California Pier Report
August 2022 Fishing Report, Southern California (#277)
Remember that the lobster season is closed.
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 — No one at the Ocean Beach Pier Bait and Tackle seemed to know what was being caught. A report from MisterT on July 22 said, “I went to OB Pier with my girlfriend today from morning 11AM through 5PM (more or less). Fishing was overall slow. My girlfriend caught a jack mackerel on a Sabiki. I saw someone had caught a sand bass of some sort.” 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 – Unfortunately the bait shop has closed and we’ve lost our reporter. Need someone new! 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 — No report and we need a reporter. A report from Ray619 on July said, “Some nice ideal tide to fish for the past week. mackerel are consistent. Best method has been fishing about 3 to 5 feet under the surface with a glow light. Fresh mack or squid worked. Caught some spotted bay bass using ghost shrimp. Bass from 6 inches with two close to legal. Caught a few different ray species too. Overall nice weather and good tides to fish at night. The pier has been crowded even on weekdays. Great to see all the people enjoying pier fishing.” 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 the main action has been on croaker with some really BIG spotfins showing up. Unfortunately, the result is elbow-to-elbow fishing at the front of the pier. He said baby mussels have been the hot bait. Bloodworms and lugworms also work well but given the price of bloodworms, as in $15 a dozen, a lot of guys are trying artificial alternatives. He says some are using “Fish Bites” that are similar to Gulp. He says there is also a bloodworm oil that can be squirted on the plastic lures. I asked him to see if he could get some more information on the items. Although it was hoped that August 1 would see the return of the bonito, they are still absent. Boils are seen but they are not in casting distance. Mackerel surprisingly are scarce and he says the locals are concentrating on salema at the end, which are plentiful. Mid-pier is seeing quite a few kelp bass, mostly illegal size fish, and some halibut which are also mostly under the size limit (although at least three legal fish were caught in the past couple of days). Regulars using live bait are catching the halibut. As for the sharays it basically bat rays and thornbacks. The normal sharkers out at the end are absent due in all probability to the scarcity of the mackerel that are (1) used for live bait and (2) which attract the threshers. 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 — No recent reports but expect the occasional croaker and sargo on the bottom, jacksmelt and mackerel in the top waters. Some perch and bass may show while fishing by the rocks. 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 — Josh at Hogan's Bait and Tackle (34320 Pacific Coast Hwy. says it’s all the normal stuff. Expect some corbina and croakers inshore, some croakers and bass mid-pier, and a few mackerel at the end. There’s not much even in the sharay department, mainly just a few leopard sharks and bat rays. Not much of a report. 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 — Josh at Hogan's Bait and Tackle (34320 Pacific Coast Hwy. says it’s the normal small bass and small halibut providing most of the action. 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 reporter Snookie says, “Fishing has been good and productive lately. I have had so many strikes it has been exciting. We are catching a lot of small halibut and White Seabass plus a few calicos. The bait situation has been good too with smelt, Spanish mackerel, queenfish, and sardines. Have caught some nice yellowfin croakers too. We are headed into the better time of the year for unusual things such as yellowtail and striped bass. The weather has been decent for a while.” A report from Reel Newbie on July 14 said, “Fished Balboa Pier from 10am-12pm on Wednesday, at the peak of high tide. Only caught 3 sardines, but the pier was mostly empty and the other guy fishing next to me caught 3 mackerel as well. Overall slow, but I was jigging a Sabiki without bait.”
A report from Rusty on July 9 said, “Was in the area, so I stopped by for a bit. Got to the pier about 6 pm, place was packed to the gills! Been a long time since seeing so many anglers here. Beautiful day!Anyway, on to the bite—tons of bait in the water, large 6” + sardines, lots of smelt, good amount of sporadic mack attacks, large schools of Spaniards. Caught me a bunch of sardines for future bait, out of here by 8:30, pier is still packed with fisherman! Everyone seems to be having a good time catching!” 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. At least the end area should not be quite as crowded given the removal of the restaurant. 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 — We need a reporter. A report from HookedUp! on July 21 said, “Took a brief walk down the Huntington Beach Pier this morning at about 8:00 AM. I did not do any fishing today. I saw several anglers in the parking lot heading down to the end of the pier. I saw an incoming tide, which would've been perfect conditions for surf fishing, but nobody seemed to be taking advantage of it. All of the anglers were at the end of the pier. Most anglers were using very light tackle with dropper-loop rigs baited with squid, although their sinkers seemed too heavy for their setups. I saw one angler who had caught at least 4 topsmelt and one Pacific mackerel on squid fishing just underneath the surface, which he was keeping to use as bait for thresher sharks. I saw about a dozen shark poles in the water, but as there was a large group of anglers present at the end, they were in accordance with the "2 rods/hoop nets per angler" rule. I am unsure how successful the anglers were, as they had probably only been there for a short time. On the way back, I saw that someone had lost their treble hook gaff underneath the restrooms.”
Notes:—Ruby's will be replaced by a restaurant. They have already put up a take-out menu, consisting of burgers, sandwiches, and smoothies.
—The 2022 U.S. Open of Surfing is starting next Saturday on 7/30 and will continue until 8/7. Structures are being set up on the beach to prepare for the event. I would not recommend fishing at the Huntington Beach Pier or at Huntington City Beach before and during the event due to the high amount of spectators for the contest.” 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 has been pretty good. Inshore, lot of corbina and croakers are being reported along with a few perch. Mid-pier sees a few halibut but not many. Out toward the end has seen good fishing for both mackerel and jacksmelt. As far as the sharays, it’s mostly batrays and thornbacks. 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 it’s slower at Belmont than at Seal Beach although it does typically get a few more halibut. She says the locals have been saying the action is slow. 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 when casting straight out from the pier(s), some white croaker on the bottom and possibly some mackerel on top. Casting parallel to the shoreline rocks should produce a few croakers, some sargo and a possible perch using mussels, lugworms, or shrimp. 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, mackerel on top and rock frequenting species along the rocks. 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 fishing at the pier has been weird. He says no mackerel are being caught which is very strange. He says a few sand bass are showing as well as the usual white croaker and some halibut (especially during the recent grunion runs). Sharay action is mostly seeing small leopard and gray smoothhound sharks along with some BIG bat rays (some anglers are losing all their line if unprepared). Not much else. A report from Fishman Fishman on August 3 said, “Fished the morning until about 11 a.m. then the wind picked up. Caught and released one small round ray with squid and a short halibut with live smelt. No mackerel around. Lost a large ray by failing to follow the fish (FTFF). Rookie mistake! I hooked the ray about mid pier and it made several long runs out towards the middle of the harbor. It then turned and headed south towards the end of the pier. I was alone and wanted to work the ray towards me and my net. I didn't follow it, I lost the angle and any leverage to turn its head and line broke after rubbing against end of pier piling. Oh well! Fish and learn. Next time. Several regulars fishing the surf zone caught and released several short halibut. One keeper halibut 23-3/4 inches landed. All fish caught with live smelt. FYI. All parking meters moved to entrances of parking lot, next to parking attendant booths. No meters close to pier. Parking citation runs about $60.00 Per a regular pier walker, parking enforcement very active.” A report from josedelgado72 on July 3 said, “We had the opportunity to fish the Cabrillo Pier for the first time. We were able to catch a few smelt, my sister-in-law caught her first fish, which we used for bait but found no takers. We did see a small halibut come over the rail for another angler and plenty of kids catching smelt, mackerel, and other small bait fish. We met a lot of really nice people and we look forward to coming back in the future.” 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. 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, Newport Beach (near the Balboa Pier) and Dana Harbor. 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 things slowing down. Also expect a lot of kelp. 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, Newport Beach (near the Balboa Pier) and Dana Harbor. 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 when you walk off the ferry onto the landing you are at the Mole.
Redondo Beach Pier — I received a note that mackerel are thick and that bonito are also being caught. 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 — A report from Reel Newbie on July 14 said, “Fished Santa Monica pier from 9am-1pm on Thursday with an incoming tide. Got a little bait this time, but there were only queenfish. Gave away 5 of reasonable size and threw back the small ones. Only saw about 5 mackerel caught if not before I arrived.” 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 the fish reports from the pier have been real good. Inshore action has been great, a combination of corbina, BIG yellowfin croaker, and halibut (probably due to the grunion runs). Mid-pier sees some perch and bass while out at the end the fishing for thresher sharks has remained strong. Biggest thresher she has seen was an eleven-foot-long fish but many 8-9-foot-long fish have also been caught. 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 are still reporting a good variety of fish including white seabass, halibut, and large bat rays. She says due to the high cost of parking most anglers are walking in from the street. It used to be free but she’s heard they are now charging $5 to walk in. 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 but jacksmelt, mackerel, perch and some croakers (inshore) 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., says the great summer action continues. Inshore, some big yellowfin croaker and huge spotfin croakers have been on the table along with a few nice-sized barred surfperch. He said one lady caught five spotfin that exceeded 8 pounds in weight along with a 12-pounder that was weighed. Those are huge spotfins; the California record spotfin being 14 pounds. The bait for the croakers? Mussels and sand crabs. Inshore to mid-pier is also seeing halibut, some shorties and some legals. He said he caught three legal-size fish the previous week, two on live anchovies and one on a dead anchovy that he trolled on the bottom. Sharay action has also been great and he said it’s basically every type of sand shark—leopard sharks, smoothhounds, shovelnose and even a horn shark. He said of course there are also the thresher sharks. The one surprise is that there are no mackerel in the top waters although there are good numbers of anchovies, sardines, and eating-size butterfish (pompano). He said there have also been a lot of big white seabass hooked, many exceeding 4-feet in length but almost all have been lost to the pilings. Last but not least is an afternoon showing of squid that can be caught on Sabikis. Good fishing and a great variety! 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 — Ben at Hook Line & Sinker, 4010-5 Calle Real, Santa Barbara, says things have slowed a little but the pier is still kicking good numbers of sardines in the top waters along with good numbers of crabs on the bottom for the crabbers. Boyd Larson at Hyun’s Tackle, 3695 E Harbor Blvd., says the action at Stearns has been mediocre. The one bright spot might be the halibut being caught at the finger; one hallie of 32-inches was recorded. Mackerel are missing during the day but are available after sunset (when most anglers have gone home). Meanwhile sharay action is slow; thresher sharks seem to show up every other day. He says there are also a lot of big red crabs being caught and a lot of octopus. 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 — Ben at Hook Line & Sinker, 4010-5 Calle Real, Santa Barbara, reports that Goleta is the pier for some “glory fish” with some halibut being caught along with angel sharks (six were caught in a few days). One white seabass was taken, a 24-incher, and several big bat rays have been hooked. However, it’s slow on top. There’s a lot of bait in the water but anglers are not really reporting sardines or mackerel. Not sure why. Boyd Larson at Hyun’s Tackle, 3695 E Harbor Blvd., says Goleta Pier has some problems. There is still a halibut bite but the mackerel and sardines are largely missing. However, some big perch are being caught mid-pier by anglers using mussels, both blackperch and rainbow seaperch. Meanwhile the pipe reef is offering up kelp bass and sand bass but surprisingly is seeing few of what has traditionally the no. 1 fish, brown rockfish. He did see an angler bring in two kelp greenling on a high/low rigging (which are rare this far south). Lastly the sharay action is so so, bat rays are always available for those using squid while an occasional thresher is taken (but they are largely MIA given the absence of mackerel). 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 somewhere around eight years but I have been told that the state has now allocated money to rebuild the pier. My fingers are crossed. How To Get There: From Highway 101 simply take the Gaviota State Park turnoff down to the beach and pier.