Antioch/Oakley Regional Shoreline Pier
Most commonly called the Antioch Bridge Pier, this is the most heavily visited pier in the Pittsburg-Antioch area. As usual, the reason for the pier's popularity is that it yields a good number of fish, in fact an almost unbelievable number of small striped bass at times. It is another example of a Bay Area bridge being turned into a pier. In 1979, when the new Nejedly Bridge (named after State Senator John Nejedly) was being constructed, he suggested that some of the old bridge's pillars be used as a fishing pier. No sooner said than done; the southerly end of the old Antioch Bridge was converted into a 535-foot-long and 16-foot-wide fishing pier which also contains a 46x25-feet platform at the outer end.

Environment
The pier is at the south end of, and adjacent to, the Nejedly Bridge (Highway 160) in Antioch. Water is fairly shallow but usually there is a good current (and generally there is wind). The bottom is primarily sand, but there is some grass, and lots of obstructions which like to grab onto sinkers. Water here is that of the main San Joaquin River although the Big Break area curves off along this southern shoreline and goes on to front Jersey Island and the town of Oakley. Near the front of the pier is a Fish and Game station along with a sluice in which hatchery reared striped bass and other fish can be released into these waters (and an alternate name for this pier is the Antioch Delta Field Base Pier).

Fishing Tips
Although for the most part the species of fish caught here are similar to the other piers in Pittsburg and Antioch, there seem to be more, both in quantity caught, and in different species caught. Striped bass, sturgeon (both white and green), steelhead, salmon, largemouth and smallmouth bass, Sacramento pike (actually Sacramento squawfish -- a large minnow), channel and white catfish, and a few starry flounder are the main fish caught here.

Most fisherman fish on the bottom, and most use a sliding sinker rig baited with cut anchovy or shad, although many use grass shrimp, ghost shrimp, worms or live gobies (good for the larger stripers). I usually simply use a high/low leader even though it is admittedly probably not as good for the larger fish. I have also found that while many of the regulars go out to the end of the pier, and the deeper water, to try for the larger fish, the inshore waters can be very productive. Just a short way out, around the first windbreak, is a good area for small to medium size stripers. Inshore, by the rocks, seems most productive for summertime largemouth bass and successful anglers are generally those who use live minnows.

Seasonally, large stripers (up to 30 pounds) are most common late fall through the winter and into early spring, sturgeon are most common either early winter (November) or in the spring (March), small stripers are present year-round, and most freshwater species are common springtime to early winter. Since you are limited to one pole, you really need to decide what you are after. For most species, a light to medium action rod and rigging will work. If you specifically seek sturgeon or the larger stripers, fish with heavier gear, 30-40 pound test line, and be prepared for fewer fish. For the smaller fish, 8-15 pound test line is ideal and is still heavy enough for most fish you will encounter.

If using lighter tackle, do be prepared for a lot of bites from the smaller stripers and expect to lose some bait. One way to avoid it is to use the Magic Thread sold at some local tackle stores. This is the first pier where I saw this thread used, and I saw one angler receive six strikes before he had to replace his bait. You simply loop the thread around your bait once it is on the hook and it helps hold it to the hook during the cast. It also helps to keep the bait on the hook even when you receive a nibble.

Using artificials for stripers can also work at this pier; try the same outfits that are used by boat anglers. Use Fish Traps, Cordell Spots, Hair Raisers, Rat-L-Traps and broken-back Rebels. Also be aware that both salmon and steelhead pass through these waters during the fall and winter months. Have spinners and spoons ready for these fish, most of which seem to weigh 4-12 pounds. Finally, remember that largemouth and a few smallmouth bass are present, especially along the shoreline area, so don't be afraid to try spinnerbaits.

If you simply want to catch a fish (any fish), try on the bottom with a light outfit and use cut anchovies, shad, grass shrimp or pile worms. You should be able to hook one of the smaller fish. An additional thrill can occur at night when fairly large catches of catfish and Sacramento pike can occur. The Sacramento pike will hit almost any bait while the catfish really like the small black delta clams that are available in local bait shops.

Special Recommendation
(1) This is a windy area so always bring along warm clothing. (2) Throw back most of your catch. The state recommends that you eat no more than four meals per month of any striped bass from this region because of elevated mercury levels in their flesh. And, women who are pregnant, nursing mothers, and children under six should eat no fish from the delta. (3) Remember to bring a freshwater fishing license, this is one pier where game wardens generally check several times a day. This was the first pier, after thirty years of fishing on piers, where a warden actually asked to see my license. Typically here, the wardens are checking to see if anglers have licenses and also looking for illegal, under 18 inch, striped bass.

Special, Special Recommendation
Several times I have seen kids at this pier tossing back small stripers, but doing so in a way that almost guaranteed that the fish would die. If you see kids, or anyone really, using these small bass for pitching practice (or seeing how high up they can toss them), talk to them. I have found that generally most people will stop such actions if you talk to them and explain the sorry state of the striper population. It will not always work, but it is worth a try.

History Note
A plaque at the base of the pier says that at this site in 1775, the Spanish explorer DeAnza with his group of soldiers and missionaries, stopped and camped. It goes on to say that one priest said that "from this point you can see the Delta, the Sierra Nevada, and Mount Diablo. I wonder if they tried fishing?"

Antioch/Oakley Regional Shoreline Pier Facts
Hours: Although the park is only open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., fishing is allowed 24 hours a day (so no overnight camping).
Facilities: Lights, benches and windbreaks are on the pier. Restrooms are near the foot of the pier as is a fish cleaning station. Nearby, near the foot of the pier, is a 4.5 acre meadow area which has 10 picnic tables and barbecues.
Handicapped Facilities: The surface of the pier is concrete, the railing is about 42 inches high, and the nearby restrooms are marked handicapped accessible. In addition, the picnic tables and barbecues are all located adjacent to paved trails and are situated on "wheelchair-friendly" pads.
How To Get There: Follow Highway 4 east until it turns into Highway 160; just before you get to the bridge take the Wilbur Avenue off ramp (it is the last exit before the bridge), then turn left on Bridgehead Road and follow it to the entrance to the Antioch/Oakley Regional Shoreline Park. The pier is the main feature of the park.
Management: East Bay Regional Park District.