Pier Fishing in California

Resources :: California Fish

Redtail Surfperch

Redtail Surfperch


Amphistichus rhodoterus; from the Greek words amphi (double), stoichus (series, referring to the two rows of teeth in each jaw), and rhodoterus (rosy).

Alternate Names

Redtail perch, rosy surf fish and porgy (or porgie).


Their coloring is silver with olive green mottling and bars on side; their tail is pink to deep purple.


To 16 inches and 4 pounds; most caught off piers are under a foot.


Avila Beach to Hesquiat Bay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia.


Shallow-water, sandy-shore, oceanfront areas. Although generally found in the open ocean, they enter sheltered estuaries and bays just before spawning in the spring and early summer. At such times, hundreds of fish may be concentrated in a fairly small area and it’s pretty easy for anglers to catch a limit.


Commonly caught at sandy-shore piers and bay piers north of Pacifica. Best bets: Pacificia Pier, Eureka Municipal Wharf, Del Norte St. Pier (Eureka), Trinidad Pier, and at both the “B” Street Pier and Citizen’s Dock in Crescent City.

Bait and Tackle

Use medium tackle, a sinker heavy enough to hold bottom, a high/low leader, and hooks size 6 to 2. Best baits include live sand crabs (in the surf areas), fresh mussels, pile worms or bloodworms, and clams. North of Eureka, two favorite baits are tube worms (generally frozen) and crab backs.

Food Value

Generally considered a fairly good, mild-flavored fish. Usually pan fried in butter.


Redtail surfperch, along with barred surfperch and calico surfperch, make up the trio of large surfperch which dominate action on the surf end of most California piers; all are fine sportfish and fine eating.