|California Pier Report—June 2009
San Diego County Piers
Imperial Beach Pier – Matt, at Cox Bait and Tackle (996 Palm Ave), reports some nice-sized barred surfperch inshore (to 2-3 pounds) along with quite a few leopard sharks. Mid-pier it’s mackerel and a few barracuda along with the normal white croaker and queenfish. There’s also some sand sharks shovelnose guitarfish) and a few sculpin showing up. He says the sand bass usually start showing up after the sculpin so expects them to not be too far behind. 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 — Billy Burns, at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop on the pier, says things are still fairly slow. Some mackerel are showing up mid-pier to the end while tomcod/kingfish (white croaker) and herring (queenfish) are mid-pier, and a few leopard sharks are showing inshore. Throw in the occasional sculpin, bass and small barracuda and that’s about it. 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 – James, at the newly opened Crystal Pier Bait & Tackle Shop on the pier, reports quite a lot of big barred surfperch inshore, some herring (queenfish) and yellowfin croakers, a few halibut, and small leopard sharks and barracuda. Mackerel and jacksmelt are available on the top, while a lot of corbina are showing inshore but no one’s been able to get them to bite. He says there’s been too much kelp but he thinks the weekend wind is pushing it out from the pier. How To get There: Take I-5 to Garnet Ave. then take Garnet west to the foot of the pier. (A license is required from this pier).
Pepper Park Pier — No report this month. 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 this month. 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, turn left and follow the road to the park.
Embarcadero Marina Pier — James at JJ’s Sunset Deli (foot of the pier) says things have slowed since the last report. Some mackerel are still showing on top but bottom action is slow. Mainly it’s just a few small bass some sharks and some rays. 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) – PFIC reports indicate a variety of bass—both sandies and calicos—are available to those using bait and/or soft plastics. Some halibut and mackerel were also seen as well as the usual stingrays. In addition, a small black sea bass, estimated at 30 pounds was caught and released. 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 – Matt, at Sharkey’s B&T on the pier, says things are only fair. Some mackerel are on top and a few bass are on the bottom but other than that it’s slow with one exception. The exception is stingrays and he says they are thick. PFIC reports some bay bass are available as well as smallish sized opaleye. 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 Oceanside Pier Bait & Tackle on the pier, says there’s been some good action on big croakers lately, spotfins up to five pounds as well as nice-sized yellowfins. There’s also a lot of mackerel and good numbers of shovelnose sharks (guitarfish) and leopard sharks. 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 this month. 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 — Michelle, at Schleppy’s Bait and Tackle at the end of the pier, says there’s been a good increase lately. It’s a mix of perch and croakers inshore with a few halibut mid-pier and the usual sharks and rays out at the end. She says there have also been some barracuda but they come and go. And, lots of mackerel. 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 — No report this month. 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, “It has been better this month although some of the days brought us nothing like halibut. There has been lots of bait lately such as sardines, queenfish of a decent size and Spanish jacks plus smelt and a few anchovies. Can't ask for much more with those baits. The interesting thing this last week has been the thresher sharks. The boys on the end of the pier have been hooking up with some nice sized ones although the one they did land was 80 pounds and 8 feet long. The others were bigger at about 200 pounds they say. Landing them was the problem, but they finally got a good gaff rig to successfully do it. It took live mackerel on sliders to attract the sharks. They are beautiful to watch jump. There has been several keeper halibut caught and lots of undersized ones as well. One lobster was caught in the surf area on a dead anchovy, and several legal sized calicos have been caught all over the pier. The water is warmer so the fish are digesting better and faster. It should only improve from now on. 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— Ditto the above while PFIC reports indicate a good mackerel bite in the evening. 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 — Nicole, at Let's Go Fishing on the pier, says there’s been a good number of spotfin croakers (to 3-pounds) showing inshore along with some halibut mid-pier. Some nice sharks, including threshers continue to be taken, as well as bat rays, but she feels the action has slowed somewhat. She also says mackerel are available on the op and crabs on the bottom. How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.
Seal Beach Pier — Mo at Big Fish Bait & Tackle. 1780-C. Pacific Coast Hwy, said it’s still mainly perch and croakers inshore (on nuclear worms, lugworms and mussels) as well as quite a few leopard sharks (on mackerel and squid). Some mackerel, sardines and smelt are available to those with Sabikis, especially mackerel. Halibut action has been slow and no bonito have shown recently. Some big bat rays do continue to show, mainly at night, while a 5 ½ foot-long shovelnose was taken recently (and that’s a big one). 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 — It sounds like a few croakers and corbina are available inshore while sand bass and some mackerel are hitting out toward the end. Hit the pier in the evening for sharks and some big 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 — No report this month. How To Get There: From inland areas take I-710 south and follow it to the Shoreline Drive. From downtown Long Beach, take Pine Avenue south to Shoreline Drive. For the northernmost piers follow Shoreline Avenue west and follow it around the lagoon to where the street ends. For the southernmost piers, 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 various piers as you drive the road out to the end.
Cabrillo Pier — Randy, at Paul’s Bait & Tackle. 803 South Pacific Ave., San Pedro, says he hasn’t gotten too many reports. Some perch and a few bass should be available out toward the end while tomcod and a few halibut are showing up mid-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) – The normal species are all available if you can find spots to fish—kelp bass (most too small), rock wrasse, senorita, opaleye, halfmoon and blacksmith. Although the number of sheephead seems to be down this year there is a steady run on jack mackerel and Pacific mackerel, especially in the evening hours. 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) – There’s the usual mix of bass, opaleye, halfmoon and other Catalina pier species as well as a lot of good-sized bonito and an occasional barracuda. Bring heavy tackle (or at least heavy braid) if you intend to seek out the big sharks and rays that are hanging out in the water. 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 – Pete at “Just Fishing by Pete, in Redondo Beach, says the mackerel are thick but there’s little else showing. 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 — Joseph, at Redondo Sportfishing, said it’s the normal mackerel on top along with bass, sheephead and perch on the bottom. He says a few ocean whitefish have also been landed at the pier. 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 at “Just Fishing by Pete, in Redondo Beach, says it’s mackerel on top, with leopard sharks showing up on the bottom inshore. He says few people are fishing for halibut and thus few are catching them. PFIC reports indicate some sardines are also available as well as a few bass and shovelnose sharks (guitarfish). How To Get There: Take the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) to Pier Avenue and follow Pier Avenue west to the pier.
Manhattan Beach Pier – Pete at “Just Fishing by Pete, in Redondo Beach, says it’s mackerel on top, with leopard sharks showing up on the bottom inshore. He says few people are fishing for halibut and thus few are catching them. PFIC reports indicate some sardines are also available as well as lizardfish. How To Get There: From Sepulveda Boulevard, turn west on Manhattan Beach Drive and follow it to the pier.
Burton Chace Fishing Platform (Marina Del Rey) — No report this month but some flatties should be available as well as the always present bat rays and sharks. A few small barracuda may also make an appearance. How To Get There: From Lincoln Boulevard turn west on Mindanao Drive and follow it to the park. To reach the dock you must go through the park.
Venice Pier — Ditto Hermosa and Manhattan Beach. How To Get There: Highway 1 to Washington St., turn west and follow Washington St. to the pier.
Santa Monica Pier — Mannie, at the Santa Monica Pier Bait & Tackle, says things were really hot on good-sized mackerel for a few weeks but things seem to be tapering off. Some small halibut are showing mid-pier, some perch down by the pilings (opaleye, sargo and pileperch), and a few croakers and perch inshore. Some sharks and rays are also available, especially at night. 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 Wylies Bait and Tackle reports that the fishing seems to be improving. She’s getting reports of small halibut at the pier and some good shark and ray action (including some thresher sharks). She says there are some big leopard sharks, shovelnose sharks (guitarfish) and bat rays; all may be following the runs of grunion. PFIC reports included a grass rockfish and small bocaccio. 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 — PFIC reports indicate smelt and lizardfish are available although that seemed about the sum total of species reported. 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 — Action sounds slow although perch and croakers should be available inshore, sharks and rays further out on the pier. 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 — Frank, at Stearns Wharf Bait and Tackle, said there had been a good bite on sardines, mackerel, small perch, and anchovies. Apparently the baitfish are also attracting bigger fry since he’s also reporting that shovelnose are hitting at a steady pace, halibut at a somewhat slower rate. Apparently a nice-sized lingcod was also hanging around the pilings and making a regular appearance but it had resisted being hooked, at least at the time I talked to Frank. Crabs are also still available. 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— It sounds like there is a good evening bite at the end for mackerel, and some good-sized barred surfperch are available inshore, but other than that things are fairly slow. No one seems willing to risk the kelp on the pipe reef for rockfish. 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 — Overall it’s still only fair although a few fish are making an appearance—perch, bass, small rockfish, sharks, rays and a few halibut. How To Get There: From Highway 101 simply take the Gaviota State Park turnoff.
Support UPSAC! Preserve pier and shore angling in California.