Last modified: October 26, 2018

Central California Fishing Piers

Cayucos Pier

There have been a lot of thresher sharks jumping and one angler today hooked one in the tail. The fish was about 4-foot-long. It did manage to get away after about a 5-minute fight. I have counted at least 30 threshers jumping in the past few days. Some are well over 6 feet long. Some are right at the pier, well within casting distance. I have been fishing for them for 2 days now and have had no luck. I have been using a slider rig with a balloon to keep it on top and have tried live anchovies, mackerel, small jack smelt and small queenfish. I have tried a 25-lb mono leader and I have tried a 40-lb plastic coated wire leader. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Dennis’ Fishing Page

Dennis     <*))))))))))><(

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

 Wayne is a friend of mine and the person that caught the 180-lb sevengill shark at Cayucos last month. It took him over an hour to land. He caught the fish on a fresh sardine. He was using 40-lb mono and NO wire leader. It took six guys to lift the fish onto the pier and they had three rope gaffs in the fish. One of the gaffs, if you can believe it, went into the shark’s mouth. The shark was 7 1/2 feet long.

Wayne and his large seven gill shark (Photo courtesy of “The Tidepool”)

Wayne told me that he hooked a big thresher the day before. When he caught this fish he found the hook that he was using the day before in its mouth. I have included a picture for you it you would like to put it on your site.

Dennis’ Fishing Page

Dennis     <*))))))))))><(

Date: August 2, 2000; To: Ken Jones; From: Wayne; Subject: Cayucos Pier

Hi Ken, This is Wayne from Cayucos. Fishing has finally picked up, the sharks are plentiful at night and the baitfish are runnin’ but it’s hit and miss. The grunion run last night brought the sharks in and everyone was catchin’ them; we had eight of them before the night was over, largest being 5 foot, smallest being 3 1/2 foot. Squid was the best bet on bait. There hasn’t been any legal halibut yet! I’ve landed 2 shorty’s but there’s been so much bait in the water you couldn’t force feed a halibut any bait. But we’re still trying; now that the bait has thinned out maybe we’ll have better luck with the halibut. Shinerperch (punkin seeds) are the best bait now. If you know the right spots you can catch ’em pretty easy. Now if the whales would stay away there might not be all the lookydoos and they wouldn’t be upsetting your poles while your fishing. It’s bad enough with the halibut being finicky anyway. Thanks a lot, Wayne

Wayne and an angel shark (Photo courtesy of “The Tidepool”)

Date: August 14, 2000; To: PFC Message Board; From: joe; Subject: Cayucos

Went to Cayucos this weekend. I saw a thresher shark about 80 yards off the beach on Saturday night about 300 yards south of the pier. I thought I was seeing things, too much Bud, but my wife saw it too! The next day I went to the pier and was talking to the rental place about a sea kayak and I told him what I saw, he told me that last week a 100-lb thresher was caught from the pier and the reason is that a lot of ‘chovie is massing at the beach due to the red tide south in Santa Barbara. What a weekend!

Date: July 30, 2002; To: PFIC Message Board; From: cayucosjack; Subject: Cayucos Pier

Visited Cayucos Pier Monday evening. Used Sabikis with squid strips and anchovies to catch lots of queenfish (croakers) and quite a few very small bocaccio. Don’t let the rig sit on bottom too long keep jigging them or you’ll end up hooking up a 4 inch bullhead on each hook within seconds. Threw out a big rod for sharks for a few hours after dark with no luck. But under the lights the queenfish kept me busy. If you go please follow the rules and let the bocaccio go if they are sublegal. I heard one guy bragging about how he brought home a bucket full just the night before most no longer than 8 inches and had a great fish fry. People like this is why we are in this situation in the first place. 

Date: August 25, 2002; To: PFIC Message Board; From: cayucosjack; Subject: Cayucos Pier Report

Went to Cayucos Pier Saturday night from just about 9-10:30pm. Landed one dogshark at about 9:30 using small smelt I had frozen. A little over 3 feet long, maybe 10lbs. very nice one. Caught four croakers up to 12″ on squid under the lights. Lots of bullhead. Then about 10:20 I packed up all the rods except one intent on going home early after a little bad Chinese food. Just as I started to pick up the last rod got hit hard turned out to be a leopard shark, about 2 1/2 feet long, very fat & ugly and had an attitude to match. All fish were released successfully much to the distain of other anglers, “let me have that dogfish for bait” if you are going to waste one on bait catch your own buddy! Just when I was becoming convinced all the big fish were gone from the area, get surprised with a good night. Who knows how many more I could have caught if I could have lasted longer! The tide was just peaking and the moon had just rising. I didn’t see anything else being caught outside of the croakers and bullhead but I’m sure there were some more sharks caught after I left.

Date: September 8, 2002; To: PFIC Message Board; From: cayucosjack; Subject: Cayucos Pier 9/8 Report

Fished Cayucos pier Sunday night from 9-11pm. Caught several white croaker and a few bullhead on squid. Caught the small (puffer?) shark in the picture on half an 8″ frozen sardine. If anyone has any info on this type of shark I would appreciate it, I can’t find it in DFG fish profiles and I have caught several at Cayucos. I was told that they release a potent toxin in the water when they “puff” up and that I should not throw it back where I was fishing because the toxin scares away all other fish and nothing else will bite. I didn’t take any chances and threw him back far away from where I was fishing.

I got two other strikes on the sardine halves, one felt really big, only to have the lines go limp after just a few seconds. I guess I need to re-learn how to set a hook or something…oh well. The kelp got to be a real pain around the peak of high tide so called it a night. Only a couple of other fisherman out and it was a beautiful night.

[The “puffer” shark to which he refers is a swell shark; they do not release any toxins into the water when released but should be released since they will make you sick if you eat one.]

Date: September 10, 2002; To: PFIC Message Board; From: cayucosjack; Subject: Cayucos Pier 9/10 Report

Went to Cayucos Pier 9-11pm Tuesday. 13 white croakers…on squid Sabiki (released) bullheads…bullheads and more bullheads. Caught the little “swell” (thanks for the info guys) shark on a half frozen sardine. I have caught one of these ugly mean critters 3 out of the last 4 times I have went. This one was by far the smallest and was the only one that didn’t blow up like it swallowed a basketball. Had one other really good hit on the same set up, felt like a bat ray but who knows because he came unbuttoned. I ran out of my sardines which seem to be about the best thing going lately. Resorted to anchovies, squid and even a small white croaker as bait but came up empty on all attempts.

The crabs have apparently moved in, its bad enough having to worry about the bullhead picking your bait to heck but tonight it was the crabs. Reeled up at least 6 and just about every time I would check my line I brought up a few that would fall off when I brought it out of the water. I don’t know much about crabs but they were all yellow/tan and some were actually of decent size.

Date: September 15, 2002; To: Pier Fishing In California Message Board; From: cayucosjack; Subject: Cayucos & Morro 9/14

Went to Cayucos Pier from about 9pm-11 deciding to just work with my squid and that one mackerel. Threw out chunks of that mackerel and got a hard hit within 10 minutes. After the initial hit it just felt like pulling dead weight (and a lot of it). Got it to the surface to see that it was yet another swell shark. This one was definitely the largest one I have hooked yet. It must have filled up with water because it was way too heavy to hand over hand up on 12-lb test. After trying to remove the knots in my rope on my crab hoop I had to watch him come right off and swim away. Oh well I guess that’s a clean release. Would have liked to get a picture and a tape to it though. I think it was well over 3 feet long and most that I have read say they only get to be 3 feet. The pier was very fogged in, visibility was low and there were a bunch of anglers crowding under the lights. Also caught a few white croakers, bullheads and jacksmelt with squid strips on Sabiki. Most everyone was shark fishing but I did not see another one caught while I was there.

Swell shark

Date: November 26, 2002; To: PFIC Message Board; From: cayucosjack; Subject: Cayucos Pier 11/26 Report — Steelhead Surprise!!!

Fished Cayucos pier 9:30-12:30. Low/incoming tide. Had some pile worms left over from my San Luis Res. trip on the weekend and wanted to use them before they dried out so decided to go perch fishing. When I arrived there were only 2 other anglers, they were catching perch and jacksmelt one after another on what looked like mussels or clams. I caught a small smelt right away on my bare Sabiki and threw it out on a sliding live bait rig hoping for a halibut. Not even a bite on that rod all morning. I baited my Sabiki with cut pile worm and put it down in the pilings for perch. I caught several barred surfperch this way and several jacksmelt (some very large ones). I was hooking up every minute or so when suddenly I was pulling up what looked to be 3 VERY large smelt at once. I got the line out of the water and noticed the one on the bottom wasn’t a smelt. My first thought was that it was a huge white croaker when I saw the pink on its sides, I got it closer and thought maybe its a small white seabass. I got it on the pier and to my surprise it was a Steelhead! It was just a small one but it was a steelhead nonetheless! It was about 14” long maybe 2-lbs. It lost a lot of scales when it hit the planks so I wanted to get it back in the water right away. I don’t know if it was schooling with the smelt or what but it took the pile worm and they all 3 hit at the same time. I fished for another hour or two hoping for another only bigger. I was fishing just opposite the fish cleaning station.

Fish count: 25+ Jacksmelt (some very large ones included) — 7 barred surfperch — 1 walleye surfperch — 1 Steelhead — All released unharmed.

Date: June 17, 2003; To: PFIC Message Board; From: cayucosjack; Subject: Cayucos Pier 6/14

Fished 6pm-11:30pm. Low-incoming tide. Clear but windy weather. Again tons of baitfish all around the pier. There were only a few of us out and we had it pretty good. The sea lions were pushing schools to the surface everywhere, all night long. I put in some hours looking for the big one (halibut, shark, ray, etc.) to no avail. I still had a blast and am extremely excited about what could be to come as we all caught a good variety of fish. I caught my first bocaccio of the year, some HUGE sardines, and perhaps most exciting to me was the run of Pacific Mackerel. In the 3 years I have been fishing Cayucos pier I have only seen a few caught and usually in the fall. El Nino must be at work. Gets me excited about the possibilities for the summer. Most would of you would think I was crazy to get excited over mackerel but around these parts its a big deal. There were 3 kids at the end of the pier that were just nailing them. One of the kids was pretty smart about fish and he said he had been there since 10am and he caught 5 short halibuts in the morning hours. He may have exaggerated but I do believe he caught some and he knew his species like a Peterson’s Field Guide. He had what has to be the largest sardine I have ever seen (had to be over 20”). There were a few people out sharkin’ late. All I saw landed was what appeared to be a small swell shark. I saw a guy get bent big time but he never landed it, must have broke off. My big rod only bent once and I missed it. Promising night though.

My catch: 6 shiners (Sabiki w/sardine strips, after dark); 3 bullhead; 1 small bocaccio (Sabiki w/ sardine strips, after dark); 2 white croaker (Sabiki w/ sardine strips, after dark); 1 Spanish mackerel (Sabiki bare jigged, daylight hours); 3 Pacific mackerel 10”-14” (Sabiki bare jigged, daylight hours); 25+ sardines (bare Sabiki, daylight hours, most were 12”-15”); 40+ jacksmelt (on anything, anytime, some in the 18-20” range). Most were released. I kept what is in the pic for my freezer and used about a half dozen sardines/macks for bait while I was there. Its not very often I come home with more bait than I leave with. Still looking for my first hali of the year and first shark of the year. (CayucosJack)

Date: August 12, 2003; To: PFIC Message Board; From: EddieE; Subject: Cayucos first LEGAL HALIBUT!!!

 I had an EXCELLENT day!! I got my first legal halibut! OK, here come the details. I got to the pier around 10:45 this morning and grabbed the bench on the beach side of the wash station. Since my dad didn’t come with me I decided to try and kill two birds with one stone. I put one of my lead heads with a fish trap on the bottom of my Sabiki instead of a weight. I hadn’t jigged for very long when I saw a group of small jacksmelt chasing my Sabiki to the top of the water. When I noticed them, I started jigging slowly right next to the pier….then….WHAM! I got hit! I yelled at a guy I’d met on the pier a few times and he came down and helped me with the crab net. I got worried once, while he was trying to net it he bumped it with the net and it ran under the pier… I had it on my lightest pole and I was worried that it was going to get in the pilings, but I pulled it back out. I fished for a few more hours without any luck other than baitfish. Time to cook…*grin* Eddie

3 Responses

  1. I see these are some older posts good tips but how is the fishing now for perch and Halibuts 

    1. Can’t really say since we no longer have a reporter for that pier.

  2. Was at Cayucos, pier yestetday fishing, caught the smallest bull head in my life. Bunch of jack smelt. Nothing big or interesting.

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