August 2022 Fishing Report, Central California (#277)

Ken Jones

Staff member
California Pier Report — August 2022
Central California

San Luis Obispo County Piers

Pismo Beach Pier — Surfperch (on the bottom) and jacksmelt (on the top), should be available most days. It’s also the time for sharks to start showing 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.

San Luis (Harford) Pier — Curt at the Patriot Sportfishing says action’s been picking up. Three halibut were caught the week I called, one a 30-inch fish. He said one was caught on a live anchovy, one a live shiner, and didn’t know about the third. He said there’s a LOT of anchovies in the water but they haven’t seen too many jacksmelt or mackerel. He says anglers are using Sabikis to get good numbers of small perch—walleye surfperch and shinerperch (which also make good halibut bait). No reports of sharays. How To Get There: Take Hwy. 101 to the Avila Rd. turnoff and head west; follow the road to the end and the pier. 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 small rockfish should still be available—blackperch, pileperch, and striped perch along with grass, brown, copper, blue and black 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 — July should see some surfperch inshore, both barred and calico, using worms or shrimp as bait. Walleye surfperch should be caught under the pier, mid-pier to the end, using small hooks or a Sabiki baited with pieces of worms or other bait. White croaker should be on the bottom (cast out from the pier using pieces of worm, anchovy or strips of squid). Jacksmelt, and sometimes mackerel or sardine, should be in the top-waters all along the pier and most people use Sabikis for the pelagics. Nighttime during the summer can also mean excellent sharay action, everything from schooling dogfish, to swell sharks, horn sharks, soupfins, and even 7-gills not discounting the large bat rays. 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 (I’ve caught nine different varieties) while mid-pier to the end may see some pelagic action on top—mainly jacksmelt but sometimes large schools of mackerel and/or sardines, or both. However, a report by TheFrood on July 11 reported things being DEAD, “Beautiful day, crystal clear water. I spent about 3 hours on from the surf-break to about 2/3 down the pier. I finally realized that I was wasting my time because with the exception of the mild surf-break you could see all the way to the bottom... and there weren't any fish present. The entire time, with a variety of baits (all on dropper loops) not a single bite... I could see my bait under the clear water. Was really amazing and I've never fished in conditions with water that clear. I understand how people can do "sight fishing" now, although I
wish I had "sighted" some fish!” How To Get There: Highway 1 to the entrance to the park.

Monterey-Santa Cruz-San Mateo County Piers

Monterey Coast Guard Pier — No report although the usual mix of small rockfish, perch, cabezon and even a possible lingcod should be available. We did get a report on July 8 from MacAttack57 who said, “Got to the Coast Guard Pier, and it was definitely a frustrating experience. The city installed new parking meters, but I only had cash while the majority of the machines only take change or cards. The one that did take cash was busted, taking my crisp Lincoln’s and giving them back like crumbled candy wrappers. Thankfully, a city worker who had been working on them showed up and helped pay for my ticket. According to him, these meters have been nothing but trouble since they started. One weekend saw a throwback to simpler, less greedy days when the whole system errored a “free parking” message for all the parking meters in the ENTIRE CITY. For a whole weekend. In Monterey, one of the most heavily tourist visited cities in California. Anyways, if you plan on visiting Monterey, bring cash, change and a card. You’ll never know what’s gonna work out there. Fishing was slow here too. Only got one small B&Y in 3 hrs of fishing.” 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 reports and hard to predict. The pier is usually very good or very bad depending upon the availability of the pelagic species, i.e., Pacific mackerel. We did get a report on July 8 from MacAttack57 who said, “Checked out Wharf 2, starting at 5:30am in the morning. Tried to see if I could snag some smelt or small perch for a lucky halibut. In the meantime, I threw out a anchovy popsicle to see if anyone wanted some ice cream. Nothing for live bait, but something did nibble on my anchovies. Kept going smaller in bait and hook size, but just couldn’t get a hook set. A thornback ray casually drifted by, peacefully content with the quite morning. Left at 9:30am after getting some squid and shrimp. They were selling a impressive halibut whole, giving me some more hope in catching one. Someday.” 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 — No report; still closed? How To Get There: From Highway 1 take the State Park Drive exit; follow the road west to the park entrance.

Capitola Wharf — I couldn’t get through to the Capitola Boat & Bait, on the pier, but the last I heard there were a lot of anchovies in the water and some halibut being caught including a large, 30+inch fish on July 5. Typically the white croaker (kingfish) are showing on the bottom by now, some perch should be available under the pier, and it’s about time for some stripers to show up. We got a report from MacAttack57 on July 24 that said, “Just wanted to give a brief report about the Capitola Wharf. I went out for a couple hours (10:17am-1:48pm) and I went to the end of the wharf when I got there. It was fairly busy, but not so crowded like Pacifica so finding a spot was easy. I caught 7 shiners for halibut bait, a couple thrown back bullheads, and a walleye perch that was also released. After a hour of bait fishing, I moved to the cleaning table and threw out a shiner on a slider rig. Meanwhile, I fished my lighter rig between the pilings and caught a fair sized kingfish on some anise-soaked anchovy chunks. After about 35 minutes, I replaced my shiner and this time threw it out further from the pier. Listening to radio chatter coming from the boat shed, everyone was looking for anchovies out on the ocean. That’s when I saw a bunch of flashing in the water below. One Sabiki drop later, and the anchovies were right on the pier. I retrieved my shiner to switch it out, but it had been chewed and scrapped by guess-who, Mr. Barnside. I didn’t have time to try again, since my dad and brother wanted to get Pizza My Heart. But next time, I’ll get ‘em. Dumped the rest of the shiners back and went to the car. Anyways, I fried up the kingfish. Always love them, though I wouldn’t want to eat one out of SF bay.” 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 — Anthony at the Santa Cruz Boat Rental & Bait, on the wharf, said he hasn’t seen too many fish from the wharf. He says there are a ton of anchovies in the water so they can be Sabikied up for bait and he has seen a few halibut. He’s only seen a couple of mackerel in the top water, seen a few perch being caught under the pier, and has seen a lot of bat rays. 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 — No report, need a reporter. Small rockfish and perch should be available around the pier while jacksmelt should be available in the top-water areas and kingfish (white croaker) should be found on the bottom. 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 — Liu at Coastside #2 Bait & Tackle, said the fishing is fairly slow. Some striped bass continue to be caught inshore along with a variety of surfperch while few, but not many, salmon continue to be caught out near the end of the pier. A few sardines are showing on top but no mackerel. 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.