Visitor Comments and Letters - December '98

These messages have been edited. Although I feel the content is of interest, I want to provide as much privacy as possible to the various people who have taken time to comment. Let me know if you feel this is an interesting page. KJ

Date: November 24, 1998
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Ron
Subject: Shore Fishing in Hawaii

Will be going to Hawaii (Oahu) for this coming Thanksgiving holiday and spending about a week there for a little r&r and fishing in between times (I will be bringing own fishing gear). I know that Hawaii's reputable and famous for it's boat and charter fishing. But, does anyone know what's biting at this time of year and where to fish from shore or pier? Also, wondering what types of fishing rig(s) and baits should be used to catch these fish. Hoping to land fish in the sizes between perch and large stripers (also, open to sharks and rays if they're available). Or is there a Hawaii fishing web site that I can check out for fish and bait information. Any information that anyone may have is helpful and appreciated. Thanks.


In reply to: Hawaii shore and pier fishing -- I'm not an expert but I have fished the shoreline area around Honolulu several times while chaperoning high school seniors on their senior sneaks. As such, most of the fishing was in small doses when I had time to get away or happened to be with students who also liked to fish. My results, for what they are worth: (1) I caught several lizardfish and a spotted flounder while fishing the beach at Waikiki. The fish hit on cut bait although I also tried artificials with no success. Tried fishing the adjacent jetty but had little luck. (2) Saw lots of small, perch-sized fish in the Ala Wai Canal but couldn't get them to bite. The water was crystal clear and would probably require light line and very small hooks. Some books do say there are barracuda in the canal. (3) Managed to catch several different species of small to medium-sized fish from the harbor area downtown. The Fisherman's Wharf yielded round herring while using a bait rig, while the wharf and several small piers in the area yielded several different types of squirrel fish and cardinal fish (as while as a threadfin) while using small pieces of cut bait. It seemed on almost every trip that the fish would hardly bite during the bright daylight hours but would really come out and start biting after dark. There is a good tackle shop near the downtown area and do pick up the book Fishing Hawaii Style which offers lots of good information.


Just got back from Hawaii (Oahu) about 2 weeks ago and just wanted to let you know how the fishing was after receiving your advice prior to the trip. We fished on the north side of the island (can't remember the name) in a boat harbor during the day and night. End up catching a few exotic fish, surgeon and puffer, and at night a couple of baby hammerhead sharks, a couple of small aweoweo (looks like red rock cod), a small sting ray, and a small moray eel. There were quite a few fish jumping including what looked like a blue trevalli about 3 ft. long clearing the water about 3 times (probably running or chasing something). The bait we used were back tiger shrimp, baby octopus, and squid (all of which were purchased at a local supermarket). A local friend used bread on a floater for papio (baby trevalli). Talked to a couple of bait shop owners and they say about this time bonefish season should be in full swing by early January. May go to Oahu again for a 3-day weekend this coming month.


Your report makes me want to head over to the islands -- especially since it has been down to 17 degrees the last two nights in Boonville.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: December 5, 1998
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Chris
Subject: Point Arena Pier


Does anybody out there have any tips or techniques suggestions for the Point Arena Pier ? Wintertime species, bait suggestions, etc.? Anything would be helpful. Thanks everybody.

Tight Lines and Happy Holidays, Chris


Try in the inshore area using pile worms, fresh mussels or small pieces of shrimp. Fish a high/low rigging with number 6 or 4 hooks and be sure to keep the bait near the bottom. You should pick up some striped seaperch, seatrout (kelp greenling) or possibly a cabezon.

Best wishes, Ken


Thanks for the inf. on the Point Arena Pier. I'm looking to pick up the book before I go too. What is the newest version, 1992 or is there a newer version? I'm going up in late December, is this a good time, and what is available there to fish for? Thanks for the help.


Hi Chris,

Sorry to say the 1992 version is the only copy to date -- but I'm hoping to have a new edition out next summer.

As for Point Arena in December, it's the usual mix of perch, sea trout (greenling), and cabezon but the fishing isn't nearly as good as in the late spring. Again, bring some pile worms, fresh mussels or shrimp with you to the pier. Also be sure to hit it between the storms.

Good fishin',



Thanks for the information about the book and Point Arena. By how it sounded, Point Arena isn't a real good spot in December. Would you suggest not bothering to fish the pier at all this time of year, and possibly concentrate on the rocky shored areas further south ? Or is the pier still a good bet for fish? The main reason for me being near there is fishing for steelhead on the Gualala River, not so much the ocean fishing. Thanks again for your help.


Hi Chris,

There are still fish at the pier but it just isn't as productive as in the spring. Also, since the wave action can be heavy in the winter, it may be safer than trying from the rocky areas. However, there are some truly great rocky fishing areas around Point Arena -- although most are private.

If you are in the area I'd suggest at least giving the pier a try. Just remember to try the inshore area first -- that is usually the best.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: December 7, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Brett
Subject: Pier Reports

Ken -

Went to the Fort Baker pier on Sunday afternoon. Despite the good weather, very little was being caught. Crabbing was much slower than has been seen recently, with people averaging a couple of keeper red rock crabs per net for an afternoon of fishing. Also, no fish were hooked, even though different types of cut bait and some whole anchovies were being fished under bobbers and on the bottom from over a dozen rods all afternoon. Though the bite was very slow, the view of the city was spectacular due to the nice weather.


Thanks Brett,

I'll update the report.

Date: December 11, 1998
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Andrew
Subject: Seal Beach Pier

Any tips for fishing at seal beach pier? What type of method... weight size... lb test for line... etc. for croakers in particular and perch as well. stuff that u can actually eat!


Use a light to medium action rod/reel with 8-15 pound test line. Try a high/low rigging and bait up with fresh mussels, ghost shrimp or bloodworms. For the croakers and some sargo try inshore areas around the lifeguard tower.

Date: December 11, 1998
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Alex
Subject: Croaker/Perch and Tides

1. What is the best time to fish for croaker and perch? Is it a certain time of day or is it high tide or what?
2. Where do croaker and perch go when the water is rough and the current strong??
3. How far out on the OB pier should I fish for croaker and perch??


Both croakers and perch hit in the inshore areas during high tide hours. As a rule of thumb, two hours before high tide to two hours after is best. Both barred surfperch and croakers will feed in very shallow water so you can often fish right in the breaking water or just past it. When the water is very rough or the current very strong they will sometimes move out into a little deeper (and calmer) water but usually they are still around.

As for Ocean Beach and perch, it depends on the type of perch you are after. Many types like to hang right around the pilings (especially the inner third of the pier) and a wise angler tries to fish as close to those pilings as possible -- with bloodworms or fresh mussels. Often the fish will also school up in the depressions between the pilings (as will solitary halibut) so be sure to also let your line occasionally stray into those areas. At Ocean Beach you can also catch some opaleye and other rocky area perch (blackperch, rubberlip, halfmoon) by fishing down by the rocks at the foot of the pier. The same fresh mussels and bloodworms will produce fish as will frozen peas or moss for the opaleye.

Date: December 12, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Don
Subject: Stripers In The South Bay?

Hey Ken,

Over the last couple months we have been getting scattered reports of striped bass. They have been a hit or miss incidental around here for years. In the last couple weeks at least a dozen have been caught in the more 'favorable' weather. We have weighed in four at the shop from 6-10 1/2 lbs. They have been caught from the Manhattan Beach Pier, Redondo Beach Pier (Horseshoe), the surf, the jetties, and even inside Redondo Harbor. The fish are from 6-15-lbs and have been caught on both bait and artificials. Cut squid and frozen anchovies get the nod. The perch haven't show up yet but if the stripers move in full force....Who Cares! Just thought I'd send you this breaking news and I'll keep you up to date .

Don Clark @ Just Fishing Hermosa Beach


Thanks for the interesting news. I wonder if these are migrants from up north or fish that were stocked in some of the bays?

It was a great year for stripers up north, but most interesting were the numbers that were caught in the open ocean areas all the way south to Morro Bay. Perhaps they continued even further south. Most unusual.

Good fishing, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

PS, Do you have the tackle shop that sits on PCH?

No Ken,

This is Don At Just Fishing at the base of Hermosa Beach Pier. We Think that these fish came down from up north. Either that or the aqueduct sprung a leak! Anyway Ken, I'll keep you up to date on this and the rest of the happenings around the area.

Tightlines, Don

Date: December 12, 1998
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: PK (Felix)
Subject: I'm Back

Hey Ken....I'm finally back on-line after a month without a computer. I'm now sitting pretty with a new lap top and I finally bought your book. I will have almost two weeks off of work for the Christmas and New Years holiday so you can bet I'm going to do a lot of fishing along the central coast ( weather permitting ). I plan on hitting all three Santa Barbara Piers and maybe even both Monterey piers. But in the meantime I'm interested in trying the recipe for Steamed Sanddabs using some of the flatfish I can catch around Morro Bay. I haven't fished for these fish yet so I'm looking forwards to seeing what I can catch. I have one question about the recipe however. What size flatfish will be best for this recipe. Remember I'm still only in my first year of fishing and have yet to catch anything flat so I really don't have a clue as to what I'm going to be saving outside of legal halibut). Anyway, you can count on me for more accurate Morro Bay reports in the following year, as well as Cayucos and anywhere else I'm going to be fishing out here... sorry I didn't e-mail you with this little note but I didn't think about it until now and I don't really feel like typing this over again .. haha Anyone else familiar with the Santa Barbara or Monterey piers and plan on doing some holiday fishing .. let me know I'd love some tips.

Hi Felix,

That recipe should work well with any small flatfish -- starry flounder, sand sole, etc., but it is especially good with sanddabs and some winters they show up around some of the piers you mentioned. Unfortunately it sounds like it has been pretty slow recently so all I can wish you is good luck (although I did hear they were getting some nice perch at Cayucos beaches -- ask Glenda at the Tidepool).

Good luck and thanks for the info., Ken

The recipe to which Felix referred is given below:

Steamed Sanddab

While living in the San Francisco Bay Area in the '70s, my wife Pat and I took a cooking class given by Jennie Low, the author of the popular Chinese cookbook, Chopsticks, Cleaver and Wok.. Later, after we bought a restaurant, we used many of her recipes and techniques in "special" gourmet Chinese banquets. This is a simple but tasty way to cook sanddabs, small flounder, sole or turbot. (Jennie, by the way, now owns and operates two restaurants in Marin County; restaurants which were voted in as the best Chinese restaurants in that North Bay area.)

2 sanddabs
1 tablespoon bean sauce (canned)
3 thin slices ginger, slivered
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon thin soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
dash of pepper
1 tablespoon oil

Remove the fins and tails, rinse, and cut each fish into 3 equal parts. Rinse the bean sauce in a small amount of water, drain and mash into a paste. Add the salt, sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, pepper, bean sauce, ginger, green onion and oil to the fish in that order. Steam for about 10 minutes. This same recipe may be used with many types of fish including perch. It is a tasty dish and is best served with steamed rice.

Date: December 12, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Yofan
Subject: The answer to that "don't look up here" sign

You can find that sign that says "The Crab Cooker" near Newport Beach pier. It's across the street from that big parking lot at Newport Beach Pier and is just I think 2/3 of a mile from Hooters. Sorry if I couldn't explain in detail where it is but I'm just 13 and don't remember the street but I see the restaurant every time I go fishing at the Newport or Balboa piers.

Yofan, Pomona


You got it right! Send me your full address and I'll get you a book in the mail.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: December 13, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Dennis Herndon
Subject: Cayucos Seven Gill

Wayne is a friend of mine that caught the 180-lb sevengill at Cayucos last month. It took him over an hour to land. He caught the fish on a fresh sardine. He was using 40-lb mono and NO wire leader. It took six guys to lift the fish onto the pier and they had three rope gaffs in the fish. One of the gaffs, if you can believe it, went into the sharks mouth. The shark was 7 1/2 feet long. Wayne told me that he hooked a big thresher the day before. When he caught this fish he found the hook that he was using the day before in it's mouth. I have include a picture for you it you would like to put it on your

Dennis' Fishing Page

Dennis <*))))))))))><(


Thanks for the picture. I think I will make the 7-gill shark the fish of the month for January.

Best wishes, Ken

Hi Ken,

That would be great. I'll let Wayne know. He will be pleased. Thanks

Date: December 16, 1998
To: California Pier Fishing Message Board
From: Mary Lou
Subject: Shelter Island and Ocean Beach Piers

I am interested in getting back into some fishing, only from the piers for now since I don't want to invest in a license or anything at this time.. I would appreciate any info as to what kind of bait is best, hooks, etc... My supplies are limited...I don't want to go out there by myself and look like a total idiot who doesn't know what they are doing (hmmm.. but maybe it's true?) It's been many years since I experienced that little 'rush' you get when you get a tug on the line, and I'm ready to get it back... OK OK, so I admit... it's a BIG rush!!

Thanks... Mary Lou

Hello Mary Lou,

You might want to check out the archived section on the Pier of the Month Page, there are archived articles on both piers.

Good fishin', Ken

Date: December 19, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Richard
Subject: your site

We appreciate the link you have to us and hope the link we have to you brings you new traffic.

We would like to present your site with our "Golden Reel Award" for it's excellence in web design, content and navigation.

I have attached a GIF of our award for your use. The award should have a link back to us at

If you decide to accept this award please let us know.

Thanks and happy fishing, Richard A. Brosnac


We'll be glad to get the award and link up.

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Date: December 20, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: PK (Felix)
Subject: Central Coast

Hit Morro T-Pier for about an hour. No fish, no bites and very, very, very cold hands drove me back into my car. Once warm I decided to brave the elements again and hit the Cayucos Pier. There was only two of us fishing and bloodworms were working well for the large perch while my little motor oil colored grubs were catching smaller medium sized perch. I talked to some of the regulars and they say the perch have been biting well off mussels and bloodworms, and there was word that someone caught a steelhead trout on Saturday. One guys description of the fish made me believe it might have been a white seabass.

Date: December 21, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Matt S
Subject: Pacifica Pier

Hey Ken,

Well, I made a trip out to the old Pacifica Pier on Saturday and the weather was beautiful. A bright blue sky with only a light breeze and moderate swells at the end. Inshore was kind of rough but not so out near the end of the pier. I talked with the people at the bait shop and they said that the stripers have just about disappeared completely and that some dude was nailing them down at Montara beach. Anyhow, it wasn't exactly "hot fishing", but I and a few others pulled in some nice Dungeness crabs on lines and in nets. A few barred and walleye surf perch was all that was caught with a couple of small smelt . I was the only one who managed to catch a few kelp greenling (sea trout) and my friend Jimmy also nailed the only kingfish caught that day. All of the sudden, I was battling something on my light rod and we had to use a crab net to haul up the catch. After weighing it in, it turned out to be a 2-lb. barred surf perch. That's the second time I've caught a perch over 12 inches out there at the end. I got a few pictures of it so as soon as the film develops, I will send you a couple shots via. snail mail.

P.S.- Sorry that the message is sooo long.

Hi Matt,

Thanks for the note and don't worry, they're never too long. Glad you caught a few fish and still hoping we get a chance to fish together one of these days.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: December 23, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Mark Grim
Subject: Subject: Monthly Fishing Report

Hi Ken,

Here is my fishing report for this month. I wish you and your family a great holiday season and a happy new year! I hope that someone buys me a fishing license again this year, one of my relatives has over the last 10 years.


P.S. Check out my latest update to my web site:


Antioch Bridge Pier

Sardines, shad and anchovies continue to be effective in catching striped bass here. There seem to be fewer of the small "bait stealers" around, so action seems to be slower. The fish that I was able to hook seemed to be larger in size, although, so patience (once again) pays off. I seemed to have the same success at every part of the pier - near shore, midway out, and off the end.

City of Antioch Pier

I was able to catch a few small striped bass here during a 2 hour visit. The most effective bait was anchovies, I didn't get any bites with grass shrimp or shad.

City of Martinez Pier

Striped bass and sturgeon continue to be the most commonly caught fish at this pier. I have heard that starry flounders have moved into the area recently. I wasn't able to catch one myself, but they have been caught by fishing either on the marina side of the pier or the far west end toward the shore towards the mud flat area. Best baits to try for the flounders tends to be grass shrimp or cut anchovies.

If you are a baseball fan, you might like to take a moment to stop by the "Joltin' Joe". It is on display near the bait shop adjacent to the foot of the fishing pier. The boat belonged to Joe Dimaggio and features a plaque at its base that gives a brief history of the boat and its famous owner who seems to be in failing health recently. He is a native of Martinez and was an avid sturgeon fisherman.


Hi Mark,

Thanks -- as always.

I was down there over the Thanksgiving weekend, found the new Eckly Pier (it's between Crockett and Port Costa but not open yet) and went fishing for an hour over in Benicia. Unfortunately, I just moved my mother from her Pittsburg home so will no longer have as many easy chances to try those local piers.

Have a great holiday season, don't break the bank account with gifts, and don't eat too much turkey. And -- I hope someone gets you a license.

Best wishes, Ken

PS, I'll check out the site.


Date: December 24, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: David Shockney
Subject: Merry Christmas

Hey Ken,

Thank you so much for the Christmas Card. My family and I loved it. I hope you enjoyed the pictures I sent you. Anyway, I made a trip to the pier today and the ocean was real calm. the water was very clear too but the only problem was that there were no fish. I got the magic "skunker- roo" today (if you don't count a couple of crabs). The fishing either slowed because it's winter or the fact that there a was sea lion sleeping near the piling at the end. Oh well, some other day. Well, have a very Merry Christmas and hopefully we will be able to fish with each other soon.


Date: December 25, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Zorro
Subject: Gaviota 13 Dec 98

[Feeback From: Zoy Hann]

Fished Gaviota 13 Dec 98, I caught two round rays (one was very large), one smelt on the bottom, and six surf perch (one was a 2-pounder).

Got the smelt and rays on the bottom with cut mackerel, and the perch on the bottom on mussels. The perch refused to hit anything except the mussels. Currently lures are not working well, you must bring mussels if you want to catch fish.

Hi Zoy,

Hope you had a good Christmas and the weather is good. Up here it was very cold which really put a dent into the fishing. However, it sounds like the barred surfperch are beginning to make their annual wintertime appearance down south -- or am I reading your catch wrong. By the way, did the forces to be repair and open up the end of the Gaviota Pier?

Continued best wishes and hope I can make it down in the not too distant future.


Yes there are more than a few surfperch IF! you remember to bring mussels. Gaviota never did get repaired this year. Half the pier is still closed and there is still no running water or overnight camping. Cost is still $3.00 for parking, on the bright side there isn't a crowd to fight.

Date: December 27, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Nate D
Subject: Fort Baker Pier


I've noticed you need some help on S.F. bay piers, so here are some Marin reports.

E. Baker Pier.......I fished this pier twice in Dec. once early & once late. My first trip was during an evening incoming tide and resulted in a few small shiner perch and no crabs due to a very large sea lion eating my fish heads right out of my (and everyone else's) hoop nets. The second time on the 27th during low and incoming tide resulted in nothing all day, but late afternoon sun and tide brought a lively shiner bite on pile worms and two smoothhound sharks on squid. Again with the sea lion, but it left in the late afternoon, but still only small rock crabs

Elephant Rock in Tiburon is now private property. Once the best place in this area for butterlips and rock cod is now gone.

If anyone fishes the Horizons pier downtown Sausalito it is partially closed making crabbing impossible and all other fishing limited to the shoreline walkway. This short pier used to be excellent. No word on rebuild.

Paradise park seems like a muddy graveyard these days with two separate trips producing NO fish on squid or live grass shrimp and only tired, beaten up looking crabs, most of them small. I did have the pier to myself though. Where are the hot spots in Marin???


Thanks for your feedback -- and I'll get it in this month's report.

I am going to try to see what I can find out about Elephant Rock. Since they were going to use government money to repair the pier I do not see how they can close it off. I'll let you know.

Also interesting in the pier in Sausalito. I've always done pretty fair there and noticed it was fenced off on my last few trips down. I'm going to see what I can find out about it also.

I appreciate your help; it's hard for me to get down to that area all that often and there aren't too many tackle shops that keep track of those piers.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: December 27, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: ???
Subject: Fishing license

The following is the report of one of the piers:

Antioch Pier -- Mark Grim reports that the "fishing has been picking up this month. There have been several good sized striped bass caught here almost on a daily basis. Best baits have been shad, anchovies and sardines. Jerry Lumbre, a long time fisherman, recommends pile worms. He picked up a 23-inch striper recently near the first wind shelter on pile worms. The Fish and Game has been making trips out to this pier on a regular basis. So, make sure that you have your license visibly attached to your clothing. I know of at least one fisherman that was nailed for fishing without a license -- the fine is really expensive, don't risk it!

I thought you don't need a license to fish from piers in the state of California ? Is that true?


To ?,

You're right, you don't need a license to fish on public piers but only piers in saltwater. Unfortunately, all the piers east of the Vallejo Bridge require a license.

Thanks for the note -- I'll get it in the new report.

Date: December 28, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Robert E
Subject: Nice Website

Ken, I was fishing at the outlet channel at Morro Bay tonight and was told about your website by a fellow angler, (Felix). After dinner I checked it out and was amazed about all the local info that is available. I really appreciate it. Nice work!



Thank you for your kind comments and I hope you find it helpful in catching more fish.

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Date: December 29, 1998
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: PK (Felix)
Subject: Morro Bay T-Pier

Fished the T-pier in Morro Bay a couple times this week. I've decided that plastic grubs are the absolute worst bait for this pier. So I decided to break down and buy a bag of anchovies and threw on some small hooks in hopes for some winter flat fish. No luck on flounder or sanddabs but I did manage to land a nice size rock fish (the locals call them grass bass or gopher cod) while playing around the pilings. This was my first fish on this pier. I decided to end my day flipping around the kelp on the south side of the rock. I didn't catch anything but I talked with some of the locals who were catching what they called Monkey Faced Eels. They were poke poling right in the cracks of rocks and pulling them in one after another. Ken I didn't see these eels in your book... any comment? The eels were black and were about 2 feet long.


Monkeyface-eels are found throughout California in intertidal areas, are good eating, and they put up a nice little fight on a rod and reel. Unfortunately, they are fairly rare to piers. I've only caught one from a pier, that one being at the Elephant Rock Pier in Tiburon. Most people catch them as you mention from under rocks with poke poles and they're a blast to catch.

I did not list them in my book simply because they are so infrequently taken from piers.

Good luck and good fishin'