July 2017 Fishing Report, SoCal (#226)
San Diego County Piers
Imperial Beach Pier – No report this month. We 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 — Shirley at the pier’s bait shop, reports that things have really picked up. Included in the mix are a lot of mackerel, a few bonito, and a wide range of other fish, everything from a big old morary eel and sheephead (both at the end) along with numerous bass, some small rockfish, and the usual small croakers. Some big sharks and rays are showing up out at the end while a giant (black) sea bass was hooked one day, brought to the surface, and then the line was cut. Good job! It sounds like the 4th could be a big weekend! 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 picked up on a wide range of fish. There’s a lot of mackerel and sardines as well as smaller baitfish and they are attracting some yellowtail. A 41-pound yellowtail was taken by Angel Hernandez on a live mackerel. Inshore, there are some croakers while out in the deeper water a number of soupfin sharks have been taken (to about six feet in length). Several shorfin corvina have also been taken, most on live bait (sardines or queenfish). Pam also asked me to remind people that the annual Kids Fishing Derby will be on July 22 starting at 8 a.m. Everything will be free at the event. 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 although there should be a few mackerel and some bass. We 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 although some croakers, bat rays, sharks and an occasional needlefish should be available. We 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 although the mackerel and bass (kelp and sand) should be hitting along with some sharays. We 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 a mix of sharays (mostly 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 mainly been mackerel lately although a few halibut are also showing up and at night an occasional corvina. How To Get There: Take I-5 or I-8 to Rosecrans (Hwy. 209) and go west, turn left at Shelter Island Dr. and follow the road until you see the pier and the entrance to the parking lot.
Oceanside Pier — Ed, at the Oceanside Pier Bait and Tackle, said things have finally exploded at the pier. Although the mackerel have been in and out, and bonito are missing to date, there’s been a strong uptick when it comes to the other species. Inshore, the croakers, yellowfin and spotfin, are starting to bite and a few corbina are joining in the fun. Mid-pier, those who know how, are catching halibut, mostly shorts but also 4-5 legal-size flatties a week. Mid-water sees good numbers of herring (queenfish) and that may explain the halibut; and they are good halibut bait. Last but not least are the sharays and action on them has been really good. Big bat rays lead the list with many being caught and estimates for some approach the century mark. There’s also been a school of soupfin sharks hanging around the pier and nighttime anglers have pulled in a number of 6-8 foot long fish. Big shovelnose sharks (guitarfish) and leopard sharks are also showing as well as a few smaller horn sharks. Several thresher sharks have been hooked but none landed to date. All in all, a lot of possibilities. 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 although croakers and mackerel should be available. We 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 things haven’t changed too much. There are a lot of mackerel mid-pier to the end along with quite a few bass, mainly sand bass. Inshore there’s some good croaker action, both on yellowfin and spotfin and the key is the right bait—worms, fresh mussels or ghost shrimp (if you can find them). Sharay action has been fairly slow with the exception of leopard sharks and a lot of them are being taken. 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 those in the know continue to take a lot of bass—kelp bass, sand bass and bay bass. Croakers are also available and some really big spotfin croakers are showing up for those using fresh mussels for bait. At night, anglers will also see some small barracuda show up for those using spoons, i.e., Krocodile and Kastmasters. 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, “Bait is easier to get now with some sardines in the mix. The mackerel have disappeared for a while, but there are 5-inch ones for bait. We are getting some undersized halibut. There has been several large shovelnose guitarfish caught lately. One was 54 1/2 inches and another was 51 1/2 inches. The smaller one was mine. Of course there was that 41 pound white sea bass caught by a snagger. Also a friend traded me a nice spot finned croaker for my shovelnose. We had one incident of a great white off the end caught on a large piece of mackerel by a friend of mine. It spooled him of his 20 pound test on a conventional reel, but not before they saw him. Things are looking up. At least I have had fresh halibut this month thanks to my daughters. A sea lion got one keeper, and we lost one to the net as it was too hot to net. The next one we got, and it was 24 1/2 inches. It was delicious!” How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway take Newport Blvd. which will turn into Balboa Blvd., follow it west to Palm Street. Turn right and follow it to the pier and the adjacent parking lot.
Newport Pier — Generally about 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 — Mike at “Let’s Go Fishing” on the pier says things have exploded. Just take your pick. Inshore there’s a great run on yellowfin croaker that are hitting the lugworms (that are now available). Inshore, by the lifeguard station a lot of shovelnose sharks (guitarfish) are showing up and Mike says many are huge. Throughout the pier there are huge numbers of mackerel (basically every cast) being taken on Sabikis and jigs. Out at the end there have been very good numbers of barracuda taken (including legal-size fish); most being taken on jigs such as the Assult and Deception jigs. Last but not least, threshers are showing up. Unfortunately the anglers don’t seem to know how to land the, Nine BIG threshers were lost during the two days prior to my call while two smaller threshers were landed. Mike said it’s a daily thing. Only problem for Mike is that he’s been too busy in the shop to be fishing. Mike says you can check out Instagram pictures at — @pierfishinghb How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.
Seal Beach Pier — Jimmy at Big Fish Tackle says things have picked up. He says there is a good yellowfin croaker bite inshore (worms and mussels) along with a few spotfin croaker. Mackerel are available almost anywhere in the pier. He said ray and shark action has been somewhat slow with the exception of leopard sharks and apparently there are a lot of the leppies. Water temp is getting into the 70s and that’s good news for the pier. How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway simply take Main St. west and follow it to the pier.
Los Angeles County Piers
Belmont Pier — Jimmy at Big Fish Tackle says he’s getting some good reports from Belmont. Apparently there is some good halibut action in the mid-pier (where it widens) section. Mid-pier to the end also sees good mackerel action and jacksmelt numbers. Last, but not least, some nice bat rays and shovelnose guitarfish are showing up, most out toward the end. 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 — White croaker out from the pier along with some mackerel; a few croakers, sargo and perch close in by the rocks. 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 — Alex from the Rusty Hook (245 N Gaffey St., San Pedro) says he’s getting reports on a few halibut, most caught on live bait. He says there was a good mackerel bite but he’s heard it slowed. (Given the ways of mackerel it could return any time.) A few anglers have caught some bass, mostly along the rock side and some big jacksmelt still show. I asked about croakers and he said only white croaker (tomcod) are showing and no one wants those. 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 (the majority under 14 inches), rock wrasse, senorita, opaleye, sheephead, halfmoon and blacksmith. An early June visit saw many, many small ocean whitefish but hopefully they’ve moved on. 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) — It’s the usual, bonito on the top (some days), calico (kelp) bass and opaleye mid-water, and 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. 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 — Jessica at the Redondo Coffee Shop and Bait Shop reported that the main catch right now is mackerel. 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 mostly kelp (calico) bass but they’re also getting some sand bass along with the some good perch under the pier. He does say the senorita (aka bait stealers) are out in big numbers The good new is that bonito are starting to show and some are decent-sized. Most angers are using the traditional bubbles with a feather but anglers are also getting them on MegaBaits and LuckyCraft lures. He says a few halibut and rays have also shown but they are few and far between. How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway take Beryl St. west to Harbor Dr. and follow it to the entrance of the Sportfishing parking lot.
Hermosa Beach Pier — No report this month. How To Get There: Take the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) to Pier Avenue and follow Pier Avenue west to the pier.
Venice Pier — No report this month. How To Get There: Highway 1 to Washington St., turn west and follow Washington St. to the pier.
Santa Monica Pier —John from the pier’s bait shop said that fishing has picked up. There’s a lot of mackerel and halibut are available if you know what you are doing (think Big Hammer-type lures). He says there are also some sargo down by the pilings along with a few opaleye. 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 the big news is the number of kelp bass being taken at the pier. While the majority are under 14-inches, and thus illegal, quite a few legal-size fish are included in the mix. Mackerel are still available as well as jacksmelt, and small perch and a few opaleye (down by the piling). During the grunion runs a couple of corbina were taken; not sure what they eating. Add in a few small sharks and rays. Supposedly the end of the pier will be opened for the thresher shark fisherman on July 1. 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 there should be some 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 lot of “fatty” mackerel to be had on top while the sharay contingent is busy on the bottom—leopard sharks, bat rays and shovelnose sharks (guitarfish). 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 is seeing the normal mix. Expect some shallow-water rockfish (mostly brown rockfish) from the pipe reef (as always) along with a few kelp bass. Some halibut have been taken as well as a few sharays (primarily at night). 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 3+years). Evidently it’s not a priority for the state. How To Get There: From Highway 101 simply take the Gaviota State Park turnoff down to the beach and pier.