Are you a pier rat? — From "The Pier Rats Speak"

Ken Jones

Staff member

Piers, Pier Rats and the Pier Rat Nation


The title of this book is “The Pier Rats Speak,” but just exactly what is a pier rat? Scientifically, humans and rats are both members of the Animal Kingdom and share a phylum—Chordata, as well as a class—Mammalia. However, that’s where the two species break apart with humans falling into the order of Primate and rats into the order Rodentia. The genus-Homo, and species-sapiens, is of course unique while the rats’ genus-Rattus has more than fifty species. But again, we’re talking here of pier rats, an unusual critter found only in certain localities. Scientifically I guess they would be in the animal kingdom, chordates, and mammals but homo-rattus seems a little weird for a genus name and the species might carry a name unique for each pier. Science does not provide the answer for the rats themselves, instead an esoteric list of traits and actions better define and gives insight into the species.

However, when I dared posit the question of pier rat nomenclature to the PFIC board, one of the board’s most articulate, eloquent and erudite writers responded brilliantly:

Date: August 26, 2006
To: PFIC Message Board
From: dompfa ben
Subject: Highlights from PFIC taxonomy

The full Linnaean classification for Pier Rats is Animalia Chordata1 Mammalia Primates Hominidae Homo sapiens, or for purposes of brevity, the binomial nomenclature, Homo sapiens.

[1 This species should not be confused with the Common Poacher, whose Phylum is Platyhelminthes. Like the tapeworm, the Common Poacher is a spineless parasite.]

Understanding the wily pier rat, however, is not that simple. Without an advanced degree in cladistics, or, barring that, a holistic understanding of phylogenetic systematics, we can never fully comprehend the myriad subspecies, forms, and varieties of Pier Rat. However, the following list identifies several that one might encounter on a pier (note: this is not a complete list)

Homo sapiens sanguinea From the Latin word for blood/red, this variety is easily identified by terrible sunburn.

Homo sapiens rugosa From the Latin word for wrinkles, rugosa are common at piers between the hours of 9 A.M. and 5 P.M.

Homo sapiens scandens From the Latin word for climbing, scandens rarely fish, instead climbing around on the pier railing near fishing varieties.

Homo sapiens arenaria From the Latin word for sand, arenaria usually starts fishing on the beach, but comes up on the pier during low tide, to get bait or snacks, etc.

Homo sapiens glacialis From the Latin for "from cold places," this subspecies is found only during the coldest nights on San Francisco area piers. Often confused with Homo sapiens nocturna.

Homo sapiens prostrata Characterized by falling asleep on the pier surface.

Homo sapiens viscosa A sticky variety, viscosa is always covered with a thick coating of fish slime. Closely related to Homo sapiens malodorata.

Homo sapiens dompfaeii Yours Truly.


But what about that esoteric list of traits and actions that I mentioned?

Date: August 9, 2004
To: PFIC Message Board
From: oldmanandthesea
Subject: Are you a Pier Rat?

If you rummage through your local pizza joints trash looking for discarded anchovies to use as bait......You might be a Pier Rat. If you haven’t had a bite in hours and getting hooked up in a kelp paddy gives you a thrill.......You might be a Pier Rat. If your clothes smell like bait and it inspires you to go fishing.......You might be a Pier Rat. If you fish on your lunch hour and have squid tentacles on your might be a Pier Rat. If pushing your pier cart wears you might be a Pier Rat. If you climb down pilings to get might be a Pier Rat.

Posted by SDBrian

"If you climb down pilings to get might be a Pier Rat." That is Big Rich! Great stuff. You are the man Rich.

Posted by garth

If you find sliding sinkers, barrel swivels, and scrounged swim baits in your pockets at might be a pier rat.

If you've caught more than two birds on fishing line in your might be a pier rat.

If you can base you entire opinion of a person on whether or not they throw back that 11 and 15/16" sand might be a pier rat.

Posted by dompfa ben

...if you've ever flossed fast food out of your teeth with 20 lb. test, you might be a pier rat.

...if you've ever used part of your sandwich or burger to chum for baitfish, you might be a pier rat.

...if your clock radio alarm is set to indicate the time to wake up for high tide, and not to indicate morning sunlight, you might be a pier rat.

...if the popsicles in your freezer have a subtle "bait" flavor, you might be a pier rat.

...if you've ever wrapped up a serving of "all u can eat" shrimp in a napkin, and slipped it into your pocket for later use as bait, you might be a pier rat.

...if your bathroom has several old Cabela's catalogs and a water-stained copy of PFIC 2nd edition, with a brand new 3rd edition on top of it, you might be a pier rat.

...if you have ever packed a black lawn and leaf bag for a fishing trip "just in case it rains," you might be a pier rat.

...if your car's glove box is an eclectic mix of lures, line, sinkers, and sunflower seeds, you might be a pier rat.

...if you've ever thought your neighbor's kid's stroller could be retrofitted into a great pier cart, you might be a pier rat.

...if you've ever ruined a perfectly good pair of shoes catching sand crabs, you might be a pier rat.

...if showering between fishing trips has been put on hiatus, "because you're just going to get fishy again anyway..." you might be a pier rat!


Posted by gordo grande

If your wife asks "Do all of our vacations have to be near the ocean?" you're a pier rat.

If fishing rods and reels have taken over your garage, you're a pier rat.

If you keep an "emergency" rod and reel in your trunk at all times, "just in case," you're a pier rat.

If you lie awake at night, thinking of new and improved pier carts, you're a pier rat.

If all your boat fishing buddies think you're nuts, you're a pier rat.

If you tell them that you fish for free twice a week, you're a pier rat.

If you travel hundreds of miles to hang out with friends you only know by cryptic screen names, you're a PFIC pier rat.

Posted by garth

I keep six rods and reels, plus a hoop net, an umbrella net, a tackle box, four sand spikes, and two folding chairs (and a small folding cart) in my trunk at all times. Oh my!

Posted by gordo grande

My trunk isn't that big, or I would keep that much as well. You should have seen the back of my old pickup truck.

Posted by Heretic

You can too fit it all into a small car, Gordo! My 2001 Honda Civic Coupe trunk: bucket, hoop net, two folding chairs, tackle box, rope, 60 qt rolling cooler, aerator, and backpack with various snacks, supplies, Ken's book, and a blanket for those benches. If I really need to jam it up, I can put the four rods there too, but just to prevent damage, they're in the back seat. I have these at all times in case I need to escape from work. Needless to say, when I go grocery shopping the stuff goes into the cooler or the passenger seat now. Heh.

Posted by gordo grande

I think you need a minivan!!!!

Posted by oldmanandthesea

If your screen name is dompfa ben and you can think up that many quips......You might be a Pier Rat.

Posted by StripeSideChaser

If your name isn't Ken Jones, and you are reading this, you are probably a pier rat!

Posted by Red Fish

If you expect a pier fishing website to solve all of your life's problems and issues, then you are probably a pier rat.

If every timeout you get at work you are looking to see if even (1) new post has been added since you looked at the site 5 minutes, then you are probably a pier rat.

If you have been going to Berkeley Pier on Friday nights and fishing with Bob instead of out chasing women, then you are probably a pier rat.

Posted by Red Fish

Is this a true confession Ben? LOL

Posted by oldmanandthesea

If you wake up early and compose more than one book about pier and shore might be a Pier Rat

Posted by John714

When you’re not on the water and instead stuck at home on the web at the message board and constantly hitting the "refresh" button to anxiously see the new reports/pics. Might you be a Pier Rat if you do that?

Posted by 1014

...or stuck at work hitting refresh?

Posted by Daniel E.

Checking PFIC before your e-mail at work. And if PFIC is your home page or at top of favorites list. You might be a pier rat.

And waking up from a nap after fishing from sun up till sundown and getting on-line for a report. You might be a pier rat.

And if you are pulling in the driveway at your home on a hot summer day and your trash can is really putting out the stench and your neighbor has their nose plugged with their fingers. You might be a pier rat.

If you have to force yourself to leave the pier only because you’re worried about falling asleep on the drive home. You might be a pier rat.

Posted by garth

If you go to a fancy restaurant with your girl's parents, and all you can think is that everything in front of you has been used for're a pier rat.

True story. I had seafood linguine (mussels, calamari, clam and shrimp) with calamari appetizers & clam cakes at "Fiore" at Harrah's Rincon. Delicious and expensive.

Posted by SandCrab

If taking your girlfriend pier fishing for a romantic date, you might be a pier rat.

If you propose to her while pier fishing and she says ye, you both are pier rats!

If you ditch school and go take the bus and go pier fishing you might be a pier rat (btw I’ve done this before).

If you go to class smelling like bait you might be a pier rat.

If you draw things about pier fishing on you notebook you might be a pier rat (done this too. lol

Posted by Ken Jones

If you're attending a wedding at the Hotel Del Coronado, one of the nicest weddings you've ever attended (with great food, great entertainment, and great company—including the groom, your webmaster Rich Reano), and yet you're watching the time because you and two of the other guests are going to head over to Crystal Pier as soon as the activities wind down. Yes, maybe you are a pier rat!

Posted by PESCADOR619

Hahaha I was wondering if you were gonna post that.


Given the different traits and actions discussed above

are we actually discussing a different breed?

Date: August 17, 2004
To: PFIC Message Board
From: Ken Jones
Subject: Are pier anglers a different breed?

For quite some time I have made the proposition that piers are the spawning grounds for California saltwater anglers. Young 'uns and their families visit the piers, a certain number are infected with the fishing bug, and many of these anglers begin a life-long addiction to fishing.

However, two groups develop. Many, if not most, of these anglers spread out to encompass other types of fishing—surf fishing, rock fishing, boat fishing (1/2 day, 3/4 day, all day, long-range, etc.), and perhaps even freshwater fishing or the newest fads—yaks and tubes. In other words, they fish the whole panoply, or at least a good part of the variety, that makes up the world of sportfishing. Piers become less important while the goal, quite often, becomes bigger and bigger fish (or more exotic fish). They want more excitement. The hunger may or may not be satiated over time. Many of these people do eventually return to the piers when they are older and their outlooks and desires have changed.

A second group seems to be content with pier fishing even though the results (size and number of fish) may not be the same as those commonly encountered on the boats. An occasional boat trip may even take place but the real home is the pier. I have had some people say the difference is monetary. It costs more to fish regularly from a boat no matter if it be a private boat or sportfishing boat. But are the costs involved really that important?

I have long articulated that there is something unique about piers that brings the disciples back, week after week, sometimes day after day, to their favorite piers. Why are so many pier rats content to fish the piers even though their typical daily take may be rather inconsequential? Why is the pier group able to find satisfaction in the experience itself, the fishing itself, in contrast to those who are constantly looking for the bigger and bigger fish?

Are the breeds different? Is one group a more extroverted, testosterone-induced assemblage that craves greater and greater excitement while the other group is more introverted and passive? Is there a basic difference in the value structures of the groups?

What is the main difference between pier rats and those less content to spend their time leisurely fishing from a pier? Or, is there really little or no difference. Your thoughts?

Posted by venom242

Well as for myself, when I go fishing it's always from a pier. I usually don't catch much if anything. I get giddy when I get a smelt on a snag line. I don't really have a fondness of boats. On the open ocean I get sick, and I can't swim so naturally I am not comfortable on a boat. On a pier, it is solid ground. I like that. The whole pier fishing experience is not all about fishing to me. It is about getting together with friends, taking in the clean ocean air, and relaxing. It is an escape from the daily grind that some of us live. We can go out there and forget our troubles for a little while. It brings us closer to nature. Maybe it even appeals to our hunting instinct. I mean, how often do we go out and kill our own food?

Ok, I may be rambling a bit. Yes, I think I am of a different breed. Going out to the pier is one thing. Catching a fish is like a bonus. If I don't catch a thing, I can always go away knowing that there's plenty more fish in the sea.

Posted by pierhead

Agreed... the last thing I want when I go fishing is more hassles — party boats are just that for me. I prefer the slower pace of pier fishing and the ability to choose my own locations and styles of fishing. Perhaps it would be different on a private boat but unless I owned it I would still have to go with what the owner wants ... and then there is the expense and hassle of maintenance etc. Just my 2 cents worth. Pierhead

Posted by corbinaman1

Very True Venom242.. I have been fishing the DP Harbor Pier some, mainly for the socializing aspect and the swapping of stories with the regulars. Any fish I catch/release there is just a bonus. I do love boat fishing as well, but have gotten tired of the party boat crowds. Enjoy the solitude of rock fishing/surf fishing as well without the crowds. In conclusion, I basically like any kind of fishing regardless of where it is.

Posted by thecrw

Convenience, Safety, Monetary...Are some of the reasons why Pier Fishing is the starting point for many anglers. What's more convenient than pulling into a parking lot, unloading your stuff and fishing off a pier? You have seats, bathrooms, access to your car (most of the time). Even shore fishing is a little more involved cause you usually have to hike over non-paved terrain to get to your spot. Than there's the safety aspect for those who don't swim or don't want to hike over rough terrain. If you have little ones, piers offer some protection (be sure to keep your eyes on them none the less). Monetarily you don't have to have a license or spend money on other gear such as waders to go shore fishing. I think given the chance, many who pier fish would like to get on a boat and increase their chance of catching fish. Unless the catching comes secondarily to the serenity of hanging out at the pier or hanging out with your friends. In fact many of the anglers who frequent this board participate in other forms of fishing. Myself, I'm a big proponent of kayak fishing which is gaining momentum in NorCal and have turned on a few anglers from this site to the up and coming sport. So yes there is a difference, BUT there will always be Pier Fishing in my repertoire. ~Elric aka TheCrw

Posted by sethook

Quite different, I must say. Pier rats put in a lot more time to compensate the monetary difference you mentioned. That includes finding the spot, catching fresh bait, keeping it alive/fresh, changing water, netting catch, keeping it fresh, bleeding/cleaning it. That in itself is a joy, for being self-sufficient or just for the fun of it. Another important factor is freedom. The freedom to relocate from one spot to another, to have your space, to pick your fellow rats, or to fish alone, to fish when you want to, leave when you want to, and most importantly, the freedom to carry all the gear & tackle you need. Though it's great to sometimes get out in open waters and catch the fish, it's never like catching it from a pier - that is, for a pier rat, even if it took much more time.

Posted by ob pier rat

Is it possible that most of us die hard pier rats are that way because we were exposed to pier fishing at a very young age or as our first exposure to fishing? I know my very first memories of fishing, as a 5 yr old, are from a pier. Since then, I've always preferred pier fishing. Sure, I ventured into party boats, offshore charters, freshwater bass boats, etc. but it didn't take. And no matter where I went I always seemed to take special notice of any pier I saw and wondered about the fishing there. I never was that way about any other fishing methods I tried. Perhaps if a youngster's first fishing experience is say a boat on a lake, then maybe that person is more prone to become a freshwater bass angler and so on? Just a thought...

Posted by prometheus

When I first came to CA I was a student with an out of state DL. That meant basically that fishing from the pier was my only option since 80 bucks was too much for a fishing license (they're $16 in Minnesota). However I really wanted to fish in the ocean, and actually was perusing this site months before coming out here. I was gung-ho to catch a leopard shark - and did land two small ones my first outing. Over time my collection of gear grew and I started buying licenses so I could fish spots like the Bulb and Powell St. After a while I found that these shore spots offered better fishing and much more privacy. I don't enjoy being surrounded by complete strangers, which is why I never go to smaller crowded piers like Pacifica or Oyster Point, and the behemoth Berkely Pier is my favorite pier. (PFIC members aren't strangers)

After a trip to Santa Cruz I learned about the skiff rentals there and did that a couple times with decent results, then I saw a tandem kayak in Sportmart for $299 with seats and paddles and thought, shoot that's four skiff rentals and change and I'm not limited to a few fished out kelp patties. Of course a month later DFG shut down rock fishing...

The kayak gives me the most bang for my buck as far as thrills go, traversing the surf zone subduing big fish on your lap, ect. But it's got a couple drawbacks, you have to get up extremely early since the weather sours as the day goes by (no beer on Friday night), you have to have your wits about you (no beer), you can't pee easily (no beer) and you may get seasick (no beer). Now at the Bulb or Berkeley you can kick back in your folding chair with a brewsky and BS the evening away with your mates, and some autumn nights demand such service - so there's always a place for the shore/pier because you can relax and let your worries fall away. I'd be happy with my kayak but for two things - the rockfish closures leave me scraping for salmon or halibut, both of which are hit/miss when you've only got a mile or two of range - and my wife wants to fish with me, but isn't really gung ho enough to do the kayak thing. People getting bisected by whitey doesn't help matters there either (with the wife). So I'll probably be acquiring a larger craft in the next few years, but it'll have the same objections that the kayak has (though it's easier to take a wizz) and a few extra (ramp lines...). So those autumn nights will still see me kicked back somewhere along the shore/pier in my folding chair.

Posted by calrat

It's more rewarding...While catching a whopping "hog" off a boat is great fun, (I used to have great fun deep sea fishing with my dad and grandfather) I think that it's more rewarding to catch fish off a pier simply because some of the fish one can "land" are unexpected. My dad used to freak out when I brought home ling cod from the shore thinking that any keepers could only be possible from a boat. On a boat, an angler is taken to the fish, in a pier situation, one must often rely on the ability to “macgyver” a fish in with some thinking and preparation. I think that's the greatest reward, at least for me.


Of course not everyone likes to be called a rat!

Date: May 25, 2006
To: PFIC Message Board
From: danthefisherman
Subject: Why couldn't we be Pier Cats? Why Rats?!?!

NM! I figured it must be the carts packed with junk.

Posted by StripeSideChaser

Because a pier cat would look silly on my arm!

Posted by dompfa ben

Pier Echidnas? Pier Wombats?

Posted by Ken Jones

ME Bad, I always thought it was Pier Brats. Love those sausages. Must be the John Madden in me.


While some may question being called a pier rat, there are others that just plain do not like pier rats—or pier anglers—no matter what we may call them. Of course most people understand that rats fight back when attacked!

Date: August 21, 2005
To: PFIC Message Board
From: Numba1GI
Subject: Regarding pinfish’s earlier message

Pinfish, I agree with you. Piers obviously attract a certain breed of angler, one which is not a true sportsman, and they are here to stay. This board is obviously the mother ship of the stinkin’ rats. I visit this site to get valuable fishing information, because it is here, but I will never really give any real info. I will not contribute to the molestation of our coast as does this site. It does not take a genius to realize that when you provide a place for these pier rats to report that they are catching a lot of undersize fish or just fish period, this attracts hoards of pier rats to the specified locality who we all know will capitalize on this information and use the info to go fill their buckets up to the brim without any care to the law and to our nearly depleted natural resource. A very elementary mathematical equation indeed. I apologize to those on this site who are sensitive to our oceans and abide by the laws.

Posted by 1014

How unfortunate... how you feel about this website and its users. How even more unfortunate, that you come here and learn valuable information but repay with insults.

Posted by pescare

Yeah, pretty interesting that in all this time he was never moved to help with a tackle question or rod recommendation - or anything. Just sit back, suck up info, and don't give anything back.

Posted by StripeSideChaser

Lowest form of lurker? Sorry, but if you have nothing to add, maybe you should go somewhere where you can offer some value! People like you are the main reason so many people have quit posting info regarding any areas that can get blown out! Maybe we should all go through life, taking all we can, and giving nothing back! Oh wait, then we'd be like you. Also, how about changing your screen name... it embarrasses us military retirees. What a shame. Maybe I'm just defensive, since I'm proud to be a pier rat. I purchased a nice boat, so I have the choice, but I'll never quit fishing from piers.

Posted by Red Fish

What makes you think the Rats live here? The Neanderthals that you speak of probably don't know how to turn on a computer. Not to say anyone that doesn't own or use a computer is an idiot but let us not be hypocritical. Hypothetically what about the what ifs: What if someone was garnering the information from this board and catching more fish because of that but was following all DFG regulations? Would they be a 'stinkin' rat' then in your estimation? We promote good ethics and conversation as well as C&R here so if one of good brethren and staunch members sees any illegal activity on the water, most of them have cell and know how to use them right G! So, you have a right to feel that way you do but the upright members of this board will defend the good ethics that Ken Jones has established with this very outstanding site. Ask yourself this; is information dangerous?????

Posted by 2d

You obviously have an axe to grind with someone, and I'm guessing that it's personal. Either some individual on a pier angered you, or you have a personal beef with someone closely affiliated with this board and site. If you'd bother doing a little checking, I believe that this board is model of ethical angling, erring, if anywhere, on the side of conservative. Each angler from this board that I've met has been among the most upright citizens I've ever met. I cannot say this about members of other fishing boards that I frequent. If anything, the quick ostracization that reported transgressions are greeted with may be too much, as the board as a collective is sometimes too quick to condemn and too slow to educate. In the end, though infractions are virtually always spotted, pointed out, and the correct course of action is explained.

For you to say that this board promotes illegal and unethical activities is a slap in the face of all ethical anglers who devote time and energy posting, educating and learning here. It is a finger in the eye of the mods and webmaster who donate their time to ensure that this open forum remains worthwhile and family friendly. It is, lastly, an unimaginable insult to the man who provides the site and who literally wrote the book.

So, in the end, you come here, don't read any posts from the near or far past and proceed to insult the denizens of this online community. Go away. Every community and every civilization is built upon a set or more and ethics by which the inhabitants operate. The obvious one here, if you'd bother to read a little, is that of ethical angling. The more subtle set, which you obviously won't/don' get, since you can't even see the obvious one, is of ethical living. Spouting off insults without basis does not fit.

Posted by pinfish

Yeah, as someone mentioned earlier it happens in other aspects of life as well as other types of fishing. So I can basically say, "why surf fishing can suck" or "why Benicia Salmon fishing can suck" or "why fishing on charter boats can suck." "why riding on the BART can suck" etc. I do notice that crowds appear after whenever some people post big catches so I've reminded myself to not reveal secrets. This board is good though. I've been fishing here in California off and on for several years without any consistency and after surfing over to this board and doing my homework searching and reading and comparing I've picked up a lot of tips and tricks to improve my game. I owe a lot to this board.

Posted by Red Fish

Welcome to the Pier Rat Ken calls it. I just call it the PFIC Board. I still think the word rat should be left out. But, I am glad you are open-minded. Together we can clean up some of the mess out there and set an example. We all need to observe the rules on the water and NONE of us is above the law. And, I may have a few secret spots of my own to put more fish on your stringer in the Bay Area. Fishing from the shore is not too difficult because there is just so much land that accesses the water. You just need to known the right time to be at the place you are fishing. Let the season be the reason.

Posted by climberb9

"... because the very people responsible for #1-10 are lurkers on this board who leech information and won't give back."-Bigfoot. You have described yourself as exactly one of those people. You say you "visit this site to get valuable fishing information, because it is here, but I will never really give any real info. I will not contribute...." You sir, fit bigfoot’s classification to a tee. Is that not rather hypocritical? And secondly, if this is the mothership of the stinkin' rats, that must be implying that Ken Jones is the leader of the stinkin’ rats. Since when has Ken Jones been a stinkin' rat? lol. I accept your apology personally, although seeing that is 90%+ of us, I think you have gone a little overboard. Perhaps an individual apology would be better. Better start typing, because it will take a while with all of us law-abiding, ocean-respecting, honorable fishermen.

Posted by FakeFisherman

Actually...I'm about 90% more aware of fishing regulations and definitely a more conscientious fisherman since joining these boards. Not to mention the great groups of people I met on this site. Do you even read the posts here or do you just look for fishing reports? There's a lot of educational info on this site, and for you to say that you'll never contribute, well that sounds like you're one of these “stinkin’ rats” that you talk about.

WTG, bro - way to represent.

Posted by pierhead

What we believe ..... The Pier Rats' Code —

As responsible anglers, we recognize that our actions should always be governed by what is right-ethically and legally-and we understand and agree that the best ways to accomplish our goals is through personal example and education.

We're dedicated to preserving the pier rats' environment in the following ways:

We will work to protect all species of fish. Fish that will be kept for food will be killed in a humane manner. Fish that are to be returned to the water will be handled with care in an attempt to assure their safe return to the water. All species of fish-both sport fish and incidental species-will be given the same respect and treatment. We will attempt to avoid the capture of unwanted or prohibited species.

We will work to improve the environments of the piers themselves as well as the waters around the piers. We will dispose of trash in trash containers, make sure there are no lines or discarded tackle on the pier, and clean up bait from the surface of piers as well as the railings. Where possible, we will assist in the removal of lines and tackle from pilings and pier structures. We will not throw pollutants (of any type) into the waters adjacent to the pier. We will always try to leave the pier as clean or cleaner than when we arrived.

As guardians of the pier environment, we will, to the best of our ability, try to reason with and correct anglers observed to be acting in a manner detrimental to that environment. We will, if necessary, report cases of abuse to the relevant authorities. Observations of illegal fishing methods will be reported to the Fish and Game Department (CalTip). Observations of destruction to the pier will be reported to local agencies.

We will encourage good fishing etiquette. We will learn and obey all fishing regulations. We will treat fellow anglers with courtesy and respect. We will endeavor to educate our fellow anglers in sound and safe angling methods and fishery conservation.

—Ken Jones

"In the end we will conserve only what we love. We love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught."

—Baba Dioum

If you can take the time to complain perhaps you should consider taking the time to make a difference as well. Why let those others set the tone on a pier? Pierhead, Proud Supporter of UPSAC

Posted by Ken Jones

The reason we have PFIC and UPSAC is because some people do indeed fail to practice the ethical and legal approach we espouse. One of our main jobs is education and the results of this 8-year effort are manifest in the opinions AND ACTIONS shown by our regulars. They are conservationist minded, they follow the laws, and they try to do what is right even if sometimes the issue of right and wrong is vague. To slam our group and this site shows a lack of understanding on your part as to what the site is about and insults the "pier rats" that home base on this site.

Posted by Red Fish

Conversation promotes Conservation...that is what I was thinking before. And, this board generates a lot of conversation about fishing and good ethics for fisherman. See Ken, the work of your board continues on and it is not yet time for some to graduate yet!!!!!!!!

Posted by StripeSideChaser

BTW, great way to introduce yourself to this board. I'm sure you'll make lots of friends here!


But how exactly do you know if you’re a pier rat? The following thread resulted as one consequence of the above thread and it helps answer that question.

Date: August 22, 2005
To: PFIC Message Board
From: dompfa ben
Subject: Proud to be Pier on if you are, too.

Perhaps some of the recent negative attitudes about pier anglers could be improved if we put a more positive slant on the term, "RATS."

The word rat connotes the verminous mammal, nose twitching, beady eyes peering back from amidst the urban rubble. But not all rats are bad. Look at that friendly sewer-rodent in the 1972 classic film, Ben. A young Michael Jackson's stirring and solemn ballad about his beloved pet rat would make a bricklayer from Patterson, NJ weep in remembrance of pets-gone-by. Walt Disney's original personification of "Mortimer Mouse" was made more loveable with a name change: Mickey. And who could deny the wily charms of Templeton, the ascetic-yet-loyal rodent from the celebrated film, Charlotte's Web, voiced ably by the legendary Paul Lynde (perhaps better known as the long-time center square on Hollywood Squares in the 70's and as "Uncle Arthur" on Bewitched)?

So I got to thinking (you've been warned), and I considered that RATS, in the Kenjonesian context, must be a creative acronym, the meaning of which has been surreptitiously albeit deliciously placed in the lexicon of pier anglers. Hoping to achieve an enlightened level of angler-consciousness, I submit, for your consideration, my discoveries about RATS thus far:

RATS: Repeating Angling Techniques for Success

RATS: Real Anglers Tie Squareknots

RATS: Remain Attached To Shore (I like this one!)

RATS: Removing All Trivial Stereotypes

RATS: Rendering Assistance To Someone

RATS: Release All Tiny Seabass

RATS: Reeling Around Tenacious Structure

RATS: Redirecting Apathetic Teenage Stagnance

RATS: Reflecting About Time & Space

RATS: Realizing: Atman, Truth, Soul

RATS: Relaxing At The Shore

RATS: Replacing Antiquated Tackle Selections

RATS: Retaining A Tasty Sea-creature

RATS: Respect, Attitude, Teaching, Sharing

Each of these acronyms, proffered with a bit of humor, reflects and acknowledges some part of the Pier Rats Code. I don't know whether or not Ken had the above in mind when he popularized the term, "Pier Rat." A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

I've sometimes thought of fishing on a pier like driving on the freeway. You have all types of cars and drivers, all heading to different destinations, each with different levels of driving skill, experience, and purpose for being on the road. Yet at the same time, despite your differences, all of us are heading in the same direction, even if only for a moment, and even if only at our own pace. To be successful on the freeway, you need not know everyone around you, where they are going, what they are doing, and why they do what they do. You only need to know where YOU are going, and GET THERE in a way that respects the rights of others to get where they are going.

Still... imagine a freeway where you DID know everyone around you. Imagine a freeway where everyone allowed others to merge, especially the slow or the inexperienced... where everyone used turn signals for the benefit of others, everyone made a conscious effort to follow the rules of the road, and everyone reaped the benefits of a group of drivers that, despite their different destinations and levels of experience, made the overall experience of being on the freeway BETTER.

Now...imagine a pier that worked like that. This is one of the primary goals of UPSAC, and perhaps the driving force behind PFIC-- a pier environment that celebrates and develops a collective and individual sense of COMMUNITY, a sense of DUTY, and a sense of RESPONSIBILITY.

I'm proud and honored to stand and be counted among the ranks of people who believe this is not merely a dream.

With effort (and, uh, a Dominating Positive Fishing Attitude), it's a distinct possibility.

Thanks for your efforts, and I wish each of you continued good fishing.

Posted by gyozadude

RATS: Requesting Access To Shorelines

RATS: Requisite Alternative To Sedateness

RATS: Ready At Tomorrow's Sunrise..

RATS: Responsible Attention To Surroundings

RATS: Rockin' Attitude That Shines

Posted by Red Fish

Didn't Ben chew up everybody in the movie? And, lead all the other rats on a killing rampage as the leader of the "Rat Pack." That is my recollection of the movie, although it has been awhile; must rent it again now. And, wasn't Michael Jackson a lovable youngster at that time before he had his transformation. Anyway, I had a huge hamster when I am growing up and am definitely not anti-rodent. Maybe there is a difference between a domestic rat and a sewer rat. I have made friends out of the rats at Friendship Shimada Park and I feel that they respect me. They always give me space in the spot, greet me in the morning when I go there to fish, and have not once stolen my bait. Maybe I just have a knack for getting along with vermin. Maybe it is just me. Ben.

Ben, the two of us need look no more
We both found what we were looking for
With a friend to call my own
I'll never be alone
And you, my friend, will see
You've got a friend in me
(you've got a friend in me)
Ben, you're always running here and there
You feel you're not wanted anywhere
If you ever look behind
And don't like what you find
There's one thing you should know
You've got a place to go
(you've got a place to go)

I used to say "I" and "me"
Now it's "us", now it's "we"
I used to say "I" and "me"
Now it's "us", now it's "we"

Ben, most people would turn you away
I don't listen to a word they say
They don't see you as I do
I wish they would try to
I'm sure they'd think again
If they had a friend like Ben
(a friend) Like Ben
(like Ben) Like Ben

Posted by dompfa ben

Well,, Ben was the leader of a renegade group of bloodlusting rodents...but that weiner-kid that had no friends and could fit through the sewer grate seemed to get along with him well enough. Luckily, the movie was so bad, as to be relegated to KTLA's "Movie for a Sunday Afternoon" time slot, generally sandwiched between episodes of "Good Times" and airings of Pippi Longstocking, rife with horrible English dubbing.

Posted by Kaleo

So who is our Willard?

Posted by Red Fish

Any candidates for Willard?

Posted by Uncle Ji

Real Anglers Teach & Share

Posted by pierhead

re: "... a pier environment that celebrates... and develops a collective and individual sense of COMMUNITY, a sense of DUTY, and a sense of RESPONSIBILITY." Beautifully put, Ben ...I can live with that as our motto :)

Posted by dompfapops

Ben, that was: Really A Terrific Sermon