a mix) are available out at the end along with an occasional cabezon and sculpin; most of the pier is fairly slow (a few tomcod, jacksmelt and mackerel). 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. 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) – Although the bonito action has slowed, there’s the usual mix of bass, opaleye, halfmoon and other Catalina pier species. 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 – The pier reports, as usual, some mackerel but the numbers aren’t huge. Mix in a few sculpin and some crabs and that’s about it. The number of fish—and fishermen—is down. 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 — Josh, at Redondo Sportfishing, says things are fairly slow although there’s been the usual—bass and a mix of rock-frequenting species under the pier. The pier saw a recent fishing derby put on by UPSAC (United Pier and Shore Anglers of California) and the results reflected those species. The top prize was won with a legal kelp bass that grabbed a live senorita being used as bait, while opaleye, halfmoon, and numerous senorita provided fish for all the participants. Market shrimp, peas and squid were the bait of choice. 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— Currently closed. 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 – The pier has seen some large waves and only so-so fishing. Expect a few perch to be available inshore, mackerel to come and go out at the end, some decent jacksmelt fishing on top, and not much else. 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) — No report this month. 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 Manhattan. 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 that things are “dead” even though mackerel come and go (a mix of Pacific and Spanish mackerel) and a few sardines continue to show. Bottom fish are missing. 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 much of the same —walleye surfperch are available in good numbers while a few big sargo continue to surprise anglers. But the action on barred surfperch still rates as slow and shark action is dead. 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 — The pier continues to be the leading smelt producer, both jacksmelt and topsmelt, but not much else is showing at the pier. Inshore perch action continues to be slow, while few fish have been taken from the bottom. 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 — Pier waters have been rolled and the fishing remains slow. Most of the action has been on smallish-sized walleye surfperch, a few tomcod (white croaker), fewer spotfin croaker, and small sharks (leopards and smoothhounds). Everyone is waiting for the wintertime barred surfperch action to kick in but it’s late. 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, reports action is fine if your goal is small lizardfish (on the bottom) and sardines (on top); other fish are missing. The wharf does however continue to kick out big numbers of crabs, mainly rock crabs. How To Get There: From Highway 101 take Castillo St. or State St. west to the beach and follow signs to the pier
Goleta Pier— The pier has seen a drop in its pelagic species (mackerel and sardines) but luckily some fish are still hitting out by the pipe-reef; quite a few 10-14 inch cabezon have been taken along with an 18-inch beauty on the 27th. Good-sized buttermouth (black) perch and pileperch are also showing up for anglers fishing straight down by the pilings. However, inshore surf action has been slow. How To Get There: From Highway 101 take the Hwy. 217/Airport exit. Follow it to Sandspit Rd. and the Goleta Beach Park turnoff. Follow this to the park and the pier.
Gaviota Pier — The pier has been slow both as far as fish and number of anglers. Expect a few perch and bass along with an occasional visit by the pelagics. Overall things are slow but it’s simply the start of the winter season that (every year) seems to take anglers by surprise. How To Get There: From Highway 101 simply take the Gaviota State Park turnoff.
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