|Went down to visit family around Halloween and checked out Santa Monica Pier and Venice Fishing Pier. On the morning of 11/30, I walked the pier to scope out fishing spots and could see small stingray swimming in the waters. I returned in the evening and people were catching Pacific Mackerel and Spiny Lobster. The spiny lobster were being illegally caught with hook and bait, but I did see some with traps catching them too. I didn't fish much, because I hooked a small sting ray and it got me while I Went to throw it in. Luckily, it was a small one, but the toxins hurt just the same. Had to leave, clean the wound, an then soak in hot water for ~ 2 hrs to reduce the pain.
Next day, still wounded, I hit up the Venice Fishing Pier and checked it out. Nice fishing pier, definitely built for fishing, with trash cans, lights, alcoves to fish from, and holes in the railings to hold your poles. I caught a couple of Pacific Mackerel and so did others. Didn't see anyone catching anything else. Here's a video tour of the Venice Pier, in case you haven't been to it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u10VI_d9_4U
There's also a nice bait shop conveniently located right outside of the pier.