August 2019 Fishing Report, Central California (#250)

Ken Jones

Staff member
San Luis Obispo County Piers

Pismo Beach Pier — Surfperch and jacksmelt, should be available most of the day, mackerel MAY show up, and if it’s like most summers quite a few sharks should be available at night. How To Get There: From the north, take Hwy. 101 to the Five Cities Dr. exit; follow Dolliver into the middle of town, then turn west on Pomeroy and follow it to the pier and parking lot. From the south, take the Pismo Beach Exit (Price St.), follow it to Pomeroy; turn west and follow it to the pier.

Avila Pier – The pier is currently closed. How To Get There: Take Hwy. 101 to Avila Rd. and go west; turn left off of Avila Rd. on to Front St. and follow it to the pier.

San Luis (Harford) Pier — Amy at the Patriot Sportfishing (on the pier) said most of the pier action has been on perch although the mackerel are also in and out. Hit them when they are in and there can be some good fishing. How To Get There: Take Hwy. 101 to the Avila Rd. turnoff and head west; follow the road to the end and the pier.

Morro Bay T-Piers – A variety of perch and rockfish should be available—blackperch, pileperch, and striped perch along with grass, brown, copper, blue and black and yellow rockfish. How To Get There: From Highway 1 turn south onto Main Street, follow it to Morro Bay Boulevard, turn left toward the bay and follow it to Embarcadero, turn right and follow Embarcadero to the end of the public parking which adjoins the piers.

Cayucos Pier — Expect a variety of perch inshore along with too many small bullheads (staghorn sculpin). Top-water action sees mainly jacksmelt but mackerel can also make an appearance. Summertime nights is when the pier can shine for sharks and though I haven’t had any reports I imagine the sharays (a variety) are showing up. How To Get There: Take Highway 1 to either Ocean Boulevard, which is the main street and will take you past the pier, or take the Cayucos Drive exit which will take you straight to the pier.

San Simeon Pier — Expect the usual, a variety of perch inshore while mid-pier to the end sees more pelagic action on top—mackerel (some days) and jacksmelt. An occasional flatfish or rockfish may make a visit but not too many. How To Get There: Highway 1 to the entrance to the park.

Monterey-Santa Cruz-San Mateo County Piers

Monterey Coast Guard Pier — Apparently closed for repairs. Not sure for how long. How To Get There: From Hwy 1 going north: Take the Aguajito Road exit, turn left at the first traffic signal intersection, which is Aguajito Road, and continue under Highway 1 and cross Fremont Street. At the next traffic signal intersection, which is Del Monte Avenue, turn left. Continue down Del Monte Avenue and under the tunnel where the street turns into Lighthouse Avenue. Get into the right-hand lane. As the street veers to the right it turns into Foam Street. Continue on Foam Street to the first right and turn into the parking lot. From Hwy 1 going south: Take the Del Monte Avenue exit, continue down Del Monte Avenue for several blocks and go under the tunnel where the street turns into Lighthouse Avenue. Get into the right-hand lane. As the street veers to the right it turns into Foam Street. Continue on Foam Street to the first right and turn into the parking lot.

Monterey Wharf #2 — No report this month. How To Get There: From Highway 1 take the central Monterey exit and follow Del Monte Avenue to Figueroa Street, turn right and follow to the wharf.

Seacliff State Beach Pier — Ed at the Capitola Boat & Bait, said there’s not much of a pier left but the locals are still getting good numbers of striped bass and a few halibut. Expect crowding on the pier. A few barred surfperch and calico surfperch should also be available in the surf area, along with some walleye perch. How To Get There: How To Get There: From Highway 1 take the State Park Drive exit; follow the road west to the park entrance.

Capitola Wharf — Ed at the Capitola Boat & Bait, on the pier, said it’s one of the best years in some time — when the south swell cooperates. Anchovies are massed around the pier and in response both striped bass and halibut are plentiful. But when the south swell comes in it pushes the anchovies out from the pier and the fishing slows. So give a call to check how the swell is running. When the swell is cooperating the fishing is good. Anglers use live anchovies (or shiners) under a bobber by itself or sometimes with a couple of spit shot sinkers. It’s basically shallow water fishing from the surf out to about where the wharf widens. A lot of stripers are caught and the día before I called Julian Renz caught a 12-pound striper. Halibut too are plentiful on the same bait and in the same area but on the bottom with quite a few of the flatties exceeding 10 pounds in weight. At the end of the pier most of the action is on perch, especially walleye surfperch but a variety show up. Mackerel are in and (mostly) out although the early evening seems to be the primo time to hit them. Mix in a few bat rays and leopard sharks (inshore) and that’s about it. How To Get There: From Highway 1 take the Bay Avenue exit west until it hits Capitola Avenue where you turn right; stay on this to Cliff Drive, turn right and park wherever you can find a spot.

Santa Cruz Wharf — Chris, at the Santa Cruz Boat Rental (on the wharf), said anchovies are all around the pier. The ‘chovies are a blast for the kids catching them on Sabikis while the elders see them as bait. Using live anchovies, anglers are catching some good-sized striped bass from the shoreline out to mid-pier (about 300 yards). Fish the live anchovies on top. However, the largest striper reported lately was a 48 ½-inch, 30-pound striper taken by a fisherman fishing a live anchovy on the bottom for halibut. Which brings up the second most sought after fish, halibut. They are taken on the same live anchovies fished in the same shallow to mid-shallow area but on the bottom instead of the top. Halibut approaching 20 pounds have been taken. Rounding out the report are mackerel and kingfish. Some mackerel are taken but the schools move in and out (so you need to be there when they move in). As for the kingfish, they are almost always there, on the bottom, mid-pier to the end and especially plentiful at night. Use a size 6 or 4 hook and a small piece of anchovy or pile worm. How to get There: Ocean Street south from Highway 1; when you get to Laurel Street turn right and follow it to Pacific Street, turn left and follow Pacific to the wharf.

Pillar Point Pier — Oakspace reported a short visit to the pier where his daughter landed what appeared to be a one spot fringehead (interesting fish). The normal bottom mix of small rockfish and sculpin should be available. How To Get There: From Highway 1 simply take the Pillar Point Harbor turnoff and follow the road down to the main parking lot. This pier is to the far right of the parking lot

Pacifica Pier — Marque at Coastside #2 Bait and Tackle, 1604 Francisco Blvd, said it was practically raining the day I called (“stand outside ten minutes and you’ll be drenched”) but it hasn’t helped the fishing. However, striped bass are being taken from the pier! Unfortunately it’s not the same story with the salmon. Marque said it’s about one salmon a day although a lot of guys were fishing the day I called in response to a large mass of anchovies that was spotted south of the pier the previous night (that appeared to be heading north). Hope springs eternal. Other than that it’s the usual mix of surfperch, jacksmelt and a few small flatfish (although a few halibut have also shown up recently). He also mentioned that although the Dungeness crab season is over crabbers are still going out, and getting, rock crabs. How To Get There: Take Highway 1 to Pacifica, take the Paloma Avenue-Francisco Boulevard exit, take Paloma west to Beach Road, turn left and proceed a short way until you see markers indicating the way to Fort Point, turn left on Long Avenue and it will take you down to the pier.
Monterey Coast Guard Pier:
My GF and I went to go fish here on July 14th but found that the gate is locked and a sign posted stating that a construction project is commencing. I don't recall how long the pier will be closed but maybe the city can tell you if interested.