California Pier Report, April 2021April 2021 Fishing Report, SoCal (#265)
Remember — Lobster season is now closed.
San Diego County Piers
Imperial Beach Pier – We really need a reporter. How To Get There: From I-5 take the Palm Ave. (Hwy. 75) exit and follow it to where Palm Ave. and Hwy. 75 divide. Follow Palm Ave. to Seacoast Dr., turn left and it will take you right to the pier.
Ocean Beach Pier — The pier suffered storm damage and is apparently still closed. How To Get There: From the north, take I-5 to the Sea World Dr. exit and follow it until it turns off to Sunset Cliffs Blvd. From the south, take I- 5 to the Nimitz Blvd. exit, then follow that road to Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Follow Sunset Cliffs Blvd. to Newport Ave., turn right and follow the road to the pier parking lot.
Crystal Pier – Hunter, at the bait shop on the pier, reports not much is happening other than the mackerel and even they are apparently only on a fair to middlin’ bite. But, the water is warming so things should improve. How To get There: Take I-5 to Garnet Ave. then take Garnet west to the foot of the pier.
Pepper Park Pier — No report. We need a reporter! How To Get There: From I-5 take the 24th Street off-ramp west to Tidelands Avenue and go left (south) on Tidelands to the end.
Bayside Park Pier — No report. We need a reporter. How To Get There: From I-5 take the J Street off ramp and go west. Take J Street to Tidelands Ave.; turn right. Take Tidelands to Sandpiper Way; turn right. Take Sandpiper to Bayside Parkway, turn left and follow the road to the park.
Embarcadero Marina Pier — Waiting for the report. How To Get There: From the I-5 south, take the Front Street exit south to Market (just stay on Front Street, it runs into Market), take Market west to Harbor Dr. Turn left on Harbor Dr. and take it to 8th Ave., turn right onto Convention Way (formerly Harbor St.). Follow it a short block to 5th Ave. and the pier. It seems that with the new Convention Center the city is constantly working on these streets near the pier and renaming them; if you get confused remember that the park and pier are immediately to the southwest of the Convention Center. From I-5 North, approaching from the south, take the J Street exit, then go straight, three blocks up to Market, turn left and take it from there.
Ferry Landing Pier (Coronado) — Need a reporter although bass (kelp, sand and spotted) always seem to be around as well as a mix of sharays (mostly round stingrays). How To Get There: From San Diego, take the Coronado Bay Bridge (Highway 75) to Coronado. Once over the bridge you are on Third Street. Simply follow it to B Avenue, turn right, and follow it to the front of The Old Ferry Landing — the intersection of First Street and B Avenue. The pier sits behind the shops in the complex.
Shelter Island Pier — Dennis Borlek from the Fathom Bistro Bait & Tackle (on the pier says “it’s really slow right now just a few mackerel here and there, and some stingrays.” How To Get There: Take I-5 or I-8 to Rosecrans (Hwy. 209) and go west, turn left at Shelter Island Dr. and follow the road until you see the pier and the entrance to the parking lot.
Oceanside Pier — Bill in Oceanside said that overall it’s still been slow but fish are being caught. Inshore, the regulars are getting spotfin croakers on baby mussels while mid-pier a few halibut have been taken. The end is producing a few Pacific and Spanish mackerel but they still aren’t in big numbers. The herring fishermen are also seeing some of their fish show up but again, not in big numbers. A great white, 10-12 feet long has also been cruising the pier and luckily no knucklehead has tried to catch it. How To Get There: From I-5 take Mission Blvd. west to Pacific, turn left and follow it to the pier.
Oceanside Harbor Pier — No report this month. How To Get There: From I-5 take the Harbor Dr. exit off the freeway, follow it and it will wind down to the harbor; where the road splits stay to the right on North Harbor Dr., and follow it to the pier.
Orange County Piers
San Clemente Pier — Dane at Hogan's Bait and Tackle (34320 Pacific Coast Hwy, said it’s the usual for this time of the year. Inshore some croakers, mainly spotfins, are showing up with most falling to lug worms, fresh mussels, or ghost shrimp. Guys fishing the surf are picking up some halibut so they should also be available on the pier (for those who know what they are doing). Mid-pier a few sand bass and kelp bass have been taken while out at the end the sharkers continue to pull in decent numbers of bat rays and leopard sharks, most using squid as bait. How to Get There: From I-5 take any of several exit streets west to El Camino Real, follow it to the center of town, and from there take Del Mar down to the pier.
Dana Harbor Pier —Dane at Hogan's Bait And Tackle (34320 Pacific Coast Hwy, said things have been slow, mainly a few spotfin croakers and bass (a variety). How To Get There: The pier is located in the Dana Cove Park area of Dana Point Harbor. From the Pacific Coast Highway take Green Lantern Road south to the harbor, turn left on Cove Road, and follow it to the pier.
Balboa Pier — Our long-time reporter Snookie says, “Haven't fished the last two weeks. Fell when walking my dog. I landed-splat!! Sprained my left thumb, my right knee looks like hell, and I broke a bone around my eye and half my nose. Yes, I looked like I had been run over by a truck and survived. Am doing better. My fishing buddy has been my chauffeur, and yesterday he took me fishing. We got sardines all day but no bites. It was a nice day but a lot of seaweed in the water. That is never good. We know there were a lot of mackerel caught towards the end of the pier. I saw one nice sized spot finned croaker caught in the surf on mussels. We saw five whales go by in the middle of the day. A mother and calf in the surf from the jetty to us, and three more whales out about a quarter of a mile.” Another report, from Josh, said “Mackerel. Mackerel on Sabiki rigs four and five at a time. Mackerel on Krocodiles. Mackerel on 1/0 and 2/0 circle hooks with ungodly large chunks of... mackerel, intended to keep the mackerel from getting hooked. Mackerel on cut frozen anchovies. Topwater, midwater, bottom. Consistently from the breakers to the end of the pier... If you want bait, now’s the time to get it. I regret not bringing a cooler because I could have vacuum packed and frozen enough bait to last the whole season.” How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway take Newport Blvd. which will turn into Balboa Blvd., follow it west to Palm Street. Turn right and follow it to the pier and the adjacent parking lot.
Newport Pier — Generally the action mirrors, for the most part, that seen at Balboa although when the fishing is hot the mobs will be bigger and the railing space more limited. How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway take the Newport Blvd. turn off and proceed west watching for signs directing traffic to the pier. The pier sits at the foot of McFadden Place.
Huntington Beach Pier — Joey, at Let’s Go Fishing, on the pier said things are a little slow. It’;s mainly spotfin croakers inshore, a few halibut mid-pier, and baitfish (mainly sardine) mid-pier to the end. How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.
Seal Beach Pier —Jimmy at Big Fish Bait & Tackle, 1780-C. Pacific Coast Hwy, said things are still somewhat slow but picking up. Anglers are getting some big spotfin croakers inshore, mainly on lug worms, while mid-pier to the end is seeing increasing numbers of mackerel, Quite a few bat rays and gray smoothhounds have also been taken lately (on squid). How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway simply take Main St. west and follow it to the pier.
Los Angeles County Piers
Belmont Pier — A report from Brock Norris said, “I have fished the pier a lot this month. Fishing is finally picking up with lots of sardines and mackerel and rumors of halibut (but I haven't seen any yet except for a cormorant trying its best to swallow a short halibut bait). The kiosk is open most days for bait and tackle.” Jimmy, at Big Fish Bait & Tackle in Seal Beach, said he’s heard of croakers inshore along with a few halibut in the surf area. How To Get There: From the north take I-405 to the Lakewood Boulevard turnoff, and then go south to 7th Street, turn west (right) until you come to Ximeno Ave. and then turn left. Follow it to Livingston Dr. and go west. You will see signs by Ocean Ave. and Termino Ave. indicating the pier. From the south take the Pacific Coast Highway to 2nd. Street (Westminister becomes 2nd. Street when it crosses PCH), go west, follow to Livingston Dr. Follow it to signs by Ocean Ave. and Termino Ave. indicating the pier and parking lot.
Shoreline Aquatic Park Piers — I checked out the action when I was down there on the 21st and didn’t see much other than mackerel and a few white croakers for those casting straight out from the piers. How to Get There: From downtown Long Beach, take Pine Avenue south to Shoreline Drive. For the northernmost pier #1 follow Shoreline Avenue west and follow it around the lagoon to where the street ends. For the southernmost piers #2-#5 follow Shoreline Drive east to the markings for Shoreline Village, continue past the shopping complex, and follow the road out to near the end of the peninsula. You will see the piers.
Cabrillo Pier (San Pedro) —Alex at the Rusty Hook, 245 N Gaffey St., San Pedro, said the pier is still closed due to Covid restrictions (the only one in the state closed due to the restrictions). It’s been closed since March. Alex reports that kayakers fishing around the pier are picking up halibut. How To Get There: Take the Harbor Freeway (I-110) south; it will turn into Gaffey St. Follow it to 22nd Street and turn left. Follow 22nd St. to Pacific Ave. and turn right. Follow Pacific Ave. to 36th Street and the entrance to Cabrillo Park.
Green Pleasure Pier (Avalon, Catalina Island) –A visit on March 23 showed the normal mix of fish—rock wrasse, senorita, sheephead, opaleye, and halfmoon plus an ocean whitefish. Surprisingly the huge number of kelp bass that are usually at the pier weren’t in evidence. However, I think once they put the float back in front of the pier the bass will return. How To Get There: The trick here is to get to Catalina. Ships and helicopters make the journey several times a day from the Port of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Newport Beach. Information is available on all of these by calling the Avalon Chamber of Commerce on the Pleasure Pier (213) 510-1520 or the Visitor's Information & Service Center (213) 510-2500. Once in Avalon there should be no problem in finding the pier, which is located at the foot of Catalina Avenue.
Cabrillo Mole (Avalon, Catalina Island) — A visit from March 22-24 showed all the normal species—kelp bass, sheephead, halfmoon, blacksmith, opaleye, sculpin (scorpionfish), garibaldi, and senorita being present at the pier although in less numbers than seen in Jan-Feb when the pier first reopened. There was also a good run of small ocean whitefish (limit ten) falling to those using strips of squid (cast out from mid-pier). However, both the kelp bass and opaleye seemed in lower numbers than normal. To Get There: The trick is to get to Catalina. Ships and helicopters make the journey several times a day from the Port of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Newport Beach. Information is available on all of these by calling the Avalon Chamber of Commerce on the Pleasure Pier (213) 510-1520 or the Visitor's Information & Service Center (213) 510-2500. Once in Avalon there should be no problem in finding the mole that sits right where most boats disembark.
Redondo Beach Pier — A visit to the pier on March 25 showed a steady mix of small Pacific mackerel and Pacific sardines being taken on Sabikis along with a few Spanish mackerel (jack mackerel). There didn’t appear to be much action on the bottom. How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway, take Torrance Blvd. west to the foot of the pier and the parking lot.
Manhattan Beach Pier – Sounds like things are slow in the area. Best bet mackerel in the morning and evening hours. How To Get There: From Sepulveda Boulevard, turn west on Manhattan Beach Drive and follow it to the pier.
Hermosa Beach Pier — A visit on March 25 showed things to be slow although some mackerel and sardines were showing up. Best action is at sunup and sundown. How To Get There: Take the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) to Pier Avenue and follow Pier Avenue west to the pier.
Venice Pier — Currently closed while undergoing repairs and renovation. Scheduled to reopen sometime this spring. How To Get There: Highway 1 to Washington St., turn west and follow Washington St. to the pier.
Santa Monica Pier — Waiting for the report. How to Get There: From I-405 take Santa Monica Blvd. west to Ocean Ave. Turn left, go to Colorado Ave., and turn right onto the pier.
Malibu Pier — Ginny at Wylie’s Bait & Tackle (18757 Pacific Coast Hwy Malibu) said thee are still a lot of mackerel at the pier along with small perch. One big blackperch was caught and a lot of leopard sharks are being caught inshore. One small thresher shark was reported at the end of the pier. How To Get There: The pier fronts on the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) so just drive until you see it.
Paradise Cove Pier — Ginny at Wylie’s Bait & Tackle (18757 Pacific Coast Hwy Malibu) said anglers continue to report good numbers of bat rays. How To Get There: Take Highway 1 to Paradise Cove Dr., turn west, and follow the road back into the parking lot. It’s very expensive unless you buy a meal at the restaurant and then you are allowed to fish for, I think, three hours.
Ventura & Santa Barbara County Piers
Port Hueneme Pier — No report this month. How To Get There: From Highway 1 take Hueneme Rd. west until it turns into Port. At Ventura Rd turn left and follow it to Surfside Dr. Turn left again and follow it to the park.
Ventura Pier — No report but surfperch should be available inshore along with a few croaker. Mid-pier to the end should see jacksmelt and mackerel. Shark action should also be picking up. How To Get There: From Highway 101 take the Seaward Drive exit west to Harbor Drive, turn right and follow it to the pier.
Stearns Wharf — Waiting for a report. How To Get There: From Highway 101 take Castillo St. or State St. west to the beach and follow signs to the pier.
Goleta Pier — Expect the usual at the pipe reef, small brown rockfish and a mix of bass and perch along with possible flurries of mackerel or sardines out at the end. How To Get There: From Highway 101 take the Hwy. 217/Airport exit. Follow it to Sandspit Rd. and the Goleta Beach Park turnoff. Follow this to the park and the pier.
Gaviota Pier — The pier has now been closed for seven years—and counting. So much for state government and the California Parks Dept. Ridiculous! How To Get There: From Highway 101 simply take the Gaviota State Park turnoff down to the beach and pier.