Balboa Pier 7/31


Well-Known Member
Sardine Hell:

Went to Balboa pier in an effort to catch some bonito or mackerel. I got to the pier at 6:50 am, towards the tail end of incoming high tide. The water was stained green and cold, but otherwise conditions looked good. I started off throwing a sabiki near the end. It didn't take long to start hooking into sardines, and just about nothing else. As far as I could tell, the only thing people were catching in numbers was sardines. Even after switching to a micro jig I continued to hook them. I moved down to the first 'T' near the surf to try fishing live bait, and to get away from the sardines. The sardines followed me there, in fact, closer to the surf, they got denser. I dropped a live bait by the pilings and tried to catch literally anything else on a baited sabiki. I managed one decent sized jacksmelt, but otherwise it was the same as before. I left at 10:00 when it was apparent that all I would catch was more sardines.
Thanks for the report. What size hooks were you using with the sabiki for the dines? Also how crowded was it when you left at 10? Might check out the pier on the weekend.


Well-Known Member
I was using the Hayabusa size 3 sabikis in green. That seems to be the hot color this year. It wasn't particularly crowded when I left, but if last Saturday was any indication, it will be very crowded tomorrow.
Yeah the water turned on Thurs. Rode my bike down the river trail on Wed with and ultralight setup and tossed crocs. The water was clear with lots of smelt around the pier and the large balls of large sardines rolling through. The micro Bonito were tearing through the smelt by the pier pilings but not bothering the balls of bait, picked off a few and rode 22mi home. Wind was moderate.

Drove down Thurs with full pier gear and it was windy, the water was green, no surface smelt but constant balls of sardines (sometimes stretching 100's of yards), maybe anchovies too as the 3 bones from day before had STUFFED stomachs of med sized anchovies. Tries splasher, megabait and crocs in diff patterns. Lots of passes very few hookups. Water was nasty ...
Well guys..just came back from the pier. Fished from 8 to 11am. We tried to fish up sardines for bait, but only thing biting were smelt and mirco macks. Pin those on live bait rigs and got 2 strikes and missed. Didnt see any anyone else get sardines either. Maybe they did? Wind blowing was good this morning from the south. Water was cold and green. Crowd was coming in hot at 11, we got out accordingly. Of course only about 25% of the people were wearing masks.