|Pier Rat Name — oceanfisher404
First Memories of Fishing: Trout fishing in the mountains, and my dad taking me down to Santa Cruz Pier to catch all the little red octopuses. Favorite Piers (and Why): Probably Berkley Pier because I’ve been fishing there for a long time, Santa Cruz because there’s always something biting and the convenience of having a bait shop at the end of the pier, and Goleta because it is just a great pier for sharays and something is always biting! Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Ok I’ve got two...first is falling off the Santa Cruz Pier because some dumb kid (a.k.a me) was getting attacked by a pelican and fishing for perch and smelt at Berkely with ultralight tackle and hooking up with a bat ray...I lost the pole but that’s not the point.
Pier Rat Name — Paul Grunion
Personal Information and Occupation: Fishing and Boy Scouts got me interested in the out of doors and nature when I was a kid. I went to Humboldt State University. And got a B.S. in Fisheries Biology in 1963. I worked as a Marine Biologist for The Department of Fish and Game from 1964 through 2002, about 38 years... The part of my career which most closely relates to pier fishing is the youth fishing club, Los Tiburones, which I led from 1974 to 2000. We had up to 15 chapters of the club based at Boys and Girls clubs, Recreation Centers and schools in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Nine times each year, we conducted fishing tournaments on various piers from Manhattan Beach to Balboa. You might have seen our kids in their turquoise Los Tiburones T-shirts excitedly bringing us fish to weigh in for the competition. Now that I have retired, I plan to dedicate my life to internet fishing conversations. Years Fishing: I have fished since about 1952, so about 50 years. First Memories of Fishing: I lived in the Richmond District of San Francisco as a kid and used to climb down the cliffs west of China (Phelan) Beach to Camelback Rock, to fish from the rocks with my buddies. We would also ride the Muni to the Cliff House, Chrissie field, Marina Green and Muni Pier. I will never forget the reaction from bus riders when we would get on a bus with fishing poles, crab rings, and a wet gunnysack containing fish and crabs. Favorite Piers (and Why): The old (extinct) Chrissie Field Pier and Muni Pier were my favorites as a kid. When I went to Humboldt State, I fished on the Trinidad Pier a lot; and in So. Cal., I now fish on Cabrillo, Belmont, and Seal Beach Piers as well as from my kayak. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Any of the 90 or so trips I took to So. Cal Piers with the Los Tiburones Youth Fishing Club to teach upwards of 150 kids at a time about the joys and challenges of pier fishing. Words of Wisdom for Pier Rats: There only needs to be one fishing regulation... "Take your fair share"
Pier Rat Name – pescare
Years fishing: Probably around 40. First Fishing Memories: Can't sort them out, but pier fishing at Santa Cruz and Capitola and trout fishing at Lake Merced in SF and the San Lorenzo River in the Santa Cruz mountains are the first things I can remember. Did A LOT of all of those as my dad was an avid fisherman and loved to have the kids (3 of us) with him whenever possible. Mom would often come along for the company and sometimes fished, sometimes read, and always helped untangle our lines. We all had identical Zebco outfits and used them for many years before upgrading. Favorite Piers: Got to be Santa Cruz and Capitola. I never go to either expecting anything to speak of but the memories are great, they are both in beautiful spots and my girls love to go to them. They like Santa Cruz better because of the sea lions and because they think it's cool to have the car right next to us, which I have to admit is very convenient. Beats lugging all of our stuff, and usually our 4 year old up and down the hill and out onto the wharf at Capitola. Memorable Pier Trips: When I was a kid my dad took us to Capitola and the anchovies were running thick. We all had Lucky Tom jigs and filled a big bucket with them. Of course, anchovies aren't high on the list of desirable fish to catch, but for flat out action it was a great day for three little kids. Believe it or not, we actually cleaned every one of those fish and my mom layered them with salt in a big ceramic crock. Italians do weird things with fish. Another is much more recent. My younger daughter is deaf but received a cochlear implant last year which has enabled her to hear quite well now that she's learned to process sounds. I'll never forget the first time we went to Santa Cruz after the operation and she heard the sea lions barking for the first time. We hadn't reached the wells yet but one of them started booming from down below and she got this look on her face like, "What the HECK is that!!?"
Pier Rat Name — pesk21
First Memories of Fishing: First pier fishing memory was at Aliso Pier in 1991, fishing with my dad, mom, and sister. A school of bonito came around and I was introduced to my first real fight (a fish that actually pulled out drag) on my first fishing pole, a 5-foot trout pole. My dad actually had to hand over hand it up to the pier, I will never forget the look on my dad's face, he was even more proud than I was. Favorite Piers (and Why): Down south, my favorite is San Clemente Pier, in the summer I used to hangout there and catch fish after fish all day and night from perch croakers inshore to bass short barracuda and bonito at the end. Up North, I have only recently gotten acquainted with Goleta Pier, but thus far it has been great. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Ha! This one takes me back. It was early summer 1996, my mom dropped my buddy, Adam, and I off (we were 15 at the time) at San Clemente Pier around 10am one morning and told us she'd be back to pick us up by 6pm. We had planned on it being a day of fun at the pier, wide-open type fishing. Man we couldn't even buy a bite that day. Well around 4pm the heat was getting to us and we were going delirious, so we started clowning around. As a group of people came down the pier Adam grabbed my line and stepped on it while I yanked back on my pole, looking like I had a huge fish. We both started talking really loud, to get the groups attention (we planned to let the line go, and pretend that we lost it, as soon as they looked interested). Well the group came over and Adam let the line go, the whole group let out an "awwwh"...we snickered and of course instantaneously something grabs my line, something BIG...its pulling out line like crazy on my 25-lb setup! Me and Adam are shocked, and yelling in excitement (which must have seemed really weird considering we had just appeared to have a fish on and weren't nearly as enthusiastic). Anyway, after fighting the fish for a good 8-10 minutes, I finally get the fish to stop and start to gain back line on it; meanwhile a nice size crowd is gathering so I don't want to disappoint. The fish must have been just out of sight when it decided to make a last ditch run, and as luck would have it my drag didn't give and the line snapped (the crack of the whip sound still haunts me) and the crowd lets out another disappointing "awwwwh!" Didn't even get to see what it was!!! I reel up the line in disbelief and find that there were large abrasions in the line right where it snapped, probably caused by our little game of trick the tourists. Somewhere God must have been snickering. Never again did we play that game nor mention that incident, yet it is definitely etched in my memory forever. Words of Wisdom for Pier Rats: Take a kid fishing, it may just change his/her life. And for you younger guys, take a friend fishing, I can't believe how many people I have been able to open up to fishing. Fishing can be a great bonding experience. "Life is like fishing, everyone has a different approach and a different purpose, yet we all fish and live under the same sun, so respect others and their ways." "Live and fish at your own pace, after all when your day of fishing is at an end, as with life, all you're left with is your memories."
Pier Rat Name — Photomandan
First Memories of Fishing: Going in the early AM with my grandfather from his home in Morro Bay to the Cayucos Pier more than 40 years ago. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Still remember going with my grandparents and siblings to Cayucos a certain time when I was a kid ... bringing up jig lines full of red snappers and even smelt, that made the line so heavy we had to haul it in by hand! Those were the days....
Pier Rat Name — pierangler
First Memories of Fishing: Fishing from piers in Cayucos and Santa Cruz with my father, brother and sisters. Favorite Piers (and Why): Antioch— near home, lots of striped bass; Ocean Beach (San Diego)— I always catch something there; Pacifica—great fishing, salmon, striped bass, crabs. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Oceanside Pier—ran into a large school of bonito. Was able to catch 10 large bonito—really exciting.
Pier Rat Name — PierBum714
First Memories of Fishing: Went fishing with a friend at Seal Beach Pier and all he had was a pair of light tackle fresh water poles with 8-lb test, some small split shot sinkers, and some small hooks. For bait we stopped at the local 7-11 and bought some frozen anchovies. Baited up and within half an hour caught an 18-in halli... Had to toss it back but after that I was hooked on pier fishing... wanted to catch a legal and eat if for dinner. Favorite Piers (and Why): Balboa pier, Newport Pier, Huntington Beach Pier, Seal Beach Pier, Belmont Pier. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): July 8th, 2002, my friends birthday. We decided to go fishing on a 24-hr fish-a-thon, 5pm-5pm. It must have been our lucky day because we caught and released between the two of us over 40 spotfin croakers over the 24-hr fish-a-thon. I’ll never forget it.
Pier Rat Name — PierHead
Personal Information And Occupation: Born under the sign of Sagittarius in Santa Barbara, CA mid WW2. Spent my formative years under the 'cloud' of the atomic bomb—the good nuns did their best to comply with the mandatory duck & cover drills without unduly alarming their younger charges but it left a lasting impression of how temporary and insecure all life is — my outlook is clearly Carpe Diem (seize the day). And fishing became my escape from 'adult' reality as well as my entry into the world of nature. Years Fishing: 50+. Years of Hardcore Fishing: 13. Prior to my father's passing in 1989 fishing was more of an escape than an active exploration... In early 1989 I called my father (my mother had died some time before) to effect a reconciliation and invited him to go fishing with his grandson and myself. But when we got there we found him on the kitchen floor felled by a stroke. I still remember opening the refrigerator later that day and seeing the bait he had prepared for us to use. And the memories of a childhood filled with fishing adventures came flooding back along with the tears of regret for the estrangement. I returned to SB to take care of him until his death later that year but, due to his incapacity, we never fished together again. After the funeral my family and I went to Goleta Pier and soaked some bait in his memory. From that moment on I found myself filled with a desire to take fishing seriously... First Memories Of Fishing: My first fishing trip was with my Dad and my 2 younger (twin) brothers around 1950. He took us down to Stearns Wharf in SB after spending the previous evening sitting around the kitchen table with him learning how to clean the poles and reline the reels that he hadn't had much chance to use following his marriage (5 children — 4 living at that time) some 15 years earlier. Stearns, in the 50's, had an abalone processing plant right at the end of the pier with an enormous pile of discarded shells and big buckets of guts. There was also an anchovy offloading siphon pipe with a large fish-spilling tear in the side that chummed live bait into the water below. We could hardly contain ourselves and Dad reigned us in a very forceful manner for 'our own good' —my ears burned for the rest of the day from that first lesson in pier safety! We caught a full gunnysack of what he called horse mackerel — enormous fish at least 24" in length. I was hooked. From that day on it was a weekly ritual to go fishing. On my own block alone there were 10 boys and 4 girls — quite a sight as we paraded the 2 miles down to the Wharf on our bikes with fishing poles in hand. Favorite Piers (And Why): Stearns Wharf and Goleta Pier. My boyhood was spent at the Wharf ... it was where my father had first fished with his father and where my maternal grandfather had his lumber company in the 20's. And fishing at Goleta for halibut had become my father's favorite form of outdoor recreation as my mother's incapacity increased during her final years. But, in actuality, any wooden pier anywhere on the coast. In fact it was my fascination with wooden piers that led me to pierfishing.com ... I had wanted to write a book documenting the history and social import of wooden piers in honor of my father. Of course the first hit on the search engine was this site! Needless to say the book had already been written by the master himself. Finding this site completed a circle that had been broken by the estrangement and my father's death ... I felt like I had been reunited with the fishing community. In jimbojack's words: 'Like coming home'. Favorite Fish: The first fish of any new species! My first halibut— lost around the pilings at Stearns wharf when I was 9. The 5# Bass at Cachuma Lake taken on a Black Bomber at twilight in a secluded cove shortly after my mother's last call for supper during the summer of my 10th year. The 3.5# cabezon that tumbled me off the riprap and initiated me into the Rincon Rock Diver's Club. A 3# Calico Bass which nailed a frozen anchovy floating on the top of the kelp reef at Goleta before I had a chance to recast. The 3 10#+ Shovelnose caught in a two hour period off the end of the Goleta Pier. My son's first fish memorialized in papier-mâché by his 4th grade teacher. My granddaughter's sand dab caught at Goleta. And last, but not least ... the salamander fished out of the creek behind Mission Santa Barbara using a bent pin and a berry from a pyracantha bush when I was 7 ... my first successful catch! Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (And Why): Every trip is memorable in some way - especially now that I am approaching my 6th decade! It used to be that the memories were created by the fish caught but in the last 3-4 years I'm noticing that people are increasingly at the center of those memories. I've always done poorly with names but since making an effort by introducing myself and keeping a list of the names that I have accumulated there are almost 20 people who I recognize at Goleta alone — not to mention the increasing number of Pier Rats I am running into. But overall — I have to say the Catalina Get Together 2002 is my fondest memory to date. And apparently I am not alone in that given the number and nature of posts on the subject since our return! Words Of Wisdom For Pier Rats: There is more to fishing than catching... slow down and enjoy the whole of creation. You only go around once.
Pier Rat Name — PierPower
Favorite Piers (and Why): Gaviota because I seem to always have a couple of good runs every time I go there. I haven't had the chance to fish a lot of piers (Santa Monica, Ventura, Gaviota, Avila, and Port San Luis) so I tend to get the most action at Gaviota.
Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): The first time I went to Gaviota to meet eddog and his brother. Being into bass fishing at the time my dumb@ss only brought a 7-ft medium action spinning rod (Ugly Stick) and 7-ft baitcaster. So I showed up like I was going to fill a bucket up with sardines not knowing of the monsters that could be landed with the right equipment. So I arrived in the late afternoon to meet eddog who was going to teach me on the ways of Catching TOADS with my chump gear, and before I could even set my stuff down he set the hook on something big with his 12-ft surf rod (set up with either a Jigmaster or levelwind) and I was blown away. If anyone bass fishes on the site you know how exciting setting the hook is. Well it is 100 times better on a huge rod and on a huge fish. So after getting my mind blown he helps me rig up my light tackle for just about anything that bites and I catch about a 10-15-lb shovelnose on 10-lb with my Ugly Stick. I about pushed that rod to the limit but landed my first saltwater fish. Now at this point my girlfriend is whinning because I brought the rod for her so I rebaited and threw it back out. 10 min goes by and bam a puffer shark about the same size as the shovelnose hits my bait, and being the good boy friend that I am I let my girl set the hook and land the fish. At this point in my first pier experience I am stoked so eddog had to show up my beginners luck by hooking up a massive bat ray that three of us couldn't even get out of the water (only one fin came out. At least a 4 1/2 wing span.). So that night I went to bed a happy camper and the following morning eddog rigged me up on one his big rods. This is the part that floored me the most. I get a good run on the clicker and a little panic sets in. Never using a Jigmaster, eddog had to train me on the job. I flipped the bail over and turned the clicker off then I had to reel a tad for the leader to hit the weight (we cast our weights out then slide a leader down with live or cut bait) then eddog said "set the hook" and I hammered it home. But eddog didn't tell me they pull back, so when I set the hook I just about got flung on my face. I was a diehard Pier Rat after that (even though I got spooled my first big hook up). The following week after this trip I started buying saltwater tackle.
Pier Rat Name — Pier Rat
Years Fishing: Since 1989 when I was five years old. First Memories of Fishing: Redondo Pier fishing for mackerel. Favorite Piers (and Why): Newport Pier because it’s near good surf, jetty and bay locations. Balboa pier when the bonito are biting. 72nd street jetty for Halibut and Newport bay jetty for bass. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): My first trip as a kid at Redondo Pier. My dad my brother and I caught so much mackerel it filled a trash bag. Looking back it seems anti-conservation but for a five year old hooking up on so many hard fighting mackerel it was a blast.
Pier Rat Name — plibithman
First Memories of Fishing: Fishing Seacliff Pier (cement ship) back when you were still allowed to fish off the ship itself. I never really caught anything big there, but I fondly remember a local pier rat wrestling a 20 lbs. white seabass all the way on to the beach because no one had a crab net. Favorite Piers (and Why): Capitola Wharf—it’s such a beautiful area, and the bait shop at the end is so convenient, and the guy there is the nicest guy, always willing to give you a tip or two. Half Moon Bay Pier (Pillar Point) because that’s where I spent most of my younger years, crabbing for hours on end. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Really never had any amazing story to tell about pier fishing, I usually fish piers that rarely produce big fish (Capitola and Santa Cruz).
Pier Rat Name — Ray Hawk
First Memories of Fishing: I remember when my dad introduced me to fishing. My dad took the whole family to Embarcadero Pier in San Diego. He introduced me to the basics and I caught on quick and have been a hardcore fishermen ever since. My dad would get the family together and invite the neighbors and we would make it a day at Embarcadero pier. People would catch buckets of mackerel. Back in the days, this pier would be the spot for HUGE bat rays. Favorite Piers (and Why): If I had to pick a favorite pier, it would be Shelter Island Pier. Fishing has not been the same since they took out the old wooden pier and replaced it with the concrete pier. During the 1980's, this pier was the best pier to fish. I recall when I was a kid, this pier would be wide open on mackeral, queenfish, bonita, etc. Hopefully these days will come back. But it is still a nice pier to kick back, fish and relax. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): I have had so many memorable fishing trips. I only wish I had a camera or some kind of camcorder to record my trips.
Pier Rat Name — Red Fish
Personal Information and Occupation: I started on this board as FISH HEAD but then decided that I didn't want to be labeled as being a dead head (literally, not a Grateful Dead fan) lol! The name Red Fish fits me in many ways. They used to call my mom's dad "Red" and he was one of the best golfers in New Orleans (pre-Tiger Woods) in the 40's, and 50's competing in many tournaments. Redfish is a popular game-fish from the Gulf of New Mexico and its tributaries [also the area of New Orleans, Louisiana the home of my kin-folk]. And, my oldest brother once owned a boat named the "Redfish." First name "Red," last name "Fish." O.K., let's see, born! Ha! Born in Berkeley, Ca. in the year the civil rights act was passed. Grew up fishing Berkeley Pier. I used to actually dig up earthworms in my backyard and pick out centipedes from my front lawn to use as bait at Berkeley Pier as a pre-schooler. My parents took me to Berkeley Pier as a toddler often for walks. One day, while walking with my parents on Berkeley Pier, I wandered away from them long enough to pick up a size (12) hook lying on the ground and prick myself with it. One drop of blood came out and I screamed like a baby; I was and I have been fishing ever since! Favorite Piers (and Why): Berkeley because it is my home pier. I say I have "seen it all" out there but there are always new surprises like a miscellaneous thresher shark as the waters and the environment change over the years and we experience El Nino on occasion. I've witnessed the years of halibut-sized starry flounder, all species of perch so thick that you could look down toward the pilings during the summer and see dozens reflecting in the water, salmon being caught the entire length of the pier after a year-long closure for earthquake retro-fitting. And, most recently, seeing the only white seabass ever caught by the resident expert, "Chopper" and it was of legal size. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Let's start at the beginning— (1.) Pricking my finger at age 3 on a size 12 hook at Berkeley Pier. (2.) Having weekly weekend shiner derbies with my brother Martin at age 7. (3.) Catching the biggest striper of the day on my very first partyboat trip at the age of 10 at Red Rock in Richmond, Ca. The skipper (C.Morris) called me "Red" because I was "red hot!" (4.) Fishing with my priest, (Father James P. O'Connor R.I.P.). Thanks for taking my brother Martin and me on many memorable camping and fishing trips including Clear Lake, and various parts of Oregon and Washington. (5.) Catching my first legal of many game fish including blue marlin. (6.) And, meeting many new fishing friends like BigRich McIntosh at PFIC Mud Marlin Get-Together #1
Pier Rat Name — reelly hooked
Favorite Piers (and Why): I only fish a few piers (don’t have a car yet), but the one pier that I've caught tons of fish from is Belmont Pier in Long Beach. I love that pier because it's really low, and most of the times it's very productive. I've practically caught every fish that can be caught in that area from this pier. Another reason this is my favorite pier is because this is the first pier I started pier fishing on... Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Well I was at Belmont Pier and this was when I was about 10 or 11 years old, but I was fishing for mackerel with a Krocodile. You would just jig it up and down about 3 or 4 feet under the water and the mackerel would just go crazy for it, well anyways I had one of those cheap Zebco combos from Big 5 with about 12 or 15-lb test on it. While watching my Kroc under the water and the mackerel just swooping back and forth trying to snatch it I see this big long fish just swim up and snatch the Kroc. I didn't know what it was at the time but dang did it pull hard. My pole bent and the line went straight under the pier. I didn’t know how to set my drag back then so after a few seconds the line snapped. That was my first encounter with a barracuda, and a big fish. I can still remember it so clearly the ‘cuda just cruising and then wham!! straight for my Krocodile.
Pier Rat Name — Rich Reano
First Memories of Fishing: Fishing with my dad on the North Island Naval Base using my Zebco spincast setup baited with a whole squid under a bobber. I didn't catch anything, but being out fishing with my dad was fun. Favorite Piers (and Why): Coronado Ferry Landing. Although it is not as productive as other piers in San Diego, it's in a great location and has a decent variety of fish. Also, I proposed to my girlfriend not very far from this pier. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Catching my first halibut at, again, the Ferry Landing. At the time, the only knowledge of halibut was the large ones they catch in Alaska. I was using a swimbait trying for sand bass. As my swimbait rose to the surface at the end of a retrieve, a dark and large shadow came up from the bottom and inhaled the swimbait. It was quite a sight to see and even more exciting to feel it make a run, peeling line off my reel in the process.
Pier Rat Name — Rita001
Years Fishing: I've been fishing ever since I could hold a fishing pole, probably fishing for 30 plus years. First Memories of Fishing: First memory fishing? I must have been 5 or 6 years old fishing with those cheap kid-type poles catching shiners and whatever would bite in SF waterfront piers near China Basin. Favorite Piers (and Why): My favorite piers are Ft. Baker, Ft. Point and Oyster Point. Ft. Baker because you can always catch something there and its a great pier for kids. Same reason for Ft. Point. I like Oyster Point cause it's close to where I live. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Fort Baker during an El Nino year. I think 1980-82?? I caught a 20-lb halibut on ultra-light gear. It took 25 min. to fight that fish. My Dad was so proud of me! Words of Wisdom for Pier Rats: Be respectful to yourself, others, the pier itself and to the fish you catch—young Pier Rats are watching.
Pier Rat Name — Rockfish59
Years Fishing: Almost 50 years. My mother used to take me when I was real small to Fisherman's Wharf and we'd fish around the old Andy's Lookout and we'd catch all kinds of rock cod, cabezon, perch, flounder, eels, crabs, etc. First Memories of Fishing: That would be at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. Favorite Piers (and Why): My favorite pier before I moved up here was always the Santa Cruz Pier. I always caught decent-sized quillbacks fishing down in the square holes out on the end of the pier. The weather there was always great in summer and also the fringe benefit of watching all the pretty girls. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): My most memorable pier fishing was behind the Ferry Building in San Francisco. These were the old ferryboat slips and this is also the reason for my screen name 'Rockfish59' as my brother Larry found this place in 1959. The piers were old, some were burned and most were in pretty bad shape. But you could see where not to walk in the dilapidated areas. But the area was absolutely teeming with rock cod, ling cod, rubber lip perch (we'd spearfish too as they'd come to the surface by the pilings in the hundreds), rainbow perch, eels, flounders, sea trout, stripers and of course crabs up the ying yang. We'd use the goop from inside the crab shell for bait and the perch would just tear it up. Some of those rubber lips weighed 3-4 lbs and the quillbacks would get up to 6 lbs. We also lost a lot because they would run around the pilings and break the line. Imagine you're a 9-year-old kid catching a 6-pound rock cod with a hand line which was all I used as a kid. We always caught fish there and it seemed we were the only ones who knew about it too. We were still pulling big ones out of there up into the late 60's. But eventually progress caught up with us and they tore them all out and put that ugly BART pier in. I think that when I die and if I make it to heaven, that place would be heaven for me. I really loved it there as a kid and I miss the old wooden structures and the smell of the creosote (which ruined more than one pair of pants). I'll never forget the old ferry slips.
Pier Rat Name — Salty Nick
Favorite Piers (and Why). I have fond memories of fishing off Seacliff Pier for perch with a high school fishing buddy. We used to catch nice-sized barred perch there. We could see these giant perch around the pilings, but could never entice them to bite. The last few times I fished there, recently, the perch seemed smaller, but maybe it was nostalgia at work. I also like Fort Baker Pier. The fishing can be pretty slow sometimes, but I've caught striped bass, perch, jacksmelt, and hooked into some monster fish that have snapped my line. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Once at Fort Baker, I hooked into a fish using a live smelt for bait. It didn't seem that big and moved kind of funny, from side to side. As I got it in closer, it started fighting more, but I reeled it in (way too fast). As it came to the surface I saw it was a large halibut, at least the size of my crab net! As my brother-in-law got the crab net ready, the fish flicked the hook with a shake of its head (I could've sworn it was laughing, too) and floated out of view—in slow motion. Arrgh! Oh the pain.
Pier Rat Name — Santa
First Memories of Fishing: When I was 5 yrs old visiting a grandfather who took me to a pier/wharf somewhere in San Mateo/Belmont area. Caught my first piling perch with an old 2pc lightweight cane pole with string tied to end. I was hooked! Favorite Piers (and Why): Pismo, Avila, Port San Luis (Harford Pier) Because they are close to me and hold many good memories. Favorite Fish: Anything with GILLS!! Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Harford Pier (Port San Luis) June 1974, Brother called me at work saying my sister-in-law had accidentally dropped her car keys into water near the restaurant the evening before. Grabbed my scuba gear and met them there, had my bro drop a heavy weight on line to mark drop spot. Followed line down then swam larger circles outward from line. "BINGO" about 35-ft seaward from drop spot I found her keys. Upon surfacing I found I had emptied the restaurant of curious onlookers who were wondering what the glow was in the water! (search happened after dark using my 1 million candle power scuba lite). YAY! I was the hero, lots of applause, questions, and hand shakes. I then changed out of scuba gear and enjoyed the rest of the evening fishing and crabbing on pier, which turned out to be very productive as well. Words of Wisdom for Pier Rats Best to have a kid standing on a pier catching fish, than on a street corner catching something else.
Pier Rat Name — SD Fisherman
First Memories of Fishing: Fishing from Crystal Pier with my dad and older Sister around 1986-87. We didn't catch too much as I can recall except for a few smelt and mackerel. However, I do remember a kid catching a BIG corbina in the surf at about mid-pier. My dad was a commercial Lobster Fisherman in the 70's and I think he wanted to get me hooked on fishing! According to him, I was raised on fresh lobster, halibut, bass, and abalone. Well, who would've guessed that I would become a FISHING ADDICT!!! Favorite Piers (and Why): Crystal Pier, for sure. I remember walking along the beach at about five years old and seeing the pier pilings strewn about Pacific and Mission Beaches from the big storm that ruined the pier in the early eighties. Of course, after it was rebuilt, I had my first experiences while fishing from the newly elongated pier. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Being dragged around by a big shovelnose from Crystal Pier in August of 2001. I had no crab net to bring up this beast and was forced to cut the line after I brought him to the surface after a fun fight. Oh well, hopefully he's still out there to fight another day!!
Pier Rat Name — Seabass_Seeker
Favorite Piers (and Why): Gaviota, lots of fun memories there, afternoons spent with my family, huge mack runs and monster batrays. Goleta, my "home" pier. I know this pier like the back of my hand. I'm usually there in the summer when the warm water brings in the fish. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Goleta Pier August 2003, my uncle and I started fishing around 7pm, we had a steady bite of rays, sharks, shovelnose... all at the end of the pier. Before we notice, it’s 1 AM!!! My uncle’s Baitrunner sings hooking into another nice bat, while I go get the crab net. I started pulling and felt quite a bit of weight on there. Either I had the mother of all crabs or (as I was afraid) a seal. After getting it halfway up, a couple of guys helped me pull it over. Turned out to be a 53" seven-gill, in a crab net!!!
Pier Rat Name — Shark Assassin
Favorite Piers (and Why): I don't quite know how to answer that, I have a tie up of San Clemente, Balboa, Seal Beach or Newport. Some of my other early memories was when I fished Seal Beach Pier— catching guitarfish longer than I was tall. Favorite Fish: sharks. I love them. Sharks are what I love to catch, they're my favorite fish to read about, plus they're almost always fun... Leopard sharks are always fun. They're absolutely beautiful, and fight good. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Ah, I have countless trips that I could consider memorable, but that'd take up too much space. Here's just a few: I was out fishing at Seal Beach Pier a long time ago, when I fished maybe 9-10 times a year. I had just gotten to the pier, rigged up and placed a frozen whole 'chovy on the hook. Of course, my dad remarked, "You'll never catch anything with a bait that big." Dropped the line down, BAM. Fish on! I reeled in the line after a good fight, to find an 18-20-lb shark, as what I now identify as a Sevengill. Released the shark, put another 'chovy on the hook. Dropped it down to catch ANOTHER shark, also a sevengill but of smaller size—maybe 10-lbs. Also released. I had caught these two sharks, before my dad had even wet his line. Oh so envious was he! Not long ago, I was fishing from San Clemente Pier, I brought along a long rod to fish from the far off structure. Hearing about recent catches of bat rays, I placed a whole squid on the line. Dropped it out, not a huge cast, but not against the pier either. A few moments later I heard my line peeling off like crazy. Clicked the Baitrunner off, to find the fish (presumably a ray or of considerable size leopard shark) still pulling line off like crazy, appearing to have no stop. I tightened down the drag a little, to have little or no effect. It was still ripping line off like crazy, and by now I was half spooled, my 25# SoftSteel on my Baitrunner 6500 looking quite thin, I was handing the rod to my old man so I could yank the bell off when the line suddenly stopped. After some time later (lots of line to reel in) I found my knot had came loose! Blimey! Words of Wisdom for Pier Rats "Get out; fish, hunt, play baseball, football, tennis, whatever. Just get out. Embrace the beauty that is nature around you. Observe the life abroad, keep it in your memory. Always take heed to everything around, keep in mind to tell that loved one that you love them. Because one day this will be all gone, and then only will you realize how short life is, and only then will you yearn for it again." — Shark Assassin
Pier Rat Name — Sinker
Years Fishing: 34 plus years. Not exactly sure. There have been breaks in between and have gone from salt to fresh and back due to location. Now I am fortunate to be able to fish both. First Memories of Fishing: On a pier in Concord, California (not sure which one), my father took the whole family out to fish. My younger brother caught the biggest fish I had ever seen (at that time), I was hooked from then on - No If's, AND's, OR BUT's about it. I think it was a Striped Bass but am not sure. We made my dad clean it and my mom cooked it for dinner. All five of us kids thought that that was just TOO COOL...Favorite Pier: Unfortunately it no longer exists. The Pt. Mugu Naval Air Station Pier. This pier was taken out by the El Nino storms. This pier was incredible — halibut, croaker, bonito, smelt, queenfish, bass, rockfish, perch, sharks, rays, crabs, lobsters, you name it this pier has pretty well seen it. This pier is where I learned the most about fishing, technique, presentation, knots, fish identification, proper and safe handling of fish (for myself and them), how to clean a fish, how to keep my area clean and safe — all this from my FATHER. We spent countless days and nights on that pier where he taught me what I now know and shared the secrets of life, listened to my problems and helped me make them better. Favorite Fish: So many, I guess like this: LOOKS — garibaldi; TO EAT — halibut; TO BATTLE — bat rays. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trip: Was on a freshwater dock in Lake George, NY. Took my young nephews who came out to visit fishing. We got into a mess of smallmouth bass that fought outstandingly. Seeing the smiles and looks on their faces will be with me forever. Then they asked me something, "Can you clean them so we can eat them when we get home." Sounds familiar huh, just like with my dad. My one nephew was instantly hooked as well, he now fishes Largemouth Bass Tournaments on the Pro Am tours.
Pier Rat Name — skimfisher
First Memories of Fishing: Going to Newport Beach and summer when I was in high school catching smelt and using it as bait for halibut. Then by afternoon, I'd put the fishing gear away and skimboard into the surf. By evening, it was back to fishing
Pier Rat Name — Skinner
First Memories of Fishing: Fishing with my Grandpa and Uncles including Sinker at the Pt. Mugu Pier eating cold pizza and chocolate milk. Favorite Piers (and Why): Point Mugu but it is no more. I mainly fish Ventura and Goleta. Goleta produces more fish but Ventura has the size. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Ventura Pier. I think it was the summer of 2001. Sinker and I arrived at dark set up using whole squid and big poles fished till daylight and caught 40 + or- spiny dogfish and all 4-footers. We only went home when we ran out of bait.
Pier Rat Name Slash
First Memories of Fishing: My first fishing memories involve a Southern California pier. I was so young, I wasn't aware of the pier's name—only that I was at The Pier. Dad equipped us kids with bamboo poles and assured us that if we kept the bait in the water, we would catch a fish. I wasn't able to sit still enough to do that, but it didn't seem to matter. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): My most memorable pier-fishing trip was to the Cayucos Pier in the fall of 2003. My friend Dale and I were enjoying a peaceful morning soaking bait at various points along the pier. A spot opened up at the end of the pier, so we moved down there to take advantage of it. Dale had baited his Sabiki rig with cooked bacon after getting an earful from me for using such "unsophisticated" bait, but he was the only one catching fish at that time. They were too small to keep, so they all went back into the water— until he caught a small shiner perch. That one I kept to use for bait. I had just finished reading Ken's book and I was ready to try my hand with live bait. I made up a trolley rig using the little perch and sat back to see what would happen. After 20 minutes of nothing but a little twitch (which I put down to the movement of the bait), I decided to see if my perch was still alive. When I picked up my rod, it was heavy. Darn! I'm caught on kelp! No, something started swimming around on the other end of my line— Fish On! I reeled it in and, as I watched from up on the pier, an ugly face with a wide mouth that had my line coming out of it emerged from the water. As it got closer, I could see the blue markings on its flank—lingcod! Wow! I was sure that I would have to throw it back, it didn't look like it was long enough to keep, but it sure was heavy! We got the fish up on the deck to measure it. It wouldn't hold still and nobody wanted to put their hand in that mouth full of half-inch teeth. I solved the problem by putting the toe of my shoe in its mouth to hold it down and, while we put a tape along it, I could feel the fish chewing on my foot. 24-1/2 inches—a keeper! That was a great day. Words of Wisdom for Pier Rats When you discover something you like, enjoy it! Wallow in its pleasure before it goes away in our ever-changing world. Yet, do not be afraid of change. Embrace it. For, without change, we would never discover that new thing.
Pier Rat Name — Snookie
Years Fishing: I have fished the Newport and Balboa piers for 56 years now. I actually started fishing 62 years ago. First Memories of Fishing: My first memories were at the Newport Jetty in1939 using a bamboo pole with linen line attached to the end and one hook with razor clams. I caught lots of opaleye, most of which were kid's size, but oh, so much fun. Favorite Piers (and Why): My favorite piers are Newport and Balboa Piers. Newport was where I started pier fishing. I got to know everyone, and the fishing was very good. In the winter we would go to Balboa Pier and fish for the bigger halibut which seemed to be there. Of course Balboa Pier is my favorite today. It seems to have a nicer bunch of people most of the time, and the fishing is still quite good. This is the pier all my Newport buddies have moved to. They also like the atmosphere better at Balboa than Newport. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Without a doubt I can say that my most memorable fishing trip was August 8, 1982. It was a busy day on the pier, and my mother and 18-year-old daughter, Vee, were with me. There were lots of people and lots of fish including halibut, barracuda, bonitos, and a few white seabass. In the middle of the day we thought a large bucket of water had been tossed in, but it turned out that a large man had fallen from sitting on the railing. He had hit his head on the beam sticking out and was now unconscious face down in the water. By the time we saw that no one was going to rescue him my daughter who is an excellent swimmer and had just taken a life saving course ran and jumped in with all her clothes and shoes on. She did what was necessary to revive him. That was a scary moment for me because I could see that the man was considerable larger than she was. I hoped he knew how to swim and would not panic. As it was he did not regain consciousness until they got him to the hospital. It took what seemed an awful long time to get the lifeguards out there to her. They brought the boats and took the man back to Newport Pier that had a ramp. He did recuperate at Hoag Hospital. If she had not rescued him when she did, he would have died before the boats got to him. He was lucky. Vee swam back to shore to rejoin us on the pier because she didn’t want to miss the great fishing we were having that day.
Pier Rat Name — SteveO
Favorite Piers (and Why): Berkeley Pier I would have to say Berkeley gets a nod for its good action on rays & sharks. So far I've caught my two favorite sharks from this pier— sevengill & leopard. Plus, as experienced with the MMD, you can gather a large group and have plenty of space to fish and hang out without getting bothered. So far I've met more cool people at Berkeley than any other pier. And what a view. Santa Cruz Wharf—I have to say the most impressive thing about Santa Cruz is the plethora of fish species that can be found there. Fishing the holes for rockfish and lings. Jigging the Sabiki's for bocaccio. Soaking bait off the end for macs, sanddabs, jack smelt, croaker & octopus. But the great catch to Santa Cruz, when the fishing is bad, there's always plenty of eye candy running around. From the stupid tourists getting smacked as they try to get closer to the pelicans for a photo despite numerous warnings by fisherman to all the beautiful people that come to check out the Santa Cruz vibe. When the bite is off, the people watching is on. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): that has not been written about by others yet, was a night Scooter and I fished Berkeley. We spent the night out on the end nailing ray after ray. We lost count half way through there was so many. It was awesome, one after the other. We were there from about 9:30pm to 5:30am. The bite finally died down around 3am but we gave it a few more hours just to make sure. With all the fish swimming around in our bloodstreams we were not ready to call it quits. So we bid Berkeley a fond farewell, made two pit stops, and we were on our way to Santa Cruz. We spent all day there catching macs and rockfish on light weight tackle and Sabiki rigs baited with strips of squid. Finally about 4:30 pm I was done. I was on my 46th consecutive hour of consciousness and the eyes had to close. Scooter on the other hand in his 32nd hour was in a world of bliss and could have stayed another 24. After talking him into dropping me off at home we split and ended the 18-hour fishing mission. I was delirious by the time I got home and dreamed of lots of fish that night. And last but not least, the last day I fished with Scooter at Santa Cruz. Not many fish that day. In fact I don’t think I caught anything at all. We hardly spoke a word to each other all day. We didn’t have to. Shortley after that day I helped him pack the moving truck and with that our days in the bay together were done. Scooterfish, thank you for bringing fishing back into my world. Words of Wisdom for Pier Rats: If ya got a best bud that loves to fish, go with them as often as you can. If you are a person who loves to fish, take your best crew and enjoy these precious moments.
Pier Rat Name — Stinkyfingers aka Predator
Personal Information And Occupation: I am a grizzled bastard shoreliner. I love fish and fish love me. I can't stand society's foul ups... I was born in Poland, and my family escaped to Germany, where we hid out for a couple of years before coming to the United States. The Bay Area is my home, and DolphinRider and fishing are my life. First Memories Of Fishing: I remember, as a kid, seeing my brother catch a striper at the Antioch Bridge Pier. That was my first year in the United States. Prior to that, living in Poland and Germany — we never fished. At that time, I had no idea what a wonderful sport it was, probably because I didn't do it more often. Favorite Piers (And Why): I'd have to say I like the southern piers the best. The fish variety, the chance at big sharks, and the people are all great. Nothing like a southern sunset, string bikini's, and a finned friend tugging on your line. I've had the most fun at Newport and Balboa. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (And Why): Well, very near Berkeley Pier, but the shoreline. On this epic night, Songslinger, Dolphinrider, and I were fishing for sharks. Dolphinrider hooked and landed a big leopard (51" and about 35#) on 12-pound mono, with Slinger's spin gear. 15 minutes after she released it, I hooked into the biggest fish of my life yet — a 100 pound sturgeon, just 4 inches under being oversized. He broke the leader near shore, and I wrestled him with my hands against the rocks, landing him with help of my good friend Songslinger. Truly a moment of glory! Words Of Wisdom For Pier Rats: What you see around you is temporary. The plants, the trees, the animals, and the people. All will be gone in the future. Love it and enjoy it as much as you can while it's here. Teach the kids. Don't just enjoy the nature, become part of it! Feel the animals of our kingdom, love them, respect them. Look into their eyes and guess what they're thinking. And don't forget — animals can't speak, so it's our job to look out for them. Understanding this raises you to a higher quality of life, and you will be rewarded. I promise.
Pier Rat Name — Songslinger
First Memories of Fishing: I was born and raised in a rural community 30 miles west of Chicago. My first fishing pole was a broken piece of metal from a roof antenna with kite string. With it I caught my first fish, a hefty catfish, called a "bullhead" back in the Midwest. There were several farm ponds and lakes within walking or bicycling distance, including a judge's back property where the bones of a mastodon were discovered. Later I fished the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River, and the Boundary Waters of Minnesota and Ontario. I lived in the heart of the Rocky Mountains and then came to California. Favorites Piers (and Why): Berkeley Pier. It has a great view of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. Because it is located near UC Berkeley it has visitors from all over the world. The fishing can be fantastic if you target species according to season and tide. Point Pinole. This pier resides in a beautiful regional park and offers a remarkable view of San Pablo Bay. It is a top sturgeon pier from autumn into spring and also very good for striped bass during the spring or fall runs. Monarch butterflies are thick among the eucalyptus trees in the fall. Favorite Fish: Striped bass, perch, and rockfish. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): 1996, Wintertime, Berkeley Pier. I got there at dawn--if you could call it that. The fog was so thick you could not see across the width of the pier. I got a kingfish on nearly every cast and quit at 25 after 90 minutes or so. But I stayed there and stood in the fog for the next two hours, mystified, hearing the foghorns and the cries of the loons. A magic moment. 2000, Summertime, Berkeley Pier. I was throwing a Fish Trap swimbait and had just hooked into a large striped bass. A young boy came up and began asking a thousand things at once. I told him I had a fish on and if he waited I would answer his questions. In another ten minutes I was lowering the crab ring and simultaneously bringing the fish closer to the pier. This is a very difficult one-man operation, and I was also trying to be pleasant to this little kid, but I managed to cover all areas with success. The look on that boy's face when I brought up the crab ring — and that fat, shaking ten-pound bass — was worth a million bucks. He may or may not have heard my words after that, but I do know a new fisherman was born that day Words of Wisdom for Pier Rats: Curiosity and respect are two good things to being to a pier. On every pier the veterans will be the ones catching the most fish. Observe their methods and ask questions. Most will respond with happiness and enthusiasm.
Pier Rat Name — Sturgeon King
First Memories of Fishing: Fishing for stripers in Benicia with my Father. Also fishing in Tomales Bay with family for rays and sharks. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): I was fishing Point Benicia Pier in 2001. The tide had switched on me and I had to fish on the right side in shallower water than I would like too. I had been fishing the whole incoming tide and got really hungry while doing it. So I ordered a Pizza to be delivered out to the pier. I fished for a little while not getting a nibble. Cast out my grass shrimp a few times with still nothing. Re-baited and cast out again. I started to really doubt the trip. I noticed a car coming towards the pier and sure enough it was the pizza man. Set my pole in the holder and walked about 70 yards off the pier to pay the pizza guy. Ended up paying him and getting my pizza. I was so hungry I opened the box and started chomping on a piece as I was walking back to the pier where my pole was. I get about 30 yards away and notice my pole bent in half about to break. I ran over to my almost broken pole tossing my whole pizza on the dirty pier. A big sturgeon was flying out of the water right where I cast out. Ended up landing the sturgeon. It was in the 50-inch range. I was shocked. Couldn't believe it. I would have to say this was my most memorable pier fishing trip, not to mention probably my luckiest too.
Pier Rat Name —Surf and Pier Al
First Memories of Fishing: Fishing with my Dad on Venice Pier of the 1970s. Favorite Piers (and Why): Venice Pier of the 1970s, for the pretty good fishing, and the camaraderie and eccentricities of the "regulars". Redondo Sportfishing Pier, near the "bubble hole" for the great view of the bubble and feather action by the upwelling. Santa Monica Pier for the whole experience of the 80s. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): Late night pinback (spiny dogfish) and stingray fishing on the old Venice pier with nylon covered trolley rigs baited with whole squid and 6/0 heavy hooks, for the experience and the rush. Not an enlightened time, though. The sharks and rays were not released, or treated well. Don't miss that part of it.
Pier Rat Name — tackleholic
First Memories of Fishing: Night run of barracuda off Redondo Sportsfishing Pier and trying to squeeze into a pier of packed adults towering over me. Favorite Piers (and Why): Redondo Sportsfishing. Just the variety of fish you could or you used to be able to catch off there plus it's low to the water and not a lot of people fish it that much. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): No one particular, just fishing off of Redondo when they still sold live bait and just having schools of marauding bonito pass under the pier. Hooking up possibly my biggest bonito off a pier (estimated 6 lbs.) on a cheapie Kmart ultralight special. Having it strip me to the spool about 5 times with only the spool knot holding it on, then regaining line each time, only to have a seal get it and reeling in just the head to what I would estimate was a 6-lb. bonito.
Pier Rat Name — The Fishermans Wife
Years Fishing: 5 years. It was nearly five years ago that I met the man of my dreams, who I fell deeply in love with. Little did I know, he was a “Portuguese Fisherman,” taught by his uncle (another great fishermen). One day to my surprise, he asked me out on a rather unusual date; he asked me to go fishing with him. In honesty, at the time I could think of few invitations LESS appealing that that one! But being absolutely crazy about him, and always eager to spend time with him: I put on a big smile, acted thrilled by the idea, and agreed to go. He told me he was taking me to the coast, but that we had to stop for bait first. I thought to myself, "Bait"..."Ok"..."How bad can bait be?" That was before I met pile worms! These ugly worms that have teeth and try to bite you the moment you pick one up. I was convinced at that point that I was going to hate everything about fishing. We pulled into Half Moon Bay and got everything set up, and for the next several hours, he fished...I watched! Bored with just watching (plus wanting him to believe I was having a good time so he would ask me out again) I promoted myself to "Bait-Girl" and started cutting him pieces of pile worm when he needed it, which made the afternoon a little more entertaining. Hours later, IT HAPPENED! The moment that would change my view of fishing, and really a part of my life forever... It all started when he simply wanted to light a cigarette, and asked me to hold his fishing pole for a minute. Shortly after he handed it to me, I felt something—a little "jiggle," then I felt it again, then again and this time it was a good tug on the line!! It was all over from there! That was the coolest thing I had ever felt, I had no idea you could actually FEEL the fish biting, WOW! I was mesmerized by this one feeling; so much in fact, that for the rest of the evening, my would-be-sweetheart never got to hold his pole again! I mean while you're holding your fishing pole, you can actually feel the vibrations of the fish nibble and tug at your line. As if that wasn't enough, you get to reel it up too, feeling it struggle as your bringing it in, then it breaks the surface of the water and you see it on your line...THERE ARE FEW THINGS AS GREAT AS THIS, WOW, WHAT HAVE I BEEN MISSING ALL MY LIFE!!! A couple months later I had my very own fishing pole, could set up my line all by myself, and stood beside my beloved, reeling up one fish after the other, removing the hook from their mouth, and casting out again. From that point on I gained a nickname we both laugh at every now and then- "The Portuguese Fisherman's Wife," and fishing has become one of our favorite things to do together. First Memories of Fishing: My very first memories of fishing would have to be as a little girl, lake fishing with my mom, using little red fish eggs in a jar as bait, breaking at least a dozen floating bobbers on the rocks every time we cast out, and not catching a single fish all day long; Yet still having a good time: laughing with each other about how bad we were at fishing, and enjoying the great lunches my mom would pack, just relaxing. Favorite Piers (and Why): Pacifica Pier —I will probably always hold Pacifica Pier as my favorite. At least 90% of the time, I have good luck at Pacifica and usually catch quite a few nice fish, plus different kinds of fish. I like the underhand casting, and rarely get my line snagged or tangled. I love getting there bright and early and look out as the whole pier is blanketed in fog and mist, and while the handful of real "sunny" day I have spent in Pacifica are nice, I enjoy the crisp overcast days just as much. Sometimes I just stand there holding my pole and staring out at the rocks in the distance feeling a comfort like coming home. Besides, I have sentimental reasons too. It was the first pier I fished off of and where I learned almost everything I know about fishing. It's where we took my mother when she came out to visit a few years ago and caught over 200 fish in one day. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): My and I were fishing off Pacifica Pier last summer, he was going for striper and I was going for my usual smaller ones like surfperch. It was a normal day, the water was pretty calm and we had already caught a few perch and a couple jacksmelt. My fiancée asked me to watch his pole while he ran to the bathroom. While he was gone I kept glancing at his line, and all of a sudden something huge slams into the line, at first I thought it had to be a bird that flew into the line or maybe a seal, but before long I knew it had to be a fish, just then I see my fiancée walking back down the pier toward me, and I started jumping up and down and the guys next to me were yelling for him to run, he rushes to his line just in time to feel whatever it was break free and fall off. So we were both a little disappointed, but no big deal. Not even an hour later, I see that I have a little tiny nibble on my line, but it so small, I figure I will just leave it there until I finish eating and then it will have either fallen off or I will get to reel up two at a time. I never would have expected what happened next. All of a sudden my fishing pole bows clear over and looked like it was going to fold in half, I drop everything and grab, trying my hardest to reel up this strong, heavy monster on the end of my 8 lbs. test line (because keep in mind, I was going for little fish, perch, etc.). I had no clue what to do, so I start screaming for my fiancée to come help me (which was a tiny kick to my ego because ever since he taught me how to fish, I have never needed help reeling up a fish) but I was trying my hardest to reel it in and just could not bring it up, or even in closer to the pier. So I hand my fishing pole to him and he's battling this thing and unbelievably starting to tire the fish out to where he's getting it closer and closer to the pier, until we finally glimpse its' body break the surface of the water, and both our jaws just drop, all we can see is this huge white stomach of one of the biggest fish I've seen caught on the pier (no exaggeration) and despite our best efforts, he manages to swim under the pier where the line finally snaps before we can gather a net to lower to him. That was the most exciting experience fishing yet I think. To this day I am still amazed he could ever get it to the surface with 8 lbs. test line for us to see it at all. Words of Wisdom for Pier Rats When approaching the arena, all creatures are equal. Which means that some days will be your days to grasp victory, and others will throw you a defeat, but only your appreciation and the respect you extend to your opponent will determine weather or not you're worthy to battle at all.
Pier Rat Name — the ichthyophile
First Memories of Fishing: Eating sand covered Doritos while waiting for the surfperch to bite. Favorite Piers (and Why): Trinidad Pier...good times hanging out fishing the pier when I was going to school at HSU. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): I had a crab ring out at the Trinidad Pier, when I pulled it up it had a small ling cod, a huge octopus, and a Dungeness crab. Kept the crab and released the ling cod and octopus. It was a pretty cool hat trick!
Pier Rat Name — Thunder
Years Fishing: 66. First Memories of Fishing: Fishing with my father in 1939 when I was four at, I believe, the Horseshoe Pier at Redondo. I caught a lot of queenfish—we called them herring. Favorite Piers (and Why): Manhatten Pier—most of my fishing as a boy. Huntington Beach Pier—caught a lot of corbina for a lot of years. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): When I was 16 in 1951 I caught a million bonito on the Monstad Pier in Redondo Beach.
Pier Rat Name — toejamb
First Memories of Fishing: My first memory of fishing was when I was 7 or 8. The first time I came to the U.S. was with my mother, father and at the time, only brother (Patrick—a bad mother, by the way) for a family vacation. You know, the kind where everyone is crammed into the car, dad is swatting the kids in the back seat with his free hand because they're being insufferable brats, mom is telling dad to ask a stranger for directions, etc. Anyway, my dad is a native Los Angeleno (Hollywood High, class of '55) and he took us out to Echo Park. Armed with some night crawlers and my father's steady and knowledgeable hands, I managed to land my first ever fish— a bluegill and a baby largemouth bass. They went into a plastic bucket (my young ears had never heard of such a thing as catch and release) and they (the fish) took a ride for the next six hours in the back seat of a brand new Chevy Caprice Classic until we settled in for the night at a Best Western. My dad and I later returned to Echo Park and released the shell-shocked but still alive fish from whence they came. Favorite Piers (and Why): A no-brainer—Hermosa Pier. Best for quality, quantity and variety. Most Memorable Pier Fishing Trips (and Why): My first legal hali around June of '04 and the following: about ten years ago (before Hermosa Pier was renovated) I was fishing for mackeral about 3/4's way on the pier. I was a newcomer to Hermosa at the time and I was more than happy to catch just mackerel on Sabikis. But, on this particular night I heard a distress call (i
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