California Pier Report
April 2022 Fishing Report, Southern California (#273)
Remember that the lobster season closed on March 16.
San Diego County Piers
Imperial Beach Pier – We still 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 — 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. 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 – Pam, at the bait shop on the pier, reports that action has been dead. Anglers pull in a few mackerel and a few perch but it’s really hit and miss and right now mostly miss. 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 — No report. We need a reporter! 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 and bat rays). 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 — It sounds like the main fish continue to be mackerel. We had one PFIC fish report from Ray619: “3/2. I been fishing the pier last few days...Weather has been summer like. The mackerel bite has been good. Best time is an incoming tide. Nothing wide open but a consistant bite. I’ve been using a strip of squid on a light spinning outfit. I caught a few small spotted bay bass. They bit on some ghost shrimp using a light spinning outfit. 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 — A report from my friend Bill said fishing has been slow but a few fish are starting to show up. He says there are quite a few small yellowfin croakers inshore along with small to mid-sized (frying pan-size) spotfin croakers but none of the bigger fish. A few short halibut are being caught and increasing numbers of herring (queenfish) are showing for the Filipino anglers out toward the end (which should attract halibut). Basically though no mackerel and no sharks or rays. How To Get There: From I-5 take Mission Blvd. west to Pacific, turn left and follow it to the pier.” How To Get There: From I-5 take Mission Blvd. west to Pacific, turn left and follow it to the pier.
Oceanside Harbor Pier — The pier has reopened but 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 — Skyler at Hogan's Bait and Tackle (34320 Pacific Coast Hwy. says the water is still cool and fishing is a little slow. However, fish are to be hard. He suggests going light tackle. Small to mid-sized corbina are hitting in the surf area on lugworms and sand crabs but 4-6 pound test is best to catch those shy fish. Some halibut are also hitting in the shallows but again light line seems to help. Inshore to mid-pier does show an occasional bass, perch or croaker but nothing is steady. Not much is happening on the top, it’s slow on mackerel and other species although some jacksmelt should show up. Sharay, action which is often good at this pier, is also slow; the water needs to warm up a little. 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 — Skyler at Hogan's Bait and Tackle (34320 Pacific Coast Hwy. says anglers are mainly picking up bass, a variety, using lures and bait such as strips of squid or cut anchovy. action has been slow. A few croakers and small sharays should also be available. 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 — It sounds like things have been slow if not dead at the pier. Snookie, our long time reporter, said it’s been hard to make bait but even with the bait the flatties are missing. It’s the same at the end of the pier with basically no mackerel or sharays. She said it’s fine if you’re into whale watching given that the gray whales are still passing by the pier. 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 — Still unable to get through to the pier to get reports. How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.
Seal Beach Pier — Liz at Big Fish Bait & Tackle, 1780-C. Pacific Coast Hwy, said fishing’s been a little slow but fish are being taken. Inshore a few corbina are showing up along with a few croakers but not too many perch. Small rays are around (round stingrays and thornbacks) and she heard of one thresher shark being taken but overall the sharay action is still slow. Apparently a few mackerel are also available but not big numbers. She hadn’t heard of any halibut. PFIC report from Fishman Fishjman: “3/25. Fished this morning at SB pier. Caught and released 10 Thornback rays, 2 Batrays and 1 short Halibut. Another regular caught a bucket full of Jacksmelt. No Mackerel around. Good times!” 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 Veterans Memorial Pier — Liz at Big Fish Bait & Tackle, 1780-C. Pacific Coast Hwy, said about the only reports recently were on the mackerel (she sells Sabiki’s) but a few croakers should be available inshore. PFIC had a report from Fishman Fishman on March 31. He said: “Fished Wednesday morning, caught and released 2 Bat Rays and several White Croaker. A few Jacksmelt caught by other fisherman. Water very dark brown, basically dirty because of runoff from recent rain. Lots of debris washed on shore. I caught a Route 66 Umbrella. I released it straight into trash bin.” “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 (Long Beach) — Expect the usual—tomcod (white croaker) and mackerel casting out from the pier, sargo and perch fishing the inshore waters. 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.
Pier J Piers (Long Beach) — White croaker are available most days as are a variety of fish. One PFIC report this month from Fishman Fishman: “3/23. Fished Pier J this morning caught some Jacksmelt and White Croaker. Used anchovy, shrimp and squid.” How To Get There: From I-710 follow the signs saying S. Harbor Scenic Drive. From downtown Long Beach follow Queens Way past the Catalina Landing and on to the Queens Way Bridge over the water and take the S. Harbor Scenic Drive.
Cabrillo Pier (San Pedro) —Alex at the Rusty Hook, 245 N Gaffey St., San Pedro, said the wind and cold has kept down the number of fishermen although some halibut were being taken near the beach during the grunion runs. He hasn’t heard much else. He says nothing really has been hitting on top. 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) – Expect the normal species—kelp bass, rock wrasse, senorita, opaleye, halfmoon, and sheephead, but recent reports have shown slow fishing for the pier. 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) — Expect the normal species—kelp bass, rock wrasse, senorita, opaleye, halfmoon, and sheephead and ocean whitefish but recent reports have shown somewhat slow fishing for the pier. The bonito seem to be in and out, good some days and not making an appearance other days. PFIC report from EgoNonBaptizo: “3/22. After barely catching the 6 am ferry, I started fishing the Mole with Hashem and Fish-Ninja. I think I started off fishing a 42 gram coltsniper for no bites, then switched to fishing cut sardines on a dropper loop. I hooked a 16” sheephead, which would have been risky to flip over the railing using my light setup, Fish-Ninja kindly helped me out and grabbed the fish after I lifted it up onto the lowered section further down the Mole. The exact sequence of events is a bit fuzzy, but fishing was relatively slow with bonito only showing up well into the afternoon. Before then, I fished for whitefish (as per the last couple trips), somewhere in the mix I caught a kelp rockfish and a garibaldi. Fish-Ninja's persistence in jigging all day paid off as he caught the first bone of the trip. After some unsuccessful fishing using the coltsniper and splasher, I switched to a 40 g jigpara and began fishing it quickly. I hooked up with a 22" bone, with Hashem coming in with the net job. Fish-Ninja let me try out one of his setups, and after not too long, I hooked up with a 23" bonito which was again netted with Hashem's help. Afterwards I didn't get any more bites, and after watching Fish Ninja leave on the 7:45 ferry, I headed to my hotel room and passed out. 3/23. Somehow I was able to wake up at 6 am. I started off fishing the Mole again. There was an incredible number of opaleye, more than I've ever seen before at the Mole, in and around the kelp, all of which refused to bite on peas. I resigned myself to fish for whitefish again. Hashem joined me later in the morning, and we had some slow fishing and windy conditions. I decided to check out the GPP. Fishing was much quicker there, I caught six opaleye, a couple short calico, and lost a decent sheephead right at the pier that had decided to bite on a single pea. I returned to the Mole and tried bonito fishing for a while for no luck, then continued to fish for whitefish. I lent one of my setups to some people that were fishing with little luck and helped them catch some whitefish of their own before taking the 7:45 ferry home.” PFIC report from fish-ninja: “3/22. It was a mini PFIC get together with Mahigeer and EgoNonBaptizo today at Avalon. It was my first time fishing with EgoNonBaptizo. What an angler he is! I do not say any about Mahigeer. We all know about him too well. We made a nice team, helping each other, joking around, fishing together. Mahigeer brought the legacy of G-dude so we could fish with him. I had a joy of casting a few times with his rod Mahigeer brought with. He must have been watching over us. We got some early spring Bonito bites! EgoNonBaptizo had two really nice size ones. Mahigeer is always helping others first before he takes care of himself. He got back to his bonito blues for the good old time sake but I am sure he will change the tune as he and EgoNonBaptizo will stay overnights. (I came back home after a day of fishing). Very nice day without much wind.” How 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 — Hong at the Redondo Beach Tackle on the pier said mackerel fishing was good until about a week ago when it slowed. The past week was windy, cold and overcast and not as many anglers were out as usual. 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 — No report this month. How To Get There: From Sepulveda Boulevard, turn west on Manhattan Beach Drive and follow it to the pier.
Hermosa Beach Pier — No report this month How To Get There: Take the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) to Pier Avenue and follow Pier Avenue west to the pier.
Venice Pier — No report this month Get There: Highway 1 to Washington St., turn west and follow Washington St. to the pier.
Santa Monica Pier — Unable to get through for a 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 it’s been windy and cold so not too many people are fishing. But, the weather is improving. Anglers say there is a lot of bait in the water—anchovies, mackerel and small perch (walleyes?). In turn they are using the bait to catch some halibut but almost all have been shorts. No thresher sharks have shown but apparently good numbers of leopard sharks are showing. Not much else. 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 report good numbers of sharks and shovelnose guitarfish but the bat ray numbers have dropped. Baitfish—anchovies and mackerel are also available. 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 — Boyd Larson at Hyun’s Tackle, 3695 E Harbor Blvd. Ventura, said jacksmelt, mackerel and small perch should be available. 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 — Boyd Larson at Hyun’s Tackle, 3695 E Harbor Blvd., said the surfperch fishing inshore is really picking up with good numbers of barred surfperch and walleye surfperch. Some croakers are also showing up along with a few halibut. For all of these use lugworms, blood worms, or sand crabs (which are available if you dig down next to the pilings at the start of the pier). Black perch aka buttermouth are showing down around the pilings. For all of these use lugworms, blood worms, or sand crabs (which are available if you dig down next to the pilings at the start of the pier). Top action is producing jacksmelt and some Spanish mackerel but the Pacific mackerel are missing. As for the sharays, anglers have been pulling in some bat rays but no sharks have shown recently. By the way, he says Hyun’s Tackle has a full range of baits including lugworms. 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 — Boyd Larson at Hyun’s Tackle, 3695 E Harbor Blvd. in Ventura, said anglers have been taking a lot of sardines along with Spanish mackerel (but no Pacific mackerel). On the bottom anglers are pulling in shinerperch and a lot of Pacific sanddab, most smallish–sized but a few big enough to eat. If you like crabs this is the place to go. Lots of rock crabs and spider crabs and he said he even pulled up an few small, illegal-sized Dungeness crabs. He reminded people that if you use a raised crab hoop net you need to get a new $2.42 crab trap card (geeze!). Ben Miller at Hook Line & Sinker at 4010-5 Calle Real, Santa Barbara, confirmed that fishing has mostly been for baitfish while crabbers are doing good on the crabs. 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 — Boyd Larson at Hyun’s Tackle, 3695 E Harbor Blvd. in Ventura, said Goleta has been on fire. He said just a few days before I called he caught five halibut. He said he followed my instructions to use two rods, one for bait (shinerperch in this case) and one for the halibut. He also said he learned fishing the pier from PFIC, 2nd Ed. and nothing has changed as far as the fishing. He says anglers at the front of the pier using a no. 8 size Sabiki baited with shrimp should see a steady number of walleye surfperch. Out at the end, anglers are catching BIG sardines (to 10-inches) along with Pacific mackerel. Surprisingly, he said he even managed to catch about a half dozen Pacific herring on his last trip to the pier (they’re rare this far south). Meanwhile, casting a high/low out toward the pipe reef is producing cabezon and bass but surprisingly few brown rockfish (the normal mainstay of the reef). Apparently it is slow on the sharays at this time. Ben Miller at Hook Line & Sinker at 4010-5 Calle Real, Santa Barbara, reported some halibut being taken along with some leopard sharks. He also reported a small white seabass being taken by a surf angler near the pier. 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 eight years—and counting. Beginning to wonder if it will ever reopen. 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.