Pier Fishing in California

Resources :: California Fishing Piers

Redondo 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.


The Municipal Pier itself is 1,550-foot-long but horseshoe shaped, thus it does not really extend that far out into the water. Although there is a sandy beach here, most of it is under the complex of shops on the pier. Anglers primarily fish on the Monstad Pier and the Municipal Pier in water that ranges from fairly shallow to moderately deep. Most influential is the nearby deep-water Redondo Submarine Canyon which curves in close to the pier. Angling for the smaller, shallow-water perch species and surf fish like croakers is generally only fair. However, fishing can be very good for the larger gamefish. Redondo can be excellent for halibut, Pacific mackerel, sardines, and occasionally bonito, and may even see a few yellowtail in late summer to fall months for anglers using live bait. In addition, anglers will occasionally catch deep-water fish like hake, sablefish and sanddabs. To finish it off, good sized sharks, guitarfish and bat rays are fairly common.

Fishing Tips

Best bet here is to use medium size tackle and concentrate on either bottom fishing for halibut or fishing the top for mackerel, sardines and bonito. For the halibut, use a live anchovy or a small live bait you have caught (here, that usually means a small smelt, shinerperch or baby mac). Use a slider live bait leader, or use a torpedo sinker at the end of your line and attach a three-foot live bait leader to the end of the sinker; both riggings will catch halibut. For the mackerel, use pieces of mackerel (or strips of squid) and fish the mid-depth area; try for sardines near the top of the water with bait rigs. When bonito make a showing, use live anchovies, a bonito feather with a splasher, or a cast-a-bubble.

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.

Author’s Note

The new Redondo Beach Pier is not only beautiful but also one of the best designed piers, from an angler’s viewpoint, that I have seen. Especially thoughtful are the bait cutting platforms located every few feet along the railing. Now, if someone from Huntington Beach would just pay a visit!

Special Recommendation

Due to elevated levels of DDT and PCB in tested fish, the Cal OEHHA recommends that anglers limit themselves to one meal every two weeks of corbina caught from the Redondo Beach Pier.



Open 24 hours.


Lights, benches, restrooms, a fish cleaning station, snack bars, and a bait and tackle shop are all located on the pier. There is a huge parking lot with rates of $.50 an hour with a $2 maximum. At last count 32 different concessions were located on the pier.

Handicapped Facilities

No handicapped parking. The Monstad Pier is wheelchair accessible with a fishing platform at the seaward end. The railing is 44 inches high and there are several handicapped accessible restrooms on the pier. Not posted for handicapped.

How To Get There

From the Pacific Coast Highway, take Torrance Blvd. west to the foot of the pier and the parking lot.


City of Redondo Beach/Redondo Beach Harbor Department.