Pier Fishing in California

Resources :: California Fish

Striped Seaperch

Striped Seaperch


Embiotoca lateralis; from the Greek root words embios (living)and tocos (to bring forth) and the Latin word lateralis (lateral, due to their bluestripes).

Alternate Names

Striped surfperch, rainbow perch or blue perch.


Striped seaperch have narrow orange and blue longitudinalstripes. Their dorsal spines are low and their body is deep and compressed.


To 15 inches; most caught off piers are 9-13 inches long.


Point Cabras, Baja California, to Port Wrangell, southeastern Alaska.


Shallow-water, rocky-shore areas.


Common at central and northern California piers situated near rocks.Best bets: Cayucos Pier, Santa Cruz Wharf, San Francisco Municipal Pier, ElephantRock Pier, Point Arena Pier, Trinidad Pier, and Citizens Dock in Crescent City.The Point Arena Pier is undoubtedly the top pier in the state for striped seaperch;late winter to spring will almost always yield perch and most are fairly large fish.

Bait and Tackle

A high/low rigging is most commonly used for these largeperch. Use a size 6 or 4 hook, a weight heavy enough to keep your bait stationary,and fish on the bottom near the pier. Striped perch most commonly travel in schools;if one is caught more are probably around. These perch will often make a sharp firststrike without hooking themselves. Be patient, they will return and often keep peckingat the bait until hooked. The best bait depends on location. North of San Franciscothe best bait is fresh mussels, raw shrimp (small pieces), live rock crabs, livepile worms, tube worms and crab backs; in the Bay Area live grass shrimp and freshmussels are the top baits.

Food Value

Large enough to eat but the flesh is only fair. Generally panfried.


Although these perch are often large, some anglers do not like tofish for them. In the spring, the largest perch will often be females loaded withlive young; when landed, the fish will start to give birth and the angler will befaced with the question of what to do with dozens of small live baby perch. A fewanglers save them as bait, many throw them in the water, and some simply refuse tokeep the mother perch preferring to let nature work its answer to the question of survival.