|California Pier Report — May 2015
San Diego County Piers
Imperial Beach Pier – Still looking for a reporter for this pier. 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 — Shirley, at the pier’s bait shop, reports that mackerel, perch, sand bass and leopard sharks have made up most of the recent catch. 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 – Pamela, at the pier’s bait shop, reports that anglers have been primarily picking up some perch and mackerel although some really big sharks have also shown up lately (including a 7-gill shark). How To get There: Take I-5 to Garnet Ave. then take Garnet west to the foot of the 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, need a reporter. 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) – Expect a few bass (calico, sand and spotted) and a few sharays on the bottom, especially small sting rays. 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 — The main catch has been mackerel. 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 Oceanside Pier Bait & Tackle, says “things are starting to click.” Inshore there’s some croakers and corbina showing up, while mid-pier has seen some halibut including a 31-inch fish. Big perch and little perch are around, and he says there are a lot of bat rays, mostly small ones. Out at the end anglers are pulling in good numbers of mackerel and sardine. Toss in a 17” and 18” calico bass and a couple of decent-sized grass rockfish and it sounds like Ed is right—things are starting to click. 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 — It’s been pretty dead, expect an occasional small croaker or bass. 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 anglers continue to pull in a quite a few sharays out at the end of the pier, a mix of big bat rays, leopard sharks, and smaller smoothhound sharks. Inshore, a lot of corbina are being seen and some are being caught. The key is the bait; a good bait is lug worms while regulars scrounge up some sand crabs and use them for the “beans.” A lot of halibut are also being taken, generally from past the breakers to mid-pier but most are the small, pancake-size fish. The mackerel have been in one day and out the next, nothing you can count on. 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 said there are a lot of jacksmelt along with some (mostly) small bass—both sand bass and spotted bass. People are catching the jacksmelt near the top of the water with the bass on the bottom (on almost any bait). A few croakers are showing up and if people would use lures, i.e., swim baits like Big Hammers, they should be able to get some halibut since there’s a lot in the bay right now. 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, “As to the fishing on the pier, I don't see how it keeps getting worse. We have good bait one day, and the next day no bait. Don't know what is going on. No fish, no strikes or very few. The good thing has been the whales. Monday we had 20 whales go by. Most had babies with them. Tuesday we had about 16 whales and Wednesday and Thursday about 4 and Friday we had 4 more. One of the passers by with her baby came into the pier where I was fishing and pictures were easy to get by just leaning over and looking down. The interesting part of seeing this pair is that their flukes were white on both sides of the mother as well as the calf. Haven't seen white flukes before this. By the way someone on the end of the pier got a big mackerel this week. It was between 2 and 3 pounds just like the mackerel years ago. The rest were small. Oh, I did get a very large Leopard shark on a 10-inch Spanish mackerel last week. He finally ran under the pier, but we all saw him before he did. Our last day of fishing was a 23-inch halibut she [my daughter] caught yesterday. We had some big sardines and it worked for her. At least we all got to share it for dinner, and it was delicious.” 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 — Pretty similar to Balboa. 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 — Mike at Let’s Go Fishing (on the pier), said there’s a nice mix of fish showing up. A lot of big bat rays have been caught recently with most, according to Mike, in the 80+-pound category and most have been caught mid-pier near where the bathrooms are located. Mid-pier to the end also has been seeing some nice catches of leopard sharks. Mid-pier to the end sees mackerel and jacksmelt while perch are beginning to show in good number. Inshore, there continues to be good fishing for spotfin croaker using mussels or lug worms. No bonito recently How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.
Seal Beach Pier — Robert, at Big Fish B&T, says there’s a pretty good perch bite going on inshore to mid-pier while inshore, by the breakers, more and more corbina are being caught along with some spotfin croaker (use bloodworms, lugworms or fresh mussels). As usual, it is the “regulars” who know what they are doing that catch the majority of the fish. Mid-pier to the closed end sees the usual species on the bottom—thornbacks, bat rays and small sharks. Some halibut are available but again it’s “those in the know” who are getting most of the flatties. As for the end section and when it will open? No one seems to know as the city continues negotiations to find a new lessee for the restaurant spot. 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 — Nothing much other than a few mackerel and an occasional shark and ray. 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 — Expect some mackerel and white croaker while casting out into deeper water, a few perch and bass if fishing the shallow areas by the rocks. 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 — Expect a few mackerel and jacksmelt along with a few bass if you fish 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) – It’s the usual mix of fish —small, mainly 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, Pacific mackerel, bonito. (some days), 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 – Sunny, from Redondo Beach Tackle (on the pier), said that it’s mainly mackerel being caught, not much else.u 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 and tackle shop, said, for perhaps the 117th month in a row, that it’s mainly small, small calico (kelp) bass (7-11”) and a few perch and perch-like fish under the pier. Nothing else. Actually there is one other thing—the cormorants. Apparently they are super hungry, super abundant, and super willing to spot any under-sized bass that is being thrown back into the water by an angler. Most of the small bass are becoming food for the pesky birds. The old Chinese method was to tie a string around a cormorant’s neck and use them to catch fish (since they couldn’t swallow the fish) but I don’t think that would be too legal in today’s world, especially in California. 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— Pete, at Just Fishing By Pete, 2427 190th St., Redondo Beach, said there are still a lot of BIG jacksmelt showing up in the inshore areas. How big are they? Big enough to be confounding anglers who are casting out “Lucky Craft” lures for halibut. Big and good fighting and plentiful. On the bottom there are the usual sharays but not much else; it’s slow on surfperch and croakers and halibut, although a few short pancake-size hallies are showing up. How To Get There: Take the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) to Pier Avenue and follow Pier Avenue west to the pier.
Venice Pier — Ditto Hermosa. 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 dead. Mainly it’s a few mackerel and nothing much else. 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 fishing has slowed a little since last month. Some mackerel are being caught along with a few small perch and some sharks, mostly leopard sharks but a least one (small) thresher shark. 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 — Still closed. 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 although surfperch action has been picking up so some barred surfperch should be available inshore. 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, from the Stearns Wharf bait shop, says there are a lot of mackerel and jacksmelt along with an occasional ronkie (white croaker). A few halibut have been taken with at least a couple being legal size. 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 had been closed for repairs but officially was reopened May 1. However, a report from bigred805 said he “fished it last Monday. The pier was surrounded by schools of smelt with scattered macks and sardines. Soaked a thresher rig all day for nothing, managed a decent shovelnose near the pipe reef to break the skunk. There is some big swell that will be here for the next few days that should bring some warm water north... I’ll be going back for another try next week.” 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 — Still closed. How To Get There: From Highway 101 simply take the Gaviota State Park turnoff.