Visitor Comments and Letters - October '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: October 3, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Dann
Subject: Is fishing safe at my location?

I realy love fishing and I like to fish with my family and friends, it is a bonding experience. However, after numerous comments by observers at piers, I have become very concerned about pierfishing in my area.

I have been fishing in my local piers for several years now, and very often people tell me, "You are not going to eat that fish are you?" I only fish for sand sharks or halibut, but I am really wondering now if these fish are realy safe. I have been told to consider bioaccumulation that may infect bottom dwelling fish.

Do you have any information that could answer my concerns?

My local piers are Seal Beach and Long Beach.

Thank you.

By the way, your website is very well organized.


Bottom feeding fish in that area, fish like croakers especially, should only be eaten in moderate amounts. (1) Make sure you clean them properly since most toxins are found in the guts. (2) Broil them which lets most of the fat drip away from the flesh (and the fats contain most of the rest of the toxins. (3) Again, eat only moderate amounts. You should be aware of these things and take appropriate precautions but they are still relatively safe to eat. Most of the people who tell you not to eat them know little about the real dangers.

Good luck, Ken


Thank you for the prompt response.

Date: October 4, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Jeff
Subject: Where to go?


I live in the Auburn area. However I still enjoy fishing for sharks and stripers in the bay. No longer living there I have lost track of where to go this time of year. Where would you recomend to slam some strippers or a good night catching sharks or rays?

Thanks a lot and I can't wait to here from you. Jeff

Hi Jeff,

The stripers should be moving closer to the Delta areas and the Pittsburg and Antioch areas should offer up some fish. As for the sharks, Elephant Rock, the 7th Street Pier in Oakland, and Pier 7 in S.F. should offer some fair action.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: October 5, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Keith H
Subject: Fishing Line

Hi All

We (me & my brother) just bought some fishing line from a garage sale -- 50 lbs test line (braided low stretch Dacron fishing line). IS it ok to use for pier fishing (bat ray, shark---)?

Thanks, Keith

Hi Keith,

It should be o.k. as long as it isn't too old and hasn't been sitting in the sun or the heat of a hot garage.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: October 5, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Jose L
Subject: Great Website

I'm an avid fisher in the Balboa and Newport Beach piers and I just happened to surf into your site...IT'S GREAT!! I have myself or seen others catch certain fish that I had no idea what they were (like the cabezon) and now after reading your site (specially the archives) I feel a lot more educated...

keep up the great job.

Hi Jose,

Thanks for the kind words and we'll try to keep it interesting,

Best wishes, Ken Jones

Date: October 5, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Ed Y
Subject: Fishing Report

There used to be fishing report on the previous generation site and longer exist in the new version. Is there a reason for eliminating it?


Many people complained that a once a month report was too late. So thought we would let the message board replace the report. I'm assuming you liked the old report better?

Best wishes, Ken

Date: October 7, 1999
To: Ken Jones
Subject: Night Fishing

Hello again

Can you let me know what piers are open for night fishing. Until around say 2 in the morning. Made a trip out to the Oakland "7th street pier" and noticed signs that stated closed at dusk. So I would like to know where I can go for some good night fishing for shark and rays

Thank you again

As far as I know you can still fish at night at the Berkeley Pier and, I think, the Emeryville Marina Pier.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: October 7, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Chris C
Subject: San Mateo Pier

If you want to encourage your visitors to contact the various agencies about saving this pier, why not include clickable email links addressed to the appropriate authorities? That way, it would be very easy for your visitors to express support for the pier's reopening.


Thanks for the good idea.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: October 9, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Paula
Subject: Ventura Pier


Remember me??

Back to Ventura Pier...

We are in the process of updating our interpretive panels. My assignment is:

Fishing Facts
Fishing off the Ventura Coast
History of Fishing in Ventura
Fishing Legends (Ventura)
What fish are caught off the Ventura Pier

Fishing Knots
Safety Issues
Fishing Etiquette

Can you help me? I found the fishing knot info. Anything else I can use. You're web site is so filled with wonderful info - I'm sure you can lead me in the right direction. Thanks Ken.....


Do you mind if I put this out on the message board? We should be able to get some very useful suggestions.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: October 14, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: James Pan
Subject: fishing report

Hi Ken,

Went fishing Monday morning at Oyster Point, using anchovies and sardine. Caught 1 striper (19") and 6 jacksmelt (9-14"). Everyone was catching jacksmelt and some were rather large.

It was a nice day, but some of the anglers were not so nice: they would crank up their stereo with horrible music, place their rods one feet away from yours, smoke cheap cigarette like hopeless addicts (right next to you), trash the pier, talk as if they have not seen a human being for eons, and most annoying of all, treat you like you know nothing about fishing. I ended up leaving early. Wish there's something I can do to make fishing more enjoyalbe for everyone.

Good luck fishing.



James, All we can do sometimes is serve as role models for others.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: October 17, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Red D
Subject: Point Arena

Every pier I read about seems to be reporting in as slow... A friend and I visited the Mendocino Coast one recent weekend. The waves along the coast at our favorite haunts in the morning were huge so we opted to drive south to the Point Arena Pier. The waves breaking outside of the cove were still rather large on the incoming tide. Nevertheless, during two days of fishing, we landed/released (some) a number of rainbow perch (they were huge!) and a few small rockfish and sea trout in a few hours of fishing. Then the kelp started to wash in and zip. The strange thing was that the dozens of other fishermen there didn't catch a thing. Strange day but worth the last minute visit. Btw, we used light spinning gear -- 8-9' rods, 10-12# test and #6 hooks. Fish were caught from <5' of water to deep water. It didn't seem to matter, and you have to hang on to the rod! The hits were ferocious.

If anyone has news to share about Bay Area beaches and piers (more detailed than those posted), pls email me. I'd like to visit The beaches off San Mateo and Marin in a few weeks.


Red D,

As you found out Point Arena Pier can be very good. The key seems to be having the right bait and equipment. Many people stick a big piece of squid or abalone on a big hook and catch nothong while those with light gear and small hooks are pulling in fish right and left.

Thanks for sharing your story with me and we'll see if we can improve the reports.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: October 18, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: David L
Subject: SF

Hello Ken,

I am a writer working on a concept for a Bay Area travel zine. One topic I have been asked to look at is San Francisco Bay Area piers. I have reviewed your site and read your book. Both are excellent examples of how to treat a specialty topic in depth while still making it very accessible. The web site is certainly one of the best specialty sites I have come across.

If you had to chose your favorite ten piers around the SF Bay in the following two categories what would they be?

1) General recreational piers for a family visit?
2) Fishing piers, taking into account variety and quantity of the typical catch?

I will be happy to mention your book and provide a link to your site if this project takes off.

Many thanks for your time.

David Laws


I would recommend the following piers as great places to take the family:

As for the best angling I would recommend:

Hope this helps and yes, I'd appreciate any mention you might make.

Best wishes, Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Date: October 21, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Jim Sugihara
Subject: link exchange

Hi Ken

A while back, we had written about swapping links - I already have your link in. Are you still interested? ( Please let me know. Thank you

Jim Sugihara
Carpe Carpio Fish Designs


I've been involved in moving and severly behind on changes. I'll take care of it. Best wishes, Ken

Date: October 22, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Snookie
Subject : Unidentified Fish at Bolsa Chica

Dear Ken,

That fish that Bob discovered and photographed has been tentatively identified as a white sea bass. Fish and game decided that. We know it is related, but there is something else about that fish that they have missed. Those lines say someone has been playing with seabass genetics to us. He is still working on it. I do know that the salmon has been played with to get some other types now - -so we will see.



It doesn't look like a white sea bass to me but what do I know.

Best wishes, Ken

Should we still keep the picture secret?

Dear Ken,

Yes, we had better keep the fish picture off for now. Bob is still working on what it is. It does have the dorsals, tail, pectorals, head, body of a white seabass. Take a good luck at it. You will see the similarity. I hope they put this together soon.


October 24, 1999

Told Bob (Anderson) about you wanting to post his picture of the mysterious fish. He has now given his okay. He is frustrated, but we do know it is related to the White Seabass. The other pictures he has with some of them alongside the white seabass show their similarities.


Date: October 23, 1999

To: Ken Jones

From: Fatman

Subject: Monthly pier reports paper?

To Mr. Ken Jones,
Do you see a sell a month to month pier reports in a newspaper or newsletter? And if yes, how much does it cost for one year. I like the way your message board is set up. Don't change a thing. I would like to help out with some San Francisco Bay Area pier reports. I fish a lot of the Bay Area piers. My name is Johnnie S, Cal


No, I don't sell any monthly pier reports but we are going to start putting them up again this month. Any reports will be appreciated. Simply send them to me and I will post them with credit to you.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: October 24, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Alvin R
Subject: halibut rig for Berkely

I've seen some messages regarding the use of a bobber for butts at Berkely Pier..I was wondering if you could possibly describe exactly how this rig is set up..I fish there occasionally and wanted to see if i could try my luck..thank you very much..

Also on a side you think you would ever in the possible future feature the Dumbarton Pier as the pier of the month..I have just recently started fishing there again after a 7 year hiatus. The sturgeon there just seem to jump all over the place..its quite breathtaking..also the sharks run pretty large there also..of course there is the more than occasional small one..hehe..well thats about it..also the reel bags that you sell on your site do you know if by any chance it would fit a spinning a baitrunner 6500 or a Fin-Nor Ahab #20..thanx again

"Try not, either do or do not, there is no try.."yoda

P.S. I love your site, it's so informative and so dang helpful. Have a good on


I'm not familiar with the halibut set-up unless it is the same as used in Pacifica for salmon. I'm sending your question to Songslinger; we'll see if he knows.

As for Dumbarton, yes I intend to make it the pier of the month in a couple of months. I'm currently trying to get some more pictures to go along with the story.

As for the bags, they are great but may not fit a large spinning reel.

Best wishes, Ken


Enclosed is a question which you may be better able to answer. Would you mind sending him a reply?
[Feeback From: Alvin R --I've seen some messages regarding the use of a bobber for butts at Berkely Pier..i was wondering if you could possibly describe exactly how this rig is set up..I fish there occasionally and wanted to see if I could try my luck.. Thank you very much.]


Thanks, Ken

PS, Really enjoy your intelligent comments/advice on the Message Board

Got it covered. I'll send him a reply ASAP. Hope you've been able to get out and fish in your area. Should be some decent striper angling within a half hour drive. If you want some catfish, stripers, largemouth or some fighting redhorse carp, White Slough is just down Highway 12. It's not widely used by shoreliners but there are many places to park and fish. See ya.

Ps, Thanks for the compliments! Positive feedback is always wonderful. Also, I do like the message format and the way the reports come in. Sure, I miss your major report database but I also understand the work involved. So whatever you do is okay by this fan!

Ken, Here's what I sent him:

Hi Alvin:

Ken Jones forwarded your e-mail and I'll see if I can help. It's not really halibut season right now at Berkeley Pier but there still might be some around as the species finishes up its trek back to the ocean. Attached is text and a diagram I just put together a moment ago. If you have any further questions, please ask. And you can usually find me at Bay Tackle in El Cerrito on Tuesdays from 9-2. I work there part time, helping out the owner. But anyone who works there will be extremely helpful. Hope I've given you some worthwhile information.



The first thing to do is tie a leader with a live bait hook at the end. Usually a size 4 hook is good, tied with a palomar or clinch knot (snells aren't good for live bait rigs). The hook line should be a minimum of 12 inches long-20 inches would be overdoing it. On the main line, insert the bead, bobber, and egg sinker and tie a safety swivel snap at the end. Attach the hook leader. Before you put on bait, you'll need to adjust your rigging to the depth. At Berkeley Pier, the average depth is 8 feet plus whatever tide is on it. You will be guessing/estimating the point at which your hook will be about 6-12 inches OFF the bottom. This is important because halibut are ambush fish and strike from below. If your bait is dragging on the bottom it will seriously lose effectiveness. You'll just have to work on trial and error until you feel comfortable with the setting. Once you're pretty sure, set a bobber stop above the bead. Now put on your bait. If it's a live shiner perch, hooking through both lips is a good way to attach it. Some people like to hook it through the skin right next to the dorsal fin because halibut bite from the tail first. But bait seems not to last as long this way; also there's a chance it will slip or tear off. Live anchovies are used the same way. However, frozen anchovies can be effective and are easier to attach because you're not worried about injuring them. Thread your hook line (a piece of coat hanger with the top notched will work better than any threader purchased in a shop) so that the hook will be next to the tail. You can use elastic string to keep the bait on more tightly. When you cast, don't try to get your rigging out too far. About 10-15 feet out from the pilings is sufficient. Halibut will hit anywhere along the pier, but the best places seem to be near the bathrooms and the cleaning tables because the gray water runoff attracts bait fish and their predators. But change locations if you're not getting anything after an hour. Finally, it's always a good idea to see what other anglers are doing. When the halibut season is in full swing (somewhere between late March and July when they come into the bay to spawn), there will be as many as thirty "regulars" lined up. They are irritable, rough-hewn fellows, but they will yield crucial information if you ask. This rigging is only one of many possibilities. Experiment and observe and you should do well.

Diagram design by Songslinger and Pixslinger Graphics

Date: October 25, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Karyn Cook Z
Subject : Please provide link to Seal Beach!

This web camera shows different parts of the Seal Beach coastline, either of the pier or pictures taken from the pier. It would be nice if you could cover the pier in an article; it is one of the last piers completely made of wood, and it is one of the longest in California. There is a fishing boat that leaves from the pier and goes past the breakwater, but you can fish from the pier, too!

Your site is awfully nifty! Thanks for putting it together!



The Seal Beach Pier is the Pier of the Month for November -- ask and you shall receive.

Best wishes, Ken

PS, I've asked my webmaster to include your link in the article.

[Feeback From: Karyn Cook Zafran]

Thanks for making the Seal Beach pier the pier of the month for November! Here are some historical pictures of the pier, which used to have a fun zone around it years ago.

People that have been in town a while say that there was a restaurant somewhere near it that served liquor during the prohibition. There were also (allegedly) women of ill repute in town.

The rollercoaster and fun zone area was torn down long ago, but the pier is still there. There is a Ruby's at the end of it, a bait and tackle shop, and a fishing boat leaves each day to take anglers out past the breakwater for deep ocean fishing.

The pier, and the lifegaurd station at the base of it, have appeared in many television shows, such as Knight Rider and Baywatch, and more recently, the soap Sunset Beach (Sunset Beach is actually South of Seal Beach).

Thanks for including this on your site!



Hope you have a chance to look at the article on Seal Beach ( It has long been one of my favorite piers and every year when I make my trek down the coast I make sure to visit the pier.

Best wishes,

Ken Jones, The Pier Fisherman

Date: October 25, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Pete Wolf
Subject: Pictures for pier fishing website


Attached are a few recent pictures from Goleta Pier.

Attachment 1:
Greg Wolf with a 54 inch Shovelnose

Attachment 2:
Pete Wolf with a 49 inch Shovelnose

Attachment 3:
Pete Wolf with a 52 inch (wingspan) Bat Ray

Thanks, Pete

Hi Pete,

Your pictures will be in the November Picture Page.

Thanks and best wishes, Ken

Date: October 27, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Mark Grim
Subject: Fishing report

Hi Ken,  

Here is my monthly fishing report and an attachment to this e-mail which is an interesting article from the Contra Costa Times on Oct. 21, 1999. It is about the fund raising for the Antioch Piers - the River Bottom Cleanup Project.  

Antioch Bridge Pier   Striped bass, catfish, and black bass are all biting at this pier now. Try using shad, sardines, anchovies, grass shrimp, or pile worms for the striped bass.  Catfish seem to like anchovies or nitecrawlers.  The black bass will bite at live minnows close in to shore.  

Antioch Marina Pier   Live minnows are being used successfully to catch black bass at this pier. Some anglers are also catching stripers off of anchovies, shad, mucsuckers
and spinners.  

City of Antioch Pier   A few black bass have been caught here using live minnows.  I was able to catch a couple of small striped bass with anchovies.   Mark

Date: October 29, 1999

To: Ken Jones

From: Wayne
Subject: bigfish

Ken, how ya doing?

I'm trying to find the picture of the seven gill shark i caught in Oct '98 and was on the Cayucos Pier of the year story. Can you help me with this?



Go to the Fish of the Month Page and go down to the archives. The pictures are on the 7-Gill Shark page.

Best wishes and keep on catching the big ones.


October 31, 1999

To: Ken Jones

From: James Pan

Subject: fishing report

Hi Ken,
Went fishing Saturday (10/30) at the 7th St. Pier and caught five bullheads, five kingfish and nothing else. The pier was dirty, with lots of trash flying around. I try to clean up the pier a bit, but it does not seem to help.

Friday I fished at the Maritime Academy up in Vallejo (not really a pier) and caught five stripers, 8-16.". It sure beats catching bullheads!

Regards, James

Date: October 31, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Clement Li
Subject: Thanks for Putting the reports back!

Just want to say thank you for putting the fish reports the old way. I mean the new way is good, but I would still like the old method, because not only I can get a report, but also I have directions to the piers people are talking about. I want to get your book, but I am too busy working all the time. But you should be getting a check when I get my paycheck. Hehehe.. okay talk to you later. Thanks for listening to us. This is the best fishing site I've been to, I check it like twice a day at work.

Thanks for the feedback regarding the Monthly Reports.

Best wishes, Ken

Date: October 31, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Bronco Man
Subject: Given Up Pier Fishing

It's a pretty sad state of affairs when you can't take your family pier or surf fishing anymore. The water is so polluted with bacteria and viruses that we no longer even go to the beach. I'm sure you've seen the documentation in the LA Times and the Santa Barbara News-Press. Gaviota to Ventura has had some real bad spots, even Avalon, Catalina (Heal the bay web site).

And I think nothing will get better for a long time. If it were up to me, I'd declare "zero tolerence." Of course. that'd never fly these days.

Us? We're thinking aboput moving to Sarasota, Florida.

Thanks again for the wonderful web site. RA.

Date: October 31, 1999
To: Ken Jones
From: Jerry King
Subject: Cartoons

Would you be interested in adding a single panel, fishing cartoon feature to your site?   I currently draw cartoons for PLAYBOY magazine, however, I enjoy doing cartoons for websites as well. I can e-mail you a sample cartoon with a price list upon your request.   Thanks for your time!  

Jerry King Cartoonist


I love the idea but am sure I could not afford your work. To date the site is not a money making proposition. However, thanks for the thought.

Best wishes, Ken


Maybe I was too quick to say I couldn't afford a cartoon. What are your prices?

Best wishes, Ken

(We're talking)