|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 — Gui at the pier’s bait shop, reports that things have slowed with the exception of the mackerel and bonito. Good numbers of mackerel are present, especially in the morning and night, while bonito make a good showing most mornings. Bottom fish seemed to have slowed; mainly it’s a few kelp bass and a few sharks and rays out at the end of the pier. 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 and tackle shop, said things have really slowed. There’s a ton of mackerel, and quite a few jacksmelt, but everything else is taking a siesta. It’s hard to explain since this time of year should see warm water and improvement. But it is what it is 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 together with a few halibut. 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 people continue to catch huge numbers of mackerel, bonito and croakers—both yellowfin and spotfin. Problem is those same people are keeping way too many bonito (on which there is a limit) and mackerel (on which there isn’t). People are toting large coolers full of fish off the pier and you have to ask if they are really going to eat them — or sell them? Evidently the Department of Fish and Wildlife is aware of the problem but unable to do much about it. As for other fish, there’s still a good bite on small kelp (calico) bass and quite a few sharks continue to show up including a couple of 70-80 pound threshers. The holiday weekend will probably be crazy but things should be calm after it’s over. 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 mackerel, croakers and a few bass 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 — I was at the pier 8//25-27 and saw a nice mix of fish. Throughout the day and evening small mackerel were present while bonito showed early in the day (and a few at dusk). There were also a lot of salema out at the end of the pier; I also caught a black croaker at night, a fish that likes to school with the salema. Inshore to mid-pier yielded up some spotfin and yellowfin croakers with the hot spot being just inshore from the bathrooms. Anglers using fresh mussels in that area were catching a lot of nice-sized spotfin croakers. Sharays were also present, the mix including thornback rays and bat rays in the mid-pier area as well as some thresher sharks out at the end. Sunday, 8/27 saw a great white shark circling the pier in the morning while wide-eyed anglers kept eye on it. Do arrive early since the parking lot fills early on weekends and holidays. 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 — Breck at Hogan's Bait And Tackle, 34320 Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point had reported some yellowfin and spotfin croakers along with a few halibut and sharks and rays at night. I fished the pier mid-day on 8/26 and things were slow; two hours yielded one spotfin croaker, one opaleye, and one BONEFISH (that gave a nice fight). The croaker and bonefish were taken on bloodworms. 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, “I wish catching would pick up faster than it has. We are catching some bonitos, some small halibut, and we are waiting for the yellowtail because there are small grunion here which it what they like. We got three needlefish last week about 3 feet long. They bit on our sliders which had smelt on them. They sure have a set of teeth! Bait has not been a problem for us. We even were getting some more sardines and anchovies. Now to find something that wants them. We have found out that the bait stay livelier if you have two aerators on one bucket. The snaggers in the surf have been getting some nice corbina and spot finned croakers. The mackerel are still here but small. Looking forward to September. Sometimes it is a magical month.” 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 the “Let’s Go Fishing B&T” on the pier says the big news lately was the capture of a BIG sea turtle that took the bait on a guy’s line. It was hauled up to the pier where apparently there were thoughts of keeping it until the lifeguards showed up and released it. The bonito have also finally showed up and good numbers are being taken in the morning and at night. There are tons of mackerel (mid-pier to the end) and continued good numbers of spotfin croaker (inshore) but most people are heading straight out to the end for the bonito. Mike says the lure that most people are using for the bonito are 1-oz. Assault and Deception lures. No legal-size halibut have been caught lately but quite a few sand bass have been caught. One BIG mola mola was caught (snagged?) and apparently released but why hook it in the first place. How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.
Seal Beach Pier — Jimmy, at Big Fish Tackle, says there’s still a very good mackerel bite but the bonito haven’t shown to date. Inshore action has been good on a combination of yellowfin croaker, corbina, and barred surfperch. Use lug worms or fresh mussels for the inshore fish. A few sharks and rays also make an appearance, mostly thornbacks and shovelnose. How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway simply take Main St. west and follow it to the pier.
Los Angeles County Piers
Belmont Pier — Jimmy at Big Fish Tackle says anglers continue to pull in good numbers of mackerel along with sardines and jacksmelt. On the bottom there has been some decent halibut action although most are too small to keep. Throw in some bat rays and shovelnose sharks (guitarfish) and it sounds like a decent mix of fish. However, no bonito to date. 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 — Mackerel and white croakers out from the pier; 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 the anglers are happy; the bonito showed up and in good numbers. Most are being taken on lures, almost any shiny lures—Kasmasters, Krocodiles, MegaBaits, Assault and Deception lures, etc. Big numbers of mackerel are also showing. The bonito tend to hit only in the morning, the mackerel throughout the day but best in the morning. Add in a few halibut and some sharays—thornbacks, shovelnose sharks (guitarfish), leopard sharks, bat rays etc. and you have a nice mix of fish. Sounds like a good time to visit the pier. 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 — Sunny at the Redondo Coffee Shop and Bait Shop reported that there are a LOT of mackerel being caught along with smaller number of bonito. The boneheads are mainly hitting in the morning so if you’re late you probably will not see them. Things are fairly slow on the bottom, a few (mostly small) halibut and an occasional bass or perch. Ditto a few sharays, mostly thornbacks and guitarfish. 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 — The BAD news is that the pier will probably close around November 1. The good news is that there’s still a little time to fish the pier. Jake at the pier’s tackle store says it’s still basically kelp (calico) bass after kelp bass and not too much else although an occasional perch, sargo, opaleye or other bottom fish shows up. Bonito are boiling in the morning but they are reluctant to bite. I was there on 8/28 and saw the same thing. I caught many, many kelp bass but all were small, illegal-size fish. Bonito were boiling out by the “bubble” but I only saw one hooked and it was “farmed” by the angler. A small boat was anchored right by the bubble and they were catching bonito and at least a couple of yellowtail so the yellows should also be available off the pier. I was surprised the day I was there because I didn’t get my usual mix of bottom fish. I did catch quite a few senorita, a couple of rock wrasse, and a small opaleye but I didn’t see any of the other perch and perch-like species that are normally are found under the pier. As for the pier, it will be closed but so far the city fathers are saying it will be rebuilt. 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 although mackerel and bonito should be showing up. 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 although mackerel and bonito should be showing up. How To Get There: Highway 1 to Washington St., turn west and follow Washington St. to the pier.
Santa Monica Pier—John, at the piers bait and tackle shop, said there are tons of medium-size mackerel (one pound or so) being caught and the bonito are finally starting to show up. When the bonito first showed up there were fewer fish but some reached the 8-pound size. More bonito are now available but they are a little smaller reaching 4-5 pounds (which is still a decent size). Almost all of the bonito are being caught at first light in the morning; almost none later in the day. A number of good-sized sharks have also been taken, a nice mix of threshers, soupfins and large leopard sharks. Some nice-sized perch and sargo have also been taken, most on the walkways under the pier. Unfortunately anglers at night continue to hoop for and take lobsters even though they are out of season. It would be nice if the Fish and Wildlife wardens made an effort to stop the lobster poaching at the pier (which has been going on for a long, long time 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 fishing at the pier has been really good lately. She say’s there are a LOT of mackerel along with some bass and too many lizardfish. There’s also been a lot of sharks including nice-sized leopard sharks and shovelnose sharks (guitarfish) along the sides of the pier, while some threshers have been taken at the end of the pier. A few croakers have been taken inshore. As for the mackerel, she says the kids all swear by the 1-oz. Deception lures she sells although some people continue to use Sabiki bait-rigs. The one bad news was that a youngster had his rod and expensive Avet reel stolen so keep an eye on your equipment. 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, jacksmelt and possibly a bonito or two. 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 been a nice mix of fish. He says there are a lot of mackerel and a lot of bat rays (he says many, many, many). He says there’s also a lot of nice-sized shovelnose sharks (guitarfish). As for bonito, they show up one day and then they are gone for a few days before showing up again; it’s hard to predict. As for halibut, the regulars who know what they are doing are catching them. A lot of shorts and about 1-3 legal-size fish a day. 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 mackerel on top and some shallow-water rockfish (mostly brown rockfish) from the pipe reef (as always) along with a few kelp bass. A few halibut have been taken as well as some 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.