Visitor Comments and Letters - April '99


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: April 2, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Tien T
Subject: East/West techniques
In Georgia I saw fisherman using two rods. One rod was used as a guide with an ankle at the bottom and the second one was used with live bait about 3'-5' below the surface to catch kingfish. Whenever the kingfish hits the bait, the line will snap off from the guide line. The fisherman lets the kingfish run till he tires then reels him in with less resistance. Could you use this technique to catch fish in Southern California and what kind of fish? I had a chance to fish at Manhattan Beach last week aand it was beautiful and very clean.

Tien,
Although I have heard and seen pictures of the technique you mention, I have never seen it used on the West Coast. As a rule, you will not catch fish as big as kingfish (king mackerel) on these piers.
One way to use live bait is to simply fix up a leader that can slip down the main line. Make a 3-4 foot leader with a snap swivel on one end and the hook on the other end. Cast out your line and make sure it is taunt. Then slide your live bait down the main line using the snap swivel. If you want the bait to stay on the top hook the bait in the back. If you want the bait to go down to the bottom (for halibut) hook your bait in the nose. This used to be the standard rigging used on California piers but you rarely see it used any more -- although it still works.
Hope you do good on the piers down there.
Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman


Date: April 4, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Matt Shockney
Subject: Happy Easter!
Hey Ken,
Just wishing you a Happy Easter. Although I wish that I could also wish you a happy time to go fishing. The waves and wind have turned the ocean into chocolate milk, so the stripers and salmon are still unheard of (except in the Delta). Exactly a year ago today was the day I landed my first (and only ) striper. I was going to hit the pier and try it today, but like I said before, it's the weather that is the factor. How are things going with you? Done any fishing lately?
Matt

Hi Matt,
I was down in your neck of the woods on Sunday/Monday. I went fishing at the pier on Angel Island Sunday and caught 25 fish -- mostly perch, but also 5 rockfish. My daughter now lives in San Bruno so I shot down to her house to spend the night. Since I planned to go fishing today (Monday) I stopped at the bait shop in Pacifica to get some pile worms for Monday morning. I thought about you and almost went out on the pier looking for you but the waves were really rough and I didn't think you would be there.
Unfortunately, when I got up this morning it was raining. I planned to fish the Muni Pier, Fort Mason, and Fort Point but instead headed home. If it isn't raining tomorrow morning I'm going to head over to Point Arena (but it's raining hard right now).
If things go as planned I really hope to get in some good fishing time this spring and summer in the Bay Area. We'll get together and maybe we can teach each other a thing or two.
Best wishes and have a good vacation, Ken


Date: April 4, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: James P
Subject: Pier 7 Report
Hi Ken,
I went fishing at Pier 7 in San Francisco yesterday (4/3). The weather was nice, but very windy. Started at 7 AM and caught one bullhead on the first cast. There was another older Chinese man fishing next to me at the far right hand corner of the pier, casting directly outward. He caught so many kingfish that I lost count, but at least 8, plus a few bullheads, and left early.
I was using two poles for the first time, caught 8 kingfish, two bullheads, and another fish that I can't identify. It looks like a sea catfish with some small whisker on the bottom of the lip, about 10 in. in length.(I have decided to purchase a Peterson's Field Guide to Fish so that I can id the fish I catch).
Early in the morning, I felt a small tug on one of my pole, but failed to set the hook. Later there was another small tug. I set the hook, reeled in the line but didn't not feel anything. To my surprise, there was a bullhead on the hook (more like 60% of it). The first tug must have came from the bullhead, while the second tug might have been a striper. I immediately changed my bait to the live bullhead caught earlier, in hope of catching a striper, but no luck. The line eventually caught something on the bottom and snapped.
The pier became very crowded by 10 AM. There were at least six other Chinese man, seven teenagers, and others scattered around the pier, each using two poles. The Chinese men and others caught so many kingfish and bullhead that I couldn't keep track, possibly over forty kingfish were taken that morning.
The only drawback to this pier is the tourists. When almost everyone was catching fish, many of the tourists stood right behind the poles to watch, and one of them got hit on the head when I set the hook. Once the fish is in, quite a few of them were busy taking pictures. The pier became so crowded with anglers and tourists that I decided to leave early.
It was by far the best day of fishing for me. Talk to you later. James.

James,
Sounds like there was a good school of kingfish at the pier. I went fishing at the pier on Angel Island Sunday and did good on perch and rockfish. Planned to fish the piers along the San Francisco waterfront Monday morning but canceled after the rain started. Now I wish I had braved the elements.
Hopefully, I can get back down there soon.
Best wishes and thanks for the report, Ken


Date: April 5, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: SuckerArt
Subject: this is Joe P.
Hey bro, if I send you the pictures, will you be able to send them back? Funny question huh? It is just that I don't have a camera (seriously). It was my brothers camera, and since the blocking of the roads and fences, we really haven't been able to go to the pier as much any more. I am going to send them so let me know if you can send them back or do I have to make copies? By the way, I totally recommend "California Pier Fishing" to everyone I know!!
Thanks again. Joe Pinedo
Ps. I will be visiting Point San Luis Port Pier from now on so I will be able to keep you posted from my point of view.

Hi Joe,
I'll be glad to return the pictures. I'll scan them and then send you back the originals.
Best wishes, Ken

Ken,
I just caught a 2 foot EEL today out on the rocks in between Avila Pier and Point San Luis; also caught a 2 LB rock cod "cavasaugn." I am wondering what kind of EEL this is though.
Thanks, Joe P

Joe,
The eel may be a monkey face eel. As for the pier, is it now closed?
Best wishes, Ken

Thanks my friend. Yeah the EEL does look like a monkey face too. His teeth are very sharp and big. OUCH!


Date: April 5, 1999
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Dann
Subject: Fish
I was fishing at the Belmont Pier in Long beach and a man told me that I should not eat any of the fish there because the waters are polluted. Is this true?
Does anyone have any information on Long Beach and Seal Beach fishing?
Thank you all and I hope you all catch the next record breaker.

Dann,
It is safe to eat fish that you catch in California waters (including Long Beach Harbor and San Francisco Bay) as long as you remember the following:
1. Moderation -- for some types of fish, especially croakers (white croakers = tom cod in southern California = kingfish in northern California) and flatfish, the Department of Fish and Game recommends you eat no more than a couple of meals of the fish per month.
2. Clean the fish thoroughly. Most toxins found in fish are in their intestines/liver. Make sure you cut those parts away.
3. Bake or broil the fish while letting the fat melt away from the flesh of the fish. The fat is the other part of a fish which may contain toxins. Frying seals in the fat.
All water is polluted (including the Arctic Ocean) and ALL fish contain toxins, the question is one of degree.
As for fishing at Seal Beach or Belmont, check the Reports Page.


Date: April 6, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: David S
Subject: May Pier Report - Goleta
Hi Ken!
I got my book and man is it great! It has all the inf. I've been looking for, though I'm sure I'll think up some questions in time.
I saw my pier report for April (pretty cool) and noticed that my little Goleta Pier was the "pier of the month." Did I spark some fond memories? I had no idea it was such a great fishing pier. The place is nearly empty most of the time, aside from restaurant diners and college joggers.
Anyway, I'm having a blast, catching fish and dreaming up new rigs. Here's a little report while it's fresh in my mind. I'll try to add a couple more to be merged at the end of the month:
MAY PIER REPORT: GOLETA PIER: PART ONE 4/5/99
The kids had been catching about 20 silver perch (walleyes) per hour on Lucky Lura jigs. Mostly from the second-quarter of the pier. Enough that the warden came out (after the wife and kids had gone home) to count up my fish. He wasn't satisfied when I showed him my 17 keepers. He had been watching us for hours with his binoculars and said, "There's no way you threw back all those fish, I was watching you the whole time." He accused my wife of taking a bunch when she left. I laughed, "they didn't even carry their own poles back, let alone any stinky fish to be cleaned!" Anyway, that seems to have slowed down a little. Now I'm seeing lots of good sized barred surfperch (2-3 lbs.) being pulled in from behind the surf. Typical high-low leaders with medium sinkers and, what else, fresh mussels! Took a trip to the end of the pier at sunset last night to see lots of angler action. The most impressive was some 11-year-old kid pulling in 9"-12" mackerel -- three at a time!!! We caught a few of our own along with 6 white croaker, all ranging 9"-11". We used squid on snag lines with enough sinker to cast out but keep off the bottom as we retrieved. Interesting note, nothing was being pulled off the west (kelp) side of the pier.
Dave Strong

David,
Thanks for the report and I'm glad you like the book. I've always had pretty good success at the pier although my catch of halibut has dropped the past few years. Glad to see that you and the kids are catching fish.
Funny about the Pier of the Month. I thought I had already included it but in reading your notes I decided to check back into the archives. Lo and behold, I hadn't written it up. So, your notes resulted in the pier becoming the Pier of the Month.
Best wishes, Ken
Posted by Ken Jones on Pier Fishing in California Message Board on April 6

Posted by Joe Pinedo on April 8

You know I have always wanted to fish Goleta, but never made my way there. How do I get there from Santa Maria? I would appreciate if you could tell me. And if anyone is going that way in the future let me know so I could meet some "fellow pier rats" like me and my brother.

Posted by Joe Pinedo on April 10

Who wrote me last night?, was it about going to Goleta? I want to go there soooo bad; I got my bait ready, my poles cleaned, my reels prepped. You know Goleta is Pier of the Month. I just want to catch a halibut, I have been wanting to catch a halibut for as long as I can remember. So who ever wrote last night or this morning please write back again, I accidentally deleted it because I am just used to erasing the spam mail. thanks, Joe Pinedo

Posted by Ken Jones on April 11

Joe,
The directions to the pier should be at the bottom of the article and at the bottom of the monthly report on the pier.
Do remember that it is still a little early for the prime halibut fishing season (think May-September) and that the recent storms have had a somewhat adverse affect on many of the piers. Still though, the recent reports on the pier have been pretty good.
Best wishes and luck, Ken


Date: April 7, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Scott D
Subject: Pier Reports
Is your pier report page made up of reports from specific people or from anyone? When we post a pier report on the message board, do we still need to send them to you via e-mail or do you take them from there also?

Hi Scott,
As for the reports, I take them from (1) telephone interviews with tackle shops, (2) e-mail messages sent to me, and (3) message board reports (and it partly depends on the date). If you post it on the message board I can use that but sometimes longer e-mail messages are trimmed down into shorter reports.
Whatever works best for you,
Best wishes, Ken


Date: April 7, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Ken A
Subject: Got your book
Ken, I found your book in a local bookstore here in Santa Maria and bought it. I hope the proceeds you get helps as much as ordering it direct off the web site! I've just moved out from Colorado so I'm new to ocean fishing (trout fisherman) but thought I'd give the piers a try since no license is req'd. Found your book informative and with some local help off the site's message board I'm looking forward to getting out there on the Pismo Pier.
Thanks, Ken Anderson

Ken,
Glad you found the book and hope it helps you catch some fish. Stop out at the Pismo Beach Pier bait shop and say hi to Troy for me.
Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman


Date: April 8, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Doubletrouble
Subject: WHERE'S THE FISH
I THINK THE FISH IS UNDER THE PIER IN THE DEEP BLUE SEA....
JUST WHERE HE SHOULD BE....
UNLIKE YOU AND ME....
THAT'S WHY YOU DON'T SEE....

Date: April 8, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Tony Y
Subject: Something about the Half Moon Bay!
Hi...
I saw your post from the web-site and really appreciate your help so much! As I have moved to the Bay Area for only two month, all the fishing regulations here seem unfamiliar with me. For example, I have been to Pillar Point Pier once and saw a sign with "fishing not allowed within the pier area" on it. In the meantime, I also saw articles posted by some anglers from the web-site. That really puzzled me a lot. Since fishing is not allowed within the pier area, why did the anglers mention what kind of fish they got and those kind of things within their article?....Could you give me more information about that?.......By the way, my net-friends told me that pier fishing don't need the fishing license in Northern California, included the Central California. Is that true?..I did remember that when I was in New York, even pier fishing needed to pay money to the state government to get the license. Is it possible for the two states in the same country to have different policies?

Tony,
You do not need a license to fish from a public pier in the state of California. Piers, and some jetties, are the only places this is true in the state.
As for Halfmoon Bay, anglers used to be able to fish from the main pier at Piller Point. That pier is now restricted. However, off to the right of the parking lot there is a small pier that is a designated public fishing pier. Unfortunately, it is very small and rarely offers top fishing. Still, at times some perch and rockfish can be caught up next to the rocky shoreline, and at times flatfish and species like kingfish will school on the bottom away from the pier. You just have to hit it at the right time.
Best wishes and let me know how you do,
Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman


Date: April 9, 1999
To: Per Fishing in California Message Board
From: Rich Reano
Subject: Get Together
Just a beginning thought...
Who would be interested in a Pier Fishing in California get together? A day of fishing, food, fun, talk, etc.
It would be a pier centrally located for everyone.
Maybe sometime this spring or summer?
If there's enough interest, it just may happen.

Posted by Joe Pinedo on April 9

Well, I would most definitely be interested, just let me know when, and maybe if there is enough interest, a lot of people will respond and participate. That WOULD be great!

Posted by Scott on April 9

Sounds good to me. It would be nice if it were at a pier where there was good fishing in the day, but also some of us "rats" could stay and fish for larger fish at night.

Posted by Mike Jones Jr. on April 9

Sounds Great......When, where and what's biting??????

Posted by Ken Jones on April 11
I think it is possible that we can do this but I also think it may take "several different" get togethers. As example, there may need to be a meeting in the San Diego area (Ocean Beach or Oceanside?), one in the Los Angeles Area (Balboa, Seal Beach, Cabrillo, Venice, Santa Monica?), one in the San Luis Obispo area (Pismo Beach, Cayucos?), one in the Monterey Bay area (Capitola, Santa Cruz?), and perhaps one in the Bay Area (Pacifica, Fort Baker, Berkeley?).

What do people think? Would one or two get togethers be enough or does a more geographic approach sound better? The advantage of the first is that you may meet fellow "pier rats" that you might never normally meet. The advantage of the second is that the time involved and the cost would be less for most people.
What do you think?

Posted by Snookie on April 11

Sounds great! I like the geographical approach Ken suggests.
I recommend a weekend for those Pier Rats who are still in the working environment.
Good fishing to all.

Posted by Dave Clingman on April 12

I think a geographic approach would be the best idea for a Pier Rat meet. From where I live (Sacramento) I could attend at least two of the meets (San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas.) Many other people would also be able to attend more than one meet also. Tight Lines, Dave Clingman

Posted by Scott on April 13

I also think it would be good if it was planned at least two weeks in advance so those of us out of towners could make plans.

Posted by Dave McD on April 14

I see lots of good planning in the works here. Combined I think geographical get togethers, on weekends, with plenty of advance notice should work best for the majority. Please remember all the little details like is the pier open 24 hours, is there available parking, bait availability, tides, weather (if you can get a good enough guess that is!), amenities like restrooms, and food or snack outlets. I'm in San Diego area but might consider going to L.A. even, especially for those Long Beach jetty halibut!


Date: April 11, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Kim Gale
Subject: fish 'n stuff
Hi Ken:
I just stumbled upon your website while poking around trying to find some info on California halibut. I've perked right up at the sight of your site in that I do a lot of pier fishing in the Bay Area. I write a newsletter for the Emeryville Sportfishing Center and a column on FishingUSA called Kim Gale's Fishtales. Are you still doing this site? Most of the reports seem to be more than a year old. If you have plans to revive this site and can use a bit of help, give me a holler. I'm semi-retired, poor as a church mouse but still manage to fish two or three days a week. Would offer to buy your book but I'm saving every damn penny for a trip to Florida the end of the month where I'll be spending a day fishing for snook from a flat boat and then a day trolling for king mackerel. In any event I look forward to hearing from you and will try to buy your book in May and will in the meantime add your site to my bookmarks.
Caio, Kim Gale

Hi Kim,
I'm a little confused on your note. The Pier Fishing in California site (pierfishing.com) is updated monthly. It has a new Report Page added on the first of each month together with a new Pier of the Month, Fish of the Month, Fish Pictures Page and Comments Pages. It also now has a Message Board Page for up to the minute information. It does have old reports but they are in the archived section. I'm not sure why most of what you saw was old information.
I'm always looking for reports on how anglers are doing and still need reporters for many piers -- including those in Oakland and Emeryville. So, if you have any reports please send them in. I'll also try to check out your column on the FishingUSA site.
Hope you have some good fishing down in Florida! I've only been there once, and was only able to do a little freshwater bass fishing, but it's an area that I've often wanted to visit. Let me know how you do and be sure to keep in touch.
Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman


Date: April 11, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Tim D
Subject: crabbing
Ken:
Any advice you can offer on how I can catch crabs off the pier in Pacifica, California would be great.
Thanks! Tim

Tim,
About the only three things you need are a crab net, fish heads/remains, and a day when the wind isn't blowing like a hurricane. If the weather cooperates you can usually drop a net down between the pilings and manage to get a few crabs.
Best wishes, Ken


Date: April 11, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: James Pan
Subject: Fishing report
Hi Ken,
Last Friday I went fishing at three different piers. This first stop was at Oyster Point early in the morning. There were, to my surprise, eight anglers fishing. I caught one leopard shark (33"). Neighbors caught a total of 4 leopard sharks (26-38"), about 10 jacksmelt (average of 12").
I then stoped by Pacifica Pier for the first time to try my luck, but did not catch anything. There were approximately twenty anglers, but none caught anything. The pier was so windy, and tides so strong that it was very difficult to fish.
Later in the afternoon, I stoped by Pier 7 to try my luck. Caught one bullhead, one tiny flounder (3 1/2") and went home before sunset. No one else caught anything at Pier 7.
What about yourself? Any luck this weekend?
James

Hi James,
No luck this weekend because I had to make a trip to Sacramento. But soon!!!!!
Best wishes, Ken


Date: April 11, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Snookie
Subject: Pier Rat Get Together
Dear Ken,
Good idea. I think getting people together in the areas that they can use would be most beneficial. There are those of us that only use certain areas, and a few miles one way or the other can still include places we might be interested in. Of course at the same time one can learn about the other places that might otherwise not be thought about because of distance.
Good luck with this idea. I for one will be interested.
Snookie

Hi Snookie,
Looks like were going to try it as soon as school is out.
Best wishes, Ken


Date: April 12, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Nate D
Subject: pier meeting
Ken,
I think that local meetings as you first suggested would be the way to go. These events could be organized by reporters for that area or people more involved in the website itself. A pier meeting would be great, or a more multi-purpose event could be in order. A place like Fort Baker or Berkeley Pier, or a place like McNears Beach Pier or Eckley Pier that have picnic areas and grassy spots for the whole family in addition to fine piers would be great also. It could be as big or as small as those of us involved wanted it to be.
I will be anxious to here more about this as it develops, and would be interested in helping out if a meeting comes together in my area.
Thanks Again, Nate D.

Nate,
Good ideas and I'll work on it.
Best wishes, Ken


Date: April 12, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Kim Gale
Subject: Pier Fishing in California
Good morning Ken:
Spent the last hour nosing around your site. I like it! Unfortunately I can't get anything you've published after February 1998, and my server will not find URLs for The Pier of the Month or Fish of the Month. This is undoubtedly due to the fact that I am using Netscape 2.0. By late June I will be replacing my clunky old Mac Performa 450 with a new or nearly new 'pewter" that should drag me into the latter part of this decade. I'm planning on spending tomorrow, (Tuesday) morning on the Berkeley Pier fishing for butt. A few flatties have reportedly bit frozen anchovies in the last couple of weeks but a stop at Keith Frasier's bait bin in San Rafael for a few shiner perch may make my day. I'll talk to folks on the pier and the Berkeley Marina Shop and write up a dollop of a report to you. Am presuming you would rather not get e-mail attachments so will just send this to you as straight e-mail.
Caio, Kim Gale

Kim,
Thanks for the information -- and I'm going to ask my webmaster to try to figure out why you can't find the pages.
I'll look forward to the reports.
Best wishes, Ken

Date: April 15, 1999
Good morning Ken:
Tried to leave this for you yesterday but had to leave the house at 3:30 for a long day of salmon fishing. Hope you can use this. Would a detailed primer on Berkeley pier halibut catching techniques and gear be of interest? A note: the USA fishing "hotsheet" claims that four halibut were caught on the pier yesterday.
Caio, Kim Gale
Tuesday looked like the day for the first halibut of the year at the Berkeley Pier. Just a bit of a cool breeze from the South at seven o'clock and leaden skies as I stopped half way out to the end to offer
my crab net to a couple of young men trying to coax a twenty inch striper into a bucket under the pier. Mission accomplished to profound thanks and so, to the end of the pier to hang anchovies under a couple of bobbers while I dropped a bit of pile worm on a no. 8 hook for shiner perch. High tide in three hours, at which point the water should clear up a bit. There was currently about a foot of visibility. Not too good. The sky brightened and the first shiner perch came aboard to get a nice two-aught bait hook in its nose. Measured the water depth again. Twelve feet deep. So the squirrely little Ms. Halibut Food swam eleven and a half feet under the bobber to mosey about the bottom offering herself to big bad Mr. Butt. Just before the tide changed I caught three more little perch about thirty to fifty feet north of the pier. Funny thing; up until last year most shiner perch would be caught right under the pier or more often than naught, between five to ten feet out from the South side. Last year the little buggers changed their modus. A nice Korean gentleman who had been fishing cut anchovies began pulling in some really pretty one to two pound kingfish. He was explaining the vagaries of cooking the ubiquitous croaker when I noticed that my little "shiner perch pole" was bent nearly double and in the process of going over the side. A five minute tussle ensued, garnering oohs and ahs from a gaggle of German tourists, before a leopard shark, probably about thirty inches, surfaced to show his handsome face before doing a back flip with a double twist to snap off the four pound leader. Completely unconvinced to cast anchovy chunks and maybe start liking kingfish, I squinted even harder at the two bobbers on an almost flat bay. It was one o'clock when the breeze began to freshen from the West and I entrusted my rods to the care of my croaker loving accomplice and strolled down the pier to question the four or five other souls who seemed to be targeting halibut. Not so much as a tale of a nibble from any of them. Everyone concurred that there had been a few butts caught in the last couple of weeks, but that today, glorious sunshine notwithstanding, was not the day. By two the wind was really starting to howl as I broke camp for the mile-long walk off the pier. No sign of a halibut this day but quite a few shiner perch around. A few folks had caught kingfish, small flounder and a couple of big barred perch. I saw one jacksmelt
chasing my worm retrieve but only one person was fishing for them and his face was as forlorn as his bucket was empty. I stopped in at the Berkeley Marina bait shop and chatted for a bit with manager Bob Nakaji who said that indeed, a few butts had been bagged on the pier but the real action was just waiting to break. "Any day now".

Hi Kim,
Thanks for the report and it will be added to the message board as soon as I finish this note.

Sounds like things are just starting to pick up; by June the flatties should be in full swing.
Best of luck, Ken
PS -- are you still unable to hook up with the current pages? And are you trying at pierfishing.com?


Date: April 14, 1999
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Dion
Subject: Redondo Pier
My last visit to this pier was on Saturday. I saw a lot of people bringing up mackerel, sardines, and smelt. A few patrons who were fishing the south side of the pier were catching corbina, yellowfin croakers, and walleye surfperch.
Dion,

Posted by Peter on April 14

I was busy so forgot to report on my fishing trip. Redondo Pier fishing is not really bad like people think. I usually go fishing two time a week (because I live in Ventura county) it take me sometime 2-3 hours to drive with the traffic. In March the fishing is slow, but now April fishing is much better; you can catch mackerel and sardines at anytime using Lucky Luras or something similar to it. The technique is cast and retrieve without bait on the hook. On April 3, I was fishing from 7 PM to 1 AM and caught 3 bat rays, the first one about 100 pounds, the second one 70, and third one about 30 pounds. That was my first experience to fight with a big fish like that. And also saw some people on the pier catching good number of bat rays, mackerel and sardines.

Posted by Al on April 14

Hey Peter,
What kind of bait were you using for the bat rays? I go to Redondo Pier quite often, but I get disappointed because of the absence of fish except for sardines and mackerel, though I have seen some small shovelnose guitar fish caught once a while. Otherwise, it's quite slow all year round.
Al

Posted by YTail Stud on April 15

Well, I've had some success with bat rays at Redondo, but not with quite the size that Peter reports. If you can catch a small sardine or smelt, keep it swimming in a bucket. Then, with a whole thawed squid, slit an opening and slide the live sardine in, and hook the sardine through the squid body. this gives the illusion of live squid. Then, on your heavier setup (20#), fish this just beyond the breakline on incoming tide.
 

Posted by Peter on April 15

I used jumbo squid for bait. One squid can weigh up to 3 pounds; cut them into pieces and hook the pieces around a #2 treble hook. The best bait for a bat ray is fresh mackerel, cut filet with no bone, and wrap the whole piece around the treble hook. If you want to make the mackerel meat stay on your hook longer, you can filet them early and then put "a lot" of SALT to it. I have only experienced catching most of the big sharks in the night with a strong current and 10-15 miles wind.

Posted by al on April 15

Hello YTailStud and Peter,
I guess squid is the right bait for bat rays then. As for the sardine in squid bait, I have heard about it, but I thought it was too complicated to work. Well anyway, I'll give it a try on my next visit to Redondo. As for Peter, thanks for the tips. For the salted mackerel, should I use fresh caught mackerel, or frozen? For the large squid, I've seen some in Asian markets, but haven't given them a try. Where do you buy your large squid from?
Al

Posted by Peter on April 16

Hi AL. You can buy them from any Asian market (Korean or Vietnamese)


Date: April 16, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Glen/ Songslinger
Subject: Pier Action or Something Like It
Hey Ken:
Checked out Point Pinole Pier today. Nothing but mitten crabs and bullheads munching on all baits. The water was thick and murky. The regulars I talked with said that it's been like this all month and longer, with only an occasional striper or kingfish picked up. No sign of sturgeon at all.
Yesterday I fished Berkeley Pier. There are many shiner perch now, but still no sign of halibuts, though the annual flatfish anglers are already assembled at select locations throughout the pier. Bat ray action is in full swing, with cut anchovies as the top bait. A good number of rays have been caught from mid-pier to the end on the north side. I caught and released a nice-sized 7-gill shark, which gave a good account of itself. Some smelt are there on the incoming tide, and a few kingfish take over on the outgoing, with pile worms for the former and anchovies for the latter. One guy caught a striped bass that looked to be in the eight-pound range, but stripers aren't common right now. The rest of the perch are gone.
Last week I was at Fort Baker along the breaker rocks. Pretty slow there and on the pier, with red and Dungeness crabs stealing bait for the most part, plus the infrequent little blue or brown rockfish. Also some tiny black perch that must have been last year's spawn.
We went straight from a protracted cold winter into a warm fogless summer, and the fish haven't adjusted any more than the anglers. All in all, April has indeed been the cruelest month of a so-so year. It can only get better.
By the way, if you're still looking for a regular contributor for Elephant Rock Pier, there's this young man named Eric who has begun his own site. He fishes the Tiburon area and that pier fairly regular. His URL=
http://pages.hotbot.com/sports/dasmkdwn69/index.html
Not a bad effort for a 14-year-old, really.
Tight lines and good angling all around.
Glen

Hi Glen,
Doesn't sound too great right now. I'll check out the page you mentioned. Did they finally finish Elephant Rock? Just a few weeks ago they were still working on it.
Best of luck, the fish have got to be somewhere.
Ken


Date: April 16, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Kim Gale
Subject: Pier Fishing in California
Hi Ken:
Found 'yer site. Looks good! Will explore it more as time allows. Plan to do one more stint on the Berkeley pier before going to Florida. Are you interested in shore fishing reports? For instance: yesterday two keeper sturgeon were hauled up on the rip rap behind the Oceans East restaurant across the street from the Emeryville Sportfishing Center. There were eight or ten folks fishing the top of the tide with pile worms when the fun began.
Caio, Kim Gale

Hi Kim,
I'm not really interested in shore reports although when you hear something interesting by all means include it; many pier fishermen also fish from the shore occasionally.
Best of luck at both Berkeley and Florida,
Ken


Date: April 17, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Songslinger
Subject: Pier Action or Something Like It
Ken:
I keep forgetting to mention the changes afoot for the whole Fort Baker area. They don't seem to talk about fishing at all. Have you heard about this?
Here's the URL:
http://www.nps.gov/goga/ftbaker/ftbaker.htm
A lot of us believe this means a free public access area is destined to be a fee area, lining the pockets of the NPS and Marin county, but doing little for anglers. Already there are some top fishing spots nearby that have been closed.
Heading out to the seashore today if the surf cooperates.
Glen

Date: April 17, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: jetta life
Subject: Dumbarton Pier
Hey Ken,

Just wanted to let ya know, that Dumbarton Pier's gates are closed. They're saying it's supposed to stay that way till August 30th. This is all due to the nesting of some kind of bird in that area. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, try to have a good weekend.
Cary

Hi Cary,
Bad news about Dumbarton!!!
Have you tried at San Leandro or the piers down by Arrowhead Marsh? Last year I got some good reports on those areas -- for striped bass.
Best wishes, Ken


Date: April 17, 1999
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Hanapa Mike
Subject: Surf Fishing
Surf fishing is an art in itself. Like any type of fishing takes time, & has it's "TRICKS" that are not in books & those who know do not tell them to many. If you do happen to get what's going on it is some of the funniest fishing I have ever done. I do have a few tips that may help. First try to find a good book on surf fishing in So. Cal. Try to find some info from one of two great authors, Charlie Davis or Nick Cursion. My next tip is DO NOT FISH THE PIERS. The only thing you are going to catch is macks, and small stuff. Surf fish is best from the beach or jetty. Most of the fish you are fishing for are close to where the waves break. We fish in the surf line & from jetties with light tackle fresh water set ups, light line 4-6 LB & we get bit. We HANAPA lots of fish, & I don't mean this little stuff you find being caught on the pier. To get the mussels to stay on the hook, you need to fish with the orange part of the mussel. That is the mussel that holds the mussel closed. It stays on the hook, & the fish look for that orange color. One thing you need to under stand about surf fishing most do not is that conservation deal. A lot of surf fishes do not lay eggs, they give live birth. So please don't be a coooook, fish responsibly. SEE YOU ON THE WATER, HANAPA

Posted by Ken Jones on April 17
Having done almost every type of fishing, and having fished on both coasts as well as different continents, I'll stick to the piers. Study after study shows that more fish are caught per hour on piers that any other type of fishing with the exception of partyboats. And, as one who has surf fished on beaches and jetty's throughout southern, central, and northern California, I can verify that day in and day out fishing tends to be better on piers than on most beaches or jetty's.
Although many of the fish that are caught are small, many that are caught on the piers are also large. However, it is the regulars, the "pier rats," the people who know what they are doing that catch most of the good fish (the same as on a beach or a jetty). Hopefully, this site helps more and more pier anglers move up to the knowledgeable category.
To make the statements you made about piers unfortunately shows a lack of knowledge on your part about piers, pier fishing, and most important, the fellowship that goes on between pier anglers.
Enjoy your solitude on the beach and I hope you catch some fish. For myself, I'll enjoy the fishing and the fellowship of the "pier rats" that I see on the piers.

Posted by

Dion

on April 17
I don't agree with the statement that you only catch small fish on the pier. I fish both the pier and the beach and found that one has some advantages and another has other advantages.
By being ignorant and claiming that pier fishing is inferior to beach fishing or jetty fishing, you are wrong, Buddy!
When I know that the surf fishing is hot and there are too many surfers around the pier to fish, I might head down to the sandy area where there might be less surfers in the area and try to fish there. However, the fish that I catch off the pier and off the beach are the same.
Dion,

Posted by Peter on April 17

HI HANAPA.
I'm really not in agreement with your statement. With me, surf fishing sucks. Pier fishing is much better. The pier is long and clean, you don't have to get wet, and freeze in water. And the pier allows for all kind of people whom enjoy fishing as non-PROFESSIONALS like women, children, handicapped people, family picnics, and also pier rats. Example: did you ever see a five to ten year old standing in the surf fishing and catch a fish in Feb.? But I saw so many of them on the pier. About fishing skill. I don't think the surf fishing is better than pier fishing because it's totally different technique, and nothing is the same. Another thing. Different locations produce different kinds of fish. For example: I live in Ventura County and if I try surf fishing I only catch perch and perch but if I go on the pier at Ventura I can catch perch, mackerel, shark, & calico....By the way, I really want to say thanks to the PIER FISHING BOOK and WEB SITE because I really enjoy reading it. The book is my map and good instruction for fishing guide. I had the book in last ten years and still keep it in my cabinet.

Posted by Richard G on April 22

You tell him Ken. Pier fishing is only for hard-core fishermen, who can fish with the best of them.!!!!!

Posted by Barry on April 24

"Hanapa Miike,"
Thank you for posting some of the most basic tips on surf fishing available. Read a book? Focus on the surf area? Use the "orange part" of mussels? I expected that someone with your "Hawaiian" moniker would provide less banal information.
What, precisely, do you catch off the "beaches" and "jetties?" What do you "hanapa`a" (yes, that's the correct spelling). Probably the same surf species that are available, without an expensive fishing license, from piers -- i.e. spotfin and yellowfin croaker, corbina, several varieties of perch, sargo, opaleye, guitarfish, bass, etc. But perhaps you are anti-social, and like the relative solitude of surf fishing. Perhaps you enjoy paying the state for your privilege. Either way, it would be great if you kept away from the piers -- it gets pretty crowded.
Why do you call yourself "Hanapa Miike" (Mike?)? Did you ever "Hanapa" anything in Hawai`i? Papio? O`io? Moi? Menpachi? Aweoweo? Kole? Hage? Balloon fish? Puhi? Hinalea? Or just the last four? Did you have an inclination for bragging/fronting while you were there? Did the locals beat it out of you? Probably not, judging from the arrogance and elitism your letter displays. Consider yourself lucky.
--Barry


Date: April 17, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Kim Gale
Subject: sturgeon hot bite
Hi Ken:
Ten keeper sturgeon were caught today in a fifty foot frontage area behind the Hong Kong Ocean East restaurant which is across the street from the Emeryville Sportfishing Center. Three keepers were hauled away on Friday. These fish are being nailed on the incoming tide. There is a lot of herring spawn on rocks at this location. I would like to report that the fish are dying on the restaurant's, "to die for", translucent shrimp dumplings dipped in pile worm juice but that's just not true. Pile worms alone are doing the trick. Will be doing the Berkeley Pier for halibut tomorrow.
Regards, Kim Gale

Date: April 18, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Leart
Subject: Oyster Point Report
My husband brought home a very large striped bass (the biggest that I've ever seen in my life) about 2 feet long I guess, 3 leopard sharks, 2 bat rays, 2 kingfish, and a sturgeon from Oyster point.
We are still newbies with this sport and I'd like to thank you for all the information that we got from your site, which really helped us a lot.
Since getting more ideas from your site, he's been catching all these fish but I don't know how to cook them so we always end up giving it to our relatives. Plus I heard that eating fish caught from the Bay Area could pose hazard to our health. Is that true? Please give me a little bit info if you have time. I will appreciate it a lot.
Thanks,
Lea Mopia
Don't forget to visit my homepage at http://www.mindspring.com/~leart

Lea,
Thanks again for the report about Oyster Point and yes indeed I'll look at your site.
Thanks, Ken


Date: April 18, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Kim Gale
Subject: Pier Fishing in California
Hi Ken;
Herewith a report you might choose to use
It was a rosy fingered dawn and I caught my first shiner perch on the way out to the end of the Berkeley pier. The party boats putt-putted on toward the Gate as I reeled in the second and last bait fish I would need this day. While feisty little perch with hooks through their noses swam around under bouncing bobbers, efforts to get relief help were hammered by leopard sharks and sting rays who seemed to delight in running off with worm bits and then breaking the hooks or leaders when I had the audacity to put the graphite to 'em. About seven-thirty I was finally had company at that end of the pier by three guys from Richmond toting a jury-made five gallon bucket filled with a quarter scoop of anchovies "How long do you think those will live?" I almost smirked. "I duuno", replied Dino Cuccia, "but it sure beats trying to catch those damn shiner perch. Ten minutes later Dino's rod tip went straight toward Tibet, and it wasn't long before a 29-inch, ten-pound striped bass was experiencing labored breathing on the cement. Turned out most of the anchovies were still living at one o'clock when I left. A bit later at the Berkeley Marina Bait Shop I asked Brian Collier about the amazing endurance of his anchovies. "It's the potato chips," said Brian. "What?" "Yeah, old chips, bread crumbs, whatever. We grind it up and feed our chovies every other day. They stay slippery and slimy. You can bounce 'em off the deck and they won't shed a scale. Most of them can bang their noses bloody against the inside of a bucket and still live for hours." I digress. Back to this morning at the pier. The Cuccia party began getting their rods bent one right after the other, but nary a bass or butt. They were in the 'ray hole'. About every ten minutes someone fishing from the North side of the second half of the pier was running toward Berkeley trying to curb their sting ray. Some of these beasties were pretty big, ten to twenty pounds and a lot of folks lost gear under the pier. About noon the shiner perch went blitzoid on the South side toward the top of the tide, but the halibut and bass stayed away. There had been one to four per day butts caught last week. Butt not today.
Caio,
Kim Gale

Kim,
Thanks for the report. I hope to get down there in a couple of weeks and hope the fish are still biting.
Ken


Date: April 19, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: James P
Subject: fishing report
Hi Ken,
Hope you have a nice weekend.
I went fishing for the past three days at the Berkeley Pier, for about 4 hours/day. All fish were caught 2-3 hours before the high tide.
Friday caught 7 rays (neighbors said they are stingrays, but they look more like bat rays to me when compared to my Peterson's Field guide), 1 tiny halibut, and 8 bullheads. While battling with a huge ray, another ray took the bait from my second rod, and my rod just flew right into the Bay and within seconds, it was already fifty feet away from the pier. Luckily a neighbor helped and made another cast towards my fleeing rod and managed to get my rod and the fish back. What a day! Someone else just lost a rod/reel to another ray moments ago that same morning. Now I know why so many people tighten their rods to the pier.
Saturday caught 5 more bat rays (?); three perch, two white, one shiner; one big kingfish; 8 bullheads. Neighbors caught 7 walleyes.
Sunday caught 2 bay rays, 10 bullheads and one shiner.
So many rays were taken from the Berkeley Pier that it is becoming a problem, although they do put up a good fight and give your arm an excellent workout. Many neighbors were also catching numerous jacksmelt using pile worms. One advice to anglers: If you want to avoid catching rays, don't use anchovies.
I may or may not be fishing next weekend.
Best regards, James

James,
Thanks for the report. By the way, most locals in the Bay Area call bat rays stingrays -- so you're right.
Best wishes and tight lines, Ken.


Date: April 20, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Mark Jackson
Subject: Newport/Balboa Piers
Dear Ken,
I have been really busy with work. I hate when work interferes with my fishing! Anyway, the mackerel were in big time on the Balboa Pier last night. Willie and I went fishing this morning. We only came up with a couple of small mackerel but we had a great time. He was mad as could be last night when we had dinner at Ruby's and he had to sit there and watch everyone pulling in fish. We were up at 5:00 A.M. today. I don't need to ask him twice when I wake him up if he still wants to go fishing. He flies out of bed and gets dressed. I hope all is well for you. Are you finishing up for the school year, or do you teach during the summer? See you.
Lot's of bait in the water!!! Big fish will soon be here.
sincerely, Mark Jackson

Hi Mark,
I'm envious, wish I were down there getting some of those macs. No, I don't teach during the summer. Summer is time for lesson plans, classes of my own and -- fishing.
I look forward to getting down there as soon as possible and it looks like we might try to have several "pier rat" get togethers all along the coast. However, I plan to spend a couple of days in Newport and see you, Snookie, and other friends.
Best wishes, Ken


Date: April 20, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Daren J
Subject: www.sfsportfishing.com
Dear Ken,
Some time ago, I wrote you and asked permission to reprint a pier article you did on the Pacifica Pier. You gave the OK, and I am getting ready to put it up. If you haven't come by lately, we have grown. We are building a links page, and want to include you.
Could you include our site, www.sfsportfishing.com, on your links page. If we don't already, we hope to qualify as a mega site someday.
Thanks, webmaster@sfsportfishing.com

Date: April 20, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Brian Squyres
Subject: Greetings
Wow! Am astounded that you even responded to me considering how many folk are talking to you on your site. Just got back from a short visit in California where I visited My brother and sister in law in SLO. You guys need to really appreciate how good you have it with so many excellent piers and great places to fish. Mississippi is completely wiped out from hurricane Georges ... I am the only guy I know fishing from what used to be a pier.... I have some old Texas waders... and fish at the end of the pier hoping for redfish and sheepshead.. if anybody wants info from here will be glad to give details. Thanks to you ... keep it going,...Brian

Hi Brian,
Glad to hear from you. I still have fond memories of pier fishing at Biloxi; hope the pier is still there.
Best wishes, Ken


Date: April 22, 1999
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Steve Caputo
Subject: Night Fishing
Many of us fishers prefer to fish during the day while others at night. I'd like to start a forum on which you prefer & why. All comments are welcome & none are thought to be bogus. Let me know!

Posted by Ken Jones on April 22
It depends a little on what you are after. Many of the southern California species basically shut down after dark so you rarely will catch them. Others, like sculpin (scorpionfish), and several different croakers, feed more actively at night. And of course, there are always the sharks and rays for which "after dark" translates into the primo hours.
Of course there are other factors that can play into your question besides the ability to catch fish. I've spent many a night fishing on piers, in the surf, and in Mission Bay in southern California and thoroughly enjoyed the time even when I wasn't catching fish. I think there is sometimes something magical about being out over the ocean at night.

Posted by Steve Caputo on April 23

I understand the some fish are active at certain times deal. I also prefer to fish at night for that piece and serenity. And yes that magic as I like to call it. It just seems to me that i get more variety at night. I've seen guys pull up everything from lobster to shark. Hence the reason I brought up the question. I really want to know how other anglers are doing at different times of the day and why they prefer those times. Any comments?

Posted by Rich Reano on April 23

You are right about the variety of fish during the evening hours. For me the driving factor is weather. I regularly fish during the morning, but if it is a warm night, I may fish a few hours for sharks and the like.
There's something about the quiet and darkness then all of a sudden your pole is bending towards the water. All the while your reel's drag is singing. It definitely wakes up the pier.


Date: April 22, 1999
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Ken Jones
Subject: "Pier Rat" Hats
For some time I've planned to add "Pier Rat" hats to the merchandise page. However, to make the kind of quality hat that would be both unique and long-lasting (not an el-cheapo plastic hat) will wind up costing me about $9.50 if I buy a minimum of 72 hats. With tax and shipping charges we're looking at close to $13.00 my cost -- and I was hoping to make at least a little profit.
Do I buy the hats or not?
The shirts on the merchandise page are absolutely beautiful and everyone who has seen them raves about them. Yet we've sold less than a dozen.
Since I do not want to get stuck with 70 hats I'm asking you what you would be willing to pay for these hats. If they're too expensive then it is simply a bad idea to order them. If there is a demand, then it might be worth the money to buy them. What do you think?
I thought this might be one way that viewers of this site, the "pier rats," would be able to spot one another when you're out at the pier.
Please give me your thoughts, Ken

Posted by Helen on April 24

Hi Ken,
I have some feedback for you regarding merchandise. While I think the pier rat logo is cute, I think it might be a little cartoonish, especially for a lot of younger guys who might feel a bit self-conscious wearing them. I think the hat idea is a great one since it's so practical -- anyone who's fished the piers either at 3 am in the morning or in full sun in the summer knows this. Again -- I like the logo and this is not meant to offend whoever designed it but my boyfriend for instance, would never wear that shirt and he wears a lot of fishing shirts from Hawaii, etc. Could I suggest a more streamlined, subtle design that could compete more effectively with the array of "hip" sports hats already out there? Maybe you could offer a choice of designs to see what your fellow anglers say about which one they like the best, before you commit to having the hats made. This might give you a sense of the interest out there before your house is cluttered by boxes of hats. By the way, thanks for writing such a great, practical, and informative book. Helen

Posted by Ken Jones on April 27

Helen,
Thanks for your kind note. You may be right that the shirts and hats need a different logo.
Best wishes, Ken

Posted by YTailStud on April; 25

Hey KEN! Brainstorm! I know your busy with your book, website and fishing excursions...so why don't you try this: Hold a contest and let your fellow pier rats come up with a new design! I know ill be the first to enter! Offer a small prize of some sort to the person with the best design...or maybe even first, second and third place. Just an idea.
YTAILSTUD, Tight Lines

Posted by Ken Jones on April 27
YTail Stud,
I like your idea and will incorporate it into the new Games 'n Things Page that should go up on the first,
Thanks, Ken


Date: April 24, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Mark Grim
Subject: Monthly Pier Report
Hi Ken,
I haven't had any luck out at the Eckley Pier. I do not know what else to try out there. I haven't seen anyone catch a fish off of that pier on the 6 trips that I have made out there. I have tried anchovies, sardines, shad, grass shrimp, and lures. I saw someone pull up a crab and thought that there may be a lot of crabs taking the bait, so I tried using a bobber -- still no luck. I'll keep trying, it seems like a very good spot for a pier. Any ideas?
Anyway, here is my report:

Antioch Bridge Pier

The stripers have been very active lately. They'll bite off of anchovies, shad, sardines, or grass shrimp. I was getting bites before the bait hit the bottom on many of my casts.
Be sure to bring an extra jacket, the strong winds can make it very cold out over the water on the pier.

Antioch Marina Pier

Fishing remains slow here. A few catfish have been caught between the pier and the restaurant. I was able to catch a few small striped bass on my last visit here.

Eckley Pier

I still have not caught a fish here, nor have I seen anyone else catch one. I did see a crab pulled up onto the pier -- maybe part of the problem (bait stealing). It is such a good looking place to fish. Anyone had luck here?

Mark,
Thanks once again for a great report.
Best wishes, Ken


Date: April 24, 1999
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Eric
Subject: So Cal Novice Needs Advice
Hello, gentlemen.
I'm thinking of picking up pierfishing. I've gone lake fishing before, but it's fairly evident that the equipment I have now is not up to par. What advice can you guys give in terms of equipment? Do I need a license? I'm in between jobs right now, and I can't spend a small fortune, but I can't wait to go out there and take a picture with my first 25 pounder.

Posted by YTailStud on April 24

Lemme recommend a few surefire products to help you in your pier fishing adventures....
First there is the Pocketfisherman....for only $19.95 (As seen on TV). This handy devices folds up to fit under the seat of your car and folds out into the fishing machine of a lifetime! Casts for miles!
Next, try the Banjo MinnowTM. (As seen on TV) For one low price of $19.95 you can own the lure that turns bad days into memorable ones! Wriggles and darts like a real baitfish!
Oh, and you HAVE to have a Bottomline Fishing Buddy II to attach to the rail of the pier. This product is a little costly, upwards of $300, but you can see every fish for a whole square yard!

Posted by Eric on April 25

Ytailstud -
Thanks for the 411. I've actually seen the pocketfisherman on TV, but thought that it was too good to be true. Do you own one? How sturdy is it?
Thanks again for the advice. See you at the pier.
Eric.

Posted by RL on April 26

That's allot of crock.... don't listen to guys that tell you to buy hokie stuff that don't work. Just go to K mart or Walmart and buy your basic pole for about $20.00 and some 1 or 2 oz weights and some hooks and bait. That's all you need! If you want to get very technical on how to carry your gear e-mail me. I have some ideas on how to transform an old stroller in to a fishing caddy!

Posted by Troy on April 26

I'm with RL on this one, Eric. Just go to Kmart or Walmart or Sportmart and buy your basic hooks, weights, a pole and a reel.
Posted by

Eric

on April 26
I just upgraded my equipment and bought everything (hooks, weights, rod & reel) for about $60 at Sport Chalet. (Not a bad investment to start out a new hobby, I think.) Just converted one of my tool boxes to fit everything in, and bought some assorted seafood from my local Korean grocer to use as bait. I am ready, baby! I'll post the report on how I did. Thanks to all-!

Posted by Dave McD on April 28

Eric, first off is RL is right, those "to good to be true" stuff on TV is just a way for you to spend a lot of money on junk. Go to WalMart for probably the best prices on a wide assortment of gear, including frozen bait like anchovies and squid, and stick to basics. I use 20lb line because where I fish I have to battle the tides, currents, weeds and kelp, and lots of other things to get hung up on, and I would rather bend a cheap bronze baitholder hook than lose all my sinkers, swivels, etc. every second or third cast. I use #2 hooks with frozen anchovies (cut in half) most of the time, and I've caught bass, sheephead, scorpionfish (they call them sculpin down here), small sharks, whitefish, and a ton of other fish.

Posted by Eric on April 28

Hey, thanks, Dave & Co. I think I've learned more by reading these posts than with all the hours I've held a rod in my lifetime. You guys really take care of your own, huh? Good stuff. I didn't have much luck in my first outing at Venice Pier, but I'm going again tomorrow (Santa Monica Pier). I'll let you guys know how the action is. Oh, and one more question, guys - I heard conflicting info regarding how to fish for mackerel - should I go shallow or deep? - tis the question.
Grateful, Eric

Posted by Dion on April 28

Mackerel are best caught near the end of the pier. Keep the bait near the top. You may use a float or a small egg sinker with a crimp about 24 inches above a #2 or #4 hook. Best bait of choice is fresh mackerel, but they will bite on virtually anything.

Posted by Dave McD on April 29

We catch mackerel 3 different ways... First is to have a sinker on the bottom with one hook about 2 feet above it, then another hook about 2 feet above the first hook. This is the rig I use the #2 baitholder hooks with the cut anchovies on. Works great for mackerels, usually the bigger ones, and occasionally a sand bass or two also eat this. I take cut up strips of an old T-shirt and tie my poles to the top rail of the piers too. Glad I do too since a few times I know they would have got dragged over, especially from the bass. Second is the way Dion described. It works but you really have to watch your line and be extremely courteous to others because the currents can be swift, especially here down San Diego way, and your gear can wash down into other peoples gear and get tangled a lot. At night you can use one of those chemical lights as your float too, some say it helps attract, but they cost to much for me to use regularly, I'd rather spend it on the gas to go more often! Third is using those little multi-jigs. I think they are generically called "Lucky Luras" but its those 4 or 5 little jig lures on one string. Some look like plastic type paper cut outs, some like fly tied shrimp flies, and some are small plastic lures over the hooks. These come in different sizes and I use from size 12 to size 6. My 4 year old daughter uses the small #12 size to jig straight up and down for small smelt, and my nephew uses the bigger size #6 for mackerels. You put a sinker on the bottom and can either jig straight up and down, or what my nephew likes best is to cast out, let sink a little, then kind of jig & crank it back in by raising your pole up, then lowering it while cranking your reel 3 or 4 turns on the handle, then raise, lower and crank, raise, lower and crank. It works well for him. He shows off sometimes by getting one on that way, then letting the mackerel drag the whole thing around in circles till another one or two bite the other jigs on it. Mackerels will bite everything I've tried for bait, but the anchovies, or cut up mackerel pieces seem to work best, probably because they are oily with a strong smell. Other people swear by squid strips and I see mostly those who fish near the top using squid for mackerels. Squid definitely stays on the hook better if your casting or moving your bait around. Feel free e-mail me, but better is to ask on the boards here so all can pitch in.... that way I get to read what others add and pick up new stuff myself!

Good luck, Dave, Jarrod, & Shantae

Posted by Dave McD on April 29

Just read my own reply and wanted to clarify that the first way I told is all the way deep to the bottom, second is shallow, and the jigging can be anywhere from the top to the bottom. I've seen the kids get mackerel at all depths, I usually fish deep or jig.

Dave


Date: April 25, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Norm D
Subject: J St Pier - Chula Vista
Was out for awhile saw a few needlefish and sand sharks caught but saw something a little different by the rocks -- bonito jumping out of the water chasing bait fish around. Quite a few of them made things look a little promising for the future

Hi Norm,
You're right -- very interesting.
Ken


Date: April 26, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Snookie
Subject: Balboa Pier Report
Dear Ken,
The pier report will be short this time. For the days that I was able to get there we caught some small halibut. The mackerel fishermen have had a bad time catching them every day. There are some jacksmelt where there usually are mostly mackerel.
The rest of the time I have been in a horizontal, eyes closed position. This was for about two weeks. I have a torn retina, and I even had to have laser surgery. Next Tuesday will be my first day back to the pier if the weather cooperates. Oh what a boring time this has been for me.
Hopefully this is just a temporary pause in my fishing. I now have a better idea what cabin fever is. I couldn't even read.
Hope everything is going well with you.
Snookie

Date: April 26, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: James P
Subject: fishing report
Hi Ken,
Went fishing at the Berkeley Pier Sunday (4/25/99) morning and had a fun day. Caught one leopard shark (26"), two kingfish, 14 bullheads, one baby California halibut, and two crabs. The weather was nice, with some morning fog, but pleasant. The best bait is still pile worm, but anchovies works well too. The bat rays are gone now. Neighbors were concentrating on surfperch, fishing with bubbles, and caught quiet a few shiners.
Best regards, James

James,
Thanks for the report. It'll be posted on the next Report Pager.
Best wishes and good fishin'
Ken


Date: April 27, 1999
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Eric
Subject: Venice Fishing Pier
5.5 hours of fruitless waiting, hoping, casting and recasting came and went at Venice fishing pier (also got a $40 parking ticket). What did I do wrong? I used baby squid, shrimp and mussels as bait. There was an old man about 75-80 pulling in 3 beautiful mackerels in about an hour. Another elderly gentleman pulled out another beautiful mackerel (from the spot I vacated about 5 minutes before). Experience helps, I guess. Hey, can anyone give me tips on how deep and how far away from the pier I should be aiming? Despite my dismal first experience, I thoroughly enjoyed pier fishing. I can't wait to go again.

Posted by Ken Jones on April 28
Eric,
If you're after mackerel, the best method is usually one of the following: (1) Use a bait rig (Lucky Lura/Sabuku, etc) with or without a little bait. Cast out, let it sink part way to the bottom and begin to reel in. Techniques vary but when you see the mackerel begin to follow your rig you will know you are getting the hang of it. Usually a crank and stop or crank and pump works best. (2) Attach a couple of size 4-2 hooks directly to your line or use a high/low leader rigging. Use strips of squid (thin but about 3-4 inches long) or pieces of mackerel. Cast out and find where the mackerel are at (usually they're at mid-depth under the schools of smelt and anchovies). Once you figure where the mackerel are at, try to keep your rigging in that area. If the macs are around, and they are hungry, you shouldn't have too much trouble catching them. (3) At piers close to the water many anglers use a light pole and line with a single hook attached to the end. A few feet above the hook they attach a split-shot sinker to give a little weight. Usually the hook is used together with a small strip of squid but occasionally pieces of mackerel are used. It's a deadly method and gives sport when the medium sized mackerel are caught on the light tackle.
By the way, there are times when the mackerel will only seem to hit in the morning and late afternoon; and these are generally the best hours.
Good luck and best wishes, Ken

Posted by Eric on April 28

Much obliged, Ken. I'll try to keep all that in mind when I go out again. I noticed in my little fishing guide (free at your local Sport Chalet) that these next few days are the best times to go out, especially with the high tide. Hope to see you there.
Grateful, Eric.

Posted by Ken Jones on April 29

Best of luck on your trip but you will not see me there this trip. I'm sitting here in Boonville about 600 miles north of the Venice Pier. But maybe I'll see you down there this summer.
Ken


Date: April 27, 1999
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: RL
Subject: Port and/or beef, maybe chicken
Do any of these meats works a good bait for sharks and shovelnose or even on any species of fish?
Thanks, RL

Posted by Ken Jones on April 28
RL,
I'm sorry but I've never seen anyone really have any success with these "meat" baits -- except for crabs.
However, two interesting stories tie into your question.
The first was many years ago when the movie Jaws came out. I remember joining a shark fishing "expedition" out to the Farallon Islands. Each guy had to bring a bucket of blood with him and we hoped of course to see a "great white." Unfortunately all I got was a bad case of seasickness and never did see a shark -- although a couple of blues were hooked and landed. (And yes, blood will attract in some sharks.)
The second story was up at the Del Norte Pier in Eureka. One day when I went out to the pier to go fishing I noticed a rope leading from one corner. Attached to the rope was the carcass of a sheep. Evidently the throat had been cut and the sheep tossed off the pier to attract sharks (which are common to that pier at night). Did it work? I don't know but I thought it was a thoroughly disgusting sight.
Anyway, I don't think you'll have too much success with the meat.
Sorry, Ken


Date: April 28, 1999
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Steve Caputo
Subject: Pier Rat Meeting
It seems to me that no one is that interested in a pier rat meet! Am I wrong!? I hope so. lets try picking up the topic again and see how many people are willing to support this project! I (as stated in my earlier message) am willing to put forth the effort, but I'm not doing it alone! As I said before, maybe ken can over see the whole thing w/ some of us hosting individual piers. lets get this project rolling!Any one interested can e-mail me, or lets just keep the forum rolling!

Posted by Rich Reano on April 28

The plan is in no way scrapped. There are quite a few logistics involved with getting this together and making it successful. I chatted briefly with Ken concerning this. I encourage everyone to discuss their requests as to where, when, etc. This will help us a lot with the planning.

Posted by Ken Anderson on April 28

I'm just a beginner at this but I'm in for anything on the central coast from Gaviota to Cayucos...maybe to San Simeon. Let me know if I need to do anything to help organize things.

Posted by Ken Jones on April 28
As Rich said, we're hoping this will happen. Unfortunately I haven't been able to nail down the dates because of a family situation (and may not be able to do so for a few more weeks). Once I am sure I can commit to the dates, then I will let everyone know and we can begin planning the specific dates and piers.
Hope to see everyone, Ken

Posted by Joe Pinedo on April 28

Yeah let me know, me and my brothers would love to go fishing, we when to Goleta the other weekend, and then up by Monterey the other day, so anywhere in between Goleta and Cayucos, we are game!!!!! lets do this!!!! the fishin' here on the rock on Shell Beach have been rewarding too!!!!!


Date: April 29, 1999
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Dave McD
Subject: whitefish
Out here on San Clemente Island (off the San Diego coast) a couple of us Navy guys went fishing out in the cove and we caught a few fish that they said are "whitefish". Is there any links or info on these fish? They kind of resemble a croaker maybe (pondering my memory from years ago when I last caught croakers in San Francisco bay) but these were pretty good size and don't look quite like those "kingfish" from long ago. These were down near the bottom in about 160 feet deep water and they liked squid better than anchovies, but I caught one on anchovies too. They are about 14 to 18 inches, kind of light brown to bronze on top and sides, real light gray to white on the belly. The tail and pectoral fins have a kind of yellowish-green cast to them, and the dorsal fin is one long fin from about the shoulder to about 1 inch from the tail, with similar anal fin. I didn't notice any real spines worth noting anywhere. The mouth is kind of small, especially compared to a sand or calico bass of this size, but has a few small teeth. The raw meat is white, and the gut cavity has a pocket behind the anus where I believe the liver might have been, but I cleaned that all out. The row is white. The scales were rather small too compared to a sheephead or snapper of the same size. Anyone know if these are okay to eat? and what are they really called?

Thanks, Dave

Posted by Rich Reano on April 29

I know the ones. They are actually one of my favorite fishes to eat. They call them Ocean Whitefish.

Posted by YTailStud on April 29

Yes Dave, Rich is right. Ocean Whitefish are very safe to eat and are in fact great eating. On many overnight trips to Catalina or Clemente, whitefish have turned a bad weather skunkin' into a decent day. They do get larger, as I have caught to about 18-20 inches.

Posted by Snookie on April 30

Our ocean whitefish (Caulolatilus princeps) grow to 40 inches. Any size is going to be good to eat. They range from Vancouver Island to Peru, but are rare north of Central California. They are mostly offshore in rocky reefs and banks areas around islands usually around 33 to 300 feet. You were in a good area to find them, although I have caught quite a few off Dana Point.
Good luck for getting more of these good fish.
Snookie

Posted by Ken Jones on April 30
Wow, you guys (and one lady) are amazing!!! Ask and you shall receive. I think the power of the Pier Fishing in California Message Board is just beginning to be felt. Those anglers who would question the knowledge or wisdom of "pier rats" (i.e. Hanapa Miike) had better be prepared to be humbled by the collective wisdom of our fraternity. Good job; now if we can just convince a few more of our daily visitors to jump into the Message Board with questions and/or answers. By the way, I agree with your comments: Ocean Whitefish are good little fighters (although they're not all small) and they're good eating. I just wish a few more of these attractive fish would visit the piers.

Posted by Dave McD on May 1
Thanks to everyone, most informative. I must confess we used a small boat to get about 100 yards out to a buoy for the white fish, not from the pier here on San Clemente Island, but that is the only time I have been able to fish from a boat for the last two years. I may even be able to cast far enough out for these fish from the end of the pier out here, I'm gonna try!

Thanks again, Dave
P.S. I'm gonna post a real pier story now that might interest a few...


Date: April 30, 1999
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Red
Subject: more advice please

Hi, I was reading the message board on a novice asking advice and what I want to know is basically:
1. what kind of rod is best for pier and surf fishing? (light, medium, heavy action? what length?)
2. what reel is best? spinning or baitcast?
3. what line?
4. also, what other equipment is needed?
I'd really appreciate all the info!!
Thanks! Red

Posted by Ken Jones on May 1
Red,
Your question is somewhat hard to answer because the demands of pier fishing and surf fishing can be quite different. It also can depend upon the type of fish you are seeking and the pier from which you normally fish. Most pier fishermen have two riggings, a light tackle 7-foot-long-or-so spinning outfit and an 8-9 foot medium action rod equipped with either a conventional or spinning reel. The first is ideal for catching small fish including live bait, the second is adequate for most of the bigger species. However, there are those who specialize in the bigger species like large sharks, sturgeon, Pacifica salmon, etc. and many of those will have larger and/or heavier tackle. If I were telling a newcomer to pier fishing what rod and reel to get I would advise the first two combinations and I would advise him to watch the "pier rats", the regulars, to determine how to use the tackle.
I might also suggest ordering my book, Pier Fishing in California, from this site. You'll get an autographed first edition cheaper than you can buy it in a store and it will answer (I think) all your questions.
Best wishes, Ken
PS, Take a look back in the archive section of the Comment Pages, there are other questions similar to your own.


Date: April 30, 1999
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: RL
Subject: shovelnose shark
What kind of meals can I create with this shark. From what I hear the meat is all in the tail, how do I get it out....can't I use the rest of it too? It just seems to be a waste of a life if I can't use the rest of it.
Please advice me,
PS What kind of bait should I use?
Thanks, RL

Posted by Snookie on April 30

Shovelnose guitarfish are best fixed as a shovelnose cocktail. Take the tail of the shovelnose and boil or simmer it until done. The skin will peel off easily, and the cartilage will come away from the meat easily too. Cool the meat. Make a cocktail sauce such as the kind you would use for crab or shrimp Louie. Chip some celery into the mix. Add the amount of the tail meat that will mix well. Chill and eat. It is a rich Louie but very tasty.
The cocktail sauce that I make is Heinz cocktail sauce plus a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce and Horseradish (about a heaping teaspoon).
You asked about bait for shovelnose. They like everything a halibut likes such as all the live baits and the dead bait. They do like the bigger baits such as about six inches and up. Remember they are scavengers.
Good luck and good eating, Snookie

Posted by Ken Jones on April 30
Snookie,
My dear you're a veritable treasure trove of ideas! I've never prepared or used Mr. Guitarfish in that manner. Unless you object, I may steal your recipe and put it in my book (with credit of course).
By the way, guitarfish are one of my favorite fish (both to catch and to eat). Ken


Date: April 30, 1999
To: Glen -- Songslinger
From: Ken Jones
Subject: Fishin'
Glen,
What's happening down there?

Hi Ken
It hasn't been too cold down here, but it has been unseasonably windy. Very rough, in fact, so bad that only a few hardy souls have been getting out in the Bay System. And the ocean-forget about it! All those redtail and walleyed perch out there, and no one can reach them. Even when the wind is down the surf is so rough that it's impossible to keep a 5 oz sinker in place. I even feel sorry for the salmon boaters.
Sluggish tides, dirty water, winds and crabs. Any one of these is bad enough and too often we suffer all four at once. Halibut aren't in yet and the stripers are mostly undersized (though they at least have provided a little entertainment by plugging). Last week there were some sharks and bat rays caught in fair numbers, but even they have slowed down. Perch are invisible save for a scattering of little guys that must have been born last year. Right now, the only thing you can be sure to catch is jacksmelt and plenty of them, usually on the outgoing tide on anchovies.
I've been to Point Pinole and Berkeley piers recently. The mitten crabs are savage in the San Pablo Bay. We ran into them everywhere we cast. When we caught a couple bullheads we considered ourselves lucky. Oddly, there was a nice 50# sturgeon caught there on pile worms a little over a week ago. Some stripers, but they are the irritating 10-12 inch variety. Also, the occasional kingfish.
At Berkeley Pier things were better. Up and down the pier people were catching large bat rays (I'd guess one was nearly 60#; I've caught and weighed similar beauties) and leopard sharks. I got a four-foot 7-gill shark and had a ball landing and releasing her. Some guys at the end were catching
turbots on cut anchovies. They almost threw them back as undersized halibut until I came to the rescue. There three turbots were each over fifteen inches, not too shabby. There are plenty of shiner perch to go around but no halibut to chase them. Strange how there haven't been any black or pile perch at all. All in all, April wasn't too great. Then again, El Nino really spoiled us last year.
I fished right beside Fort Baker Pier last week. No one was on the pier. I caught two cabezon and two rockfish, all four in respectable sizes. Most of the rockfish are small there, but at least it's something. I've caught small blues and browns each time out in the past few weeks. Haven't tried Sausalito because it didn't seem worth it on these awful tides.
So it's clearly time for Delta fishing, and that has been very nice indeed. Catfish, stripers, crappies, and black bass are all doing well. As a matter of fact, all four of those species are being caught at both Antioch public piers right now. Talked with East Bay Parks and also a young shoreliner who lives out that way. Minnows and plugs for the black bass, blood worms and fish baits for the stripers, just about anything for the catfish, and jigs and red worms for the crappies. It's supposedly quite good there currently.
Me, I'm a little fatigued with local lackluster angling, so I'm headed to the South Delta to plug for stripers and soak livers for the 12# channel cats people have been catching. I might even to some ultra light jigging for crappies and largemouth bass. It's a catch-and release only, as I'm full of rockfish as of this writing and still have some blue catfish in the icebox. I just want that 20 pound striper on a Rat-L-Trap for a glorious moment.
Here's to moments and good fishing!
Glen

Hi Glen,
At least you're able to get out. Teaching is really restricting my hours to go fishing lately so I'm already looking forward to this summer. Up here the wind hasn't been too bad but it's really been cold at night. Perch are showing up in better numbers so summer shouldn't be too far behind.
Best wishes, Ken
And let's make sure to share some time this summer.