|A few piers in the area — But check my directions on Mapquest since they always seem to be doing roadwork in some of these areas.
Brisbane Fishing Pier
This is one of those small piers that seems designed for the regulars who go out daily for both the sport and socialization involved in fishing. It is very easy to reach, requires no parking fees, and it is a short walk out to the pier. Fishing is rarely great here but most of the regulars are sociable and the fishing itself is good often enough to keep the people coming back.
Environment. The pier is only 252 foot-long and is located on Sierra Point, land which juts out into the bay about 2 1/2 miles south of Candlestick Point. Most of the fish species and fishing found here are similar to that found across the cove at the two piers in Candlestick Point State Park. Water here, however, is somewhat shallower than at those piers and fewer fish seem to be caught. The shoreline is rock-covered (which will attract perch), the bottom is primarily mud, and the pilings are concrete with a fair growth of barnacles.
The most commonly caught fish here are small brown smoothhound sharks and staghorn sculpin. Seasonally, several varieties of perch can be caught, as can some of the larger gamefish. Winter and spring will see pileperch, black seaperch, white seaperch and a few striped and rubberlip seaperch. Spring through the fall will see more walleye surfperch, silver surfperch and shinerperch. Much of the year sharks, rays and skates will be present, but most are caught from spring through fall. Almost any time of the year may see schools of jacksmelt. Late spring to fall is definitely the time for striped bass while late winter to spring seems the best time for both sturgeon and starry flounder.
Fishing Tips. During the winter and spring, try for pileperch (and occasionally black and white seaperch) around the pilings using a high/low leader, size 6 hooks, and pile worms, grass shrimp, fresh mussels, green rock crabs, barnacles or ghost shrimp for bait. During the same time of year, fish on the bottom using a flounder-sturgeon rig baited with cut anchovies, ghost shrimp, grass shrimp or pile worms for starry flounder. During the summer and fall try for small walleye and silver surfperch using small strips of anchovy on a multi-hook leader with size 8 hooks. Fish mid-depth around the pilings to catch the small perch.
For jacksmelt, and they're one of the most common fish caught here, use a multi-hook leader, size 6 or 8 hooks, and small pieces of pile worms or shrimp. Cast out away from the pier and use the leader under a large bobber or Styrofoam float. If the “horse smelt” show up, multi hookups should be the norm.
Try for sturgeon by using a flounder-sturgeon rig (with heavy line and a wire leader); fish on the bottom with ghost shrimp, grass shrimp, or mud shrimp for bait. When the herring are spawning (and this is the key time for the beasts) use herring and herring eggs as bait.
For stripers, live bait is best including mudsuckers and bullheads. However, cut anchovies and sardines, pile worms, and shrimp will also produce fish when fished on the bottom. Because of the pier's size, lack of anglers, and its nearness to the water, this is one of the better piers to try for stripers using artificial lures. Top water lures to try include Pencil Poppers, Zara Spooks, Pop-Rs and F-20 Rapalas while some regulars like to try a little deeper with Fish Traps. Remember that the early evening hours and incoming tides are usually best. Use squid, anchovies, sardines or mackerel fished on the bottom for sharks and rays.
For the larger leopard sharks and an occasional 7-gill shark try a live midshipman, mudsucker (longjaw goby), or bullhead (staghorn sculpin). For the smaller brown smoothhounds almost any bait will work although most are caught on anchovies and squid. For the huge (and small) bat rays use squid and appropriate tackle.
Date: June 19, 2003
To: PFIC Message Board
From: Jason "bayrunner
Subject: Sierra Point Pier
Got off work yesterday at around 12PM and couldn't make up my mind worth a damn where I was going to go. Should I go back to SC and hope the baits are actually “bait size” today? Should I go to Capitola and hook up with Pescare...um parking situation 12PM? Hmmmmmm... and then for some reason Sierra Point Pier popped into mind, but wait the afternoon wind... Screw it. I'm off, I felt like throwing the cast net yesterday. Got there around 1:15PM and tried to make bait. Wind was blowing, water was muddy, 10 throws with the net and not a single shiner. Perfect, great decision again after being skunked my last three fishing trips. When then on one throw with the net I swooped up 4 topsmelt. I don't particularly care for topsmelt. I would rather fish shiners but hey might as well get a line in right. I set up one rod on the left side of the pier right past the sink throwing directly into the fierce bay wind. I picked up my cast net and continued my search for shiners. Around 5 minutes later my rod slides down the rail, damn wind... I pick it up and line is peeling off at a rapid rate which brought me down to about half a spool on the 250. I knew it was a decent striper immediately. After the best striper battle I've had all year I landed this fish. Taped out just under 30”. This fish was hot; it fought better than some 20-lbers I caught. This thing went on three strong runs, charged me, shook it's head, and swirled three times before getting in. Didn't have another bite for the rest of the time I was there. The wind increased as the afternoon progressed and the water clarity was horrible for a shot at any halibut. I left at around 4:15PM to get back for a last minute dinner I had to go to and I only did one 360 on my way to the truck. I have a whole new respect for topsmelt. heh heh. Jason "bayrunner"
Brisbane Fishing Pier Facts
Hours: Open 24 hours a day.
Facilities: Few! The pier offers benches and a fish cleaning station. There are no lights and no restrooms, nor is there a snack bar or bait and tackle shop. Nearby is an unpaved parking area and an attractive public trail heavily used by joggers. There is a small park-like setting near the foot of the pier that includes several benches for those who simply want to sit and watch the bay.
Handicapped Facilities: Handicapped parking and restrooms (but they are found at the marina gate, not at the pier). The paths are level and paved to the pier; the surface of the pier is concrete. Not posted for handicapped.
How To Get There: From Highway 101 take the Sierra Point Parkway and follow it to the end. Where it ends, near the Sierra Point Yacht Club, turn left and follow the unpaved road to the unpaved parking lot near the front of the pier (northeast end of this area).
Management: City of Brisbane.
Oyster Point Fishing Pier
This small pier juts out from the artificial Oyster Point Peninsula, a landfill area. As such, it serves as another lesson for what has happened to much of San Francisco Bay. Looking towards shore from the end of the pier you'll see the Oyster Point Marina to the right and a cove between two points of land off to the left. Looking past the water of the cove to the left you'll notice that the shoreline has areas that appear to be white. This is the original shoreline that existed before these artificial peninsulas were built. The white areas are the remains of oyster beds and shells (although I'm not sure if these were the original small native oysters or the larger, more valuable “Eastern” oysters introduced by man and commercially grown for nearly 40 years). This was once a tremendously rich area of water and one that still presents oysters and shelf areas from which to fish (if you know where they are). But nowhere in the bay is the fertility anything like it was back in the “olden” days—times, for instance, like the 1890s when Jack London sailed these waters on his sloop the Razzle Dazzle and gained the title he cherished, “Prince of the Oyster Pirates.” Man has shaped and reshaped the shoreline of the bay to meet his needs and these needs often differ from the needs of the true bay inhabitants: the fish and other wildlife which were common to these waters long before the coming of man.
Environment. The pier is small, being only 170-feet-long, and sits primarily over a mud bottom. The water here is fairly shallow but receives a good tidal movement as the water sweeps around the rock-studded point upon which the pier sits. As such, it is the type of area favorable to topsmelt and jacksmelt which are two of the main types of fish taken here. It is also an area which sees many, many sharks, primarily small brown smoothhound sharks, but also a lot of leopard sharks, bat rays and a few skates. To the north of the pier sits a marina and shipping lanes, but neither appears to have much influence on the pier itself. Inshore, there are some rocks around the shallower waters; as a result, this area will seasonally yield a few seaperch and sometimes it is the best area for striped bass. Pilings themselves are concrete and have little growth on them even though the pier has been here since 1983.
Green moss can be a problem, especially during the late summer and fall months. At times the moss covers the bottom around the pier and makes fishing almost impossible. At other times the moss is growing further out in deeper water and doesn't present a problem until the incoming tide begins to bring patches of the moss inshore. Pretty soon every cast yields a sinker covered with moss; hooks and bait are enveloped in the green hair; and your line itself begins to attract the moss. Generally when such conditions arise it's time to leave—although the moss doesn't seem to faze some of the regulars. I have primarily noticed these concentrations of moss during late summer visits. This can also be a very windy spot so always bring a jacket with you to the pier.
Fishing Tips. This pier is a favorite of shark anglers so you might want to concentrate on sharks. Bring a heavier pole, 20-40 pound test line, and heavy leaders (even wire leaders). Use live midshipmen, squid, or an oily fish such as mackerel or sardine for bait, and cast out to the right or left from the end of the pier. Large leopard sharks are the favorite quarry, but brown smoothhounds are more common. Occasionally a 7-gill shark will also be caught but most of these are youngsters, not the monster-size adults. A second alternative would be to fish the top of the water with a multi-hook jacksmelt rigging. Fish mid-pier to the end on the side of the pier from which the water is flowing away. Use small pieces of pile worms or shrimp and small size 8-6 hooks. Fish under and around the pier with a high/low leader, size 6-4 hooks, and small strips of anchovy for silver surfperch and walleye surfperch; cast further out for white croaker (kingfish). Fish the inshore area in the winter to spring, using a high/low leader, size 6 hooks, and pile worms or grass shrimp as bait to catch black seaperch, rubberlip seaperch, pileperch, white seaperch and even an occasional redtail surfperch.
As at the two piers to the north, fishing for starry flounder from late January to March may show good results, although the numbers of the starries has been down for quite a few years. The best bait for flounders will be grass shrimp, ghost shrimp or cut anchovies fished on the bottom with a flounder rigging. A similar rigging in the spring to fall months may yield a halibut.
May to September will often yield striped bass. Live bullheads (staghorn sculpin), shinerperch, and small smelt are the ideal baits for the stripers but grass shrimp, pile worms, and frozen anchovies will also yield some fish. Some anglers will use artificals for the stripers with spoons like Kastmasters and Krocodiles, and top water lures like Pencil Poppers and Rapalas, attracting fish. Although the time to fish most piers is just before and after the high tide, this pier really seems to produce the most fish on the outgoing tide. Nighttime is also often the prime time for the stripers. Sometimes a summer or fall day will seem almost dead with few fish being caught. Then, when the sun begins to go down, the stripers go on the prowl around the pier and the regulars with the know-how will be waiting for them. I've heard tales of anglers catching over a dozen fish in one evening with most of the fish being over ten pounds in size.
Sturgeon are also a possibility at this pier, primarily showing up the same time as the local herring spawns. The sturgeon like to vacuum up the eggs from the bottom and luckily for local anglers will also ingest a few riggings presented with the proper baits. I have seen the pier surrounded by boats and witnessed multiple hookups taking place both on the boats and on the pier. Action isn't always that fast but it does happen. Timing is the key and during the right months it is critical to keep in touch with local anglers or bait shops so that you can find out when the runs begin. Also, remember to bring the right baits and the “au natural” choice would be herring and/or herring eggs during these times. It's also good to bring along a buddy to help you net the fish that you hook since it is very tough to bring a large sturgeon up onto a pier. Always bring a net! Bat rays and sturgeon exceeding 100 pounds have been landed at the pier as have stripers over 40 pounds and a 38-pound halibut.
Date: August 2, 1999
To: Pier Fishing In California Message Board
Subject: HELP!!! BIRDS ARE BECOMING A MAJOR PROBLEM!!!
Those large black loons or whatever are causing a very scary and frustrating problem. I have been fishing Oyster Point a lot, and every time I am there, there are hundreds of those things flying low and close to the pier in formations of about 3-45 birds a group. Every trip, a couple knock into my lines and pull my rods to just barley going over. Luckily I have learned to loosen the drag but I still end up losing a lot of line, tackle and bells. They are difficult to untangle and they have one hell of a bite. Anyone have any suggestions for a solution or defense against these interesting yet pesky creatures?
Posted by mjonesjr
You really want to get rid of the birds? Simply find a compressed air horn. You will find them at most marine stores and most well stocked hardware stores. The next time those birds come to close for comfort. Lay on the horn for a couple of seconds and I'll bet you dollars to donuts those birds won't know what hit them and it's a safe way to ward them off. Hope this helps.
Date: March 24, 2000
To: PFIC Message Board
Subject: Hooked a freight train at Oyster Point
Went fishing at Oyster Point for the evening. Was there for a few hours without a hit at all, and all of the sudden, a fish hit and started peeling line off faster than I've ever seen before. I grabbed my rod and I instantly felt the power of the fish. I have a 10-ft Ugly Stick filled with 350 yards of 45 lb. Spiderwire Fusion, and the fish tore 310 yards in 15 seconds. There was nothing I could do but hold on and finally, I had about 10 yards of line left and it snapped cleanly. Everyone and myself estimate this to be a HUGE sturgeon, because normal rays fight differently and don't take line as fast as this one did. Anyone have you any suggestions to how I could better prepare for this, so I don't lose another sturgeon since I haven't even got one yet?
Posted by Songslinger
Wow, a monster! Could well be a sturgeon; I've had them go off suddenly like that without so much as a twitch of the rod tip beforehand. Also possible is a big shark. There have been some huge 7-gill in the Bay recently, up to 90 pounds. Don't know about you, but I think it's kind of cool when I get spooled by a big guy. Sure beats no action at all!
How was your drag set? Too loose and you let out too much line right away and give the fish a head start and momentum that is hard to halt. Too tight and the line snaps. The idea is too tire out the fish, make him work when he's pulling out your line, and get him to turn your way. Basic stuff, but it's always good to review.
And some times there just isn't much a shoreliner can do. I don't know whether there was anything you did that was “wrong” in this case, Matt. There is certainly nothing wrong with your gear. You have sufficient resources to fight a large fish. It was a tough break. Fish happens...
Date: April 10. 2002
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
Subject: Oyster Point...
Checked out Oyster Point from 12:00 to about 2:30 PM. Lots of people fishing at the end. Saw a couple of small rays (maybe about 24-30 inches across...) landed and released. One of the guys hooked on something that took him from the south end of the pier, around the pier and onto the rocks in front of the bait shop. After about a 20-30 minute battle the line snapped. Not sure whether it was a ray or a dino since it never surfaced but it did put up one heck of a fight. Saw Batman himself. Except he was too busy casting a net for bait in the middle of the pier. There were lots of sardines in the area and Stan and a couple of other guys netted buckets after buckets of live sardines for everyone on the pier. Birds were also diving about 100 feet off the end of the pier. However, no hallies were landed while I was there. Did talk to one of the guys there and he reported that about a dozen or so hallies were landed on the weekend. He said that he himself landed a 40” butt on Sunday as well and had to come back out again to try for more. Who can blame him. That's one tasty catch!
Oyster Point Pier Facts
Hours: Open from 6 A.M. to 10 P.M. with signs on the pier saying closure at 9:40 p.m.
Facilities: Restrooms are located on land at the front of the pier. There are lights and a fish cleaning station on the pier. There are no food facilities or bait and tackle available. Limited free parking.
Handicapped Facilities: Handicapped restrooms but no handicapped parking. Accessible by wheelchair and crutches. Not posted for handicapped.
How To Get There: Take Hwy 101 to South San Francisco/Oyster Point Blvd exit. Then one mile East on Oyster Point Blvd. Turn right on Marina Blvd and follow the road to the pier which will be on your right side.
Management: San Mateo County Harbor District.
Robert E. Woolley Peninsula Park Pier—Burlingame
My daughter Kim called one day. “Guess what, you missed a pier!” And, as usual, she was right. She also went on to tell me about the 14-inch baby sturgeon she had caught and released. Although small, it was an interesting catch; some anglers have fished on piers for years and never hooked a sturgeon—of any size.
This small pier sits secluded, down among the hotels just south of San Francisco Airport. The pier is very small and juts out just a short distance into these waters but it offers fair to decent fishing seasonally for several different species. Also, expect to have a few tourists walk up to check out the fishing action. It is a great place to watch the jets land onto the airport runway and a great little park to bring the kids if you have a family.
Environment. The pier sits for the most part parallel to a rocky, moss-covered shoreline. Pilings are heavily covered with barnacles but only a few mussels are present (which means it isn't a great pier for perch). Water here is fairly shallow and the bottom is typical bay mud with few obstructions. Wind however can be a problem, as can wind surfers who find this a good spot from which to practice their sport. Unfortunately, this can at times lead to crossed lines and heated words but this is fairly rare. The park and pier are almost new (January 1987) and in excellent condition. Because of its south bay location, the pier sees the normal mix of perch, kingfish (white croaker), striped bass, flatfish, sharks, rays and a few sturgeon. It also sees a lot of jacksmelt; a common occurrence in bay areas that have a rocky shoreline similar to that found here.
Fishing Tips. Most of the anglers here cast straight out for striped bass, bat rays, or sharks, and many are landed. Then again, large schools of jacksmelt will often be found in the waters around the pier. Choose which type of fish to seek and remember to take note of the seasons.
Winter and spring are the prime times for pileperch (splittails), blackperch (pogies), rubberlip perch and starry flounder, and these are landed on the bottom with worms, shrimp or cut anchovy (for the flounder). This is also the time for sturgeon but the shallow water really isn't the best environment for the elusive diamondbacks. However, a few anglers will seek out the large fish and the best baits are grass shrimp, ghost shrimp or blue mud shrimp fished on the bottom. During the herring spawns also try herring or their eggs.
Jacksmelt may be encountered almost any time of the year but springtime through the fall is the prime time for these scrappy fighters. When the schools are present, whole families will flock to local piers to fish for the large smelt. Jacksmelt will generally be landed on pile worms (small pieces) fished just under the surface with a float. However, I've had days when the jacksmelt preferred small pieces of shrimp or even small strips of anchovy (especially as it is getting dark), so don't be afraid to experiment with different baits, just remember to keep them small due to the jacksmelt's small mouth.
Flatfish such as sole and sand dabs (and some halibut) will be taken throughout the summer as will several additional types of perch, especially white seaperch (splittail perch), walleye and silver surfperch. During the summer months anglers can also expect to take a few kingfish (white croaker) if they use cut anchovies and fish on the bottom.
Stripers are generally present from March until October and most that are landed are caught on grass shrimp, ghost shrimp, sardines, or live baits such as bullheads (staghorn sculpin) or mudsuckers (longjaw goby). I have seen pictures of 30+pound stripers from this pier so be prepared.
Sharks and bat rays are most active during the summer and fall, most are caught on squid, and both are especially active at night. One of the nice things about this pier is its small size and closeness to the water. One night I witnessed an angler hook, fight, and then land a bat ray that I estimated at 75 pounds. Instead of a gaff, he simply brought it to the nearby shoreline where a buddy was able to lift (carefully) the bat ray onto shore, the hook was removed from its mouth, and the creature was returned unharmed to the bay. This pier yields a lot of bat rays, especially considering its size. I've had trips to the pier where virtually every angler on the pier caught a bat ray and some caught several.
Special Tip. This is another of the small bay piers that are located close to the water. As such, it offers a good platform from which to cast artificial lures for striped bass. In addition, when the winds cooperate, try artificials in the spring for jacksmelt. Light tackle used with small spoons and Rooster Tails will often yield jacksmelt that will, pound for pound, outfight most trout. I have also heard of a few anglers fly fishing for jacksmelt from the pier with white Wooly Buggers. Apparently, when conditions are right, the flies are deadly on the fighting smelt.
Robert E. Woolley Peninsula Park Pier Facts
Hours: Open 24 hours a day.
Facilities: Lights are located on the pier, a fish cleaning station is found at the foot of the pier, and attractive restrooms are located adjacent to the pier.
Handicapped Facilities: None
How To Get There: From the south, take Highway 101 to the Broadway Exit and go east to Airport Boulevard to Anza Boulevard, and follow it to the end, where the park is located. From the north, take Highway 101 to the Airport Boulevard exit, go east to Airport Boulevard, then go south to Anza Boulevard where you turn left and follow Anza to the park (it is just past Bobby McGees and the Embassy Suites Hotel).
How To Get There: From the south, take Highway 101 to the Anza Boulevard exit and continue through the intersection, and follow it to the end, where the park is located. From the north, take Highway 101 to the Airport Boulevard exit, go east to Airport Boulevard, then go south to Anza Boulevard where you turn left and follow Anza to the park (it is just past Rings Restaurant and the Embassy Suites Hotel)
Management: San Mateo County.
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