Last modified: December 11, 2018

Fishing Piers Southern California

Hermosa Beach Pier

Then we saw about 5 others surf fishing to see what they were up to and they were fishing for corbina w/sandcrabs, so we went to go dig some up. Saw one guy pull in a nice corb. and another gentleman with his wife pull in easily more than 5 in my face. I saw many corbina cruising but have no clue how to fish for them or whatever else is out there.

Me and a buddy got one tiny surf perch a piece, not bad for the first outing i guess. But we wanted corbina or some bigger gamefish. Any tips for surf fishing would be appreciated, I’m new and love it already. My outfit was only a 6’6 rod with a Daiwa spinning loaded with 6-lb. Just wondering if this is suitable, and other tackle I should get. I used a 1/2 ounce Carolina rig w/ a #4 hook for the crabs which got me the perch, and i also threw out a perch power grub for nothing. If you pros out there can give me the detailed tips on how to get on some Perch, corbina, halibut, and whatever else I can catch out there. Also, how do the bites feel because it’s kinda hard for the first time fishing the waves and trying to feel for bites. Please let me know how far to cast, what to look for, productive baits, and some methods u guys use. Thanx ahead of time, I appreciate all the help you can give. Btw, this board is the best one with all the great people and all the reports and replies. Thank you guys!

Posted by Frenchy

Keep your lines WET!!!! For perch, corbina, and yellowfin croakers use a Carolina rig for bait and plastics. I like to use a 1/2 ounce egg sinker with an 18″ leader. use 1-2″ plastic grubs. If you get sand crabs I use a #4 or #6 baitholder hook. Match the crab size up with the hook. The “soft shell” crabs work the best. They are the sand crabs that have molted off their hard shell. You don’t have to cast out far for corbina. Stay out of the water because you will spook them. Cast anywhere from a couple of feet to a few yards out. Look for corbina cruising in the shallow water feeding on crabs. You can sometimes see their back sticking out of the water they are so shallow. Pieces of mussels will work for corbina also if you cant get any crabs, same set-up.

For halibut use 3-4″ plastic grubs on a 1/2 ounce leadhead. I like jigheads with eyes. Smelly jelly or calico cocktail will improve your odds with the plastics. You can also try anchovies live or frozen if you want to bait fish. Other species you can catch close to shore: Grey smoothhound shark,

Shovelnose Guitarfish, Leopard Sharks, Bat Rays can be caught with a hi-lo rig. I use about 3 ounces of weight, and at least a 1/0 hook. Any cut bait will work. Squid, anchovy, and mackerel work well. Cast out past the breakers, or as far as you can. Try close in also.  Good Luck! Andrew

Posted by baitfish

Well rest assured that you are using the correct rig. When I fish for Corbina I use a Carolina rig with a 1/2-3/4 ounce weight, and a #6 Octopus hook. This hook hides much better than bait holders when you load it up with softshell sand crabs, Softshells are key. I also use a 4′ flourocarbon leader like P-line or Seaguar. The flourocarbon does make a difference!

As for the bite, a corbina bite is hard to detect in the surf, it doesn’t hit like a perch does with a tap tap bam! It will just suck up your bait and continue slowly down the beach looking for it’s next little snack. So you have to be able to distinguish the difference between a wave pulling and a fat corbina that just sucked in your bait.

As for your rod, that is exactly what I started with, and it will catch fish. I do use a 9′ fast action steelhead rod now, but only because it will help catch more fish. But your rod is not a problem and 6# IS perfect.

Try to get or make a sand crab trap. There have been a lot of postings about making your own, I don’t know how they perform, but you can get one for $50 around the LA area. Believe me, I used to think heck I can dig them up. But it is hard to find the softshell without a trap, it is a way to get free bait and takes a lot less time, so you are in the water quicker and longer. The last bit of advice, have confidence and watch your rod like a hawk! Know you are going to catch a fish and every cast gives you the opportunity to catch one.

Now that you have gotten all the advice, comes the important stuff. Please try and release these fish, at the bare minimum right now, because they are spawning and we need to protect the future of the corbina fishery. As Mola Joe said, right now at this very moment is the best time to get some of those larger fish, which happen to be spawning females. Catch them measure them, even weigh them, but try and get them back in the water as quickly as possible and make sure they kick off strong. Adam, I fish with my feet on the ground…

Posted by DesertAngler

All of the above info looks great…. I get out to Hermosa a few times a week and it really comes and goes. Some days a dozen perch and maybe a Corbina or Halibut. Other days… Zilch.! One thing I didn’t see mentioned is the tides. I prefer to fish about an hour prior to and 2 hours after the high. Good fishing can be made on the low tides, but you have to read the water better to look where it is actually moving, and where the pockets are. It pays to scout the beach at a really low tide and see where the bigger holes are, then go back for the high later that day. The main thing to remember (tackle suggestions aside) is to get out there. Spending the time doing it WILL pay off. Good luck. Looking forward to a report from you in the near future. DesertAngler

Posted by Corbinaman1

TripleH, all of the above advice is very good! has an article about “Catching Corbina From The Surf” that has really helped me! Dime sized softshell sandcrabs with roe work best, use small hooks (size 6,8,10), and try to stand on dry sand to avoid spooking the fish. Normally with corbina, you wont even feel the bite (unlike the “tap-tap-strike” perch bite), but line will be peeling off your reel as the fish tries to head towards Catalina! Be careful, this type of fishing is addictive…good luck!

Posted by mola joe

Seems like most of the bases were already covered here. I would just add how important it is to get the right bait. Bloodworms, clams, ghost shrimp, and mussel will catch corbina, but nothing works for big corbina like softshell. Spend the time to get the bait. Some mornings and evenings when softshell are hard to get (seems like most days)I’ll spend as much time getting bait as I do fishing. I think it’s the single most important thing when it comes to consistently catching quality corbina, and it’s the main reason so few anglers are successful when it comes to catching larger fish. First get your bait, then worry about trying to catch the fish. I’ve said it many times. Buy a sand crab trap. It’s the first step in trying to catch corbina. You can’t count on softshell being abundant enough to dig with your hands on most trips. For two or three weeks each year they are, but all the other times you’re going to have to go through 50 crabs or more to get one soft. Tight lines and good luck!

Date: April 30, 2007; To: Pier Fishing In California Message Board; From: toejamb; Subject: More about the eel

No real measurements to speak of. That sucker was none to pleased about being on the pier and I wouldn’t have been able to put a measuring tape to him without killing him. I’d say he was close to 30 inches, give or take a few. One thing I will say was that it was very powerful for its size. When I was unhooking it, it bit down on my pliers and it took some doing to make it let go. Glad it wasn’t my finger. Fortunately, the hook came out, a few pics were taken and back into the water he went.

Spotted Snake Eel

Posted by toejamb

I believe the eel took a frozen anchovy. The guy who caught it was using a big old Penn conventional mounted on a jig stick with 80 pound test/30 pound leader. The guy and his buddies were wrapping up for the day and thought he’d been snagged on the bottom. After about 5 minutes of tugging and jerking up came the eel.

Some of our favorites — Gordo, Toejamb and Tidy Cat

Potpourri — Possibly More Than You May Want To Know About The Hermosa Beach Pier

<*}}}}}}}}}>< Fish surveys done by the Department of Fish and Game between 2004 and 2009 show a typical mix of SoCal, sandy-shore pier fish (numerically) at the pier  — Pacific sardine, Pacific mackerel, Pacific bonito, jacksmelt, walleye surfperch, Pacific barracuda, California corbina, yellowfin croaker, queenfish, jack mackerel, black perch, shiner perch, salema, topsmelt, barred surfperch, blacksmith, shovelnose guitarfish, white croaker, opaleye, calico rockfish, halfmoon, rubberlip seaperch, white seaperch, senorita and California lizardfish.

<*}}}}}}}}}>< Not too many California piers have confirmed catches of a great white shark. Hermosa does but it was an illegal catch!

 Great White no surfer’s story Hermosa pier fisherman proves

 Great White shark sightings reported by Hermosa surfers over the past several months were confirmed Saturday morning when Abraham Ulloa, a general contractor from Los Angeles, hooked a six-foot, 200-pound Great White off the end of the Hermosa Pier. In March lifeguard captain Tom Seth, riding a personal watercraft, chased what guards believe was the same Great White away from the pier.

Ironically, surfers in the water watched Ulloa being pulled back and forth around the end of the pier for nearly two hours, not realizing it wasn’t just a big halibut he was working.

Ulloa said he used sardines and 40-pound test on a heavy leader to catch the shark. His young son and daughter, George and Giovanna, kept him supplied with sodas while his fishing partners Luciano Jimenez and Douglas Ciscernos stood by with a gaffing hook attached to a heavy line.

The two gaffed the Great White after Ulloa was finally able to pull it in close to the pier, just as it made a run for the pilings in an effort to snap the light fishing line. Ulloa said he and his friends had to enlist the help of a fourth fisherman to pull the shark up to the pier and over the rail.

He said he’s been fishing for shark at the pier every weekend since last September when he caught a similar-sized Mako shark.

After landing the Great White, which he planned to take home for dinner, he continued fishing.

Kevin Cody, Hermosa Beach News, June 5, 2003

Great white shark isn’t a great catch

A Los Angeles fisherman who caught a 1-to 2-year-old great white shark from the Hermosa Pier will be cited by the State Department of Fish and Game for killing a protected species. Abraham Ulloa, a general contractor from Los Angeles, posed with the estimated 61/2 -foot white shark on the pier June 7 along with two Hermosa Beach lifeguards. The photo appeared with a story in the Easy Reader, a Hermosa Beach newspaper, and even though the caption identified the catch as a “200-pound mako,” the story and headline identified it as a “great white shark.” The story described Ulloa’s two-hour battle with the shark on 40-pound test line and heavier leader and how two fishing buddies helped haul the fish up with grappling gaffs.

Outraged by the story and photo, sport and commercial fishermen called Fish and Game officials and media. Many criticized the Hermosa Beach lifeguards for their involvement. “We received a lot of tips from the public on this,” said Carrie Wilson, a marine biologist with the DFG. Department of Fish and Game warden Rebecca Hartman investigated and traced Ulloa to his home in Los Angeles. Ulloa told her his family had eaten some of the fish, and he had distributed portions to friends. But he still had the fins and jaws of the shark. Hartman didn’t cite Ulloa because he claimed he thought it was a mako shark. She confiscated the fins and jaws and took them to a marine biologist for identification.

Chris Lowe, a biology professor at Long Beach State, identified the great white by its unmistakable teeth. “At that young age, the teeth are somewhat like a mako’s, but the great white has serrated bottom teeth,” Lowe said. “And its uppers are more triangular than a mako’s.” Hartman plans to cite Ulloa even though he professed ignorance. “It’s a violation even though he claims he didn’t know what it was,” Hartman said. “The law is set up to protect the animal. If you don’t know what it is, don’t take it. In this case, this individual took a great white shark, a predator that keeps sea lions in check and fills a certain niche in the ocean.”

Ulloa could not be reached for comment. He faces a misdemeanor charge, a fine of $1,000 and/or six months in county jail. Hartman said the Hermosa Beach lifeguards in the picture with Ulloa won’t be charged because they arrived after the shark was killed. They played no role in the killing of the fish, she said. Lifeguards Charlie Piccaro and Bill “Shark” Harkins’ only “crime” is they posed with Ulloa over a dead protected great white shark.

Lowe said Southern California is a nursery for great whites, and he estimates six to eight young great whites are caught each year by sport and commercial fishermen between Dana Point and Ventura. He said it’s important that laws stay in place to protect them. “The best guess is that great white sharks take 12 to 18 years to mature and give birth,” he said. “And when they do give birth, it’s only to one or two pups at a time. These fish have a life span of humans.”

Ed Zieralski, San Diego Union-Tribune, June 10, 2003

A surfer “illegally” shoots the pier

<*}}}}}}}}}>< Rarely does religion come into play at the piers (unless you count an angler praying for a fish to bite). Thus, the following story intrigued me when I first heard it. On the Oprah television show one day the topic was doing good to others. Lo and behold two of the guests were fishermen who had met at the Hermosa Beach Pier. Their names were Rick Wilson and Frank Rembert and evidently Rembert was pretty sick when they met; his kidneys were not working, he was on a dialysis machine, and the doctors said he was going to die unless he received a transplant. One day his wife took him to the pier for a little relaxation and a chance to get his mind off his troubles. There he happened to cut his hand, a neighboring angler, Wilson, offered a band-aid, they struck up a conversation, and they quickly became friends. Wilson soon learned of Rembert’s need for a new kidney and when he got home he couldn’t put his new friend’s need out of his mind. Two days later, over the objections of his family and friends, he called offering to donate one of his own kidneys. Eight months later the operation was performed and both men emerged in healthy condition (although they had to remove one of Wilson’s ribs to get to his kidney—and polished pieces of the rib bone are now worn on silver chains around each man’s neck). Why did Wilson do such a thing for a stranger? He said some force had told him to move to Hermosa Beach, the same force had told him to fish on the pier, and the force seemed to direct him to offer up his kidney. Soon after the operation he moved from the beach. He attributed it to his religion and who am I to argue?

One Response

  1. I used to just come for mackerel, but now I go for unique species. On thursday, I got a Halfmoon on my friend’s old trout rod, then a good size Shiner perch on the reef, and i got my smallest California Scorpionfish. Cutest little rascal on the planet. Swam off nice and strong.

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