Visitor Comments and Letters - June '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: May 31, 1999
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Kim Gale
Subject: Berkeley Pier

Berkeley Pier at seven o'clock in the morning. An ebb tide about to turn to flood, a chill breeze ruffles clear water and a couple of miles out toward Alcatraz the image of a shiny party boat flotilla dances in the early morning glare.

The shiner perch were here, right under the pier and then there, a few yards out and now, the school is in session twenty feet back the other way. Follow 'em around with an anchovy jig rig: six bitty hooks each with a smidgen of pile worm. The dumb ones bite, get a new home in bouncy bait bucket and await their turn to run around under a bobber with a 1/0 hook in their nose.

About ten, Roland's reel whines. The halibut takes the shiner straight out about twenty yards and then stops, then starts moseying back toward the pier. "Swallow it, damn it", growls Roland as the butt then starts slowly swimming East. Two minutes later and fifty yards toward the Berkeley shoreline Mister Butt decides to make his move. Roland sets the hook and a brief fight ensues. Halibut usually tire quickly and this one is no exception. Into the crab net and up on the pier to be measured at 28 inches and back in the Bay wearing a nice hemp leash.

An hour later Pete puts the graphite to a 37 incher back at the second cleaning station. The eighteen pound fish took a jacksmelt with two hooks; one in it's nose, the other under dorsal fin. I lose one. Damn thing took two runs and then my bobber popped up about two hundred feet toward Emeryville. The shiner had virtually no marks on it. After four hours of selfless service, I figured it had earned it's freedom.

Roland lost one just after noon following a five minute cat and butt routine while Jerry practiced his halibut mating or 'come to lunch' call to no avail. The wind was howling the water beginning to muddy when I left. Only two halibut at that point but some folks had full buckets of jacksmelt and there were a lot of walleye perch up to almost a pound being caught by bored butt fishers. There was one big ray caught real early in the morning but the beasts with the smiling faces stayed away the rest of the day.

Date: June 1, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Willard Rappleye
Subject: pier fishing

I like your page a lot. I've started a page dedicated to striped bass. [] I'd like to link to you; can we reciprocate? And if you get any striper reports, do you want to forward them to me, and I'll post them with your page linked? I'm just getting started, so trying to build up some contacts on the West Coast.

Tightlines, Willard

Hi Willard,

In response to your message, yes I will link up. Not sure how we would handle the reports.

Best wishes on your site, Ken

Date: June 1, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Thomas V
Subject: Crabbing in the Bay Area

Hi Ken,

Where are the places to go crabbing here in the Bay Are and how do I get there?

Am planning to take a family outing next weekend and have heard that the water by the pier in San Francisco by Ghiradelli Square is polluted.

Whatever information you and/or your readers can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks much!


Hi Tom,

As for crabs in the bay, I think your best bet would be Fort Point or Fort Baker although the Fort Mason piers, Muni Pier and Pier 7 do all see a lot of crabbers and a lot of crabs. As far as I know they are o.k. to eat although I would recommend the same thing as I do with the fish -- eat them in moderation. Do remember that it is illegal to keep Dungeness crabs that you catch in San Francisco Bay. For the Dungeness you will need to head to places like Bodega Bay or Tomales Bay.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: June 2, 1999
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Berry
Subject: Grunion as halibut bait?

To anyone in the know,

I have heard from various sources that halibut and guitarfish often follow the grunion in towards shore during grunion runs. Grunion do resemble smelt in appearance if not in habit, so I was wondering if the former would be as effective a bait as the latter. If so, it seems shorefishing or pierfishing with live grunion at the height of a run might be an effective means to catch the larger fish. Has anyone out there tried this, successfully?

Thanks, Barry

Posted by Snookie on June 3, 1999

Dear Barry,

You are quite right about grunion as halibut and guitarfish bait. Both of these species love grunion. They are easy to catch on a snagline with the bare shiney hooks (number 12). They are kept the same way you would keep smelt, etc. Of course an aerator is important also to keep them lively.

If you do not know the difference between grunion and smelt after you have them out of the water, remember that the grunion feels more like a snake in your hands. He look longer and skinnier. The ten inch grunion are about the best size and most enjoyed by the halibut. Use a number 1 hook, and hook under the chin up through the nose. If the nose area has been damaged by the snagline hook, hook the grunion on the back about halfway back.

By the way, grunion are illegal to catch with anything but your hands. I have yet to find a warden who can instantly tell if you have grunion or smelt in your bucket. Most people can't tell the difference. Please be careful, and good luck.


Posted by Barry on June 3, 1999


Thanks for your advice about using grunion for halibut and guitarfish bait. Personally, I've had most success using smaller-sized live bait -- smelt, queenfish, and mackeral around 3-5"-- for bass, halibut, and guitarfish. I've yet to catch a grunion that size; most have been quite large, around 8-10", whether caught on damashii (those Japanese snag rigs with #12 hooks) or on the beach.

I assume you've caught halibut and guitarfish using these larger baits. I'd like to know your, or anyone else's, opinion as to the most effective size range of live grunion bait.

Again, thanks for the advice.


Posted by Snookie on Jun-4-99

Dear Barry,

You are right about the 3-5 inch sizes being the best sizes for halibut and guitarfish when using the other baits besides grunion. The grunion usually are found from 6-10 inches. The bigger grunions are always better if you can get them. Remember they are a skinnier fish which is the reason a 10 inch bait will work. A halibut has a big mouth at any size, and the bigger the halibut, the bigger the bait she can consume.


Posted by Jack on June 4, 1999

Wut is grunion?

Posted by Snookie on June 4, 1999

Dear Jack,

I can only assume that you are either new to fishing or from the East Coast.

A grunion (California) is a small silvery fish, somewhat like a smelt in appearance found mostly near shore between Point Conception in Southern California and Punta Areojos in Baja California.

Do take the time to read about their unique spawning on the beaches. They are a one of a kind fish.

Welcome to the knowledge of a new fish to you. The world of fishing always has something new for all of us at one time or another. We all have to start somewhere.

Good luck.


Posted by Dave Strong on June 7, 1999

I saw a guy last night using small shiner/silver perch (about 5" long) as Halibut bait. I was surprised because the perch are so "tall." Does anyone think a Halibut's "big mouth" can handle perch or will they even go after them?

Posted by Barry on June 7, 1999


Shinerperch are quite "tall," as you point out, and those in the 5" inch range are a bit larger than I would prefer to use for halibut generally, though for the larger halibut, guitarfish, batrays, and sharks that size are effective. live anchovies, sardines, smelt, and perhaps grunion (in about that order), however, are better baits for those fish/sharks/rays.


Date: June
To: Ken Jones
From: Norm Dorman
Subject: Bayshore Pier

I've sent reports to you 3 times. I don't know why you're not getting them but I don't ever fish there lately: too many garbage fish. I want to be where the water is clearer to eat them, If you know what I mean. Besides, the Imperial Beach pier is doing lot better than Liz says from Cox Tackle. She doen't go out there, she just goes by what she hears. I have been there every week and we're getting nice size surfpearch on orange jigs and light brown ones; using green ones for mackerrel and white ones for herring and queenfish. A few halibuts have been taken the last 2 weeks. I'm going back tomorrow before work. I'll write and let you know what I see. I also go out to the navel station at North Island and that's what I wrote you the last time. They're getting corbina and sand sharks; the biggest one I saw was a 3-footer; lots of sand bass; saw some barracuda swim by with some larger needlefish. I did get a rariety by landing a skate.

Thanks, Norm

Hi Norm,

Got your message; don't know why the other messages didn't come through. I've wondered about the reports from Liz. Perhaps you could make a report on the message board or simply send me a report about the Imperial Beach Pier each month. Sounds like you know what is going on!

Thanks, Ken

Date: June 6, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Ferdinand
Subject: San Leandro Marina Pier

Sorry for not sending any info, but there was just no actions out there. Me and my four year old stopped by 6/4/99 and caught half a bucket of smelt. It seems like there are stripers lurking around , cause you would see the smelt just jump right out of the water at times. Well, as soon as I get more info I will forward it to you.


Thanks for the news. Smelt are fun to catch and, as you say, the stripers are often right behind them. Best of luck,


Date: June 6, 1999
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Kev
Subject: Need help using umbrella net to catch bait

I just bought an umbrella net for catching smelt, etc. I know the basic technique is to lower it down, wait for bait to swim above the net, then pull it up quickly. I need help with the specifics. What chum should be used? Do I need a small weight to weigh down the middle of the net? Do you lower it all the way to the bottom (around 6-8 feet where I saw the smelt)? Etc.

Can anyone describe their successful technique in detail? Thanks in advance for the help!

Tight Lines, Kev

Posted by Snookie on June 6, 1999

Dear Kev,

Using the umbrella net is tricky at times. I have used mine for more years than you are old most likely. To begin with use breads either old or fresh, wheat or white. Wet it down so that it will break apart when you toss it into the water. It looks like it explodes. Just use small amounts so that you can control the path of the bait to your net. Check with the bread chum first to make sure there is bait available to you. If you see the bread moving they are there or if you can see them. It would be best if they are near the surface as they are easier to catch. Lower your net to about three feet below the surface. Try to throw the chum to where it will sink into the net. You will have to check your currents to figure this out. It's different each time. You hopefully can see the smelt in the net, and when you see enough to satisfy you, raise the net slowly at first then near the surface increase the speed of the pull. Don't pull too hard out of the water as the bait will bounce out of the net.

Once your net is wet you can smear some of the bread chum in the netting. This will keep the chum near the net when lowered. Yes, some will float away.

Once you have bait on deck put them in whatever size bucket you want to use. If you are using a larger bucket, have a smaller one for getting fresh saltwater as needed. An aerator is a must to keep the bait healthy and happy. Also have a decent sized hand net for getting the bait out of your bucket to use.

Good luck to you.


Posted by Mike on June 7, 1999

Are there any regulations regarding the use of umbrella nets? Are they legal on all piers? Where can I get one of these?

Posted by Snookie on June 8, 1999

Dear Mike,

The umbrella net is legal for sure south of Point Conception. We fought for this right to use them quite a few years ago. We won! Always watch your fishing regulations as DFG is always surprising us with new things. So far, so good.

As to where to find these nets, try your anglers supply places in your area. A marine supply place that carries them is West Marine. Actually there prices were the best at $8.95 last year. You will find them up to $15.00. If these stores don't have them in stock, have them order one for you. They are in some of the catalogs.

Try to get the darker colored net. When it fades, it works the best over the white color.


Date: June 7, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: James Pan
Subject: Berkeley Pier

Hi Ken,

Went fishing last Saturday (6/5) at the Berkeley Pier and had some good time. Besides a big crowd of the usual diners, also caught four bat rays, ranging from 10 to 40lb. One bat ray got away when my line got twisted around the pier structure. The 40lb ray provided some good exercise, lots of excitement and took 10 min to land.

Good luck on your next fishing trip.




Sounds like you had a great time. Congratulations on the nice bat ray.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: June 7, 1999
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Erik
Subject: Treasure Island

I was wondering if you can fish at Treasure Island. I'm not sure if it is open yet but I know there will be great fishing there. Thanks for the help.

Posted by Clarissa on June 9, 1999

Does anyone fish there? I remember faintly when I was a little girl in the early 70's my father use to take our family there to fish and he'd go crabbing. I'd like to take my father there this father's day. Does it cost to go on the island and is that concrete pier still there and accessible? Any bait recommendations? Please help! Thank you.

Posted by Troy on June 11, 1999

I noticed a few posts on Treasure Island off of the Bay Bridge and nobody seems to have I'd like to also inquire about the fishing. I've heard rumors of good fishing at night there...can anyone tell me if these rumors are true? What do you think, Ken? Any help would be great! Thanks everyone!


Posted by Ken Jones on June 12, 1999

Sorry, but I don't know the answer to your question. I have never fished from the shore or on a pier at Treasure Island. I do hope that some of the piers are opened to the public when the island is opened to the public but who knows what will happen.

How about some of you SF Bay pier rats checking this out and letting us know what the future holds?

Posted by khaled on June 13, 1999

On Sunday I decided to drive to Treausre Island to check the fishing there when I got to the gate I asked the attendant about any fishing spot or pier on the island. He told me there is a pier for fishing . However the pier needs repairs. He does not know when it will be open. That pier would be a pefect spot for salmon fishing. I hope they open it soon. I doubt that it will be open though.

Posted by Erik on June 14, 1999

Do you think people are allowed to fish of the rocks if the pier is not opened?

Posted by khaled on June 14, 1999

I asked the attendant about fishing off the rocks and he said it is not allowed. I was thinking about the fishing off the rocks too.

Posted by Erik on June 14, 1999

Well I have a solution to this problem. I just e-mailed Songslinger the Shore fishing expert in the bay area and He said it is legal to fish of the Yerba Buena Side. Also I am looking for pictures for my site so if you have any send them to me at My link will be at the bottom of the page.

Posted by Rudy on June 16, 1999

I believe it is not yet allowed to fish off of Treasure Island even off the rocks. It doesn't cost anything to go into Treasure Island. However, the fishing pier located past the main guard gate is closed for repairs and will reopen when and if they decide to finish the project. I heard though that it is legal to fish off the Yerba Buena side of the island which also holds promising opportunities to catch good fish. This time of year try everything for bait. Especially pile worms, grass shrimp, anchovies, and squid. The worms and shrimp will yield you smaller and fiesty fish like various perch, jacksmelt, rock cod, starry flounder, and even small sharks. The bigger baits, like anchovies and squid, will offer opportunities for catching bigger sharks, rays, striped bass, and even halibut. If you're going to go for crabs, make sure you do it off a pier of some sort and not off the rocks or shore. This will enable you to retrieve your traps easily without snagging it on rocks or other underwater obstacles that can easily keep your traps from being retrieved. One more thing about crabbing... use natural baits like fish heads or parts to attract the crabs into your traps. Other people use chicken which also works. But I find that the natural baits tend to attract more crabs because they seem to smell more in the water. And if you happen to go into a fishing bait shop, ask for crab bait cages which are small metal inexpensive cages that you can put your baits into. All you need is one cage per net. There are plenty of seals out there who are looking for any oppportunities to take free fish bait from a crab trap. Hope this helps.

Date: June 8, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Sam Sheephead
Subject: sharks

Fishing on the Santa Monica pier I recently used a baby pig and a heavy winch to snag a giant hammerhead lurking just off the shelf of the outermost point at the end of the pier...luckily my steel based line was hooked to a high voltage generator which i used to electricute the monster upon hooking him...we all ate hammerhead steaks that night which were mighty to the beasts head i made it into a boomerang which my kids enjoy throwing about the yard


Interesting story, you have quite an imagination!


Date: June 8, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Jerry Tenenbaum
Subject: Malibu Pier

What's going on with Malibu Pier. I used to catch lots of halibut there (up to 19 lbs). It's a wonderful place to fish, watch people etc., but its been closed for a long time.


The city wants to rebuild it but can't seem to find a funding source. However, I talked to the city manager one day and he said they were making progress. We'll see.


Date: June 8, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Brett T
Subject: Vallejo Pier

Ken -

A friend of mine said he was sturgeon fishing in the Napa River the other day and saw people catching some sturgeon from the "pier". He said the sturgeon are in that area right now and one can cast into the channel from the pier and get to some pretty good spots.



I wonder what pier they are talking about? The original Vallejo Pier is gone. See if they know.

Thanks, Ken

Ken -

I think he is talking about the concrete walkway ("seawall") with a metal railing, near the boat ramp. I haven't been there but from the Vallejo pier site on the pier report web page and from what my friend said, this sounds like what it is.

Hope this helps. If you would like more info I will look into it further.



Thanks for the information.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: June 8, 1999
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Mike
Subject: Crystal Pier

I was looking though the games and things section and noticed that crystal pier is highly rated for a number of species. I plan on trying out the pier this Friday night or Sunday. If anyone has any information about the pier I would greatly appreciate it. What I'm most interested in is whether the pier is kid friendly. I like to take my young nephews with me when I go fishing, so if the pier is in an "unfriendly" neighborhood I would probably stay away. Anyone with info please help.

Posted by Barry on June 8, 1999


Unless the private owners of Crystal Pier have changed their policy re. fishing since I last went, you will not be able to fish at night there, that is, if you aren't renting a bungalow. Pier hours for non-renters run from 8am to sunset, unfortunately.

Last time I fished there (a couple of weeks ago), there were three people fishing the inshore to mid-pier area--they didn't have any luck. casting out from the end with a multi-lure "snag" rig (#12 hooks), i caught a couple dozen small mackeral, smelt, and a few sardines, the last of which i used as live bait for halibut. results: zero.

Hopefully, things have picked up since then.


Posted by JW on June 18, 1999

If you are referring to Crystal Pier located in Pacific Beach, be aware that this pier is a PRIVATELY OWNED pier and not a MUNICIPAL pier. DFG has been known to show up and check for fishing licenses which ARE required to fish this pier because it is NOT A MUNICIPAL pier. With regards to fishing, I have had good luck using blood worms and grocery store small sized shrimp. Perch will tear this bait up. Use light line, 6 - 8lbs. with about an 18 inch leader and a 1/2 oz. sliding sinker. Cast just outside the breakers. Sandcrabs can also be productive with the same set up using 6lb, cast outside the breakers and let it drift into the wash for some corbina. Hope this helps, good luck. - JW

Date: June 10, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Marty
Subject: archives

I havn't been pier fishing for a long time, but your site gets me excited again. The last fish I took was a large halibut off the pier while on vacation in Crescent City... a hook-up and shake off, and another caught and landed within 15 mins. of getting there. What an experience for my friend's kid I was fishing with! I am having trouble getting the archives to retrieve in the "pier of the month" section. Any ideas??
Thanks again...

PS: It indicated errors in the script on several articles. Thanks for the great site! Great looking and organized.

Hi Marty,

I am forwarding your note to my webmaster Rich Reano and we'll try to get the archives fixed. Thanks for your comments and info. on the problem.

Good luck fishing, Ken

Hello Marty,

I maintain the website for Ken and he forwarded your message to me. I've done some changes to the Pier Reports archives script, can you please test of the following link again:

Please let me know if you are still encountering problems.

Best regards,

Rich Reano

Date: Thu, 10 Jun 1999 15:07:55 -0800
To: Ken Jones
From: Shane G
Subject: Oceanside Pier...


This is my first visit to your site. Very intuitive and an overwhelming amount of information. Thank you for utilizing the power of online communications by providing this site for us all to learn from.

I primarily charter, but also like to take my kids for a little pier fishing once in a while.
I am taking them to the Oceanside pier this Sunday and had planned on taking "quite a bit" of chum to help the catch prospects out a bit. Do you have any suggestions as to a really fair spot to begin setting up? Also, any chumming tips would be helpful -- other than throw it in the water and bait up.

Thank much, Shane

Hi Shane,

It depends a little on what is biting but I would try the mid-pier area of the pier first, from just past the surf out to about half way on the pier. This is the area that quite a few yellowfin croakers and also some spotfin croakers are taken from. Fish on the bottom with fresh mussels, bloodworms or ghost shrimp and you should catch some croakers (if they're around). Fish on the bottom with live anchovies or smelt and you might latch onto a halibut or shovelnose shark.

You don't need to chum too much unless you're going after fish like mackerel and bonito out at the end. However, you can chum with bread crumbs or small pieces of fish to attract smelt and other small bait fish which then can be snagged with a bait rig to use for the halibut.

Hope you have good success and keep in touch,


Thank you very much for your information, Ken.

I guess it would be best to stay on the north side of the pier, huh? I generally catch bait (mackerel,dines,etc.) on the north side of Scripps pier.

I guess, based on information I have read on your site, I was thinking that if I chummed out off the end, we might have a better chance at the larger bass, bonito, sheephead, etc. Basically a mixed bag selection.

Do you think there is a chance for Threshers?

Also, from what I have also read on surf and tide sites, this weekend (12th & 13th) is supposed to be the best bite of the month. Let's just hope.

Thanks again, Shane


I'm not sure if it makes a difference which side you are on but you are probably right that bass, bonito, etc. would be out at the end of the pier in the deeper water. You might stop at the bait shop and ask George or one of the other guys for advice; tell them you read about the pier on the web site. They're very knowledgable.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: June 10, 1999
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Brandon
Subject: What are some live/dead bait rigs for bass?

I wanted to know what are some good rigs for bass using deaad or live bait. Please also list in best to good please. Thanks a lot!

Posted by Dion on June 12, 1999

1. Live Squid
2. Plastics (Purple) w/ small piece of Squid for scent
3. Small Live Tom Cod
4. Shiner Perch
5. Plastics
6. Dead Squid

So did I win anything??? ;-) Dion,

Posted by Barry on June 12, 1999

1. live anchovies
2. small live squid
3. small (3-5") live smelt
4. ghostshrimp
5. bloodworms
6. small strips of mackeral
7. dead squid

Date: June 11, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Robert G
Subject: Seventh Street Pier

I read in the comments section about someone being interested in a report on 7th St. You commented on fishing there in the 70's. A friend's dad who was used to be in the Army reserves at (OAB) took me there for the first time in 1975. Didn't catch much, but 23 years later I'm doing a little better.

As you well know the fish around here are seasonal. I am trying to devise a mental as well as physical almanac. Last year, I caught a 16-lb halibut, and a 6-lb striper. Night time seems to be deadly on a bottom rig with a anchovie dangling below it. 7th st. has a rep. over the year's as the leopard shark pier. I witnessed a guy lose one at least 6ft long that he caught on a shiner the same day before I landed my halibut. I would like to report for this pier, but I'm too busy fishing Berkeley right now. Fish On ,


Would love to have you as a reporter for the pier. All I need is a report toward the end of the third week of each month. What's being caught, what bait is working, what part of the pier is best, and any unusual or large fish that have been caught. Send me a report and I'll formulate it.

But, I understand if the fishing is better at Berkeley...

Best wishes and catch the big un'


Date: June 12, 1999
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Dion
Subject: Cabrillo Beach Pier

Fished there in the morning. Action was very sporatic, if any. The hottest action for the day was King Fish. A few people caught around 20 of them, but most people only caught 3 to 4. Only a few Mackerels were caught. Quite a few Shiner Perch, but not in large number.

One person was catching Kelp Bass, Sculpins, and one Halibut. I believed (know) that they were all undersized, but he kept them anyways. It's heartbreaking to see someone who disrespect the rules and takes advantage of it because no one is watching them.


Posted by Dave on June 13, 1999

When you see misbehavior, it is your responsibility to do something about it, whether it is a gentle "hey, buddy, did you know that fish is sub-legal," or simply calling the DFG on him. I know some of the persons involved in such behavior may have communication issues, and some claim to depend on pier fishing for subsistence, but that is no excuse for not trying.

Date: June 16, 1999
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: TK
Subject: Long Beach Pier J

I have read reports in Western Outdoor News where barracuda are being caught from Pier J in Long Beach. Can anyone please give me directions to this location?


Posted by goatfish on June 16, 1999

Dear TK,

Pier J is at the very end of Harbor Scenic Drive. It is the same "Pier" at which the Queen Mary is docked. The public fishing area is located past the Queen Mary, farther down on Harbor Scenic Dr. near the shipping container terminals. Take the 710 fwy. south to Queen Mary (port of Long Beach) but stay on Harbor Scenic Drive (do not take Queensway Dr.) and go past Queen Mary.

Posted by Ken Jones on July 15, 1999

Pier J is not really a pier, it is basically a fishing area on top of a man-made fill area - with a rocky shoreline.

Date: June 18, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Nelda L
Subject: San Diego Piers

Mako Suzuki said you might be able to help me.

I'm working on a novel. I need help with some research.

I need to know what piers were in the San Diego area in the 1950s with easy access to downtown. names descriptions that sort of thing.

There was one pier that had an amusement park in it. It's said that 6 sailors went off the end of the roller coster. Do you know which pier it was?

Thanks for the help.

Nelda L


I wish I could help you but I can't. The only amusement park in San Diego that I am familar with is the one at Mission Beach and it doesn't have a pier nor did it in the 1950s. Perhaps one of the downtown wharfs had some amusement rides on them but I simply don't know.

There were a number of piers with amusement rides with them in Los Angeles and Santa Monica. Below are a couple of short extracts taken from my new book on Califonia's piers:

Ocean Park Pier --
In 1956, CBS and the Los Angeles Turf Club, were granted the lease to the Ocean Park Pier and they proposed a $10,000,000 nautical theme park. The new park was called Pacific Ocean Park and opened on July 28,1958. It included some of the best and most innovative rides ever seen in a theme park. Included were the Ocean Skyway ride, Flight to Mars, Flying Carpet Ride, Flying Dutchman Ride, the Whirl Pool, the Sea Serpent roller coaster, twin Diving Bells and the Mystery Island Banana Train Ride. In 1959 four new attractions were added. But It was to no avail. The park was now competing with local movie houses, television, Disneyland, and the fact that the area itself was seedy and often difficult to get to. The park finally closed on October 6, 1967. The pier's infrastructure, minus its attractions, remained until fires and the final demolition in the winter of 1973-1974.

Santa Monica Pier --
The '50s seemed to generally be an era of decline for the piers, especially the Newcomb Pier after Walter Newcomb died in 1954. His widow continued to run the pier but few new attractions were added and some of the most famous features had lost their appeal. In 1955, the La Monica Ballroom became the Hollywood Autocade housing over 100 unusual cars. In 1963 the building was demolished.
$653,000 in repairs to the Municipal Pier (including replacing fifty-eight pilings, new decking, lighting, handrails and a new restroom were made in 1957. Then, in January of 1959, storms wrecked much of the remaining harbor and part of the pier; in May an additional storm damaged the Newcomb Pier.

Sorry I can't help you,

Best wishes, Ken Jones
Thanks Ken,

What I need is descriptions of the downtown San Diego Piers during 57 & 58. I just thought there might have been amusements like some piers have.

Were any of the piers cargo piers where their would have been some type of bales? If so were these bales cotton bales?

Mother has a tale of what she calls the "California Killer". She says there was a series of murders during the Christmas/NewYears holidays 57-58. Women (she doesn't specify how many) were murdered (she thinks strangled) and stuffed under "those bales on the wharf".

I haven't found any references to these murders. But sometimes records are lost. So I'm trying to determine the feasibility of her story. I would like to use it in a novel so it doesn't really matter if it's true just whether it's feasible. And where it could have possibly happened.

Were there bars on the pier? if not, what would most likely have been the closest bar or area for a bar?

Thanks for the help.


I am going to be down in San Diego next week ad will be visiting the historical society (which is excellent). I will ask them if they might know because I really don't know myself. There are/were many wharves along the downtown waterfront and yes, many if not most were shipping wharves. Also, to the best of my knowledge, the drinking area was not too far away; the area which today is the touristy, upscale "Gaslight District.

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Thanks Ken. What great timing.

Date: June 18, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Matt Shockney
Subject: Oyster Point!

Hey Ken,

Sorry I haven't reported much too latley. I have been doing a lot of focusing on school. Can you believe it, I had 2 essays, 3 projects and 1 packet to complete in the last week (3 days) of school! Well, I am now offically a junior, finally. Anyways, on the way to work this morning, my dad dropped me off at Oyster Point. It was one of the best days of fishng I have ever had! On my first cast, withing the next 4 minutes, I hooked and landed (by myself, I was alone on the pier) a 15 lb. bat ray. Progress continued like that till about 9:00. Nothing. Then 3:30 rolled by and the action picked up. It was the tides I bet. Anyway, I caught 7 bat rays, all pushing 10 lbs with a couple of 30-lbers, and two leopard sharks. I also had something HUGE but it stripped almost all my line and broke the end of my leader (sturgeon?). I also missed something that bit like a striper. My biggest ray was an estimated 70-80 lbs by everyone else who came later. It took me 25 minutes to actually gain some line and slowly drag it in. It was 3 timest the size of the crab ring so we couldn't get it up. It was an old fella', all scarred up and molted. He broke the line after several attempts to land him, but I'm glad I got to see him. Basically, it was a great day, except for the howling wind. The wate was a bit murky also so the sought out stripers should arrive once that clears up. Talk with you later!


P.S.- Our other computer crashed, so I lost all of my bookmarks. I think that you know the "songslinger" and I was wondering if you could mail me the address of his fishing page. thanks again!

P.S.S.- Pacifica Pier had 8-ft swells today. Rumor has it that balls of bait and following fish are preparing to explode there once the weather calms down . . . . .


Sounds like a great day.

Congratulations, Ken

Date: June 22, 1999

To: Ken Jones

From: Pete Katz

Subject: Free Daily Fishing Newsletter

I have had an opportunity to find your website and think that my newsletter may be something that you would be interested in. I publish a newsletter known as The Daily Fisherman. This is a newsletter that is delivered, via e-mail, to subscribers on a daily basis containing information, tips and news related strictly to Fishing.

I would very much like to have you added as as a subscriber so that I can send you the newsletter daily. This newsletter is great for anyone with an interest in fishing and subscribers love receiving information on fishing delivered to their e-mail box daily.

Best of all.its completely FREE!

I would also like your permission to feature your site in my newsletter. The information within your site is quite interesting and I believe would also be of interest to my subscribers. Please e-mail me at to advise if this would be acceptable to you. I would make sure, of course, to fully credit you and to make a specific reference to your URL.

Would you be so kind as to subscribe yourself in addition to recommending The Daily Fisherman to your fishing buddies? If you prefer, if you send any e-mail addresses of those who may be interested I would be happy to send them a sample issue to review.

Subscription information, along with copies of past issues can be found at

Please e-mail me at if you would like more information or would like to submit any information to The Daily Fisherman!

Date: June 23, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Mark Grim
Subject: Pier Cleanup Plan for Antioch

Hi Ken,

I read in yesterday's Antioch Daily Ledger newspaper that a spending plan of $50,000 is before Gov. Davis that is to be used to remove underwater obstacles from under Antioch piers. A local fisherman "Compy" Compozzio and Assemblyman Tom Torlakson have put the plan together. Davis has until June 30th to approve the plan. I hope that it goes through. "Compy", who was the founder of the local kids program "Get hooked on Fishing" wants to return his fishing derbies to the Piers after having to hold them at Contra Loma reservor due to snags at the piers.

Here is Gov. Davis's fax number: 916-445-4663


Thanks for the information.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: June 23, 1999

To: Ken Jones

From: Paula A

Subject: Pier of the Month
I am on the board for the "Pier Into the Future" campaign for the Ventura Pier restoration. We are trying to get some NEW idea on what to put on our pier as far as interpretive panels etc. We have all of the obvious - history of the pier, fishing, surfing, biology, wind/waves,tides, and many more. I am looking for something a little more interactive. I love your ideas about the fish of the month - studnt drawings etc. Do you know of anything else that would work on the pier that is interactive..maybe a kioske or something kids can actually touch and make work??? Also, has Ventura Pier ever been "pier of the month?" We have raised over $600,000 to rebuild the pier and have an insurance policy that will insure it stays open in years to come.



Glad to hear from you. I found your letter extremely interesting both because of my interest in piers and because I am in the final process of preparing the second edition of Pier Fishing in California for publication. I would like to get more information about your group and perhaps include it in the book.

As for your questions, they require a little time to properly answer so I ask for a few days grace period. However,I can tell you a couple of things. The number one question I am asked is if the fish caught on the piers are safe to eat. The answer is, for the most part yes, but with a few qualifers (amount eaten, how they are cleaned, how they are cooked, etc.). I think every pier should have an informative panel with that information.

Secondly, I'm a teacher and it is becoming very clear the impact computers are having on kids. I would like to see interactive simulations that explain the environment of the pier and how the type of fish vary according to that environment. I currently take my economic's students down to the Federal Reserve in San Francisco each year and in the front lobby there are a bank of computers set up for kids, and adults, to play simulations to better understand the workings of the Fed. Something like that would be great on a pier. Now I know you could not develop it yourself but there mught be something similar at the Sea Center on Stearns Wharf or at the Monterey Aquarium. Also, many computer people also like to fish so maybe we could generate some ideas on our message board (as soon as it is back up).

As for your question on Ventura as Pier of the Month, no, not yet. However, I am heading down south this week and one of my goals was to stop at the pier and get some pictures (hopefully) which could be used for a Pier of the Month article and to double-check the info. in my book. In fact, I have a reservation for next Friday night in Ventura. I would love to discuss your plans in person but I'm leaving this afternoon. If you get this message this morning and send me your telephone number, I will call you before coming there and try to set up a meeting.

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman


I would love to get together with you myself or with our Chairman of the "Pier Into the Future" campaign. My Number is ____. I appreciate your response, advise and any further help you could give. I look forward to talking with you further.

Thank you, Paula.

Date: June 24, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Mike
Subject: San Francisco Area Fishing

I will be in the San Francisco Bay area July 1st--July 7th. I was wondering if you knew of any head boats or party boats that offer 1/2 day fishing trips at a resonable price in the San Francisco area. This is my first trip out to California and would like to try to fit in a little fishing time. I usually fish the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Mike

Hi Mike,

The type of boats you are looking for are a little different out here. Basically there are three types of trips available: salmon fishing boats that mainly troll (although some mooch), bottom fishing boats that go out to the Farralon Islands for rockfish and lingcod (a full day trip), or SF Bay live bait boats that are primarily seeking halibut and striped bass.

All of these are pretty much full day trips 6/7 a.m.-3 p.m. although quite often the salmon boats, and sometimes the bay boats, will limit out early and be back by 12-2.

The cost for most of these is around $50 although you will also need a one day license and may need to rent your tackle ($10-15) so it isn't cheap.

For a relaxing trip that isn't going to bounce you around too much, and which will give you a nice feeling for the Bay Area, I recommend the halibut/bass boats. You can find them at Fishernmen's Wharf in San Francisco, Emeryville Marina, Berkeley Marina and at the Loch Lomand Marina in San Rafael. I don't have phone numbers available but some of the links on my Link Page (Personal sites) have some information on local boats.

Best wishes and hope you're able to find what you're looking for.

Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Date: June 25, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Robert
Subject: Sharks

Hi Ken,

Do you know of any piers that you can catch larger sharks off of such as 7 gills or cow. What pier would be close to Raccoon straits or the Yellow Bluff area near Golden Gate Bridge.

I would really appreciate your assistance!


I don't think any piers are reliable piers for those large sharks although some 7-gills show up at almost every pier in the bay. The San Mateo Pier would probably be the best bet but it is is currently closed. The other two that should offer the best chance for some 7-gills are Elephant Rock (which should open up any day) and the pier on Angel Island. Both piers are close to deep water and are good "shark" piers.

Good luck on your shark hunt, Ken

Date: June 27, 1999

To: Ken Jones

From: Danny

Subject: Great Site Ken
Pier fishing is how I got started. Back in the late 40's my dad use to drag me along down to the Santa Monica pier, hand me a drop line and that's I got started. In the 50's we used to fish the Balboa Pavillion quite a bit; caught some nice Halibut and Spotties off of there. From the late 50's through the 80's I was one of the Monstead regulars. I think we were the original Wharf Rats. Some of the guys I used to fish with you've probably heard of over the years, Ron Schmit, Fred Oakly, and the likes. I learned a lot about fishing from them and others. So you can understand why I think your site is great, I hold Pier fishing very close to my heart! I'd like to thank you for creating sush a site and I will be checking it out regularly.

Good luck Ken and I really mean that. DB

Hi Danny,

Just returned from visiting the southland piers. Enjoyed your note and am glad you like the site. Do you have any stories that might interest the viewers? If so, drop me a line or check out the message board.

Keep in touch,

Best wishes, Ken

Date: June 30, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: David Strong
Subject: July Pier Report - Goleta

Hi Ken,

Here's your monthly Goleta Pier Report:

Halibut seems to be on everyone's mind. The bite has been good and from what I hear, many have been caught. I only wish I could speak from experience! All the anglers are working the bottom in search of the tasty flat stealth and they are catching plenty of ... Shovelnose Shark?!? You got it! Mixed in with some Thornback Rays and other bottom undesirables I've caught plenty of flat rays/sharks myself this month and even saw a fellow angler pull up two on one line. Common size is 18 to 24 inches. I hooked into one that was about 4 feet, but lost it in the pilings when I had a (gag) tourist hang onto my rod while I went for the landing net. Note to self: never hand off my rod to anyone! Early in the month we had one of those 'clear water days.' Visibility was a good 6 to 8 feet down -- just like an aquarium. I spotted a barely legal halibut, a 4-foot Leopard Shark and tons of huge Perch (1-3 pounds!) picking at the pilings below. Anglers were frantically dropping lines in their midst's, but the fish wouldn't have any of it. I guess they got to be that big by sticking to the pilings for food, not trusting the easy pickings jiggling curiously just a few feet away. Before I make a joke about fish in schools, I'll just stop here...

David, Sorry I missed you on my trip.

Best wishes, Ken