Last modified: November 14, 2018

Fishing Piers Southern California

Cabrillo Pier — San Pedro

Using fly-lined chunks of bait on Pepsi cans, these anglers were nailing mackerel and pompano on every drop. The bucket behind them was literally overflowing with fish. While I can’t say that damaging the pier light was a good idea, it was certainly gutsy and inventive…and it worked.

We also used to take a shop light down to the now-gone Aliso pier, and plug it into any one of the outlets that were on every light pole on the pier. The light attracted plenty of “small, darty things” that, in turn, brought in mackerel and all the toxic tomcod you could ask for.

Incidently, I’ve seen plenty of fish shy away from a spotlight beam at San Clemente pier, including smelt, needlefish, small barracuda, bat rays, and mackerel. So I suspect it’s probably the small plankton that brings the bigger fish in, and not the light.

Date: March 24, 2007; To: Pier Fishing In California Message Board; From: lollich; Subject:  Cabrillo Pier (late report)

My son, Daniel, and I went to Cabrillo Pier at 5:25 a.m. We started fishing at around 6:20 a.m. We used ghost shrimp as bait, and we were going for any type of flatfish. Soon we had a “double” going. I caught a lizardfish and he caught a small barred surfperch almost at the exact same time (both released). Then he caught a 14.5″ pile perch. Soon after I caught a 14″ pile perch. Later Daniel caught a monster 15″ 2-lb pile perch! Then he caught a 12″ pile perch. The fishing started to slow down after that, except for my 13″ buffalo sculpin. Later we cut the fish. Found out one pile perch was pregnant, so we gave the babies away as bait. Then left at around 3:00 p.m., so we could be home to watch my beloved UCLA Bruins advance to the Final Four! (or, Daniel’s Kansas Jayhawks to advance. — Daniel forced me to say that!)

Total for the day: Mom = 11; Daniel = 8 (this is the first time Mom was able to catch more than Daniel!) 18 fish, including… 5 pile perch (kept 4) — 1 buffalo sculpin (kept) (((((Scorpionfish)))) — 5 shiner surfperch (all released) — 2 lizardfish (both released) — 1 barred surfperch (released) — 1 spider crab (released) — 1 sanddab (released, to small)

Date: May 31, 2007; To: Pier Fishing In California Message Board; From: lollich; Subject:  Cabrillo Pier (late report)

We Started fishing around 6:45 a.m. Bait was live ghost shrimp. We were fishing at the end this time. We started getting bites around 7:00. I caught a 13.5″ sole. Then I caught a 10″ sand bass. Seven minutes later I caught a 7″ perch. And soon after, Mom caught a giant 17″ sole. I caught 2 more perch after that. Then, Mom caught a perch. After that, I caught 3 more perch. And, she caught 2 more perch. Soon after that, I caught a queenfish and a perch. Later, a seagull stole one of the four perch in our bucket. Then we left at 2:15.

Total: 14 fish, Daniel 10, Mom 4 — Sole: 2, both kept — Sand bass: 1, released — perch: 9, 4 kept (1 stolen), 5 released — queenfish: 1, released. Daniel

Date: July 19, 2007; To: Pier Fishing In California Message Board; From: lollich; Subject:  Cabrillo Pier & Redondo Muni – Late report 7/13, 7/17

Friday 7/13: We went to Cabrillo Pier. Our bait was frozen shrimp, live ghost shrimp, live anchovies, live grunion, and live topsmelt. I caught a 10″ calico bass, some topsmelt, some tiny anchovies, a grunion, and to top it all off, two halibut 13″ and 16.” Mom caught some topsmelt, some grunion and two perch. All were released (except live bait).

Monday 7/17, night: We got to Redondo Muni Pier at 11 p.m., intending to fish for grunion at the grunion run. The grunion were a “no-show”, so we fished the pier. Our bait was frozen shrimp, and live topsmelt. I caught a topsmelt and my first ever keeper HALIBUT, at 1:30 a.m.! It was 24″ and 3 lbs. 13 oz. Mom caught three topsmelt. Then we slept for two hours.

Tuesday 7/17, day: We went to Cabrillo Pier. Our bait was frozen shrimp, live ghost shrimp, and live topsmelt. I caught some topsmelt and three perch. Mom caught a 10″ calico bass, a small salmon grouper, and a bunch of topsmelt. All released. Daniel

Date: August 2, 2007; To: Pier Fishing In California Message Board; From: Ken Jones; Subject: Another short trip to the southland piers

Got back last night from a short trip down to San Diego to return my granddaughter to her home. Did manage to fish a few piers, and was able to meet up with Snookie and Hashem, but overall it was a quick whirlwind trip cut short by a need to return home for business reasons.

I did get a chance to visit the Cabrillo Pier. Hashem and I met up in San Pedro where I was scheduled to interview Bill from Paul’s Bait and Tackle (I’m doing an article on what it’s like to own/run a bait and tackle shop). Hashem and I soon headed out to the Cabrillo Pier to do a little fishing before Bill arrived for the interview. Interestingly, we ran into Jennifer Renzillo, the diver from the Sea Doc Society who is doing their line recycle project. She and two other divers were cleaning the pilings of line/hooks/lures before installing line recycle bins. We had talked several times on the phone, and I had even invited her to an UPSAC meeting which she missed due to illness, but we had never actually met. Now unexpectedly we run into each other out on the pier. It’s a small world! As for the fishing, there were quite a few black perch, white perch, and giant kelpfish that weren’t so giant. Hashem also managed a diamond turbot but we didn’t see any halibut.

Bill’s son with his sand bass

Bill’s son managed a sand bass. We did make sure to cast away from the pilings while the divers were doing their thing. It just wouldn’t have looked too good for an UPSAC official to hook one of Jennifer’s companions. As for myself, it was quite a bit of fishing considering I started at 8PM on Sunday night and stopped at noon Wednesday but with my new sleep machine I wasn’t even tired (although the body is sore as well as sunburned). The worst part was the drive home yesterday. The air conditioner in my truck quit working and even with the widows wide open the Valley heat was pretty intense.

Date: August 28, 2007; To: Pier Fishing In California Message Board; From: lollich; Subject:  Cabrillo Pier

We got to Cabrillo at 5:15 a.m. We also brought our new fishing partner. I caught two tiny baitfish that we threw back. Then I switched to my Bonito setup and had a 20″-30″ Barracuda on the line, but it got off. Mom caught a few baitfish that we used, for nada. Mom used ghost shrimp and caught three nice-sized perch. Then at about 10:15, Mom caught here first keeper bass, which was a 13″ Barred Sand Bass! About 15 minutes later, Attila from PFIC showed up with his fishing pal. Attila caught a short halibut and a few white croaker. At about noon, I start setting up ghost shrimp, when Attila said, “Hey you’ve got one on”. So I ran over, set the hook and start reeling in, and found a giant Calico Bass!!!!! Mom helped bring it up with the net. Then, I measured it at 14.5”! It’s my first keeper bass. My fishing partner went crazy. After that the fishing became slow and Attila left. We left at 2:00 p.m. Daniel

 Daniel and his keeper-size kelp bass

Date: Sep[tember 3, 2007; To: Pier Fishing In California Message Board; From: sheldon; Subject:  Cabrillo Pier Late Cabrillo Pier

Took my son and we got there around 9:00am or so and the parking lot had the most cars we’ve seen in it for the time we’ve been fishing there….only the lsat 2 months or so. The most cars we’ve seen is aboit 20 or so, whereas the lot had about 100 cars that day. We had been fishing there on Fridays to avoid any potential crowds since my son was on summer vacation and it’s also one of my days off. The pier and the jetty had a higher amount of people as well, but spots were available. We usually walked the length of the pier throwing plastics but ended up staying in one spot due to the number of anglers. Talking to the anglers as we walked to our spot revealed the action was slow. It was slow for me till I fished the side of the pier facing the jetty. I hooked a small ‘but pretty quick and would, through the course of the day, catch 8 additional small halibut off that side…..I got two on consecutive casts!! It was neat because the water was shallow enough to be able to see most of the hookups as well as a lot of tailing fish. Nobody prior to my catching the first one was fishing that side of the pier, but soon some anglers moved to that side. I saw two other guys fishing that side nail a small ‘but each. One was on a krock and I think the other was on bait.

I caught everything on a 3″ Big Hammer swimbait on 6-lb line. It was a previously used one that was in my box already threaded on a 1/4 oz leadhead. I’ve definately have gotten my monies worth out of that one and it is still fishable!!! It was a yellowed green colored lure. My son nailed a small ‘but, two sand bass (one was 11 1/2″….so close), a lizard fish, and a queenfish on a 3″ Big Hammer swimbait in the Deep Blue color. We did see a few anglers catch other fish….a bareacuda, small bass, and a few macs here and there, but pretty slow for the most part. It was fun to see so many people even if it limited our fishing area. There was a couple sea lions prowling around the pier and a school of dolphins outside the jetty too. It was great out there with a nice onshore breeze to keep things cool.

2 Responses

  1. Where can I purchase early morning bait (anchovy’s) is San Pedro to fish off the pier?

  2. Your best bet would be at the “Rusty Hook” — 245 N Gaffey St., San Pedro, CA 90731
    (310) 832-2429

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