Pier Fishing in California

Resources :: California Fish

Calico Surfperch

Calico Surfperch

Species

Amphistichus koelzi; from the Greek words amphi (double) and stoichos (series, referring to the two rows of teeth in each jaw) and Walter Koelz, a U.S. ichthyologist.

Alternate Names

Surf perch and porgie.

Identification

Their coloring is silvery, with olive-green mottling and bars on sides.

Size

To 12 inches; most caught off piers are are 9-11 inches.

Range

Arroyo San Isidro, Baja California to Shi Shi Beach, Washington.

Habitat

Shallow-water, sandy-shore areas.

Piers

Calico Surfperch are the number one surf area fish caught on central California piers north of Cayucos. In the Pismo Beach-Cayucos area, large numbers of both barred surfperch and calico surfperch are caught; more barred surfperch are landed, but the calico surfperch will be slightly larger in size. Best bets: Cayucos Pier, Avila Pier, San Simeon Pier, Seacliff State Beach Pier, Santa Cruz Wharf, and Pacificia Pier.

Bait and Tackle

Bait and tackle is the same for all three of the large surfperch. Best bait is live sand crabs followed by live sea worms (pile worms or bloodworms); next would be fresh mussels, shrimp or clams. Tackle should be heavy enough to hold bottom in the surf area, and hooks should be size 6 to size 2, baited on a high/low leader.

Food Value

Reaches an edible size but like most other perch the flesh is only fair in taste. Generally pan fried in butter after coating.

Comments

Calico surfperch will often school right around the inshore pilings; at times, fishing right under the pier, as close to these pilings as possible, will yield the largest fish.