Beach Pier |
One of the arguments I used to have with a few of my southland pals concerned halibut and the piers that were best for catching the prize flatties. We tended to agree that Crystal Pier was best in the San Diego area and Goleta Pier was the best in the Santa Barbara area. The argument arose over the Los Angeles area piers. Some preferred Redondo Beach, some claimed Hermosa was better, and a few gave votes to piers like Seal Beach and Malibu. I voted for Redondo Beach. At the time my vote was simply a hunch based on a few visits to the pier; I had no data to back up my claims. Then, in 1982, I spent some time interviewing one of the men who worked at the bait shop on the pier. One statistic that he mentioned stood out, a recorded halibut count of 1,266 fish the prior year at the pier. This was not the number caught, but the number of good sized fish brought to the bait shop. The actual number of halibut would have needed to be several thousand. That figure clinched my vote.
Of course, when live bait is available (and generally that means catching it yourself today), there is tremendous pressure on the species. Most summer days see anglers lining the rail at Redondo and most of them are fishing for halibut; it would be a rare fish that would not be hooked with all of those lines.
The "Redondo Beach Pier" is a huge complex containing numerous shops and restaurants, fresh fish markets, amusement games, ample underground parking, and lots of space for fishermen. The misnamed pier is actually two piers. The first is the recently rebuilt Redondo Beach Municipal Pier. It's shape, which resembles a large horseshoe, explains the name affectionately bestowed upon it by many locals -- the Horseshoe Pier. Connected to the municipal pier on the south end is the smaller 300-foot-long Monstad Pier, a pier which is basically reserved for fishing.
Night action will also often see a variety of sharks and rays. Large bat rays as well as some of the deeper water sharks, including thresher sharks and blue sharks, will be landed. Best bait seems to be squid or a whole small fish, such as mackerel. Remember to bring a treble hook gaff and strong rope to heft the prize up to the pier. I have been told, but can't verify it, that both hammerhead sharks and bonito sharks (mako) have been landed at the pier.
An interesting technique that I first heard about at this pier concerns squid and bat rays. On a Message Board discussion concerning the best techniques for large bat rays, one communicant, YTail Stud, said he used squid and live bait. He said you first catch a small sardine or smelt and then place it in a bucket. Next, using a whole thawed squid, cut an opening in the squid and place the live bait inside the squid body. Hook the live bait through the squid body. The result is a squid that appears to be life-like as it move about because of the enclosed fish. He recommended using this with a heavy rigging near the breakline on an incoming tide.
Although surf species are not as common, I have caught several nice yellowfin croaker while fishing the early evening hours in the inner section of the horseshoe pier, and surprisingly these were caught on cut anchovy. Although most anglers seem to want to automatically fish the deepest water and cast out from the outer railings, don't be afraid to try the inner waters.
Beach Pier Facts