|April 2017 Fishing Report, SoCal (#223)
San Diego County Piers
Imperial Beach Pier – I really need a reporter for this pier. 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 — Tony at the pier’s bait shop, reports that anglers are getting a lot of fish. Inshore there good fishing for perch, both some barred surfperch and walleyes. Mid-pier to the end is seeing a lot of mackerel along with quite a few calico (kelp) bass while out at the southwest end (called “Shark Point”) the regulars trying for sharks have seen dismal results. But, 3-4 “enormous-size sheephead have been landed (and that’s usually where they show up). Tony said the fishing really started picking up about two weeks ago which probably is about the seas returned to a normal condition after the winter rains. 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 – Pam at the pier’s bait shop said fishing has been hit and miss, good at times and slow at others. Mackerel though ARE hitting most days and in good numbers. Barred surfperch, walleye surfperch and yellowfin croaker are available inshore when fishing on the bottom with ghost shrimp, bloodworms, or mussels. Mid-pier to the end is seeing quite a few leopard sharks but most are on the small side. 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) –Need a reporter although bass (a variety) always seem to be around as well as 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 it’s nothing but mackerel lately, mackerel and more 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 — Bill at the Oceanside Pier Bait and Tackle said things have been on the slow side. A few croakers are showing up inshore but it’s hit and miss — with the regulars who have been able to find live ghost shrimp or bloodworms being the ones usually on the hit side. Inshore has also seen a few corbina but again it’s the locals with the know-how getting them. The mackerel too are hit and miss with a brief early morning bite and a repeat bite after dark but few are showing during the day. There are a lot of herring (queenfish) for those who know how to catch them (try a Sibiki rig mid-depth with only a slight up and down movement). Mid-pier to the end continues to produce some calico (kelp) bass but most are under the 14-inch legal size. Lastly the action on sharks and rays has been slow. There are some small thornbacks showing up, and a few bat rays, but the shovelnose and leopard sharks have been missing and no threshers have been seen out at the end. 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 — Mike at Hogan's Bait And Tackle, 34320 Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point, says there’s been a pretty good bite taking place at the pier. Inshore, good numbers of yellowfin croaker are showing up along with a few spotfins. Most of the croakers are on the small side but they are fun to catch. Mid-pier to the end is seeing good numbers of mini-macs and they seem to be hitting throughout the day and evening. At the end of the pier the “sharkers” are getting some big bat rays and leopard sharks although they’ve also reported losing quite a few rigs to even bigger fish (not sure what they were). An interesting note is the number of sheephead that have been taken recently from the end of the pier. Most have been landed on shrimp with a mix of sizes being reported. 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 — Mike at Hogan's Bait And Tackle, 34320 Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point, said anglers continue to see good numbers of croakers and bass (both kelp bass and sand bass) at the pier; unfortunately most of the bass are under the 14-inch legal size. High tides are seeing some barracuda show up for those using Krocodiles and Lucky Craft lures but again most are under-sized. Halibut too are making a showing. There’s not a lot of hallies but a few show up most days and most are caught on bait. However, some are also falling to swim baits—primarily MC swim baits and 3” Big Hammers. 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, “Fishing is picking up, but the wind and muddy water doesn't help. When it is pretty water we have had some good strikes and bait too. We have had a lot of anchovies for a change. Most of the time they are pinheads though. The sardines came in and that is what the halibut, etc. wanted. There have been two keepers caught this month. One was 22 inches and the other was 24 inches. There have been a few that were not keepers but fun. There still are jacksmelt around and of course there are mackerel towards the end of the pier. The whales are putting on some great appearances and will be until the middle of April. There have been lots of people around with the spring breaks. Can't imagine going in that water with it at 60 degrees.” 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 — Generally bout the same report as at the Balboa Pier. 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 — Amanda at “Let’s Go Fishing” on the pier says things have been slow at the pier. Inshore action is poor with few croakers or surfperch making an appearance. Mid-pier is producing some herring (queenfish) along with some smelt (mostly to those using Sabiki-type rigs). Some kelp bass are being caught but the mackerel for the most part have been missing. Even shark action is slow although a keeper-size leopard shark was caught the day I called. How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.
Seal Beach Pier — Jimmy at Big Fish Tackle says fishing has really picked up. Inshore the anglers are getting some barred surfperch (to 14”) along with some yellowfin and spotfin croakers. Anglers using mussels, bloodworms or lug worms, as usual, are having the best success. Mid-pier out to the gate is seeing some mackerel along with a few bass and quite a few halibut (both legal-size and under-sized fish). Sharkers are getting some leopard sharks along with a few thresher sharks out in the deeper waters. Somewhat unusual is the number of barracuda showing up. Anglers are throwing artificial lures at the ‘cuda, a variety of spoons (especially Krocodiles) along with some jerk shad and spinners. All seem to work if the toothy critters are around. 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 — The pier reopened mid-March after being closed for two weeks following damage from a storm that ripped two docks away from the end of the pier. Before the closure a few mackerel were being taken along with some croaker and small rays. 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 — I fished Pier #2 for a couple of hours on March 2 prior to the Fred Hall Fishing Show and caught the usual species—mackerel, jacksmelt, and tomcod (white croaker) along with an unusual small sculpin. All of the fish were caught while fishing straight out from the end of the pier. The sides, which often yield good numbers of bass, perch, croaker and sargo, failed to yield a bite. Locals reported that a very good mackerel bite had been going on for several weeks. How to Get There: From downtown Long Beach, take Pine Avenue south to Shoreline Drive. For the northernmost pier #1 follow Shoreline Avenue west and follow it around the lagoon to where the street ends. For the southernmost piers #2-#5 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 — I received one report that fishing was slow with the exception of jacksmelt that were making a fairly good showing. Not much else. 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, rock wrasse, senorita, blacksmith, etc. Remember the size limits for kelp bass—14 inches minimum length—and no more than five bass total. Unfortunately the action on bonito seems to be hit and miss 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 at the pier’s bait shop says mackerel (as always) are the main fish being caught. Apparently the pier isn’t too crowded most week days but is still jammed on the weekends. 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 it’s the same ol’ same ol’ — a lot of small, illegal-size kelp bass out from the pier and small perch or perch-like species under the pier. Not much else although a few small sheephead were landed this month. 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 from Just Fishing By Pete, 2427 190th St., Redondo Beach, says most of his reports are on mackerel although a few halibut are showing up for the regulars who know what they are doing. Some surfperch are showing inshore but most are being caught by surf casters (who are also getting a few striped bass). How To Get There: Take the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) to Pier Avenue and follow Pier Avenue west to the pier.
Venice Pier — Pete from Just Fishing By Pete, 2427 190th St., Redondo Beach, says most of his reports are on mackerel although a few halibut are showing up for the regulars who know what they are doing. How To Get There: Highway 1 to Washington St., turn west and follow Washington St. to the pier.
Santa Monica Pier —Maria from the pier’s bait shop said it’s been really slow; she hadn’t seen any fish. 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 anglers are seeing some perch and jacksmelt along with an occasional croaker. 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 and jacksmelt. 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. 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 — Mike, from the Stearns Wharf bait shop, said there’s a mix of fish to be had. Small croakers (white croakers?) lead the list along with small calico (kelp) bass (although he said a few larger bass are also beginning to show). The mackerel are missing but sardines are showing off the back of his shop so I imagine some can be snagged for live bait. Small, baby lingcod (5-6-inches long) are too plentiful and I hope they are being returned to the water. Lastly there are the bat rays that are showing at night but apparently most of the anglers really don’t know what to do with them. 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 from the pier’s bait & tackle store (and Hook Line & Sinker in Santa Barbara) said the pier just reopened a week ago after being closed due to storm damage. Anglers quickly filled the pier and began to catch fish. Shallow-water rockfish are available from the pipe reef (as always) along with a few bass. Some halibut showed up during the week and quite a few bat rays were taken by anglers. Sounds like things are back to normal. 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 (for the third year). How To Get There: From Highway 101 simply take the Gaviota State Park turnoff.