25 Years of Fish Reports (sort of) — Today's Pier — Hermosa Beach Pier

Ken Jones

Staff member
PFIC Fishing Reports — Hermosa Beach Pier

March 1997 — Don, at Just Fishing by Pete, says there is variety at the Hermosa Beach Pier. Most of the fish being caught currently are the smaller jacksmelt and walleye surfperch while those seeking bigger game are pulling in a few shovelnose sharks (guitarfish) and bat rays. The perch and jacksmelt are falling for mussels, shrimp, or bait rig snag lines, while the sharks are falling for squid. Most interesting news lately has been a pretty good run of thresher sharks - but all have been lost so far. One fish, a 60+ pounder, was up to the pilings but managed to escape. Don says the mackerel bite has been dead and if more live mackerel were available for shark bait, an even greater number of fish would be hooked. Finally, a few spider crabs continue to show up on the pier - usually surprising the lucky anglers.

April 1997 — Don, at Just Fishing by Pete, says that fishing is a little slow. Although there are still some smelt and sardines around, most of the baitfish are remaining out in deeper water and consequently there have been few large fish landed. The only fish of note was a 30-pound thresher shark that was landed last week. There have been, however, a lot of large spider crabs brought up and the spiny lobster season (which ended Wednesday, the 19th) was excellent. Don says that he and some friends fished three nights for the lobster during the last week and caught 57 lobster; 2/3 limits for all those involved. There are still some barred surfperch to be had with most being caught from the surf area to about 1/3 out on the pier. Regulars are landing most of the bigger perch on 2" clear, red flake grubs; bait fisherman are catching perch on fresh mussels and bloodworms. A few more mackerel are showing up, and the walleye surfperch continue in good supply. Ditto the shovelnose sharks (guitarfish) and a few gray smoothhound sharks. Action on bat rays has been slow. The surface temperature has reached 63-64 degrees so fishing should start picking up. Don also says that the pier usually has a run of zebra perch each spring. It hasn't happened yet so maybe....

May 1997 — Don, at Just Fishing by Pete, says that things are still a little sparse. Best action lately has been on good-sized corbina, most in the 4-pound category, which are falling to sand crabs fished near the surf area. Some perch, 7/11 perch and walleye surfperch, have also been falling to pieces of mussel or Lucky Lura type multi-hook riggings—as are a few jacksmelt, topsmelt and sardines. It's been windy, the water temperature dropped, and the fish moved out. Anglers do continue to take a few shovelnose guitarfish and bat rays, but even most of them have been small, in the 5-10 pound class. Still kind of between seasons.

June 1997 — Don, at Just Fishing by Pete, says that things are about ready to break loose. El Nino is coming (it's already here in spots) and this should be one of those years when the anglers are catching big game fish like yellowtail and white seabass from the pier. The first barracuda showed up last week and some bonito were also caught —including a five pounder. In addition, a few calicos (kelp bass) have added spice to angler's bags. Most people however are still concentrating on corbina in the shallow waters, and the mackerel, which are found out toward the end of the pier. Most corbina, some to an impressive five-pound size, are falling to fresh mussels. The mackerel are being caught on bait rigs such as the Lucky Luras - using a size 6 or 4 hook. Bait rigs also continue to hook jacksmelt and sardines for those so inclined. The normal perch bite is slow and the zebraperch never showed up except for one lone fish, which hit a plastic grub. Don says the grub must have gotten covered with moss somehow for a zebra to hit it! Sharks continue to be sporadic, mainly shovelnose sharks (guitarfish), although two threshers were reported last week. Look for a great summer!

July 1997 Pete, at Just Fishing by Pete, says that things would break loose if the anglers would just try the right methods. He says he is sure some yellowtail would be caught if anglers would use small, live mackerel on a sliding leader. But so far no one seems to want to do it. Lots of mackerel continue to be caught, on both Lucky Lura riggings and on strips of squid, while halibut offer sporadic action. He says he's only heard of two keeper halibut during the past week. Inshore, people continue to snag corbina (and he can’t get them to stop) while night anglers continue to pull in sharks on squid.

August 1997 Pete, at Just Fishing by Pete, says there is a lot of bait in the water, especially sardines, and that the fish are there for the taking. The hit parade, at least as far as numbers, continues to be led by mackerel but some bigger species are adding excitement. One yellowtail was caught and several have been lost by anglers. Barracuda are also being caught daily. The snakes are falling to live bait fished on a slider and on hard metal jigs like Tandys and Salas. Halibut fisherman land a few fish each day but most aren't legal. Finally, idiots continue to snag corbina in the surf area. Pete has talked to the Fish and Game but it is apparently legal. His next step might be to ask the city for an ordinance against the snagging. Go for it Pete. By the way, the city continue to work on Pier Avenue (even though the work was to be done by the summer). Parking spaces have been cut from about 70 to 26 and the lower part of the street is now closed to cars. Yuppiedom rules and the street will be saved for the patrons of the local restaurants and bars. Finally, two specific actions concern the pier. What do you do when workers accidentally cut the power to the pier during street repairs? Simple, leave it off and declare the pier closed at night. Duh, is it really that hard to fix? And, there are rumors that the pier may close for renovation this fall. I'll try to find out if it is true and if so, the details.

September 1997 — Things have slowed according to Pete, at Just Fishing by Pete. Most action centers on mackerel, with a few anglers pulling in an occasional halibut. Sardines also continue to be available to jiggers in the afternoon hours. Only one yellowtail has been reported from the pier recently. It looks like the pier is destined to be closed in October for repairs with opening scheduled during Easter week of '98.

October 1997 — Things have slowed according to Don, at Just Fishing by Pete. Nothing is really hot although fishermen continue to land a few sargo, an occasional legal halibut, some small to medium sized white seabass (on live mackerels or sardines), and lots of mackerel. Yellowfin croaker continue to grab baits inshore, while a few sharks, mostly leopards, continue to fall to squid fishermen. The pier is still scheduled to close in October for repair.

November 1997 — Don, at Just Fishing by Pete, (near the entrance to the pier) says that action still remains good on several species. There is a wide open bite on jacksmelt for anglers using bait rigs, especially the Hayabusa rigs, and some have been pretty good size. There also continue to be runs of mackerel and sardines although action has slowed on both species. Inshore, there continue to be a lot of sargo caught on fresh mussels, while good numbers of corbina continue to show up and regulars are getting them on soft shelled sand crabs and fresh mussels. There have also been quite a few sand bass showing up by the reef area as well as a few white seabass and small sharks. The city still hasn't decided when it will close the pier for repairs but it should be before the first of the year. If in doubt as to if the pier is open, call Don or Pete at 310-374-9388.

December 1997 — Don, at Just Fishing by Pete (near the front of the pier), says that barred surfperch are beginning to show up in the surf although most are on the small side. Also a few sargo and an occasional mackerel or jacksmelt. Shark action is slow because the city continues to close down the pier at sunset.

January 1998 — Pete, at Just Fishing by Pete says the pier is still open and anglers continue to catch lots of mackerel and jacksmelt. Inshore, a few anglers are picking up barred surfperch and surprisingly a few halibut continue to be landed from the mid-pier area to the end. Lobster action is slow because the city is closing the pier at dusk (and this used to be a very good pier at night for lobsters). The city keeps saying they are going to close the pier for renovation but the closure date was September and now it is January -- no one seems to know what is going on!

February 1998 — Pete, at Just Fishing by Pete, says that the pier was closed on the 30th but reopened on the 31st; it's a day to day thing depending on the waves. When open, anglers are catching fish. Lots of jacksmelt, quite a few mackerel, and some sardines. Most other species are slow although he saw one legal-sized halibut. Still no definite information from the city on when they actually plan to close the pier for renovation; it was supposed to happen last fall.

March 1998 — Don, at Just Fishing by Pete, says the pier is still open but the weather and the fishing remains bad. There are lots of good-looking holes in the surf area for barred surfperch, but the perch simply haven't moved into the area. Further out on the pier an occasional flurry of mackerel, jacksmelt and sardines provides excitement but they're few and far between. The same with halibut—it's too early for the flatties. It looks like the city is going to leave the pier open through the winter which means it probably will not be closed until next fall; however, they continue to lock the pier at dusk so forget about the sharks and lobsters.

June 1998 — Don, at Just Fishing by Pete, says that the fishing is picking up. Inshore, a few corbina are being picked up on fresh mussels and sand crabs while the mid-pier to the end areas are offering up small mackerel, sardines and a few halibut. The best bait for the halibut are the small-sized, live mackerel, and sardines, which you have just caught. Some sand bass and calico (kelp) bass are also being landed, generally on live sardines. A few leopard sharks have also shown up but hardly any thresher sharks. One angler did report hooking a thresher but he and his buddy lost it half way up to the top of the pier; always be prepared with the proper equipment if you plan to fish for the bigger sharks and rays.

September 1998 — Don, at Just Fishing by Pete, says that a few bonito are being picked up and one yellowtail (8-10 pounds) was caught toward the end of the month. As usual, jacksmelt, sardines and mackerel are falling to bait rigs while some yellowfin croakers and corbina are being caught inshore on fresh mussels and sand crabs—although the soft shells are in short supply. He says a few sharks are also being landed, mainly shovelnose and leopard sharks. Two unidentified anglers reported seeing large, 40-pound or so torpedo-shaped fish swimming by the pier which sound like bluefins but the chances of that are remote. A few bluefin tuna are showing up on the boats but most are far out to sea. Don also reports that the pier will be closed for much of the fall and perhaps the winter. Apparently the city is going to fix and reinforce the pier, build a Ruby's Restaurant out at the end, and redo the lights. After the work is done this may once again become one of the top piers in the south.

October 1998 — Don, at Just Fishing by Pete, says that a few yellowfin croaker and corbina continue to show up in the surf area but not too many people are fishing for them. Further out on the pier there continues to be good action on jacksmelt, mackerel and small, 1-1 1/2 pound bonito. One angler recently landed a 6-foot-long, 50+-pound soupfin shark. Don also reports that the pier will be closed for refurbishing on October 12 and it is not scheduled to reopen until August of '99.

November 1998 — The pier is closed until next August.

May 2000 — Pete, at Just Fishing By Pete, near the entrance to the pier, reports that the pier is still closed. Some city officials say a June opening, others say August.

July 2000 — Pete, at Just Fishing By Pete, is about ready to close the shop and move somewhere else. The city continues to take its time to finish the pier and they’re now projecting a POSSIBLE September opening. After extensive delays and reconfigurations to the parking near his shop, he’s about had all he can take. Sounds like typical politics (and they wonder why people have so little faith in government).

October 2000 — Pete, at Just Fishing By Pete, reports that the pier is still closed although city authorities say October may be the magic month.

November 2000— The pier is open! Dion sent the following report at the end of the month—“The previous two weeks (I didn't go this week) at Hermosa Beach Pier have been fabulous. Lots of folks catching sand bass with fresh mussels, yellowfin croakers with fresh mussels and chrome spoons, sargo on fresh mussels and ghost shrimp, halibut on live smelt and live sardines, and I caught a legal white seabass. For those who are interested in catching mackerel, they are still out there, but not in large numbers. Basically they bite on anything.”

December 2000 – Pete, at Just Fishing by Pete, says that the first few weeks after the pier opened action was good on halibut with 1-3 legal fish per day. However, the halibut action has slowed. He does report continued good success on mackerel and sargo so get out there and catch some fish.

March 2001—Pete, at Just Fishing by Pete, says it’s been raining and that not too many people have been fishing the pier. However, there’s been pretty good action on barred surfperch in the surf area. Pete reports that he soon will be relocating his shop to 19th and Anza in Redondo Beach. Lack of parking and the long closure of the pier really killed his sales; he estimates that he lost at least $25,000 in sales during the time the pier was closed. His shop near the front of the pier has been a long-time fixture to Hermosa pier regulars but didn’t seem to warrant much attention from the city fathers.

February 2002 — Denny, at Just Fishing By Pete, 2427 190th St., Redondo Beach, says anglers are getting some surfperch while fishing from the inshore area. He says barred surfperch have been hot all the way from just north of the Manhattan Pier to the Clubhouse and he says the 3/4-1 pound perch are really hitting dark colored grubs.

May 2004 — Pete, at Just Fishing By Pete, says some striped bass have been taken from the pier recently together with the usual perch and jacksmelt.

June 2004 — CaffeineHigh reports “Sand crab beds are forming right below the pier, with ‘millions’ of pinky, nail-sized ones. There are thumb-sized ones and also softshells, you just have to look for them. In the surf zone, lots of 6 to 8-inch yellowfin croakers being caught on fresh mussels. A few corbinas ~16” on both fresh mussels and sand crabs. At the end and the middle part of the pier people are catching jacksmelt. Junior lifeguard tryouts or practices are happening right now, very close to the pier so you must pay attention to your line at all times.”

October 2004 — Pete, at Just Fishing By Pete, says some halibut are being taken during the day by the regulars using live bait. In the evening some sharks and rays are also showing up. Toejamb reported on a mid-month trip to the pier “I hooked into my first bat ray. It was a little guy, little larger than a dinner plate, but he put up a hell of a fight. I can see what the fuss is all about. Brought him up with the net, unhooked him and lowered him back into water with the net (to the relief of some onlookers). Also hooked up two decent size white seabass, about 18-20 inches, both released and a short halibut, also released. As for the rest of the pier, there was the usual assortment of mackerel, bonito and tons of sardines. One of the pier regulars managed to land a legal hali as well.” On a later trip he said “the sardines are still thick as thieves in Hermosa. Got to the pier around 7:30 am. Made bait quickly and baited my poles... I had a good hit on the Baitrunner, which made the drag scream. I thought it was a seal at first, but it was definitely a fish. I set the hook and tried to turn him, but the fish wrapped me around the line of my second pole and busted off. I re-rigged and manage two nice bonito an hour later, about 15-18 inches apiece. Bonito sashimi for lunch!”

June 2005 — Pete at Just Fishing By Pete says the red tide is slowing the fishing. Got a PFIC report from maxdog prior to the red tide who said people were seeking out perch inshore while he managed to pull in a nice angel shark out at the end.

September 2005 — PFIC reports indicate mackerel and sardines are plentiful while a few bonies also show up to make it interesting. Some halibut and white seabass are also being caught as well as surfperch inshore and guitarfish/sharays throughout the area. One report also said a 24-inch sand bass was caught. Unfortunately another report also indicated the snaggers are there in force at the shoreline area (and one person was reported to have snagged 5-6 corbina). When will this be made illegal?

September 2006 — Pete, at Just Fishing By Pete, says the pier is yielding up lots of bonito; that’s the fish of choice. PFIC reports indicate mackerel are thick, bonito are thick at times, and everything from perch to croakers to halibut to lizardfish are available.

January 2007 —Bill, at Paul's Bait and Tackle, says some barred surfperch are showing up inshore while fairly good numbers of sand bass are also making an appearance. Quite a few halibut have been taken with the larger fish hitting live smelt.

April 2007 — Toejamb reports “Fishing has been slow, but things are starting to pick up. Small to medium size mackerel are starting to show pretty regularly; a smattering of baitfish and the occasional halibut are also making an appearance. April should be a good month for halibut if the water temps hit the magic 60-degree mark. The perch bite has died down somewhat, but the corbina and yellowfin croaker are starting to come on. On a side note, a California gray whale (or whales) has been hanging out around the pier for the last several weeks. They come in very close to the pier and I've been lucky enough to spot ‘em three times in as many weeks. Magnificent animal.”

May 2007 — Pete, at Just Fishing By Pete, reports it’s mainly surfperch in the surf area, leopard sharks throughout the pier, and a few halibut (mainly on live bait). Most unusual fish recently was a 30-inch spotted snake eel reported by Toejamb on the 28th a fish rare to California waters. The gnarly looking critter hit on anchovy. Toejamb also reported his first halibut of the year but alas it was too small and was returned to the water.

August 2007 — Pete, at Just Fishing By Pete, reports good action on corbina (inshore), mackerel, barracuda and a few halibut out at the end. Surf fishermen are also getting good numbers of leopard sharks and a few soupfins; if you want to try for them from the pier fish the shallows. Shovelnose have been further out on the pier.

November 2007 — Bill, at Paul's Bait and Tackle, reports some nice sized spotfin croakers and a few sargo being taken. He says both are found right next to the bathroom.

January 2008 — Pete at Just Fishing By Pete. 2427 190th St. Redondo Beach, says about the only fish being caught are barred surfperch in the inshore surf area. The water is cold.

March 2008 — Tim Fitzgerald reports “ Hey Skipper, Not much to report on the halibut front, although a few are being picked off here and there. The baitfish have been appearing sporadically at best. Guys fishing mussels past the surf line and in the reef are doing best. A decent pick of walleyes and YFC shallow, while buttermouth, piling perch and the occasional rubberlip in the reef. One of the regulars caught an undersized cabezon last weekend and I took a garibaldi the weekend prior. (Both fish released).” Pete at Just Fishing By Pete. 2427 190th St. Redondo Beach, says there is excellent barred surfperch fishing for the surf casters but it’s a little tougher on the pier to get them.

April 2008 — Pete at Just Fishing By Pete. 2427 190th St. Redondo Beach, says it’s mainly barred surfperch inshore with a few mackerel further out on the pier. Tim Fitzgerald (Toejamb) reported some sardines and a couple of bass seen the day he was there but not much else except for too many bees. This is one pier where you might want to take your bug spray with you?

June 2008 — Pete, at Just Fishing By Pete, 2427 190th St. Redondo Beach, says the surfperch are available inshore along with an increasing number of corbina. Mackerel action continues to grow while sardines are also increasing. A few halibut are available in the mid-pier area with sharks and rays available mid-pier to the end.

August 2008 —A mix of fish are showing including mackerel, sardines and jacksmelt on top; a few halibut and white seabass on the bottom.

October 2008 — PFIC reports indicate a few halibut continue to be had (use live bait) along with the usual mix of small croakers, occasional bass, and sharays. Mackerel are available, especially in the evening. Pete, Just Fishing By Pete. 2427 190th St. Redondo Beach, says the action is hot on the beach for leopard sharks and big soupfins to 80 pounds but not too many have been hooked by pier fishermen.

December 2008 — Pete at “Just Fishing by Pete, in Redondo Beach, says barred surfperch are available inshore and that a few bonito continue to be taken toward the end of the pier. Halibut are around but Pete says few are fishing for them.

February 2009 — Pete at “Just Fishing by Pete, in Redondo Beach, says most of the action is on barred surfperch inshore while a few jacksmelt and bonito are showing on top.

July 2009 — Pete at “Just Fishing by Pete, in Redondo Beach, says it’s mackerel (both Pacific and Spanish) on top but not in big numbers. Leopard sharks and barred surfperch are showing up on the bottom inshore. He says few people are fishing for halibut and thus few are catching them. PFIC reports indicate some sardines are also available as well as a few bass and shovelnose sharks (guitarfish).

August 2009 — Pete at “Just Fishing by Pete, in Redondo Beach, says snaggers are snagging corbina inshore while a few halibut are being taken by “live bait” regulars out on the pier. Overall, things are slow.

November 2009 — Pete at “Just Fishing by Pete, in Redondo Beach, says action has been slow although a few micro-sized bonito are showing up.

February 2010 — The pier was closed down for a couple of days during the storms but now it’s open. A few fish were reported to PFIC— barred sand bass, jacksmelt, mackerel, blackperch, and a cabezon.

April 2010 — The pier has seen some sargo and sand bass on the bottom with rubberlip perch down around the pilings. Pacific mackerel, Spanish mackerel and jacksmelt are available to those using Sabikis. Sharay action continues hit and miss with a few leopard sharks continuing to show.

July 2010 — Pete at Just Fishin’ By Pete reports that fishing is only fair at the pier. On 6/27 UPSAC held a derby with Eugene Kim reporting, “live fin bait wasn't too tough to come by as we had macs (Pacific and Spanish), sardines, and smelt biting throughout the morning. A couple of calicos and a shovelnose were counted towards the derby. Other than that, things were slow for our guys (although I saw a couple rockfish, perch, a sargo, and more shovelnose caught by others).”

August 2011 — Pete at Just Fishing By Pete. 2427 190th St. Redondo Beach, says the mackerel are thick and a few halibut are also showing.

December 2011 — Pete at Just Fishing By Pete. 2427 190th St. Redondo Beach, says there’s some mackerel on the pier along with barred surfperch starting to bite inshore but he says the real action is on perch and striped bass in the surf (but few are seeking them).

October 2012 — It sounds like some perch and yellowfin croakers are available inshore while further out some sardines show along with some lizardfish. Not much to report on mackerel.

February 2013 — The main action is on surfperch if fishing inshore by the surf; not much else although some rockfish and cabezon were reported out at the end on PFIC reports.

November 2013 — Pete, at Just Fishing By Pete, 2427 190th St., Redondo Beach (and he is the expert), says about the only thing most people are getting are jacksmelt, a few mackerel, perch and perhaps an occasional ray. I was there a few weeks ago and fishing was slow. However, I did manage a giant kelpfish, a senorita and a speckled sanddab.

October 2014 — Expect some mackerel and bonito and mid-pier to the end.

February 2015 — Pete, at Just Fishing By Pete, 2427 190th St., Redondo Beach, said the water’s warm and some mackerel and bonito are still showing up in local waters along with a very few halibut. Unfortunately the surfperch really hasn’t shown up in normal wintertime numbers and given the time of the year they may not show up. Expect the usual sharay action with mostly thornback rays.

March 2015 — Pete, at Just Fishing By Pete, 2427 190th St., Redondo Beach, said there are a lot of BIG jacksmelt showing up in the inshore areas. How big are they? Big enough to be confounding anglers who are casting out “Lucky Craft” lures for halibut. Big and good fighting and plentiful. On the bottom there are the usual sharays but not much else; it’s slow on surfperch and croakers and halibut, although a few short, pancake-size hallies are showing up.

July 2016 — Toejamb visited the pier on the 19th and reported steady action on Pacific mackerel along with a few Spanish mackerel (jack mackerel). He also saw a big bat ray.

April 2017 — Pete from Just Fishing By Pete, 2427 190th St., Redondo Beach, says most of his reports are on mackerel although a few halibut are showing up for the regulars who know what they are doing. Some surfperch are showing inshore but most are being caught by surf casters (who are also getting a few striped bass).

Covid-19 closure (Los Angeles County) and then closed for repairs.