|California Pier Report—Dec. 2009
San Diego County Piers
Imperial Beach Pier – Matt, at Cox Bait and Tackle (996 Palm Ave), reports that a few surfperch are available inshore to the mid-pier area while the baitfish have moved out to sea. Ditto the sharks and rays that have slowed. Still, a few sculpin (scorpionfish), bass, and lobsters are available mid-pier to the end. Jacksmelt are also becoming more numerous. 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 at the pier’s bait shop says it’s slow with the mackerel and bonito moving on, probably due to the swell conditions. Some perch are available inshore, bass out at the end and jacksmelt mid-pier to the end. He say the lobsters are non-existent. Basically things have slowed but an improvement in weather might lead to an improvement in the fishing. 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, says the pier was closed for part of Saturday, 11/28, due to the high waves and swell. When calm there has been a good bite going on with the walleye surfperch, and an increasing inshore bite on barred surfperch. Nothing much else although a couple of bonito were taken by kids using Sabikis. As for lobsters, only a few are being taken. 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 — Teresa at JJ’s Sunset Deli (foot of the pier) reported slow action with the usual species—mackerel, bass, and rays— showing, but all in small numbers. Not much else has even shown. 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) – The pier has been seeing some mackerel, a few bay bass, some halibut, round stingrays, and butterfly rays. 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 – Frank at the bait shop reports seeing a few mackerel, some small bass, and a few sculpin, but overall the fishing is slow 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 the pier has slowed. She says there are a lot of jacksmelt along with a FEW perch, bass, halibut, and lobsters. No sharks have been seen recently. 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 real report this month although apparently BIG jacksmelt are readily available. 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 — Thomas, at Schleppy’s Bait and Tackle near the end of the pier, said it slowed after Thanksgiving due to the high winds, big waves and a western swell. The result is murky water and an absence of baitfish. Nevertheless some croakers and corbina continue to be taken inshore while small bass are hitting mid-pier. The end of the pier is closed for renovation and bird netting, a condition that has shut off the prime shark and ray territory—until May. Lobsters do continue to show at night and it sound like Thomas and other locals are working hard to keep people honest (THANKS!). 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, “We had a slow month except for some bonito, mackerel and jacksmelt. The jacksmelt are just beginning to show. We have had some very large schools of sardines into the surf area which the bonito are excited about. Our only problem is that the fish are full now. We have not seen but a few halibut and they have been small. There are some thornbacks. The spotfin croakers are still hanging around, but the only people getting them are the snaggers. The spotfin have been 5-pounders. They were beautiful fish. The days have been beautiful for this time of the year. The water is clear in the surf and there isn't much surf either. The water temperature is normal for this time of year at 62 degrees. Our biggest problem now is the birds that want our live bait. We have loons, Brandts cormorants, double crested cormorants, and Western grebes. They are at our baits most of the time. Some of the cormorants look like Christmas trees with the hooks decorating them, but they don't seem to mind. We get to do more than the birdwatchers. We get to handle them. We do it gently though.” 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 generally 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 — The pier continues to see some surfperch, both barred and walleye, inshore to mid-pier, while a few spotfins and yellowfins continue to show inshore. The mackerel and bonito bite has slowed, as has the bite of sharks and rays. The bait and tackle shop will continue to be closed until early/mid-January. How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.
Seal Beach Pier —David, at Big Fish Bait & Tackle. 1780-C. Pacific Coast Hwy, is seeing less fish but some big spotfin croakers have been showing up inshore along with a few yellowfins (use ghost shrimp, seaworms or mussels). Walleye surfperch are thick some days but sharay action has died and nothing has been hitting on the top. 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 some croakers inshore, both spotfins and yellowfins (use the same baits as at Seal Beach) while some bass are hitting mid-pier to the end. Shark and ray action has slowed, as has action on the top. 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 — The piers are mainly seeing a combination of herring (queenfish), sargo, sand bass, and a few croakers (try bloodworms for the sargos/croakers and plastics for the bass). Most of the action on other species has slowed although a few bonito are still making an appearance. BTW, the best time to fish continues to be the evening hours. 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 continues to see a mix with a few mackerel showing along with some bass, small sculpin (scorpionfish), and halibut. A few barracuda also continue to show along with an occasional perch and cabezon out at 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. 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) – Although the bonito action has slowed, there’s the usual mix of bass, opaleye, halfmoon and other Catalina pier species. 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 things have slowed due to the recent weather. The pier continues to see some mackerel but most of the bonito action has died. A few bass do show up, and an occasional sanddab and sculpin, but it’s slow. Few lobsters are reported although some spider crabs continue to show up. 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 — Josh, at Redondo Sportfishing, says things are the slowest he’s seen it in a while. There’s still a few mackerel on top along with the usual small ones under the pier (senorita and assorted perch-like species) but that’s about it. 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 slow. Expect a few tomcod (white croakers) mid-pier to the end along with some jacksmelt and a few bass. Inshore there’s a few perch, both barred and walleye. 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 – Ditto Hermosa Beach. 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. 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 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 have slowed. A few corbina have been taken inshore, a few legal halibut mid-pier, and a few mackerel out at the end, but overall it’s very slow (and he hasn’t even seen many sharks or rays). The big waves have tended to quiet down the action. 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 anglers continue to see big sargo at the pier including several 15-17 inch fish (on fresh mussels). The biggest news was a reported 22-inch sargo that several people said was measured. That would undoubtedly have been a record fish since most guidebooks say that sargo only reach 17 ½ inches in length. We’re trying to get a picture! Anglers at the end continue to take thresher sharks but too many are baby threshers only 4-5 feet long and locals are trying to get them to stop. Most top action has slowed but walleye surfperch continue to show in good numbers. 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 — It’s all about smelt and more smelt at this time, little smelt, mid-sized smelt, and big smelt. And that’s about all. 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 has slowed (some would say it’s dead) although a few perch are showing inshore and a few small croakers appearing mid-pier. Acton on the top is dead as is the action on sharks and rays. 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, reports a mix of sardines, jacksmelt and lizardfish along with a few halibut. The day I called a 6-year-old-angler had hooked and fought a 23-inch halibut that was netted by Frank. Locals were just a little envious. Not much else is showing. 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— Boyd Grant reports good numbers of 9-11-inch kelp bass being taken but few legals (with most caught down by the pilings). The pilings are also producing a few pileperch. The pipe-reef is producing some nice-sized kelp and grass rockfish along with a few cabezon (to 18 inches) and small brown rockfish. Baitfish, mainly sardines, are in one day and out the next but the mackerel seem to have headed out to deeper waters. Shark and ray action is slow. 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 reported a drop off in action due to weather with the baitfish (sardines and mackerel) moving out. However, jacksmelt fishing has improved and a few perch continue to show inshore. How To Get There: From Highway 101 simply take the Gaviota State Park turnoff.
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