December 2016 Fishing Report, SoCal (#221)
San Diego County Piers
Imperial Beach Pier – Apparently the mackerel continue to bite and some sharks continue to make an appearance but things are slowing. 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 — Samacha at the pier’s bait shop, reports that the fishing has been slow, and the high tides required closure of the pier for a few days, but anglers continue to pull in good numbers of mackerel along with a few bonito. There’s not much bottom action but some lobsters are showing up at night and sharks continue to be caught by those fishing out at the left corner at the end. Not much else. 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 – Randy at the Crystal Pier B&T (on the pier) says fishing has slowed but good numbers of big jacksmelt are showing up along with some perch and croaker inshore and (a little surprisingly) quite a few leopard sharks. It sounds like the usual wintertime species. 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) – PFIC reports that the usual species are still making an appearance. Expect a lot of mackerel and small bass (kelp, sand and spotted) along with a possible bonito or two and the seemingly always present (round) stingrays. 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 Borlek from the pier’s bait shop says most of the action has been on 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 and Tackle says things have slowed but some yellowfin croaker are still showing up inshore, a mix of jacksmelt, sardines and macaroni (mackerel) are hitting mid-pier, and a few sharks (including some big leopard sharks) have been caught mid-pier to the end. Overall though the water is getting colder and things are slowing. 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, need a reporter. 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 — Spencer at Hogan's Bait And Tackle, 34320 Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point, says things have slowed down. A few perch and croakers still show up onshore but most of the action is on sharks and rays out toward the end of the pier; a variety of sharays. 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 — Spencer at Hogan's Bait And Tackle, 34320 Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point, said anglers continue to pull in a few croakers and perch fishing next to the pier. Not much else is showing up. 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, “Things are slowing with the water cooling, but we still have lots of jacksmelt and sardines around. I did get a 23 1/2 inch halibut a week ago on a sardine in the surf. It took me five tries to get her, but I was persistent. There are some mackerel around and some thornbacks and stingrays. The water has been clear for quite a while now, and we know there is a BIG halibut lurking in the surf area, because we have seen her. Saw our first gray whale of the season yesterday.” 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 — Usually 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 — Scott at “Let’s Go Fishing” on the pier says some jacksmelt and mackerel continue to show up for anglers mid-pier to the end while a few croakers and perch are available inshore. Sharkers continue to pull in a few sharks and rays out toward the end. How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.
Seal Beach Pier — Jimmy at Big Fish Tackle says anglers are pulling in a LOT of mackerel along with really big jacksmelt. Inshore, by the lifeguard station, some spotfin croakers are making an appearance and the perch are showing up in bigger and bigger numbers. Santa Ana winds were making it hard to fish but they appear to be calming down. 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 — Jimmy at Big Fish Tackle says anglers are getting lots of sardines and big jacksmelt along with quite a few shovelnose sharks (guitarfish) out at the end. He says the halibut are also starting to show in good numbers. It had been very windy but things seem to be calming down. 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 this month although some mackerel, perch, and bass should be available. 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, 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, mostly illegal-size 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 size limits for kelp bass—14 inches minimum length—and no more than five bass total. The bonito action has picked up and it’s good-sized fish. 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 — Pete, at Just Fishing by Pete, in Redondo Beach said he hasn’t heard many reports but did hear the squid are making a good run in the Redondo Canyon (boats are just 50 yards out from the pier) and said he wouldn’t be too surprised if anglers at night are pulling in some squid. He says when they are in the area the pier can be a good spot for the squid. I imagine some mackerel are also around. 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 — Sam at the pier says things are really slow. First they had some rain, then some wind, and now it’s just slow. Hardly any fish are being caught. 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 but expect some mackerel mid-pier to the end. How To Get There: Take the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) to Pier Avenue and follow Pier Avenue west to the pier.
Venice Pier — No report but expect some mackerel mid-pier to the end and a few croakers and perch inshore. How To Get There: Highway 1 to Washington St., turn west and follow Washington St. to the pier.
Santa Monica Pier — No report this month. 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 that it was really windy for a few days but it was nice when I called on the 3rd. She said anglers at the pier were reporting mackerel, mackerel, and more mackerel — and nothing else. So if you’re looking for some mackerel this might be the place to go. 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 although this is typically a good pier for mackerel. 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 — Eric, at Eric’s Tackle Shop in Ventura, reported things have been slow. 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, said “things are really dead.” The day I called saw a good morning bite from 8-11 on mackerel (Pacific and Spanish) along with some jacksmelt and several (lost) bat rays but he said he hardly saw a fish the rest of the day. Sounds like winter fishing is starting to come into being. 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 — Capt. Tiffany at Hook, Line & Sinker in Santa Barbara reports anglers continue to pull in bass and rockfish from the pipe reef while inshore the surfperch are showing up in decent numbers. She says there’s also been quite a few halibut showing up inshore just past the surf area. They have also opened a new tackle shop on the pier itself which is open Friday through Sunday from noon to 7 PM. 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 remains closed (your sstate government at work). How To Get There: From Highway 101 simply take the Gaviota State Park turnoff.