Back to San Clemente After a Long Break


Well-Known Member
Haven't fished since the winter. Went back to my favorite mainland pier, San Clemente on Memorial Day. Fished the end of the pier casting out to the reef with both a long casting and medium casting setup. Fished hi-lo rigs with size 4/6 hooks on the medium casting and size 1/2 hooks on the long casting rig. Also intermittently fished a small hook sabiki trying to get live bait. Started around 9AM and ended at 2PM. Fished outgoing, slack and then incoming tide.

Slower bite that I'm used to here. Very few bait fish around the end of the pier. Action on the sabiki was also slow. Ended up catching:
1 Sand Bass (~11")
1 Shovelnose Guitar fish (~24")
1 Black Perch
1 Blue Perch
6 Walleye Surf Perch
1 Smelt

Guitarfish and sand bass were caught on the long casting setup. Black and blue perch on the medium casting setup. All else caught on sabiki. Briefly fished the live smelt on a 2 oz. carolina rig with no takers. Just as I was leaving I hooked my best fish on the day on the medium casting setup but the fish ran me into the rocks and broke me off. If I had to guess that fish was a sheephead in the 14-16" range but I will never know for sure.

Caught fish, the guitarfish was only my 2nd guitarfish caught ever and so easily by personal best (although they get much bigger). Decent amount of fish caught especially considering it was a slow bite. Saw no other fish caught at the end other than another walleye surf perch. The angler that caught that perch said that it gave birth while it was caught and put the babies on a sabiki and hooked something big that snapped his line.

An angler hit the jackpot of small to medium size spotfin croakers (7-8 in a bucket) fishing mussels inshore.

Lots of tourists, locals and anglers on the pier for the holiday. Great to get out there again!



Senior Member
Thanks for the post.

Surprised you could find parking.

I may know the angler who gets mussel from the pilling. He also sells the fish which is not allowed.