25 Years of Fish Reports — Today's Pier — Ocean Beach Pier (San Diego)

Ken Jones

Staff member
Ocean Beach Pier Fish Reports

May 1997—Ocean Beach Pier - Chuck at the Ocean Beach Bait Shop says that action currently is focusing on small perch and queenfish as well as the larger sharks. Anglers continue to pull in large numbers of small walleye surfperch and queenfish using multi-hook snag lines; bait isn't necessary. Larger croakers (white croakers?) are falling to squid baits out toward the middle and end of the pier. Leopard sharks and shovelnose sharks (guitarfish) offer a little more excitement and both are being caught up to about 4-feet in length. Smaller round stingrays and thornback rays are also falling to squid baits. Most of the other species are slow at this time but should pick up as the water warms.

July 1997—Ocean Beach Pier - Vicente, at the Ocean Beach Bait Shop, says that anglers are catching a mix of fish. Quite a few sharks have been caught including leopard, gray smoothhound, sand (guitarfish) and soupfin sharks. Most hit throughout the day but almost all the leopards have been caught at night. Vicente says that the mackerel have slowed but anglers continue to pull in buckets of white croaker along with fewer numbers of spotfin croaker, yellowfin croaker, sand bass, calico bass (kelp bass), and sculpin (California scorpionfish). (I fished the pier for two hours on the morning of the 19th. The results were an unimpressive 7 salema, 6 Pacific mackerel, 5 queenfish and one strange deepbody anchovy (I think) that struck a piece of mackerel. Most anglers were catching mackerel but I did spot one angler with a kelp bass that must have approached 5-pounds in size.)

August 1997— Ocean Beach Pier - Steve, at the Ocean Beach Bait Shop, says there has been a very good run of Spanish mackerel (mackerel jack) at the pier including some large picture-time fish. Lots of live bait is in the water (herring, sardines, anchovies) and one result has been an increase in the number of halibut landed (up to 26 inches) as well as good-sized sand bass. Several large sharks have also been landed as was a 9-pound black sea bass which was quickly returned to the water.

September 1997— Ocean Beach Pier - Steve, at the Ocean Beach Bait Shop, reports that things are real slow. Mackerel do continue to hit bait rigs, and a few bonito continue to hit feathers, but the only fish of note recently are the sharks. One angler landed a 57-inch, 36-pound leopard shark, while a lot of large gray sharks (gray smoothhounds) have been caught by anglers using squid or mackerel.

October 1997—Ocean Beach Pier - Steve, at the Ocean Beach Bait Shop, reports that action has been interesting the past few weeks. Leading the list of fish have been smallish-sized yellowtail (6-7 pounds) that have been taken almost daily. Most have been caught on live mackerel and they join a few bonito and the daily dose of mackerel. Mid-pier and mid-depth areas are yielding lots of queenfish while inshore, yellowfin croaker continue to show up in good numbers. Sharks and rays are also active although most have been on the small side lately. Water continues to be rough and dirty from Baja's hurricane Nora.

December 1997— Ocean Beach Pier - Steve, at the Ocean Beach Pier Bait Shop, says fishing has been terrible. Bad weather and high tides combined to damage part of the end of the pier and to cause several closures of the pier. Things are beginning to settle down but fishing remains slow.

February 1998— Ocean Beach Pier - I called the Ocean Beach Pier Bait Shop on the 31st but there was no answer. Of course, it was a day when waves were breaking over the top of the pier and the city had closed it to tourists (some of whom are sometimes not too bright and might try to experience the thrill of a pier under attack by Mother Nature). Hope there's no damage.

June 1998—Ocean Beach Pier - Bruce, at the Ocean Beach Bait Shop (on the pier), reports that the pier is open after a 3 1/2-month closure (about 1,000 feet of the south rail was torn out by the El Nino-storms and the city decided to wait until the storms died down before fixing the railing and reopening the pier). He also said that the fishing is VERY GOOD. Out at the end, anglers are catching mackerel on a variety of live baits including anchovies and sardines, pieces of mackerel, and bait rigs. Sheephead have also made a showing with a number of 2-3 pound fish being caught out at the south corner of the T-end of the pier. That area has a rocky reef, which yields quite a few bottom fish. The mid-pier area is yielding up lots of leopard sharks and Bruce said he has already seen four of the tasty sharks that were over 5-foot in length since the shop reopened. Sargo are also making a good appearance with most being caught on fresh mussels. Last, but not least, are a plethora of the smaller species such as walleye surfperch, queenfish, jacksmelt and topsmelt; most of these are caught in the mid-pier area on bait rigs or small pieces of anchovy.

July 1998— Ocean Beach Pier - Bruce, at the Ocean Beach Bait Shop (on the pier), reports that action is good at the pier although most of it is on the smaller species -- queenfish, tomcod (white croaker) and perch. At the end of the pier anglers are catching lots of mackerel, some sand bass, and a surprising number of barracuda (mainly on silver spoons and during the daytime hours). Largest fish lately was a 38-inch halibut caught on a live smelt. Bruce said they're also seeing a few flurries from bonito but they're in and out. So, take along a few bonito lures when you go to the pier. Lastly, a few opaleye continue to be picked up down in the inshore area; try frozen peas or fresh mussels.

September 1998—Ocean Beach Pier -- Bruce, at the Ocean Beach Bait Shop (on the pier), reports that the fishing is WAY GOOD! The biggest news has been on yellowtail and he said he had seen at least seven of the hard fighting fish in the last two days. All were over 10 pounds. There have also been good runs of bonito for the past three weeks. Most of the yellows are hitting on lures — anchovy lures, crippled anchovy lures, and Krocodiles. He says there are also lots and lots of mackerel as well as queenfish and smelt. He's only seen one legal halibut recently but it was a nice 38-pound fish so a few are still around. An angler also lost a HUGE bat ray which most of the locals felt had to be in the 200-pound range. He said the wings appeared to be 8-foot across but although it was hooked with two separate treble-hook-gaffs, the anglers couldn't get it up onto the pier and eventually it was lost. Water temperature has varied from 72 degrees down to 66 degrees.

October 1998—Ocean Beach Pier—Bruce, at the Ocean Beach Bait Shop (on the pier), reports that fishing continues good with lots of variety. Yellowtail are hitting artificial lures at the end of the pier and though most of the fish are firecracker size, 5-6 pound fish, they're a blast (get it) to catch. Most are being caught on leadhead jigs which have a strip of mackerel, 1 1/2 inches long by 1/2 inch wide attached to the hook. Lots of mackerel continue to be caught with lesser numbers of kelp bass and sand bass. Morning fishermen continue to snag queenfish, jacksmelt and sardines with bait rigs while only an occasional, mostly undersized halibut is being landed. Shark fishing remains strong but surprisingly it has been almost all leopard sharks; few if any gray smoothhounds. Inshore, anglers continue to pick up some opaleye by the rocks while using frozen peas, and a few blackperch and rubberlip perch while using mussels. Corbina are falling to mussels and ghost shrimp in the surf area and lately a lot of big mullet have been snagged by anglers watching for them in the surf area. Many people are waiting for the lobster season to open at the pier on October 3. This is an excellent pier for lobster even though you only get one keeper for about every 6 lobster netted. Remember that you have to use a hoop net, can only keep 7 per day, and that lobster caught on poles are to be returned to the water.

November 2002—Ocean Beach Pier – Anchovie reports “Night Fishing on OB Pier is slow with an occasional smelt. Lobster catches are mostly short but definitely being caught. One person caught a legal lobster at the south end Sunday night 10/29/02. Watch out for the sea lions they are expert bait stealers and will take full advantage of an unsuspecting fisherman fishing for lobsters. A waitress at the pier cafe reported that black sea bass were being caught at the north end of the pier. (nice to here their making a come back).”

March 2003— Ocean Beach Pier – Paul, at the Ocean Beach Bait Shop (on the pier), reports that the pier reopened after being closed for two months (December 14-February 14) due to damage from the December storms. Unfortunately it reopened just in time for some new bad weather so the crowds and fish have been sparse. But at least it is open!

November 2003— Ocean Beach Pier – Paul, at the Ocean Beach Bait Shop (on the pier) reports good action on bonito and barracuda during the past two weeks. He said the bonies are hitting on bait and lures. If using bait, try cut anchovy fished about ten feet below the surface. If using lures he recommends the following: 5/8 oz. Dorado Special Krocodile; 1-2 oz. Crippled Anchovy – green or blue; Chrome Krocodiles. Ditto for the barries. Inshore a few perch are showing up and a few sharks and guitarfish are hitting on the bottom. Also see the Message Board.

August 2004— Ocean Beach Pier – Posted by Reeffish on 7/25 — “Lots of folks out at OB pier, and lots of macks. I had an ice chest ready to keep the macks from deteriorating, and caught what I estimated would just be enough to fill two drying/smoking racks (13x16 inch racks my girls usually use for pie/cookie cooling). Some were pretty good sized, approx. 17 inches. Switched from bait to blue mackerel colored Krocodile. Managed a small barracuda and some more macks. Out at the end of the T, anglers with arms like Lance Armstrong's legs, that is seemingly tireless, were casting Megabaits, Rebel Fastracks and other assorted lures and connecting with bonito, mostly babies but some around 2-3 lbs.”

October 2004— Ocean Beach Pier — Paul at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop reports decent numbers of yellowtail taken from the pier, as many as half a dozen a day, (although it’s beginning to slow). Most are the small 5-pound or so firecracker-size fish and most were taken on Cast-a-Bubbles, Krocodiles or Broken Back Rapalas. More common are mackerel, bonito and the smaller species—croakers, perch, small bass and salema

January 2005—Ocean Beach Pier — It sounds like things have slowed although a few mackerel, bonito and small croakers are still around. Inshore, a few anglers are trying by the rocks and apparently some good-sized zebraperch have been found. Best bait has been moss.

April 2005— Ocean Beach Pier —Got a report from OB Pier Rat on the 31st. He reported that “anglers were having moderate success catching kingfish near the bait shop, and out on the left branch small macks were being caught on squid strips and cut ‘chovys. Also saw a 14” needlefish caught on a Sabiki (a fine mess that was!” He also reported seeing a couple of nice leopard sharks taken near the bait shop by Justin (who works in the bait shop).

May 2005— Ocean Beach Pier — Justin, at the bait shop out at the end of the pier, said anglers are getting good numbers of queenfish and mackerel with most falling to Sibiki or similar-type bait rigs. Out at the end a few kelp bass and sand bass have also made a showing while barracuda have been taken by folks using spoons. A number of leopard sharks have also made an appearance with Justin himself landing a 6’ beast two weeks ago. Justin also said the lights are back on and all things are go at the pier. PFIC reports indicate some mackerel are available and one angler got a 36” horn shark.

December 2005—Ocean Beach Pier — Justin, at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop on the pier, reports continued good action on mackerel along with a ton of short white seabass showing up. Other than that it is mostly queenfish and small croakers together with an occasional leopard shark. He says the lobster action has turned on over the past three weeks or so with many legal-size bugs being taken at night (and some during the day).

March 2006— Ocean Beach Pier — Billy Burns, at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop on the pier, reports fairly slow action for the past month. Primarily it’s been heavy-duty action on queenfish (herring), good action inshore on barred surfperch, and a few mackerel mixed in for variety. Some skate (thornback rays) and a few leopard sharks have added variety as have a couple of (illegal) black (giant) seabass and (illegal) garibaldi. Lobsters have been slow with most of the bugs being too small to keep (and the F&G has been checking). Billy does say there are tons of baitfish—anchovies and smelt—in the water but he hasn’t seen any boils to indicate feeding by larger fish. Biggest problem is anglers keeping everything they catch including way too many perch (barred and splttails).

May 2006— Ocean Beach Pier – Billy Burns, at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop on the pier, reports that fishing is starting to pick up led by some impressive catches of sharks. On Friday, May 5, a 7’9” seven-gill (which is probably a new record for the pier) was caught; a 40-pound thresher was taken around May 1; and a number of big leopard and smoothhounds have been showing up almost daiy (in fact one was hooked while we were on the phone). Billy isn’t sure why but says it looks to be a good year on sharks if this continues. More common action has been barred surfperch inshore (near the pump station), with the same area yielding up buckets of early mornin’ queenfish (herring). Out at the end, a few barracuda are showing up (to 30”), most falling to Krokodile-type spoons or MegaBaits (chartruse). A few sand bass (to 15”), some scorpionfish (sculpin—to 15”), and a few halibut (some small, some legal) are showing on the bottom. On the top, sporadic schools of mackerel move through but apparently few are larger than one pound.

June 2006— Ocean Beach Pier – Billy Burns, at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop on the pier, reports a good mix of fish led by BIG bonito in the 5-7 pound range (biggest he’s seen at the pier). The fish are falling mainly to lures including Krocodiles, MegaBaits and splasher rigs. Lots of big 2-3 pound mackerel are also on top so it’s a great time to be there. Only a few halibut have shown recently but some barracuda have also made an appearance along with a few calico (kelp) bass and good numbers of sculpin (scorpionfish). Inshore, some rubberlip perch are making an appearance while buckets of queenfish are taken near the pump station most mornings by the herring (queenfish) fishermen. Scads of shovelnose shark have also shown up and the leopard sharks appear to be spawning with good numbers of the sharks also being taken. Last but not least, a legal-size salmon was taken from the pier on 5/29.

July 2006— Ocean Beach Pier – Billy Burns, at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop on the pier, reported an amazing day on June 30. He said the water was up to 70 degrees and huge balls of bait, fist smelt and then anchovies, started to show up. The water was an emerald green with pelicans diving into the schools of bait when barracuda showed up. He started throwing artificials at them and starting catching the ‘cudas, most of which were sub-legal but every one in ten or so was legal. He started throwing swim baits in blue w/silver speckles but the fish tore up those baits. He then switched to Rebel Fast Tracks (5 1/2 inch blue w/red bottoms) and was over 40 fish when I first talked to him that day. Don’t know how many he wound up with (and returned) but he was selling the lures as fast as he was catching the fish and had already run out of the Rebels. He said he was hoping for a return of the bonito that were there last month but largely had disappeared. Mackerel are still around as are quite a few keeper calicos (kelp bass) and quite a few halibut (although most are shorts; there only getting about one keeper-size fish every couple of days). He said they had a 6’1” reef shark about ten days ago but I’m not sure what that was since reef sharks are not in my guide book (?) It sounds like it’s the time to visit the pier.

August 2006— Ocean Beach Pier – Billy Burns, at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop on the pier, says things have slowed a bit although overall action is still good. He says tons of halibut have started showing up with, as usual most being shorts. Still, he’s seen flatties to 27” so the fish are there to be had. He’s still getting some barracuda, although not the numbers as last month while bonito are making an on-again, off-again showing. Lately most of the bonito have been taken by anglers using frozen anchovies under a bobber. The boneheacds have not been hitting lures or feathers. Herring (queenfish) are always present as are quite a few croakers for those seeking them out. One angler reputedly caught two garibaldi—and then refused to throw them back. Lastly, quite a few sharks (including some nice-sized leopard sharks) and rays are making an appearance. Billy said one night the water seemed to be covered with small rays that looked like they were swimming in formation, hundreds of them. He said he thinks they were thornbacks although I’ve only heard of such occurrences with bat rays (they’ve been reported to school up in numbers ranging to several thousand).

September 2006— Ocean Beach Pier – Billy Burns, at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop on the pier, says most people have been concentrating on the bonito with bigger fish starting to show up. The bonies are mainly hitting lures (i.e., MegaBaits and feathers although some are even being taken on Sabiki rigs. He says the mackerel action has changed; it’s now mainly a sunset bite (which has been good). Other than that it’s been a little slow with some corbina and croakers inshore, a few barracuda out toward the bait shack, lots of calico bass (some up to 3-pounds), but only a few halibut (all shorts). He says even the queenfish seem to have left with all the mackerel and bonito in the water. He says there are huge amounts of sardines and smelt in the water and too many spiny lobsters (they’re still not in season). Unusual fish/creatures lately have included a small yellowtail out toward the end, a decent-sized giant (black) seabass (returned), and a sea turtle estimated to weigh 50-60 pounds hooked before it broke the line.

November 2006— Ocean Beach Pier — Billy Burns, at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop on the pier, says things have slowed although there is still a good mackerel bite—at night—along with some decent lobster action. However, you’re lucky to get one legal bug for every dozen pulled up. He says the bonito come and go while halibut action is slow—although a 44” flattie was taken by Justin Ryan. Queenfish (herring) are still available most days while some days have seen a good bass bite on both calicos and sandies down by the pump shack. Most of the bass are hitting on frozen anchovies. Lastly, Billy has spotted a couple of yellowtail cruising the pier, and targeted one with a Rebel Fast Track, but so far none of the yellows have been taken.

February 2007— Winds and weather contributed to a slowing of fishing although the lobster seekers are still out in force most nights. Best bet is probably around the end for a variety of perch and occasional bass while the inshore area is yielding some barred surfperch.

March 2007— Ocean Beach Pier — Billy Burns, at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop on the pier, says there’s been a mixture of fish lately. Inshore some spotfin croaker are showing up along with some barred surfperch. Mid-pier to the end it’s been a mixture— lots of queenfish and lesser numbers of baby barracuda and oddities like a 20” sheephead and a spotted bay bass.

May 2007— Ocean Beach Pier — Billy Burns, at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop on the pier, says it’s been kind of a strange month with lots and lots of sharks with everything from 6-inch baby leopards to 5-foot-long leopards (along with a wide range of gray smoothhounds and some big bat rays). It’s been fairly dead on croakers inshore but out at the end they’re beginning to see bait balls of sardines and “something’s” been chasing them (so he’s hoping bonito may soon show up even though it’s a little early for them). Mackerel are making an appearance but the action is all at night so unless you are there at the right time you won’t see the macs. Strange fish of the month was the largest sculpin (scorpionfish) Billy has ever seen and it was a hitchhiker fish that grabbed a herring (queenfish) that was hooked by an angler. The fish wouldn’t let go of the queenfish until it reached the surface of the pier where it released the queenie (but too late for the sculpin). Lots of herring (queenfish) are available mid-pier for those seeking them out but other than that it’s been a few small halibut and an occasional bass out at the end.

June 2007—Billy Burns, at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop on the pier, says fishing isn’t hot but there’s been quite a bit of variety to tempt anglers. Inshore, the yellowfin croaker bite remains strong. Mid-pier there’s lots of herring/queenfish (some pretty good sized), some leopard sharks, and a few halibut (try live queenfish as bait). Just past the bathrooms anglers can find some opaleye (try shrimp) while a few needlefish and even a treefish was caught one day. Highlight of the month was the appearance (just for a day) of Humboldt squid while the high numbers of sardines seem to be attracting quite a few pods of dolphins into the pier area. Last but not least, there’s a good mackerel bite but typically it starts up about sunset and lasts for a few hours. A few barracuda also show during the evening hours.

July 2007— Ocean Beach Pier — Billy Burns, at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop on the pier, says fishing isn’t hot but there’s good variety to tempt the anglers. Sardines are thick, in fact Billy says anglers are walking off the pier with buckets of sardines. The ‘dines and grunion apparently are also attracting in halibut because quite a few have been landed including one of 15 pounds on 6/26. Whereas the sardines are available in the morning, they disappear and then are replaced by mackerel in the evening (‘Dines=A.M., Macs=P.M.). In the middle of the day it’s the occasional bass out at the end (both calico and sand with many in the 18-20” range). Inshore yellowfins are on tap while quite a few small white seabass are appearing mid-pier; queenfish are spotty. Lastly, Billy feels things may break any day as water temps rise; he said a yellowtail was taken from the south jetty. However, only one bonito has been taken to date. Barracuda have also shown but all were shorts with the exception of one 32” fish.

September 2007— Ocean Beach Pier — Billy Burns, at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop on the pier, says there’s still quite a few bonito around. He says you can almost set your watch by their visit: 6-9 am in the morning and 6-7:30 pm or so in the evening. Between 7:30 and 8 pm the mackerel move in and when that happens the bonito bite turns off. Most of the bonito are small but fish to 4 ½ pounds have been landed. There’s also been a good number of big, 16-22” calicos caught out at the far left corner of the pier. Most are caught on strips of bonito. Billy said there have also been some nice sheephead landed, a 4-foot moray eel, and a huge butterfly ray estimated at 100 pounds (but that seems too high. Females reach neatly 5-feet in width and males about 2-feet but the poundage is questionable). One hitchhiker yellowtail also was briefly hooked when it grabbed a bonito that was also hooked. Although the bonito was brought in, the yellowtail got off. Halibut on the other hand have been slow.

October 2007— Ocean Beach Pier—Billy Burns, at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop on the pier, says action is staying good, in fact almost as good as anytime this summer. The water temperature was 69 degrees the day I called and even though the lobster season has opened (and with it the biggest crowd he had seen all year), anglers seeking out fish are still catching bonito, mackerel, a few barracuda and both calico and sand bass. In fact Billy got a 25” sand bass the previous night on a Mega Bait up near the north corner of the pier. He says there is a lot of bait in the water—anchovies, smelt and queenfish—and they seem to be keeping the fish around. On the bottom, a few short halibut are showing up while snaggers are hooking up on mullet under the pier. They’ve also seen a lot of yellowtial cruising the pier but they’re mostly small, 5-8 pound firecracker size.

November 2007—Ocean Beach Pier—Billy Burns, at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop on the pier, says action is still fairly good. He said he got a 3-pound bonito the day I called and says some barracuda are hanging around right at sunset each night. He’s also seeing quite a lot of sharks—leopards, grays and a few angel sharks.

December 2007— Ocean Beach Pier—Billy Burns, at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop on the pier, says action has slowed although he’s seeing a good run of yellowfin croaker by the pump station. Some nice-sized leopard sharks and some BIG lobsters are also showing. He’s expecting 20-foot swells to hit this week, which is not good news for the pier.

March 2008— Ocean Beach Pier — Billy Burns, at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop on the pier, says the pier just reopened after being closed for nearly a week. The recent heavy waves mangled quite a bit of the railing and a couple of cross beams but apparently workers got the pier back together in record time. Fishing is only so so although the usual mix—small croakers, some perch and small sharks appear to be available.

May 2008— Ocean Beach Pier — Billy Burns, at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop on the pier, says things have been picking up. Along with the usual queenfish and walleye surfperch, he’s seeing some nice runs of mackerel and sardines along with the occasional bonito. Sad but true: shark hunters have invaded the OB Pier at night to catch sharks in response to the recent “great white” attack at Solano Beach. Of course the main sharks they’re catching are the smaller leopard sharks (although some nice-sized shovelnose guitarfish have also been hooked).

June 2008— Ocean Beach Pier — Billy Burns, at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop on the pier, says several BIG fish have recently with the largest being a lost-at-the-gaff 7-gill shark estimated to be between 10-10 ½ feet long. Only problem is that 7-gills are only supposed to reach about 9 feet in length. Wonder if it could have been a 6-gill (they’ve been reported to 15 feet in length). Two giant sea bass were also taken and released. The fish were both estimated at 80-pounds with one hitting a chunk of mackerel and one a live queenfish. A 160-pound bat ray was taken on 5/24. All of the large fish seem to have been taken around the evening setting of the sun, a time that coincides with the appearance of the mackerel each night. Add in a good showing of barracuda, some calico bass, and some nice opaleye near the front of the pier and it sounds like a good time to visit OB.

July 2008— Ocean Beach Pier — Billy Burns, at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop on the pier, reports some interesting variety with sheephead and sargo being found inshore to mid-shore along with the usual queenfish, kingfish and perch. Halibut to 30-inches are showing up and some bass—calico and sand—also making an appearance. Barracuda show during the day, mackerel show up at sundown, and the sharks and rays show at night.

August 2008— Ocean Beach Pier — Billy Burns, at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop on the pier, says things have slowed off with one exception. He says there is a good bite going on every night for spotfin croaker from 2-4 pounds but it’s between 2-3 AM; he says there is a whole group of people there each night seeking out the big croakers. Other than that it has been mainly a mix of small species on Sabikis—pompano (butterfish), salema and queenfish and a few bass, mainly out toward the end. He says the shark and ray action remains good with some good-sized leopard sharks and shovelnose. There is a good mackerel bite but it is only at sunset and after dark; the ones getting the fish are ones who come equipped with glow lights.

May 2009—Ocean Beach Pier—John, at the Ocean Beach Pier tackle shop on the pier, says things are fairly slow. Most of the action is on herring (queenfish) in the mid-pier area by people using Sabikis, but there’s also a decent mackerel bite early in the morning and in the evening. Some good-sized leopard sharks and 7-gill sharks have also been taken, mostly at night. A later report from Billy Burns said barracuda were biting (on 5/3) as well as a few kelp bass. He also reported the catch of a black sea bass on 4/23, a fish estimated to weigh 150 pounds; it was of course released.

January 2010— Ocean Beach Pier — Jim at the pier’s bait shop says things are fairly slow although some fish are still being taken. The biggest news has been the capture of several big, six foot and up, 7-gill sharks. They’ve been taken both during the day and at night with a big chunk of mackerel being the primo bait. Inshore, there are a few perch, while small white croakers, jacksmelt and an occasional bass hit mid-pier to the end. Not too many lobsters have shown although anglers are still seeking them out.

February 2010— Ocean Beach Pier — Jim at the pier’s bait shop says things are fairly slow although some fish are still showing up. A few bass and sheephead (including one BIG sheepie) are showing up on the bottom, especially out toward the end, while some decent-sized 7-gill sharks continue to make news. Anglers seeking out the big 7-gills are concentrating at the far south corner and using heavy tackle, including heavy sinkers, to get out a distance to where the sharks are found. Inshore it’s mainly small croakers, some yellowfin and white croaker, while on top there continue to be some jacksmelt. January also saw an upsurge in the number of lobsters; much higher numbers than the previous months.

September 2010— Ocean Beach Pier— Jazzmin at the pier’s B&T Shop reports some really interesting action. While the main species continue to be mackerel (mid-pier to the end), queenfish (mid-pier), and surfperch (inshore), they’ve been joined by some BIG schools of anchovies and sardines. The mix of baitfish is attracting some of the larger species. This past week saw three yellowtail landed (on live bait), some large leopard sharks, a seven-foot-long blue shark and many barracuda (primarily at night). As long as the baitfish remain around the pier there should be some good fishing.

August 2011— Ocean Beach Pier—Billy, at the pier’s B&T Shop, said fishing has been real good. Anglers are taking way too many mackerel while barracuda are also showing along with some decent numbers of spotfin croaker. Mid-pier is seeing small queenfish and lizardfish while out at the end anglers are catching some nice sharays—including threshers to 70 pounds. A number of giant (black) sea bass have also been taken — and released.

May 2012—Ocean Beach Pier—Randy, at the pier’s bait shop, said action is mainly on the smaller species—queenfish, Spanish mackerel (jackmackerel), sardines, and anchovies. Inshore, a few yellowfin croakers and perch are showing up (try ghost shrimp) while mid-pier to the bait shop sees some white croaker and a mix of rubberlip and piling perch along with a few sargo (try down by the pilings). The past month did see two fairly large 7-gill sharks (60 and 80 pounds) along with a couple of 60-pound thresher sharks. Not much else although two whales were up next to the pier the day I called, a mother and a calf. He also said yellowtail were being taken on the boats just out from the pier so just maybe…

October 2012— Ocean Beach Pier — Randy, at the pier’s bait shop, said there’s a good calico bass bite taking place at the pier — on most parts of the pier. Out at the end some bonito are showing up while quite a few legal halibut (to 38”) have also shown lately, mainly in the mid-pier area. Shark action is slow.

July 2013—Ocean Beach Pier—Randy, at the pier’s bait shop, said some interesting action has been taking place but also said that in relation to the last three years the overall action has been down. He says a lot of calico bass are being taken from the pier (from almost the entire length of the pier). The largest was a 26-inch fish that was the largest calico he’s seen from the pier in ten years. He says the squid are spawning about ¾ mile off the pier and as a result people are fishing for white seabass; although he hasn’t seen any taken on the pier, he took his boat out and got a 54-pound fish. Yellowfin croaker, the smaller cousins of the white seabass (actually a croaker), are available inshore to mid-pier. For whatever reason a number of (illegal) giant (black) sea bass have also been taken and, to date, all seem to have been released. He says halibut too are being taken but all have been sub-legal in size, mostly 8-12-inch fish. As for action on the top, it’s dead—no mackerel and no sardines. However, there have been some anchovies hanging around the pier and as a result some barracuda are being taken at night. He says some shortfin corvina are also showing in the surf around grunion time but most have been hooked on Sabikis—and most have been lost.

August 2013— Ocean Beach Pier — Megan, at the pier’s bait shop, said a variety of fish are being taken. Inshore in the shallows some corbina are showing up and she noted that she saw one angler with seven corbina all over 20 inches. He had also caught a nice-sized cabezon, all on ghost shrimp. Some spotfin croakers have also been taken but halibut action has been slow, at least for legal-size fish. Mackerel are around but it’s almost entirely a nighttime proposition with few showing during the day. A few leopard sharks and bat rays have been seen but not too many while anchovies and queenfish seem to be at the pier and being caught throughout the day, every day.

September 2013— Ocean Beach Pier — Zack, at the pier’s bait shop, said a variety of fish continue to be taken. During the day there have been the usual queenfish, some halibut, and even one white seabass reported. Apparently there have been quite a few anchovies around the pier inshore and some bonito are showing out towards the end (one of the few reports on bonito we have had this year). Nighttime sees mackerel as well as quite a few sharays—shovelnose sharks (guitarfish), leopard sharks and a few horn sharks.

March 2014— Ocean Beach Pier — No report this month; pier has been closed for part of this last weekend.

September 2014— Ocean Beach Pier — Rosalie at the pier’s bait shop reports that the biggest news lately was the catch of some dorado from the pier. I am trying to confirm the catch via additional information and/or pictures. Stay Tuned. Not in doubt is that there have been good numbers of both bonito and mackerel and although a few people are still fishing the bottom for halibut and sharks, the main attention is obviously on the top action. She says some barracuda are also showing up, usually in the evening hours.

July 2015—Ocean Beach Pier—Robert, at the pier’s bait shop, reports that fishing is fairly decent with a variety of fish being caught. On the bottom it’s mostly small calico bass although the month has seen some cabezon, leopard sharks. sand bass, and even a moray eel. Anglers fishing on top are catching mackerel and bonito

August 2015—Ocean Beach Pier—Shirley, at the pier’s bait shop, reports that fishing has been good. Anglers fishing the top waters are getting some mackerel and bonito while those fishing the bottom are getting a mix of sharks and rays as well as a few halibut. A couple of yellowtail were also caught but she didn’t know the size.

December 2015—Ocean Beach Pier—Robert, at the pier’s bait shop, reports that fishing has slowed although anglers continue to pull in decent numbers of mackerel, jacksmelt, and kelp bass. Shark and ray action has slowed although a legal-size sheephead was caught during the month and a reported 50-pound yellowtail was landed. He said he’s seen the pictures of the yellowtail and will try to get us a copy for the report.

September 2016—Ocean Beach Pier—Shirley at the pier’s bait shop, reports that the fishing has been good with tons of mackerel, some bonito, and even a few yellowtail. On the bottom there’s the usual mix of small bass along with the smaller croakers and occasional sharay.

October 2016—Ocean Beach Pier—Shirley at the pier’s bait shop, reports that the fishing has been really good with a variety of species. She says there are still a lot of mackerel and some bonito and they are there just about every day. Lately, anglers have also been getting some sheephead one of which went over 20 pounds. In addition, anglers out at the end continue to pull in some sharks and rays including a 5 foot, 5 inch 7-gill shark the day before I called. When fishing inshore expert some yellowfin croakers and an occasional sargo while fishing further out on the bottom should yield up some small croakers, small rockfish and some calico bass.

March 2017— Ocean Beach Pier — Shirley at the pier’s bait shop, reports that anglers are catching a LOT of queenfish along with good number of mackerel and sharks, especially gray smoothhound sharks (one of which was reported at 6-foot in length). Wonder if it might have been a soupfin shark? Apparently the sharks are hitting from mid-pier near the bait shop out to the end. Shirley’s trying to get the picture of the shark.

April 2017—Ocean Beach Pier—Tony at the pier’s bait shop, reports that anglers are getting a lot of fish. Inshore there good fishing for perch, both some barred surfperch and walleyes. Mid-pier to the end is seeing a lot of mackerel along with quite a few calico (kelp) bass while out at the southwest end (called “Shark Point”) the regulars trying for sharks have seen dismal results. But, 3-4 “enormous-size sheephead have been landed (and that’s usually where they show up). Tony said the fishing really started picking up about two weeks ago which probably is about the seas returned to a normal condition after the winter rains.

May 2017— Ocean Beach Pier—Tony at the pier’s bait shop, reports that it’s mainly a combination of mackerel (lots of ‘em) and queenfish (for those locals who know how to catch them). Throw in a smattering of small kelp and sand bass, some inshore croakers, and a few sharays (mostly small) and that’s about it. However, Jose, one member of the “Wicked Homies,” a group that primarily fishes out at the southwest corner known as “Shark Point,” did catch a really big sheephead. 22 1/2 pounds according to Jose. {I talked to Jose and he says he’s been getting quite a few sheephead although most are 19 to 20 inches long. He said he hooked the big one mid-day using shrimp for bait and it took him half an hour to get the fish in. He brought it up and then it went back down and sulked before moving and then making Jose think he was caught in the kelp. Finally after a ten-minute wait the fish moved out of the kelp and he finally got it up to the surface. He says usually he’s fishing at night for the sharks but during the day his goal is sheephead.] Tony said there’s also a ton of pelicans dive-bombing the sea and sea lions chasing the fish. He says there’s a ton of bait in the water.

July 2017— Ocean Beach Pier — Shirley at the pier’s bait shop, reports that things have really picked up. Included in the mix are a lot of mackerel, a few bonito, and a wide range of other fish, everything from a big old morary eel and sheephead (both at the end) along with numerous bass, some small rockfish, and the usual small croakers. Some big sharks and rays are showing up out at the end while a giant (black) sea bass was hooked one day, brought to the surface, and then the line was cut. Good job!

July 2018— Ocean Beach Pier — Josh at the pier’s bait shop said most of the action has been on mackerel but anglers are also getting good numbers of calico (kelp) bass mid-pier to the end. A few halibut have been caught lately and a new round of baby leopard sharks seems to be showing at the pier. Biggest fish lately was a soupfin shark nearly 7-feet in length and guesstimated at 100 pounds. Nice fish!

April 2019— Ocean Beach Pier —The pier closed mid-January due to storm damage and it is hoped it will reopen by Memorial Day.

July 2019— Ocean Beach Pier — Shirley at the Ocean Beach Pier Bait Shop & Café, on the pier says the mackerel have started to bite along with the usual herring (queenfish), a few halibut, and some big bat rays. She also reported that several sheephead had been taken out at the southwest corner including brute-size fish of 13 and 17 pounds. She says that corner is also starting to produce some big sharks — leopards and soupfins. Apparently not much action inshore with no croakers reported. I was there mid-month (June 13) and caught a diverse mix of species—kelp bass, black croaker, sargo, scorpionfish, mackerel, rock wrasse, jacksmelt and senorita.

August 2019— Ocean Beach Pier — David at the Ocean Beach Pier Bait Shop & Café, on the pier says the mackerel have been hitting good although they were hot the prior week with the hot weather and a little slower this week with the cooler weather. He’s also seeing quite a few bass, both sand bass and kelp bass. Some croakers are showing inshore on the bottom while a few sheephead have been reported from the end on shrimp. The sharkers out at the left corner end are also pulling in some nice sharks and rays; fish have included 7-gill sharks, shovelnose sharks (guitarfish), a horn shark and smaller rays. No reports of halibut.

March 2020—Ocean Beach Pier — Shirley at the Ocean Beach Pier Bait Shop & Café, on the pier said action has been fair with most of the action still on mackerel and jacksmelt. At the same time she’s seen some interesting fish this week including a 4-pound opaleye (that’s a big ‘un) taken on shrimp, several nice-sized sand bass (on mackerel), two rubberlip seaperch, (on shrimp) a decent-sized sheephead (out at the end on shrimp), a kelpfish and quite a few queenfish (near the bait shop). On the bottom two swell sharks were taken (on mackerel) along with a couple of bat rays. Not hot action but a nice variety.

August 2020 — Antonio at the Ocean Beach Pier Bait Shop & Café, on the pier said action is still slow with the exception of mackerel, sardines and anchovies that populate the upper waters at the pier. Few fish on the bottom although he has seen a few leopard sharks. Ditto a few lobsters, mainly at night.

September 2020 — Seth at the Ocean Beach Pier Bait Shop & Café, on the pier said action was hot up until a couple of weeks ago but now has slowed. He said there are always mackerel and occasionally a few bonito but he hasn’t seen much on the bottom— a couple of leopard sharks, a few halfmoon, and some small croakers. He said the shark action at the end is also slow.

October 2020 — Seth at the Ocean Beach Pier Bait Shop & Café, on the pier said action has slowed somewhat. The bonito have been in and out along with the mackerel. Some threshers have shown along with one sevengill shark on the bottom (at night). It’s slow on halibut and other bottom fish. Expectations are high for the lobster season that opens this weekend.

December 2020 — Jason at the Ocean Beach Pier Bait Shop & Café, on the pier, said that a lot of mackerel are still being caught mid-pier to the end. Out at the far end the shark anglers are also having success and he mentioned 7-gill sharks and soupfin sharks. He said locals are also catching the small fish around the bait shop (probably queenfish).

January 2021 — Stacey at the Ocean Beach Pier Bait Shop & Café, on the pier, said that a lot of mackerel are still being caught but that’s about all he knew except for sharks at the end that are being caught most days. On December 22, a 9 ½ foot-long 7-gill shark was reported, one of if not the largest 7-gill taken from a California pier.

February 2021 — The pier suffered damage several weeks ago and is currently closed.

June 2021 — The pier is supposed to open back up on May 28.

July 2021 — Shirley at the Ocean Beach Pier Bait and Tackle shop on the pier said fishing has been good. Anglers are catching a lot of mackerel along with quite a few bass, a few halibut, and lots of rays, different kinds and different sizes. She also said the end of the pier is closed off, from the bait shop to the end of the pier.

October 2021 — Dominique at the Ocean Beach Pier Bait and Tackle shop on the pier said the action is really on two things, mackerel and lobsters, with the bugs being caught at night or early morning while the macs are pretty much hitting throughout the day. Action on most bottom species, including croaker, halibut and sharays, is slow. The end past the restaurant remains closed.

April 2022 — Gui at the Ocean Beach Pier Bait and Tackle shop on the pier said most of the action is on mackerel although some sand sharks (shovelnose guitarfish) are also showing up as well. He said he hasn’t seen any halibut. Biggest news the day I called was the capture of a triggerfish. It wasn’t weighed but apparently was larger than a large plate. Gui also mentioned that the city appears ready to start repairs to the end of the pier, which should lead it being reopened sometime soon.

May 2022 — Shirley at the Ocean Beach Pier Bait and Tackle shop on the pier said most of the attention lately has been focused on the mackerel that seem to be in good supply. She said some small rockfish have been caught on the bottom along with another triggerfish. No report on how the croaker, halibut or sharays are hitting.

July 2022 — Jason at the Ocean Beach Pier Bait and Tackle says most of the action is on mackerel with the occasional halibut (one LARGE halibut was caught), shark and ray. Expect some croakers inshore and also a possible bass or perch if fishing by the piles.