|California Pier Report — September 2013
San Diego County Piers
Imperial Beach Pier – No report, need a reporter. 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 — Zack, at the pier’s bait shop, said a variety of fish continue to be taken. During the day there have been the usual queenfish, some halibut, and even one white seabass reported. Apparently there have been quite a few anchovies around the pier inshore and some bonito are showing out towards the end (one of the few reports on bonito we have had this year). Nighttime sees mackerel as well as quite a few sharays—shovelnose sharks (guitarfish), leopard sharks and a few horn sharks. 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, says fish continue to bite but action is just so so most of the time. There has been a good run of Spanish mackerel (jack mackerel) out at the end of the pier along with the usual lizardfish. A few halibut have been landed (mostly shorts) and a couple of shortfin corvina landed (on live bait—smelt and lizardfish). Other than that it’s mostly been sharays—primarily leopard sharks. He says there were some HUGE schools of small queenfish around the pier for a few days; he said the schools were so large they made the clear water look brown. He’s waiting for the bonito to show up. 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, need a reporter! 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, need a reporter! 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, urn left and follow the road to the park.
Embarcadero Marina Pier — No report this month. 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) – No report, need a reporter! 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 — Dennis at Fathom Bistro Bait & Tackle on the pier says it’s mostly mackerel along with a few halibut. “Nothing very crazy.” 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 — Jim, at the pier’s bait shop, says the pier has thousands fishing and a pier swim is going on — they’re packed. As far as the fishing, the croakers have slowed but quite a few halibut have been taken; most of the hallies are short but one 27” fish was landed. Good action on kelp and sand bass too, but almost all are under the new 14” minimum length. Mackerel and anchovies are abundant day and night while pinback sharks (dogfish) are showing at night. 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 report this month. 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 — Ivan, at Hogan's Bait And Tackle, 34320 Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point, says there is still some good perch and croaker action in the shallow water area. Use fresh mussels or worms and fish right under the pier. Mid-pier is seeing croaker; use mussels or squid form bait. At the end it’s mainly sharays—leopard sharks, bat rays and a few 7-gill sharks (recently). It’s pretty much dead on top although some jacksmelt continue to show (chum for them); use cut up bait or catfood ). 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 — Ivan at Hogan's Bait And Tackle, 34320 Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point, says most of the action continues to be on croakers and perch with lug worms the top bait. Bay bass join in occasionally and a few halibut have also been taken. Iven says almost the entire bite occurs at high tide. 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, “Although we have lots of smelt of all sizes, we are not catching halibut. Sometimes there's some nice yellowfin croaker. Have seen some thornbacks. Not too many mackerel around either. It was so hot on Tuesday we almost melted although the water went down to 65 degrees instead of up. Today we at least had a nice west wind all morning. By noon it had dissipated so that the heat came back. The ocean is not a good place to be when the wind stops and the sun beats down on you. Have seen some good-sized spotfin croaker caught by the snaggers this month. There are still lots of lizardfish around all the way into the surf. They even chase the smelt until the smelt jump out of the water to avoid them. Wait until those people who keep them find out they can only have 10 of them.” An early morning note on 9/2/13 said, “In case you haven't heard this news yet, last night at 8:15 a 55 foot sea ray lost power and ended up against Balboa Pier between the surf tee and the middle tee (my fishing spots!). They have closed the pier at least for the day to check the pilings. This is one of Ruby's best days of the year too. They better have the pier open tomorrow as you know that is my fishing day.” 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 — Typically about the same as Balboa but 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 — Karen at Let’s Go Fishing (on the pier), said some perch and croakers continue to bite but things have slowed. There are a lot of lizardfish, and there’s been a good bite on sardines, but the mackerel are few and far between. A few halibut have shown (mostly shortrs) and at least one large lobster was caught (and returned to the water). There has also been decent shark and ray action with some shovelnose, leopard sharks and even a couple of threshers. How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.
Seal Beach Pier — Jimmy at Big Fish B&T reports fair fishing at the pier. Inshore there are still some yellowfin croaker, spotfin croaker (on fresh mussels or ghost shrimp), and corbina (use 4-6 pound test for the corbina). Mid-pier to the end is seeing a lot of mackerel. On the bottom it’s a lot of stingrays and quite a few shovelnose sharks (guitarfish). 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 — No report this month. 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 although we’ve had reports of large-sized sargo in nearby areas and they should be available if using the right baits—fresh mussels, ghost shrimp, or worms. 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 — No report, we need a reporter. 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) – It’s the usual mix of fish—small, illegal kelp bass (almost all under 14 inches), rock wrasse, senorita, opaleye, sheephead, halfmoon and blacksmith. 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) – Expect some calico (kelp) bass, opaleye, and the assorted bottom species—sheephead, halfmoon, blacksmith, etc. Remember the new size limits for kelp bass—14 inches minimum length and no more than five bass total. 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 – Scott from the Redondo Sportfishing Pier reports the big pier is dead on mackerel but has some lizardfish. Other than an occasional bat ray, there’s not much else. 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 — Scott, at the pier’s bait shop, says (basically) don’t waste your time. He says you might get a 7-inch kelp bass but there’s no mackerel and fishing is dead. I imagine you can still get the small perch and perch-like fish 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— No report this month. 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 — No report this month. How To Get There: From Sepulveda Boulevard, turn west on Manhattan Beach Drive and follow it to the pier.
Venice Pier — No report this month. How To Get There: Highway 1 to Washington St., turn west and follow Washington St. to the pier.
Santa Monica Pier — Derrick at the pier’s bait shop said action is pretty much dead. There have been a lot of baitfish, mainly anchovies but also some mackerel, but action on the bottom is dead. 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 Wylie’s Bait and Tackle says it’s been a mixed bag this month. Anglers have reported yellowfin croaker, some big bat rays, fewer but bigger lizardfish, and quite a few short halibut (along with a keeper 27” fish). She’s also heard reports of corbina in the surf. Her regulars tell her the key to the halibut is to use Lucky Craft lures for the halibut (and we’ve heard this before). Ginny believes the top model is the Flash Minnow 110 and the top colors are Metallic Sardine, MS Anchovy, and the Ghost Minnow. [I might add that some anglers who use these lures tell me they are great BUT that the hooks will often bend with large fish. Many people remove the original hooks and replace them with something stronger, i.e., Gamakatzu hooks. It seems a $20 lure should come with strong hooks.] She also says the end of the pier is closed once again due to fire worries and damage. Both restaurants on the pier have closed and the Sportfishing operation is not running a boat this season. She says they also need to replace 17 pilings which is somewhat amazing considering the multi-million dollar rebuild not too many years ago. It’s not sounding good. 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 — No report this month, need a reporter. 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 — No report this month, need a reporter. 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 the bait shop on the wharf says fishing has exploded. For the past week or so the mackerel and sardine bite has been great—morning, noon and night. Go figure. On the bottom a couple of halibut and bat rays have been taken but not much else. The lizardfish are still there but the mackerel are beating them to the hooks. 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 — PFIC reports indicate some sardines are being taken as well as shovelnose sharks and a few threshers. 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.