Point Pier |
Nestled just inland from the Golden Gate Bridge and Fort Point, the Civil War fort that sits under the south end of the bridge, this pier offers one of the most beautiful views of the bridge itself as well as the hills that form the entrance to the Left Coast's most famous bay. In addition, a veritable armada of boats and ships is usually on display, everything from small Boston Whalers, ferries, and sightseeing boats, to huge ocean liners and football-field-length cargo ships. Controversial, but almost a daily sighting, are the even longer oil ships that traverse the watery highway to their moorings at Richmond or the more inland Carquinez Strait. Equally impressive is the view toward the City, one of the world's favorite tourist destinations. Luckily for the anglers, the pier offers generally decent fishing and crabbing. The only problem is the camera-touting tourists who sometimes outnumber the fishermen and tend to fill up the limited parking spaces near the pier, especially on the weekends. In addition, as the amateur photographers vie for the most photogenic spot on the pier to capture their once-in-a-lifetime photos, they may be in the very spot a fisherman wants to fish. But it's a truly minor and good-natured inconvenience.
Strong winds are common most days and often they are accompanied by strong currents. For the wind, the best advice is to bring a warm jacket. For the currents, you simply have to plan out how you are going to fish. As example, it may be almost impossible at times to keep your line down under the pier, the prime habitat if you're after perch. Or, if you cast out away from the pier for bottom fish such as flounder, it may be almost impossible to hold on the bottom without a fairly heavy sinker. So, make sure you have the tackle to offset any problems from the wind or current.
Summer produces mainly white croaker, jacksmelt, walleye surfperch, silver surfperch, Pacific sardines (some years), sand sole, English sole, brown smoothhound sharks, leopard sharks, bat rays and big skates. For the kingfish (white croaker), fish on the bottom with pile worms or cut anchovy and be prepared to hook them as the cast is settling to the bottom. For jacksmelt, fish on the top with pile worms, small hooks and a bobber or float. For walleye, silvers, and tomcod, fish mid-depth with worms or strips of anchovy. For sand sole and English sole try on the bottom with a high/low leader or a sliding bait leader and use size 4 hooks baited with pile worms, shrimp, or strips of anchovy. For sharks and rays use heavier tackle and anchovies, mackerel, squid, or ghost shrimp for bait. A lot of immature rockfish and cabezon are also caught while fishing under the pier using pile worms or shrimp but almost all are too small to keep. A common problem throughout the summer can be keeping the bullheads (staghorn sculpin) off your hook.
Some years will also see good runs of Pacific herring (winter time) and/or Pacific sardines (summer time). The best bet for these are the multi-hook bait rigs -- Lucky Lura, Lucky Joe, Pescador Rigs, or Sabiki Rigs. At the end of the rigging use a torpedo sinker or a heavy spoon (and Crocodile spoons from 2-3 ounces in weight work well).
Most years will also see some striped bass and halibut caught at the pier, usually in July or August. The best bait for either of these is a live shiner or live smelt fished near the bottom. If live bait is unavailable, try frozen anchovies, sardines, or an artificial lure like a Hair Raiser. Salmon also enter the catch and typically you'll see people fishing for them from June until the fall months. Most seem to be caught as they pass through the Bay in September and October. Best bait and rigging are frozen anchovies fished a few feet under a bobber.
This is also one of the best piers in the bay to catch rock crabs; in fact, there seem to be as many people crabbing as fishing on many days. A final creature that seems fairly common is octopus. Most of the creatures are caught down around the pilings and whenever they're brought up they're sure to elicit comments from interested onlookers. Of course they are also pretty tasty!
Date: January 17, 1998
Well, I just got back from Fort Point. It was pretty neat there. We caught a lot of sanddabs and rock crabs. There were a few perch hitting. I was amazed at the view of things. I caught a small fish that looked like a midshipman and it bit my finger. I then booted it back to sea. My friend also caught a 15-inch lingcod that had a blue belly. About an hour before we left, I had a huge lingcod on. It had to be about 30 inches long because I got it out of the water and it was clearly bigger than my tackle box which is almost two feet long. Right before I got it up, it gave one flap of hope and splash. I lost a big one! I am still not over it. Oh well, I guess I go back and catch him again some time. Someone else also caught a kingfish that could've been mistaken for a salmon. A guy next to me also caught a octopus that he almost had to beat to death to unhook. That's about it.
Point Pier Facts