|California Pier Report—Feb. 2010
San Diego County Piers
Imperial Beach Pier – Matt, at Cox Bait and Tackle (996 Palm Ave), reports the same old, same old—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) on the bottom and jacksmelt on the top are showing in decent numbers mid-pier. You might also pick up a seaperch or two fishing down around the pilings. 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 showing up. A few bass and sheephead (including one BIG sheepie) are showing up on the bottom, especially out toward the end, while some decent-sized 7-gill sharks continue to make news. Anglers seeking out the big 7-gills are concentrating at the far south corner and using heavy tackle, including heavy sinkers, to get out a distance to where the sharks are found. Inshore it’s mainly small croakers, some yellowfins and white croaker, while on top there continue to be some jacksmelt. January also saw an upsurge in the number of lobsters; much higher numbers than the previous months. 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 things have quieted down from the recent storms but fishing is only so, so. There’s been a good bite on small walleye surfperch mid-pier to the end while some barred surfperch show inshore. On top, expect an occasional flurry from jacksmelt and, some days, a few mackerel. Not much else is happening at this time. 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 that the water was ripping when I called and of course that meant no fish. But surprisingly earlier in the day, were the tides were right, anglers were getting a nice combination of jacksmelt, sardines and mackerel. The mackerel bite has been decent for a while but sardines are a new arrival. It’s turned dead on the bottom; not even bass. 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 offer up a mish mash of various species including a few bass (sand and spotted), some rays, and an occasional mackerel. There’s not much action but enough to warrant a visit to check things out. 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 – Zack, at the SI bait shop, said there’s been some good mackerel action on a variety of baits and lures along with quite a few sculpin (scorpionfish). The sculpin are hitting on strips of squid and pinhead anchovies that anglers are netting at the pier. A couple of BIG octopus showed up to startle anglers (the heads the size of a football) and a few lobsters are showing at night. Not much else. 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 slow. There’s not much action on the top at all while small perch, some bass and thornbacks are the norm on the bottom. He said the water has been dirty from the high surf and runoff from the San Luis Rey River but it’s starting to clean. Sounds like a wintertime report—and things will improve. 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 pier’s still kicking out a few opaleye and blackperch (mostly small) by the inshore rocks, while some walleye surfperch and big jacksmelt are caught from most areas of the pier. An unusual yellow snake eel was caught on 1/22/10. 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 — I’ve not been able to contact anyone at the pier for several weeks. Anyone know if the shop is still open? 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 month was the pits. We had some nice days at the beginning, but that rain and especially the strong winds (up to 93mph) put quite a crimp in the fishing. For the few days Mother Nature allowed us to fish, I did see a big halibut and a few corbina in the surf. We used Gulp small sandworms with lots of barred surfperch attacking them, but the surfperch were small. We had a few sardines for bait, but the fish didn't want them. Of course the jacksmelt were around. They are good to eat and are fun to catch. We have had one whale do a brief show for us, so that is a start for whale season. We lost a lot of beach, but maybe there will be more room for the fish when and if they return. Of course the ocean will return the sand when it is ready to do so.” She also later reported the catch of a shovelnose shark (guitarfish) at the pier. 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. A few jacksmelt and shovelnose continue to be reported on PFIC. 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 — Like San Clemente, I have not been able to make contact with the pier bait shop (although it was to reopen several weeks ago). UPSAC held a derby out at the end of the pier on 1/30 with results mainly showing a number of bottom fish—bat rays, spiny dogfish, round stingrays, and lizardfish. The only species caught on top were jacksmelt and a sardine. How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.
Los Angeles County Piers
Belmont Pier — Greg from Belmont Pier reports "January: slow month for Halibut, all other types of fish are plentiful, especially the perch (surf/pile/waleye/shiners). We are also seeing corbina returning in small numbers but bigger than previous runs. Haven't seen too many guitarfish, shark or rays being caught. For people who have their Lobster lic. we are seeing some large lobsters and crabs. Always plenty of croaker, smelt, sardines. On a different note the Pelicans have returned in larger numbers this season which is awesome to see." 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 with quite a bit of trash still in the water. Most of the action has been on croakers, although some sargo and sand bass will also enter into the action. Don’t expect too much on the top at this time although the mackerel can make an appearance now and then. For the bass use anchovies or plastics, for the sargo or buttermouth perch use ghost shrimp or bloodworms/lugworms. Best action continues to be 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 saw some really big waves breaking over the adjacent jetty during the recent storms but things appear to be back to normal. The main fish for much of the pier appears to be jacksmelt but some perch, bass, and assorted bottom fish should be available out at the end. 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. Pelagics have been sparse. 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) – It’s the usual mix of (mostly small) 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 – Mackerel are the main species (seemingly like always) along with a few jacksmelt. A few sculpin show up at night and way too many lobster poachers (also at night). Some croakers show up on the bottom inshore a well as a few thornback rays. 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 — Things appear to be getting back to normal after the big storms and a two-day closure. Anglers are showing up but action has been mostly slow with a few small bass together with the normal perch and perch-like species under the pier. Out at the end it’s mostly a few jacksmelt along with an occasional mackerel. One lady did catch a sheephead of around 15” that appeared to be in the middle of the “change” from being a female to being a male. It seemed part way there! The “big change” normally tales place when sheephead are around 12” in length. 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— The pier was closed down for a couple of days during the storms but now it’s open. A few fish were reported to PFIC— barred sand bass, jacksmelt, mackerel, blackperch, and a cabezon. 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 – Also closed for a couple of days. The fishing is the same as at 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) — 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 Hermosa and 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 things are slow although there are some baitfish showing up around the pier, including a few mackerel and sardines. The morning I called an angler had just pulled in a 15-inch sand bass but John said there really haven’t been any large fish lately although some mid-sized croakers are available inshore. 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 says she’s not getting too many reports from the pier but there’s been recurrent reports of walleye surfperch and some sargo. It’s still slow on barred surfperch and the shark action has died off. 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 — It sounds like it’s mostly the typical jacksmelt action. PFIC reports do indicate some small halibut have been taken as well as croakers and perch, along with a few sharks and rays. 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.
Stearns Wharf — Frank, at Stearns Wharf Bait and Tackle, reports that you get your choice of lizardfish on the bottom or jacksmelt near the top, nothing much else. He said yes, the crabs are still there, but they are always there. So, I guess if you to Stearns take along a crab net and get a few rock crabs and spider crabs. How To Get There: From Highway 101 take Castillo St. or State St. west to the beach and follow signs to the pier.
Ventura Pier — The pier was closed for several days following huge, punishing waves and the loss of a piling. Following the storm waters were muddied and dirty for several days. The result is that not too man people have been fishing the pier and though the waters are starting to clear not too many fish have been recorded. However, some croakers (yellowfin and white) should be available inshore to mid-pier while some herring (aka sae trout or queenfish) show up mid-pier to the end. Also expect some perch—barred surfperch inshore, blackperch and possibly white perch down by the pilings. How To Get There: From Highway 101 take the Seaward Drive exit west to Harbor Drive, turn right and follow it to the pier.
Goleta Pier— The pier was closed for a day but not from the storm but from an attack by a sailboat. Final score was pier 1, sailboat 0. According to Goleta’s “pier master” Boyd Grant, it’s the “second boat that tried to sneak under the Pier in the past couple of years... and the Pier ate both of them! What was left of the 25' Coronado sailboat sank to the west of the Pier near the reef.” Unfortunately quite a bit of kelp was torn away from the pilings (and nearby pipe reef), which affect the fishing, but things appear to be getting back to normal with some fish (mainly perch) starting to bite. 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 appears to be back to normal after the storms but we’re not getting much in ways of reports. Mainly it’s been a few surfperch inshore, some seaperch down by the pilings, and an occasional visit by sharks and rays. How To Get There: From Highway 101 simply take the Gaviota State Park turnoff.
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