|California Pier Report—March 2010
San Diego County Piers
Imperial Beach Pier – Apparently the pier has seen occasional closures due to the tides although it seems to have weathered the activity without any damage. When things settle down, there should be some surfperch inshore, a few blackperch down by the pilings, some sculpin out at the end, and the usual sharays. However, new storms are predicted for the first week of March. 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 — The pier has been closed since 2/27 and it appears that once again it might have suffered some damage to the railings out in the mid-pier area. No one seems to know just when it will reopen. Prior to the closure they were getting some small croakers, a few perch inshore, an occasional bass out toward the end and the usual thornbacks and shovelnose guitarfish. 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, said the pier was closed on 2/27, most of 2/28 and again on 3/1. The waves were up to the seawall on the weekend and it just wasn’t considered safe to be on the pier. And, with those conditions it’s unlikely you could have kept any bait on the bottom or caught any fish. Prior to the high tides the pier was producing some perch inshore as well as several short calico (kelp) bass. One angler even got a 4-foot-long 7-gill shark using a live smelt for bait. First 7-gill I’ve heard taken from the pier. Hopefully the tides will lessen and the fishing can resume. 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) said the weather’s been affecting the fishing. Some top species—mackerel, sardines and jacksmelt were showing up prior to the last storm but that seemed to spread them out and reduce the action—but perhaps they’ll return as the water calms. Anglers fishing the bottom are picking up a few buttermouth perch (blackperch) while an occasional sand bas also makes it over the railing. He also helped one angler land an70-80 pound bat ray. Not much else. 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 not too many anglers lately due to the rain but when conditions are good a few bass are showing on the bottom along with the occasional shark and ray. Some mackerel, jacksmelt and sardines were hitting on top but action is sporadic. 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 – Bill, at the SI bait shop, said there’s been a good upswing in the numbers of bass and halibut and thinks the halibut may be moving in to spawn (although it seems a little early). Most of the bass are hitting on live worms or lures (i.e., MegaBaits) while the halibut prefer live bait (smelt and WORMS). Not much is happening on top other than the occasional mackerel or jacksmelt. A few lobsters are showing at night. Not much else. 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 pier bait shop, reports that things were fairly slow although anglers were still picking up good numbers of small perch and quite a few sardines. Not much else; the water is still dirty and the surf was getting hammered on 2/28. 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 — Henry, our reporter for the pier has been having excellent action lately on (surprisingly) spotfin croakers. He says they aren’t too big, ½-2 ½ pounds, but is seeing steady action on most days. He says there are also a lot of jacksmelt Unusual have been the number of barred surfperch and and halibut since it’s still early for the flatties. He says there has been a real problem with the pelicans and he’s seen over two dozen dead so far. They’re starving and as a consequence are attacking angler’s lines and fish when they come up and Henry said he’s simply stopped fishing some days. He counted 32 on the small pier one day, with another dozen in the water around the pier, and said it’s rather sad. He knows they are starving but there just isn’t much people can do about that. They can make sure they do not hook the birds, or at least try, and if they do hook a bird should try to safely remove the hook. 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’ve not been able to contact anyone at the pier for several weeks. Anyone know if the shop is still open? 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, “Hi Ken, Wish I could say that fishing has picked up, but it hasn't yet. At least we have been getting bait, meaning smelt of all sizes. They just aren't attracting anything. The small Gulp sandworms in the camouflage pattern are successful for perch. Haven't seen any big perch though. The jacksmelt fishermen are doing okay. There are some mackerel on the end of the pier. There are some whales coming through that are still going south. Once they start their trip back we will see them in close to shore. That makes for good pictures when they do that. The water is 58 degrees and a good color. Something should happen soon. Well Ken, one of these days some good news pertaining to the fishing will come through. Gets kind of depressing this way, but we don't give up. Noticed that the boats are having as much of a problem catching fish as we are. At least we don't have to pay.” 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 a little 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 — I talked to Cliff from Let’s Go Fishing and they are still fighting to get the bait shop open on the pier. Been arguing with the Health Department for over a month and he said he may be another month. Another fine example of government at work! As for the fishing, it’s the usual WHEN THE SURF cooperates. Expect some surfperch and croakers inshore, jacksmelt and or mackerel on the top, and a few sharks (leopards and shovelnose) and rays out toward the end. Quite a few crabs are also showing up, both rock crabs and spider crabs. The croaker action should be heating up but the pounding waves are also pounding the fish. How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.
Seal Beach Pier — Dave at Big Fish said there was a really BIG surf on 2/28 (with part of PCH in Sunset Beach closed) although a few fish were being reported. Some small halibut have been showing mid-pier while sharks and rays, especially shovelnose, are available at the end. Before the big tides, anglers were picking up barred surfperch and croakers inshore.
Los Angeles County Piers
Belmont Pier — Again it sounds like big waves although some surfperch and croakers were being taken inshore, some sargo and halibut mid-pier to the end, and a few sand bass out toward the end. Not too much on top although sharays are available 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 — The piers are seeing some fish, a few sargo, yellowfin croakers, sand sharks and bat rays. Try ghost shrimp for a variety of fish. Not much is showing on top other than a few mackerel. You do have a chance to get some really nice floating bags as accumulated trash continues to wash down from the river and flow out to sea right past the piers. It’s a mélange of flotsam and jetsam with the flotsam probably destined to wind up thousands of miles out in the Pacific. The plastic of course will degrade into tiny little balls to be eagerly gulped up by hungry fish and birds. What a great world we live in! 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 piers.
Cabrillo Pier —If you wanted to see some really big waves crashing into and over the jetty this was the weekend to go. Of course the resulting sand will make things even harder at the pier. When calm, anglers have been picking up some croakers, a few lizardfish, and a smattering of jacksmelt throughout the pier. At the end, anglers continue to primarily seek out perch and bass along with the occasional sculpin (scorpionfish) and cabezon. 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. Pelagics have been sparse. 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) – Action has remained surprisingly good lately considering all the poaching going on. It’s the same poachers week after week, taking out way too many bonito and (sometimes) other fish. But it’s a long way to go for the wardens. As for the fish— it’s the usual mix of bonito, (mostly small) 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 – Big tides for a big pier but most of the fish remain small with mackerel predominating. Mix in some jacksmelt, a few croakers inshore, and an occasional sanddab and that’s about it. Oh, and don’t forget the lobster poachers doing their thing (it’s a tradition at Redondo). 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 — Joshua at the pier’s tackle shop reported quite a few sargo are still showing up as well as the mackerel in the late afternoon (4-6 PM). Other than that it’s the normal perch and perch-like species under the pier as well as the senorita. 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, said the surf was huge on 2/28 when I called which basically was making it impossible to fish the inshore areas for perch (and it was true for all of the piers between Hermosa and Santa Monica). As far as he knew the piers were open. 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 – Also closed for a couple of days. The fishing is the same as at 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) — 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 and Manhattan. How To Get There: Highway 1 to Washington St., turn west and follow Washington St. to the pier.
Santa Monica Pier — John, at the pier bait shop, said things were really dead the day I called (2/2. He said the surge and waves were really strong and the fish just seemed to disappear. Up to the weekend, and its big waves, anglers had been getting a few sargo, some blackperch, and walleyes under the pier. Some mackerel and a few sardines were showing on top. Sharay action has been slow. 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 said she had gotten reports the day I called (2/2 saying everyone on the pier was catching perch, decent-sized barred surfperch in the one-pound class. They were also getting lots of walleye surfperch although little on the top. Local shore anglers were reporting good numbers of cabezon and white seabass so I would imagine a few of them might also be available around the pier to people who know what they’re doing. 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 — The pier got battered 2/27 and 2/28 but has been producing some fish in between the storms. Expect some barred surfperch inshore, a few halibut in the mid-pier area, and some jacksmelt on top. Both smoothhounds and rays have been showing for bottom fisherman. 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 — Although there was some damage to the nearby Ventura Keys, the big tides and surge from Saturday’s tidal wave (that fizzled) apparently did not damage the pier. It was briefly closed but appears to be back in action. Prior to the weekend, some small croakers were showing mid-pier, some larger croakers (including spotfins) inshore, and a few sharks (smoothhounds, leopards and dogfish out toward the end. 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 — Jeff, at Stearns Wharf Bait and Tackle, reports that things were slow the day I called (2/2 although anglers were still getting good numbers of “Ronkies” (white croaker) and walleye surfperch along with the occasional lizardfish and jacksmelt. He said there’s also been an excellent take on rock crabs, most of them good-sized crabs. But, it’s slow on the top and slow on sharays. 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— Storms have already removed much of the lush kelp that was surrounded the pier and now the county is dumping mud from the slough onto the beach (beach replenishment). The day before the dumping began saw excellent fishing for perch. As soon as the dumping began the water turned dirty and the fish (a) stopped biting or (b) went elsewhere. Since there continues to be an excellent perch bite at Campus Point, “b” would seem to be the answer. Mix in wet and wacky weather as well as big waves and there’s not a lot of reason to be optimistic for the coming week (especially since two new storms are predicted. 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 — No report this month. How To Get There: From Highway 101 simply take the Gaviota State Park turnoff.
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