|California Pier Report—Sept. 2009
San Diego County Piers
Imperial Beach Pier – Matt, at Cox Bait and Tackle (996 Palm Ave), reports that a few barred surfperch and yellowfin croaker continue to show up inshore while sardines and mackerel are available mid-pier to the end. Quite a few pinback sharks and shovelnose sharks are also showing. 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 Barnes, from the Ocean Beach Pier Baitshop on the pier, says you can set your watch by the mackerel that show up every night at 8 PM. Bring along some glow sticks and have some fun. During the day it’s queenfish in the mid-pier area, a few croakers inshore, an occasional under-sized white seabass, a few sheephead at the end, and some big bat rays. 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 Crystal Pier Bait & Tackle Shop on the pier, reports that things have slowed although sardines and anchovies are surrounding the pier (or were until a bait boat dropped it’s net next to the pier and swooped up much of the bait). The water is crystal clear and both corbina and mullet are showing by the pier but no one has figured out how to catch them. The pier also had its “Kid’s Fishing Classic” a couple of weekends ago with the winner catching a small spotfin croaker. 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 are fairly slow with an occasional bass (mostly too small), halibut, shark or ray. He says it has slowed from last month. 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) – Apparently most of the action is on small bass with the stingrays, small sharks, and occasional halibut filling in the action. 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 – Ed at the baitshop reports really slow action with few fish or fishermen. Expect a few small bass. Of note however was a large sculpin (scorpionfish) that measured 24 inches according to one report. 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 — Karen, at Oceanside Pier Bait & Tackle on the pier, says things have slowed somewhat but she continues to see croaker, corbina and sargo action inshore, while some micro-sized bonito make an occasional appearance at the end (along with some sardines and a few mackerel). Some big leopard sharks and shovelnose are also showing. 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 — The pier continues to see some croakers and bass along with the usual sharks and rays at night. Biggest news lately was the capture of a huge bat ray estimated to weigh 150-pounds by the regulars. 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, said it’s the usual, croakers inshore, quite a few shovelnose sharks, and a good mackerel bite (primarily at night). She’s also seeing quite a few smoothhounds and pinback sharks. The highlight of the month was a 21-pound sheephead taken on a whole, live 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's getting quieter at the pier with the schools about ready to start and the Jr. Lifeguards gone for now. Fishing isn't great, but it is tolerable. We have been getting some keepers. None have been of any great size though. My group has gotten quite a few 21-inchers. The yellowfin croakers are around every day with some of them pretty big. There are some nice shovelnose guitarfish too. The mackerel are not big but abundant. There have also been some bonitos. They are larger than last year’s were. The bait is around just about every day now with some sardines, queenfish, and smelt. Yesterday the water was quite big and broke over the surf tee all day. The high tide wasn't until 3:30 and was only 4.5. That didn't stop the big water. It was a red flag day all day. The fishing should pick up when that is gone. I hope!!” 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 info from Balboa although it’s more crowded. 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 — Marion, at Let's Go Fishing on the pier, says the action has slowed as seen during the large Huck Finn Derby that was won with a small lizardfish. Nevertheless a few (emphasis on few) quality fish are showing including a spotfin croaker weighing 7-pounds and a thresher shark measuring 8-feet in length, There was a mini-run of the threshers one day with twelve hooked but only four were landed. Apparently it was the same day as the earthquake in Mexico, and the pier’s waters were surrounded by sea lions, dolphins, and, apparently, threshers. Was it connected to the earthquake? Who knows? More likely there were some baitfish in the area and they attracted the various ocean creatures. How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.
Seal Beach Pier — Ron, at Big Fish Bait & Tackle. 1780-C. Pacific Coast Hwy, said the pier has also slowed although there are the usual yellowfin croakers and small stingrays inshore. A few halibut also show mid-pier, but they’re mainly falling to the regulars who know how to troll a whole anchovy along the bottom. Mackerel are also available, mostly out toward the end at night. 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 — The pier continues to see corbina and croakers inshore along with a few halibut by the first extension. Bass and a few sharks (mostly smoothhounds) are found out at 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 — Regulars continue to catch a few croakers and bass at night; try ghost shrimp for both the croakers and bass, lures for the bass. If fishing at night be in a group. 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 — The pier is seeing some mid-pier action on halibut and tomcod (white croaker) along with an occasional run of mackerel. Expect a few bass and perch out toward the end. 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—kelp bass (most too small), rock wrasse, senorita, opaleye, halfmoon and blacksmith. Schools of jack mackerel and Pacific mackerel come and go with the evening hours often the best time for the pelagics. 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 but the bonito seem to have deserted the Mole for the most part. 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 it’s still mainly mackerel at the pier although a few bonito and halibut have been taken. 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 — Joey, at Redondo Sportfishing, reports good mackerel action along with small calicos and the normal fish under the pier—senorita, small perch and perch-like fish. This week did see the catch of several large opaleye on strips of squid. 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 action has been dead with mainly a few baitfish and only an occasional halibut or small shark. 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 the same as Hermosa. 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) — Mainly it’s an occasional croaker, bass or bat ray on bait while some barracuda are taken on lures. 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 — John, at the Santa Monica Pier Bait & Tackle, says the pier has seen a drop off although some sargo and yellowfins still show inshore, a couple of legal halibut have been landed, and large leopard sharks and shovelnose guitarfish provide excitement. 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 Malibu slowed but fishing improved the first day after the grunion runs resumed. Halibut were reported as well as some large leopard sharks. There also continues to be a lot of BIG bat rays taken. 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 — Baitfish (jacksmelt, mackerel and sardines) continue to provide most of the action although a few croakers continue to show inshore, a few halibut mid-pier, and an occasional small ray throughout the pier. 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 — Yellowfin croakers and a few barred surfperch are still available inshore while white croakers and queenfish are seen mid-pier. Schools of mackerel (Pacific and Spanish) come and go and provide spurts of action mid-pier to the end. The shark action mirrors the baitfish in the area, good if they’re present, slow if absent. 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 it’s been really slow. About all that’s been hitting are small shinerperch and Spanish mackerel (jack mackerel). He said he hasn’t seen a halibut in over two weeks. 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— No report this month. 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 — Shirene, at the Gaviota Store, said there’s been some decent action on mackerel and smelt along with a few surfperch. And while the thresher action has slowed, there have been fairly good numbers of leopard sharks and halibut lately. How To Get There: From Highway 101 simply take the Gaviota State Park turnoff.
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