Embarcadero Marina Park Pier
This pier, located just down the shoreline from the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, has become a popular pier since its dedication in 1980. The facilities are nice; it is close to both the center of town and several hotels, and fishing has been surprisingly good. A plus for some is the nearby Seaport Village where family members not wanting to fish can readily spend their money on other activities and items.
When the schools move into the bay there can be good fishing at times for bonito, mackerel, jack mackerel, and small barracuda. Although not really common, horn sharks, thresher sharks, and white sea bass have also been landed here.
Perch prefer fresh mussels or bloodworms but will also sometimes hit a plastic grub, and opaleye often prefer frozen peas. Light tackle, by the way, is usually the way to go at this pier unless the current requires a heavy sinker. Water here is often crystal clear and the fish can be very wary of the heavier lines, especially during the middle of sunny days. For most species an incoming tide seems best; for the rays and sharks night is by far the best time. At times, fishing around the inshore rocks proves productive for small bass. If you use ghost shrimp or bloodworms, the inshore area will also yield an occasional rubberlip seaperch, blackperch or opaleye.
When mackerel are present the two most common riggings will be either a single hook setup or a bait rig. When the mackerel are biting light, use the single hook setup. A single size 4-1 hook is tied to the end of the line and a small split-shot sinker or twist-on sinker is added a few feet up the line. The most common bait is a small strip of squid about three or four inches long by a quarter inch wide or a bloody piece of mackerel -- and I generally prefer to use mackerel. The goal is to keep the bait just a few feet under the surface of the water (since the mackerel like to hang right under the schools of smelt). If the mackerel are on a "mac attack" and you really think you want to catch a bunch, use a bait rig such as a Lucky Lura rig. These riggings contain 4-8 hooks and do not really need any bait -- although you may want to sweeten a couple of hooks with bait. The problem with using these rigs is that you may catch 3, 4, or even more mackerel at a time and their twisting techniques will quickly mean the end of your expensive bait rig. If bonito are present, artificial lures seem to offer your best chance for success. A plastic bubble with a trailing feather (yellow and green seem best) about 3-4 feet behind often works best. If barracuda show up, and they often will at night, a chrome jig like a Kastmaster or Krocodile often proves the best action.
There are also a lot of sharks and rays in this area. For best results fish at night and use a piece of squid or mackerel. Most of the sharks and rays will be small to medium size so you don't really need heavy tackle. However, you will latch on to an occasional big bat ray so come prepared with a large net or treble hook gaff.
Embarcadero Marina Park Pier Facts
Facilities: Restrooms are adjacent to the pier, fish-cleaning stations and lights are on the pier. A combination bait store and snack shop is situated near the entrance of the pier. Metered parking ($1 an hour from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.), a picnic area, and basketball courts are near-by in the park. Fish a little, play a little hoop, fish a little................
Handicapped Facilities: Handicapped parking and restrooms are available. The pier surface is planking and gaps are sometimes fairly wide which may cause problems for some wheelchairs. The height of the railing is 42 inches. Posted for handicapped.
How To Get There: Take I-5 to the Market St. exit, 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.
Management: San Diego Unified Port District.