Beach Fishing Pier |
Opened in 1989, this is one of the newer piers in the Bay Area and one of
the best spots to bring a family. Fishing can be good or bad but so many
facilities are available in the 52-acre park (including a snack bar, public
pool, and nearly mile long beach), that there is generally something for
everyone to do. The pier is located just up the road from China Camp and
could easily be missed if you were not looking for it. However, once you
find it you will undoubtedly come back.
The pier is located a short distance away from the Sister Islands and
fronts some of the deeper water in this part of San Pablo Bay. Pilings
show little growth of mussel but the bottom here is mud and grass and
there seems to be a lot of natural food. Inshore, the shoreline is covered
with rocks and at times there is some fishing for perch but it seems only
fair. More productive is the water to the left of the pier about half
way to three quarters of the way out. This is a good area for kingfish
(white croaker), flounder, striped bass, sharks, skates and bat ray. The
most heavily fished area is the t-shaped end of the 190-foot-long pier;
this is the premier spot for sturgeon.
This is one of those piers which can be great or terrible depending on
the tides and the season. During the right time of the year, late winter
to early spring, it is one of the best piers from which to catch white
sturgeon, and sturgeon up to 170 pounds have been reported from the pier.
If this is your quest, come prepared and follow a few simple rules. In
regards to equipment, make sure you are using a medium to heavy saltwater
rod and reel loaded with at least 300 yards of line of at least 40 pound
test. Use a plastic-coated wire leader equipped with one or two 5/0 to
7/0 hooks, a sliding sinker rigging, and a sinker heavy enough to hold
your line on the bottom. In an extremely fast moving tide, attach one
or more rubber core sinkers to your leader to keep it on the bottom. Come
prepared with a net and remember that with the sturgeon regulations you
(1) cannot gaff a sturgeon and (2) you must release any sturgeon under
44 inches or over 72 inches (so the pier's record fish will not be challenged).
Obviously you must be careful before you net any sturgeon; you may want
to walk large sturgeon to the shoreline. Unfortunately these regulations
are particularly hard on pier anglers who already are at a disadvantage
in landing large fish. Also remember that tides are super critical in
sturgeon fishing. Try to fish the last few hours of a strong outgoing
tide, especially a tide which ends on the minus side. However, here either
incoming or outgoing tides can produce; just remember that results will
be poor when the water stops moving (slack water). In addition, the period
after a few inches of rain is often super productive. Finally, remember
to use the right bait. LIVE grass shrimp, ghost shrimp, or blue mud shrimp
will produce best results. Ghost shrimp and mud shrimp seem to produce
the biggest fish but during the summer months grass shrimp often seem
a better bait overall. In addition, herring roe, which can be collected
during the winter spawn, can be a good bait.
Weather does play an
important part at this pier. As example, rains bring in the sturgeon and
push out some other fish. Low-rain years will see good catches of kingfish
at the pier into the winter months along with some continued catches of
sharks and rays. When the big rains hit, and the run-off begins, these
species will move closer to the mouth of the bay and be replaced by the
It is good to remember the tides no matter what type of fish you are seeking.
Striped bass like a swift moving tide with best action at the time of
most movement. Perch like a moderate tide with best action at maximum
current. Jacksmelt like a swift current with best action at the height
of the incoming tide. For sharks and rays a moderate incoming tide is
best. For most of these, the three types of shrimp will work as bait;
however pile worms are the best bait for the jacksmelt and you may not
want to pay the high cost for ghost or mud shrimp when fishing for perch.
Best times to fish for the various species is as follows: sturgeon --
late winter to spring; striped bass -- fall to winter; starry flounder
-- winter and spring; perch - winter; jacksmelt -- spring to summer; white
croaker -- late winter to early summer; skates and rays -- most of the
year with late summer and fall the best time. Remember however that these
times will vary somewhat depending on the arrival dates and severity of
the winter rains.
The park is named after John McNear who owned this land and the nearby
brickmaking operation at Point San Pedro back in the 1880s.
Beach Fishing Pier Facts
Hours: The park hours change seasonally so check. However, during
the sunmmer it is generally open from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. daily.
Facilities: : There are benches, water faucets and fish cleaning
stations on the pier. There are no lights on the pier. Adjacent to the
parking lot are two portable restrooms. Nearby is the snack bar; adjacent
to it are a swimming pool, tennis courts, and extensive lawn areas. There
is a $1 fee to enter the park.
Handicapped Facilities: Some handicapped parking spaces. The surface
of the pier is concrete and the railing is approximately 40 inches high.
How To Get There: From Highway 101 take Point San Pedro Road east
-- follow it for approximately 8 miles to the park entrance and road.
Management: County of Marin - Department of Parks and Open Space.