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>> Pinole/Richmond pier fishing.... [topic: previous/next]
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 2:28 pm

Posts: 4

I was wondering where I can go shore/pier fishing in the Richmond/Pinole area.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 2:49 pm

Posts: 83
Location: V-town

Go to pinole shores. Park in the dirt parking lot. and walk down to the rail roads. Just make sure you carry a fishing license becuase they do have rangers that come down there =)..

Stripers, Rays and Possible Sturgeon is out there.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 3:15 pm

Posts: 218
Location: Hercules/Davis

pinole is my neck of the woods. point pinole is awesome year round. just know its a 1.5 mile hike if you don't take the shuttle.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:21 pm
red fish

Posts: 2629
Location: Berkeley Pier

blade6533 wrote:
I was wondering where I can go shore/pier fishing in the Richmond/Pinole area.

Blade, anywhere you can access the water in Richmond is good depending on what you angling for... Marina Bay, Point Richmond, Pt. Molate... variety of species: shark, batray, halibut, striper, sturgeon (when in season), perch, (when in season). There is a pier at Pt. Richmond, and, hopefully, there will be a pier at Pt. Molate when the Native American casino goes up..
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 5:43 pm
Ken Jones

Posts: 9724
Location: California

From Pier Fishing In California, 2nd Ed.

Point Pinole Pier

I guess I should have a T-shirt for this pier that would say, “I Was There On Opening Day—1977.” But it really doesn't seem like a big deal today. What is relevant is that I fished three hours and caught six fish; five blackperch and one pileperch. Not great but not bad. A few days later I revisited the pier; I caught only two walleye surfperch and one starry flounder. Again, not too great. Most days at this pier are like that, rarely great fishing but usually at least a few fish. It is a very well designed pier and sits in a very attractive location.

The pier itself is only a small part of the larger Point Pinole Regional Shoreline Park. Here, in a setting of 2,147 acres, you will find a wide range of activities and ecological environments. Along the bay is a rocky, driftwood-littered shoreline. To the east is the Whittell Marsh area, a salt marsh more reminiscent of former times on the bay. Near the pier is a large blue gum eucalyptus forest, planted by the Hercules Powder Plant, the former owner of this peninsula. Why planted? As a shield for the bunkers where explosives were manufactured. Grassland areas contain native grasses such as “needle grass” and are great places for a short hike. Last but not least is the 1,225 foot-long pier which extends out into a deep water channel.

Environment. A mostly mud bottom which is normal in this part of San Pablo Bay. The shoreline is rocky and culminates in the point for which the park is named. (Which seems ideal conditions for jacksmelt.) The pilings themselves are concrete with little growth but off to the right of the pier are a number of older dilapidated pilings which will attract perch in the winter and spring, although admittedly only the inshore pilings are within casting distance. Water here can be more brackish than farther south and the point extends out into water that is crossed by several species of anadromous fish as they journey to and from the ocean and the inland rivers. Thus, here you can see such anadromous fish as king salmon, steelhead trout, striped bass, shad, white sturgeon and even green sturgeon. All of these may be caught as they cross the area but only the striped bass and sturgeon are caught in an appreciable number. More common are the white croaker (kingfish), perch, flounder, sole, jacksmelt, topsmelt, skates, sharks and bat rays.

Fishing Tips. The majority of fishing effort (and success) centers on white croaker (kingfish), jacksmelt, sharks, perch and striped bass. The kingfish prefer a small piece of anchovy for bait although they'll also hit pieces of squid and pile worms. Use a high/low leader with a number 4 hook and be prepared for quick action since the kingfish will often hit bait as it settles toward the bottom. It's mostly hit or miss; if a school is around anglers should catch fish, if they're absent expect a slow day.

Jacksmelt often swing through the area in large schools. Use a multi-hook leader with a float so that the bait is placed a few feet under the surface of the water. Size 6 hooks are probably best as are small pieces of pile worms or small pieces of shrimp.

Although few anglers specifically target sharks, they are one of the most common fish in the area. Most will be the smaller brown smoothhound sharks but mixed in will be a few of the larger and better eating leopard sharks. Use a little heavier line (30 pound test), a sliding leader, an oily, strong flavored fish like anchovy, sardine or mackerel, and fish in the deep-water channel at the end of the pier. Squid works well but also will attract bat rays (which really isn't too bad since they are one of the best fighting fish in the bay). Summer and fall months are the prime months for the sharks and rays.

Best spots for the large pileperch, blackperch, and rubberlip seaperch, are midway out on the pier or along inshore areas. Fish these areas from December to April, use a high/low leader outfit, use size 4-8 hooks, and use pile worms, ghost shrimp, grass shrimp, fresh mussels, or small pieces of ocean shrimp for bait. Better yet, arrive at low tide and catch some of the small crabs that seem to be under every rock along the shoreline—they make great bait.

Several flatfish can be caught including starry flounder, sand sole, and even a few halibut. Fish for these out toward the deepest water using a sliding sinker leader, size 4-2 hooks, and pile worms, ghost shrimp, grass shrimp, or cut anchovy as bait. Winter and spring months are best for the flounder, summer and fall are best for the sole and halibut. If you specifically are seeking the halibut, try to use live bait, and small shinerperch are the bait used by most of the local halibut experts.

Striped bass are the trophy fish for most anglers and are common from the spring to the fall. Although some stripers are taken in the deep-water channel at the end of the pier, many are caught in the shallow waters along the shoreline. The favorite bait is a live shiner or a staghorn sculpin (bullhead) but pile worms and shrimp are not far behind. This is a good pier to try artificials for the stripers. Most locals use Fish Traps or Rebel Lures and best results are usually on an incoming tide.

Most years will also see a few salmon taken during the fall months. These are almost always landed in the deep-water channel and most are caught using a frozen anchovy fished under a float. You can also try artificials for these but results are rarely hot. Steelhead are infrequently caught, but best bets to try are nightcrawlers fished under a bobber or float near the corners of the pier.

In late winter and spring months this can be a fairly good spot for sturgeon. If you decide to fish for these, and some are giants (including the reported catch of an 170-pound fish), make sure you are using heavy enough tackle and the right bait. Tackle should be suited for thirty pound or heavier test line, equipment should include wire sturgeon leaders equipped with two hooks, and bait should include grass, mud or ghost shrimp.

Unfortunately, one of the most common denizens of the deep lately has been Chinese mitten crabs. At times these bait stealers are as bad, or even worse, than the bullheads (staghorn sculpin) and both can make fishing almost impossible. Actually the fishing isn't impossible, just the chance of catching anything. As soon as bait hits the bottom a miniature Indy 500 begins with the crabs and bullheads revving their engines to see who can get to the bait first. It can be frustrating and more than one angler has simply given up and gone home. One alternative is to use artificial lures, another is to tie the hooks further up on the line so they are not as close to the bottom. Of course when the fish are on the bottom it's hard not to concentrate on that area.

Author's Note. Some interesting data was supplied to me in 1994 by Peter Alexander who is the fisheries specialist for the East Bay Regional Park District and the writer of a bi-weekly newsletter called Anglers' Edge. He has kept figures going back to 1986 on the Point Pinole Pier. His records show the following numerical ranking for fish caught at the pier. Most numerous are white croaker (kingfish), second are smelt (jacksmelt and topsmelt), third are sharks (several varieties), followed closely by perch. Next most common are striped bass, bat ray, starry flounder and sturgeon. Rounding out his figures are a few salmon and halibut.

He also shows a breakdown for the number of fish caught per month, although these figures need to be used with caution. To some extent these figures may simply reflect a greater number of anglers in the summer months and the type of fish the anglers are seeking. Nevertheless, the information is interesting. Kingfish are caught year round with the highest numbers in April and May. The numbers for smelt are highest from July through October. Sharks are most common April to September and perch from August until April. Sturgeon have been caught every month of the year but the highest numbers are in March and April. As expected, the striped bass catch is greatest in the fall, starry flounder in late winter and early spring, and bat ray April through November.

Anglers wishing to order The Anglers' Edge can order it from the East Bay Regional Park District, P.O. Box 5381, Oakland, California 94605-0381. The cost is $8 a year for the bi-weekly newsletter.

History Note. The word pinole is a Spanish word referring to a meal made of grain or seed used by the Indians in the area.

Between 1881 and 1960 a number of different companies manufactured gunpowder in this area. That fact and the need to keep the public a safe distance away (from possible explosions) led to a lack of development and the maintenance of a fairly pristine environment. An unintended consequence was its perfect setting for a park. When the land was purchased by Bethleham Steel in 1963 conservationists led the fight for a new park and the purchase by the East Bay Regional Park District in the early '70s.

Further down the shoreline, near present day Pinole, wharves date back to the 1800s. In 1856, Bernardo Francisco created a warehouse and a trading port. In addition, he constructed two small wharves, one thirty feet in length and one twenty feet in length. The first wharf disappeared over time but the second was extended out several times. By 1882, the wharf had reached 2,300 feet in length but records state that the water depth was still only eight feet deep at the end, the same depth as when the wharf was only twenty feet long (believe it or not—Ripley, where are you?). The wharf is long gone; today the site is home to Pinole's Bayfront Park.

Point Pinole Pier Facts

Hours: Open from 5 A.M. till 10 P.M.

Facilities: A parking lot is located at the entrance near Atlas Road; it charges a $2.50 fee to park. It is a long walk from the parking lot to the pier but some do it. More common and convenient is to use the park shuttle that runs on the half-hour daily, except for Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from the parking lot to the pier. Departures from the parking lot are from 7:30 A.M. to 2:30 P/M. during much of the year, and generally the hours are extended during the summer months. The shuttle returns from the pier hourly from 8 A.M. to 3 P.M. There is a 50 cents one way, $1.00 round trip charge for adults to use the shuttle, a 25 cents charge for those age 6-12. Senior citizens, age 62 and above, and disabled persons, ride free. Rest rooms are found near the front of the pier as are drinking fountains. Fish cleaning stations, benches and wind breaks are found on the pier. There are no bait and tackle or food facilities. Nearby are found shaded picnic areas and tables.

Handicapped Facilities: Handicapped parking and restrooms. All anglers must use a shuttle to get to the pier. Not posted for handicapped.

How To Get There: From I80 take the Hilltop (Richmond) exit; go west on the Richmond Parkway to the exit for Giant Highway and a sign for Point Pinole Regional Park.

Management: East Bay Regional Parks District.

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Last edited by Ken Jones on Wed Jun 11, 2008 5:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 5:45 pm
Ken Jones

Posts: 9724
Location: California

From Pier Fishing In California, 2nd Ed.

Ferry Point Pier — Richmond

This is the only pier that I fished before its official grand opening. I had been eagerly awaiting its opening when I received an e-mail early in 2002 announcing that yes indeed it was finally open. Soon after, I headed down to the pier to try it out. What I found was unexpected: a smallish pier devoid of fish cleaning stations, adequate trash cans, bait cutting stations or even well designed railings. The pier was a major disappointment even though I was glad it was finally open. Overall it gave the appearance of an ill conceived, hastily constructed, Mickey Mouse job. It surprised me because the East Bay Regional Park District normally does a good job with its piers. What was expected was a group of anglers fishing and they already had a few perch to show for their efforts. However, upon leaving I noticed a sign laying face down near the entrance stating that the pier was not yet open. And upon arrival back home I received another e-mail message, this one stating that there was some confusion about opening dates and that anglers might possibly receive tickets if they fished from the pier. A little confusing and it didn't get any better during the next couple of months as anglers continued to use the pier and authorities kept saying it wasn't officially open. A plethora of reasons were given but to date no conclusive explanation has been heard as to the causes of the delay (although a shutoff of promised funds may have been the reason). By the way, my first visit, on February 27, 2002, a short hour and a half trip, produced an unimpressive 7 fish: 5 blackperch, 1 bonehead sculpin and a shinerperch. However, subsequent trips later in the spring proved to be much more productive.

The pier is built on the site and remains of the old Santa Fe Ferry Landing, residue that still dominates the scene at the end of the point. It became a popular site for local fishermen as the railroad activities decreased in the '70s but was partially burned down in 1984. After that, the inshore section of the pier was removed and the pier's use by anglers ceased.

Environment. The pier itself and Ferry Point Park are part of the larger Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline area in Point Richmond. The pier extends 550 feet into the bay in waters that are home to perch, jacksmelt, kingfish (white croaker), brown rockfish, starry flounder, halibut, sharks and rays. In addition, these waters are prime migratory paths for striped bass, sturgeon and salmon during the appropriate seasons.

The shoreline is rock-lined and there are quite a few rocks on the bottom to attract fish but for the most part anglers will be fishing the deeper waters hoping for larger fish. The bottom is mud, pilings contain some mussels (but mainly barnacles) and water currents can be strong when there is a strong incoming or outgoing tide.

Fishing Tips. Most of the year anglers should expect the predominate local species to make up a majority of the catch. Thus winter and spring should see good runs of perch—pileperch, blackperch, rubberlip seaperch, white seaperch, rainbow seaperch and some striped seaperch. Small hooks baited with pile worms will probably catch most of the perch, but grass shrimp, ghost shrimp, and small shore-crabs (look under the rocks) often work better for the large pileperch and rubberlip seaperch. Do remember to keep your hooks small—size 6 or 4—and your line fairly light (although when the perch are in a feeding frenzy it sometimes doesn't seem to make much difference). A few surfperch—calico surfperch and redtail surfperch—may enter the action but they will be far less in number. Later in the year, spring through fall, the smaller walleye and silver surfperch will show up, sometimes in pretty impressive numbers.

Jacksmelt are a common catch and when one shows up there will generally be more, in fact usually many, many more. Use two or three size 8 or 6 hooks baited under a float and be prepared to strike as soon as the float disappears under the water's surface. As often as not you'll have two or three fish on your line at a time.

Flatfish are always a possibility with halibut being the most hoped for prize. More common will be sanddabs, sand sole and starry flounder (primarily in the winter and spring months). Most of the flatfish will be caught on pile worms, ghost shrimp, grass shrimp or cut anchovies. If you're seeking out the larger halibut catch yourself a small shiner perch and use it as a live bait with a sliding sinker rigging.

Kingfish (white croakers) seem to increase in numbers each year and will be one of the most commonly fish caught. Unfortunately, they should not be eaten in these waters, or if eaten, only in very small quantities. They are most commonly caught on a high-low rig baited with cut anchovies although pile worms, shrimp and other cut baits will also attract in some of the non-discriminatory kingfish.

From spring to fall, young anglers can expect to find a hoard of small fish—brown rockfish, topsmelt, and shinerperch—down around the pilings. Drop a size 8 hook baited with small pieces of pile worms and you should get almost non-stop action. However, mixed in occasionally will be small cabezon, blennies, gobies and other odd creatures, some not so small, so be prepared.

Striped bass are, of course, one of the most popular species. Best times will be the spring and fall months with a variety of baits and lures producing the fish. Favorite baits include cut anchovies and sardines, pile worms, ghost shrimp, bullheads (staghorn sculpins) and mudsuckers (longjaw gobies). Popular lures include Fish Traps, Hair Raisers, Rapalas and Kastmasters.

Another prize fish is white sturgeon. Winter and spring, especially when there is a good run-off from inland waters, will produce the most fish (and two sturgeon were reported during the first month the pier was open). Mud shrimp, grass shrimp and ghost shrimp produce the most fish although herring and herring eggs will also produce fish when the herring are in the bay. Be sure to have stout tackle and a net with you if you plan to fish for the elusive diamondbacks.

Most common, especially during the spring through fall months, will be brown smoothhound sharks, leopard sharks and bat rays. The sharks prefer cut bait, especially baits that are oily or bloody—anchovies, sardines and mackerel. The bat rays prefer squid but will also hit fish baits. Since the pier is near deep water, a number of 7-gill sharks will also be landed and some may approach pretty good size. As with all sharks and rays, have a medium to heavy size rig and a way to bring them up onto the pier.

Finally, there is the possibility of seeing king salmon passing through the area, generally in the fall months as they head inland toward their birth streams. Although common in the area, few will be hooked or landed. Salmon generally have stopped eating by the time they reach these waters and (wisdom has it) can only be hooked by lure. Since few anglers use lures, or specifically seek out the salmon, it stands to reason that few of the trophy fish will be hooked.

History Note. This pier is built on the remains of the old Santa Fe Ferry Terminal that was the western terminus of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad. As the story goes, Augustin S. MacDonald had the vision of the site as a port and railroad terminal. It was he who broached the idea to the movers and shakers at Santa Fe. They apparently were receptive when they found out it was 12 miles closer by rail than the Peralta Street Terminal for ferries in Oakland. On July 4, 1900, after construction of ferry slips and tracks to the site, the Santa Fe inaugurated service by delivering 200 passengers from San Francisco to Point Richmond on the Santa Fe's first ferry, the Ocean Wave. After arrival, many of the people boarded the railroad's first through train to Chicago. To handle freight connections, terminals were built at the foot of Channel Street in China Basin, a “car float” slip was built adjacent to Pier 54 in San Francisco, and further landing facilities were constructed in Oakland and Alameda. Connections were made to the Northwest Pacific Railroad facilities in Tiburon.

For three decades these various terminals (passenger, car and freight) were busy with traffic—but that would change with the opening of the Bay Bridge in 1936. Nevertheless, even though the Santa Fe discontinued its own passenger ferries in 1933, ferries and other boats transported rail cars, cargo and people from the terminal to San Francisco until 1980 (and nearby sat the Southern Pacific Golden Gate Ferry Terminal which operated during the 1920s and 1930s).

During much of the pier's history, local anglers with the know how and connections were able to go out and catch fish at the pier. Later, after the demise of the ferry operations, it became an even more important home for local fisherman—until the fire in 1984. Since that time local fishermen repeatedly spoke of the need for a new local pier and apparently the East Bay Regional Park District listened.

In February of 2001, the Wildlife Conservation Board announced the final grant ($500,000) needed to complete the pier project that had been in the works for nearly ten years. The cost of more than $2,000,000 includes rehabilitation of nearly 3,000 square feet of structure area—replacement of wooden piers and steel piles—and repainting of the historic gallows structure and machinery house (as well as interpretive signs showing the history of the pier and how the machinery worked). Money for the project came from the Wildlife Conservation Fund, the California Coastal Conservancy ($492,000), Caltrans ($376,000) and funds raised by the East Bay Regional Park District itself ($713, 000).

Point Richmond itself was long the home of native Americans before being coming under control of the Spanish in the early 1800s. The area became known as The Potrero (pastureland) of Don Francisco Castro's huge Rancho San Pablo; later the point was called Point Stevens, appearing on charts of the Bay in 1850. Finally, a U.S. Government survey party designated the point of land jutting into the Bay as “Point Richmond.”

Ferry Point Pier Facts

Hours: Open 24 hours a day.

Facilities: The pier includes lights but little else. The park itself contains restrooms near the parking lot. The park, by the way, appears a favorite place for people to bring their dog for a romp as well as people who like to fly kites.

Handicapped Facilities: Railings are 42 inches high.

How To Get There: From I-580, there are two main Point Richmond exits, Canal Boulevard and Castro Street (also the south terminus of the Richmond Parkway). Take either into the center of town where you should see Dornan Drive and a tunnel that says Ferry Point. Go through the tunnel and continue out to the end of Dornan Drive. The park is intersected by Dornan Drive and Brick Cove Road.

Management: East Bay Regional Park District

Support UPSAC! Preserve pier and shore angling in California.
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