|California Pier Report—April 2010
San Diego County Piers
Imperial Beach Pier – Matt at Cox Bait and Tackle reports most of the pier action has been on barred surfperch and walleye surfperch along with the occasional sharks and rays. Action on top is sporadic with both mackerel and jacksmelt showing but they’re in and out. Apparently a few buttermouth perch (blackperch) do continue to show down by the pilings, while some sculpin are available at the end, primarily at night. 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 — The pier has been slow although some mackerel are showing at night. Day action is sporadic with a few perch, bass, sharks and rays on the bottom, some jacksmelt and a few sardines on top. 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, said that overall the action has been slow due, in large part, to the continued high surf. The majority of fish being taken are walleye surfperch while smaller numbers of barred surfperch (to 13-inches) are taken inshore and some leopard sharks mid-pier to the end. A few sculpin (scorpionfish) have also been seen. On top, some jacksmelt continue to be seen but the mackerel have been absent. James says he thinks some mackerel may be showing up at night when the pier is closed. Interesting sights of the month were the capture and release of a 30-40 pound giant (black) sea bass and the visit by a mother and child gray whale that decided to visit the pier and its pilings. The whales provided a good show for the locals and tourists alike. 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 although quite a few spotted bay bass have been showing in the South Bay. 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 the fishing is picking up—a little. While the bass action remains slow, there’s been an upsurge on big leopard sharks and bat rays. Several leopards in the six-foot length range have been measured while bat rays to about 70 pounds have been seen. Top action is hit and miss with the mackerel and jacksmelt coming and going. 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) – Anglers are taking a mix of spotted bay bass and sand bass on the bottom along with an occasional halibut, shark or ray. Some mackerel, jacksmelt and sardines are hitting on top but action is sporadic. 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 – Bill, at the SI bait shop, said things have been mostly dead with the exception of mackerel that are showing in good numbers. Add in a few bass and a couple of halibut (to 24”) and that’s about it. He said he really hasn’t seen any sharays lately. 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 — Mike, at the pier bait shop, reports that things slowed toward the end of the month after an exceptional run of big bat rays that took place mid-month. Over a dozen bat rays exceeding a hundred pounds were taken along with a plethora of small rays, But, the “freight trains” apparently have moved on to greener pastures. Mike said a few barred surfperch continue to show inshore, larger numbers of walleyes mid-pier, and some queenfish and a few halibut (19”-27”). Action has been slow on top. In part the drop-off in action may be due to red tide that seems to have moved into the area. By all accounts the UPSAC Derby held at the pier on 3/27 was a success—even if the fishing was a little slow. According to organizer Eugene Kim, “The mac bite was great, if that's what you were looking for! Other than that, the fishing was a little on the slow side with a mixed bag of sardines, smelt, perch, corbina, sand bass, and thornbacks/rays. Half of our 32 participants came away with empty hooks but just about everyone walked away with a raffle prize or two (and if not, they at least received a few parting gifts!) Of note, all the sand bass caught during the derby (3) was from one angler, Spencer (tunafshr93), and I think he even caught a 4th after the derby was over. Also, Hunter caught a corbina--his lone fish--on ghost shrimp about 3/4 of the way down the pier. It was surprising since I'd only heard of them caught in the surf.” A big thanks to Eugene and all who helped out a the derby. 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 — Things have slowed somewhat on the spotfin croaker action but croakers do still show along with a smattering of bass on the bottom and jacksmelt on the top. 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 — Fishing has been slow primarily due to a lack of anglers although some fish are still being caught. (The day I called several calico bass has been caught as well as a bat ray estimated at 50 pounds.) The end section remains closed, the bait and tackle/snack shop is very hard to access (due to the construction going on out at the end of the pier), and the weather has been bad. The weather has improved but the end is still closed and it’s still hard to reach the snack shop. Hopefully things will improve although the city is replacing some pilings and scraping the mussels off the others. That almost always means lousy fishing for a number of months. 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, “At last things are picking up. There has been two keeper halibut caught in the past two weeks. One was 24 inches and the other 22 inches. There have been some good strikes too. They count you know. The mackerel fishermen are getting some. The wall-eyed perch are around too. Have had some thornbacks too. The bait situation is good. We have not seen any grunion even though there was word that Newport Pier had some grunion. The whales are keeping us entertained, but there aren't a whole lot of them passing by so far. The water is from 58 to 60 degrees which isn't bad.” 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. 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 — The pier is seeing some surfperch inshore along with a few croakers (but it’s not THE croaker pier just yet). Some decent-sized bat rays have also shown and though quite a few small shovelnose sharks (guitarfish) sharks have been taken, the sharay action overall is still slow. White croakers also show mid-pier with some jacksmelt and a few mackerel on top. How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.
Seal Beach Pier — has seen some croakers inshore along with a smattering of halibut mid-pier to the end. Some mackerel are also showing as well as a few sardines. Sharay action is hit and miss but some big rays are available.
Los Angeles County Piers
Belmont Pier — The pier continues to produce some perch and croakers inshore along with some bass mid-pier to the end. Halibut action still isn’t hot bit more of the flatties are staring to show. Not much top action but bat ray action has been fair to good. 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 yielding up some sargo, yellowfin croakers, sharks and bat rays. Try ghost shrimp for a variety of fish. Not much is showing on top other than a few mackerel. 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 — Anglers are seeing a mix of white croakers on the bottom, jacksmelt on the top, and some decent perch and sculpin action out toward the end (along with a few bass). 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 to keep), rock wrasse, senorita, opaleye, sheephead, 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) – The fish got socked over the Easter week by tourists but action remains fair to good on most of the normal species—bonito, kelp bass, opaleye, sheephead, 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 continues to offer up lots of mackerel, especially late in the afternoon to evening, while things are mostly dead on the bottom excepting some BIG crabs. 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 — Austin, at the pier’s tackle shop, reported that quite a few opaleye and sargo continue to show along with the smaller perch and perch-like species (including blackperch and blacksmith). Some nice-sized sand bass have also been taken, most by locals that know what they are doing. Lastly, there’s also a good mackerel run but it starts late afternoon and evening just about the time the pier is shut down to visitors. 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 has seen some sargo and sand bass on the bottom with rubberlip perch down around the pilings. Pacific mackerel, Spanish mackerel and jacksmelt are available to those using Sabikis. Sharay action continues hit and miss with a few leopard sharks continuing to show. 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 – Some Pacific mackerel, Spanish mackerel and jacksmelt are available to those using Sabikis, while some surfperch and leopard sharks are showing on the bottom. 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 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 pier bait shop, said things are fairly slow although a few decent-sized halibut have been showing up and quite a few leopard sharks. Surface action has been slow. 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 said anglers continue to report some decent action on large sargo, good numbers of walleye surfperch, and an upturn in the numbers of halibut (use live bait, i.e., a small walleye surfperch). The pier apparently also continues to see quite a few bat rays. Bad news is the appearance of some red tide conditions, an early in the year sighting. She said surf anglers also are getting some nice fish including a 2-pound, six-ounce barred surfperch that was landed up by Oxnard. 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 produce some barred surfperch inshore, a few halibut in the mid-pier area, and some jacksmelt on top. Both smoothhounds and rays have been showing on 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 — Large numbers of walleye surfperch show up just past the surfline out to mid-pier while some small croakers (white croakers and queenfish) continue to show mid-pier. Spanish mackerel (jack mackerel) are also reported in good numbers while a few sharks (smoothhounds, leopards and dogfish) show out toward the end. 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 — Jeff, at Stearns Wharf Bait and Tackle, reports that there’s a mix of mackerel. sardines, queenfish and “ronkies” (white croaker) at the pier although it’s still a little slow on halibut. Action has slowed on most bottom species, including rays, but crabbing continues to be excellent (both 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.
Goleta Pier— Storm action has moved around the kelp and sand and seen changes in species but overall there’s been a good bite on perch most of the month with a variety of species being taken (including lots of walleyes, too many shinerperch, and some big pileperch down by the pilings). April 1 saw some barred surfperch show up, including a nice 14-inch fish, so it’s hoped the barred counts will increase. There’s a nighttime mackerel bite out at the end, some sardines, and the continued take of kelp bass, rockfish and other rock-frequenting species along the pipe-reef. Several spider crabs have also been seen. 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 — No report this month. How To Get There: From Highway 101 simply take the Gaviota State Park turnoff.
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