Catalina lobster trip, 2/25/2020. Smi-long, w/pic.


Senior Member
It had been a long time since I had visited the city of Avalon on the Island of Santa Catalina.

My ice fishing trip had something to do with it.

I had two round trip tickets, plus two Commodore vouchers expire from my commuter booklet. I had neglected to use them before the year was up. The Catalina Express crew and captains have always been nice to me.

Since I have always been given great service by Catalina Express staff; I asked the office if they could replace them and the manager said, the city of Long beach won’t allow it!!!!!!!!

Then they closed the Mole to fishing.

Thus, I was not in the mood to buy a new booklet. Then my daughter gave me a CE gift card, worth two round trips. Plus, two commodore vouchers as Xmas present. So I decided to go again.

I was greeted by many as “where have you been, we missed you”. It was nice to be remembered.

I thought I would take one more chance on the Avalon Pleasure Pier, (better known as the Green Pleasure Pier) to catch lobsters before the season ends.

Following is a short report (by my standards) of the outing.

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

I had seen reports of Cabrillo Mole (or Mole for short) being closed for major repairs. It was fenced off and no fishing is allowed. I had to see it for myself.

I was told that the construction which started after September 2nd, 2019 (Labor Day) will last about eight months. That makes April the opening month. However, a couple of storms have put the progress back.

I am also told that there is a plan to ban fishing at the Mole permanently. If that is so, The Avalon and by extension, Catalina will lose its charm for me to a big extend.

During the summer months, when there is a platform attached to the front of the Green Pleasure Pier (GPP), there is no more than two-- four feet sections of railing space available for fishing.

1-This is the company that is doing the work. I had used a similar name waterproofing company many years ago in an office building that I was supervising. Doubt it is the same company.

2-The entire railing up to and including the crane area was fenced off.

3- These are the old beams that were exposed to saltwater and were rusting. The genius who put them in must not have known the effects of saltwater on steel.

4-It seems everything is encapsulated in concrete.

I hope they took exceptional care with the rebar. The reason I said that is because a Harbor Patrol officer was telling me they were painting over the rusty rebars?

5-Some kelp is growing next to the crane area.

After getting off the Catalina Express, and being thankful for a very smooth ride, I met my friend who is lead crewman for the Express.

Then I moved directly to the tip of the pier. I dropped my cart and backpack on a bench and went to the Vons market for some food for the day and over-night.

When I got back, I used a cable lock to secure one net to the railing, where I wanted to drop later at night. The second net was just tied to the railing close to where I was fishing.

6-I set up my gear at my usual place on the pier.

I had a lot wax and meal worm left from the ice fishing trip, so I decided to give it a try. No one wanted to eat it and they all sank. Maybe later some bottom feeding fish will eat them. So it was chumming with bread crumbs and peas.

Lots of large Opaleye were hanging around, but no takers for a while.

I had one rod with a new float system to be used with peas as bait. The second rod with single hook to be used with frozen anchovies.

7-Water so clear, you can see the bottom and all the fish. Which actually made it frustrating.

When you can see the fish take the “free be” peas, yet turnaround of the hooked peas, it become really frustrating. If water was murky and you did not see the fish, you can assume they are not around.

Usually at this pier there are many short calicos hang around. On this trip, there were none.

8-First and legal Calico bass that was caught with frozen anchovies.

9-This was the second calico bass that I caught. It was released due to being short.

10-I decided to give away the fish to a father and daughter team that although experienced anglers, they did not catch much.

11-Anybody remembers the beginning of the movie “Airplane”? With the music from “Jaws” in background?

12-The sudden fog provided some interesting photo opportunities.

13-Looking toward basketball court on the right side of the pier.

14-Looking at the Mole.

15-Looking at the Casino.

16-Notice the rod with rollers guides in the picture. A Story about that below……

An elderly gentleman walks to the railing and I see a heavy rod and as a lure a life size plastic crab and a 1 lbs. weight attached to it. He drops the rig down, leans the rod against the railing and goes and sits down on a bench. He then starts to write something in his notebook.

More on him later….

Saw several sheriff deputies get on the boat in the picture. Another deputy started to holler at them from where we were standing. Could not make out what he was saying.

17-It is good to see the law enforcement on the island.

I am always interested in other goings on in the city.

18-They have built another building next to Zane Gray’s house. Very top, same level as the clock tower.

You can now rent the house that Mr. Gray lived in.

As it got dark, I set up two nets for lobster and put away my rods. As the hours passed, I wished I had brought a new book I was reading. It started to get cold and I put on layers, and finally my blue ice fishing top. I was too lazy to put the bib on and I was slightly cold. Sitting inactive did not help either.

I set my kitchen timer to let me know when to pull up the nets. First every 20 minutes, then eventually to 45 minutes’ intervals. In the mean time I tried to get some shuteye.

Around two AM, the Harbor Patrol crew got busy relocating floating platforms and dingy docks. I was told a Northeaster was on its way according to the weather report.

19-They even had raised the warning flag up, but the storm never showed.

20-The new LED lights on the pier are very bright. They probably make it not too desirable for the lobsters which prefer darkness.

I actually got one small octopus, and three short lobsters. All released.

Eventually sun came up and I had endured one more semi-cold and sleepless night.

Around 8:00 AM I was having a nice breakfast with hot coffee at Jacks. The cold sandwich during the night was better than starving, but no substitute for lux and scrambled eggs, with hash brown well done and buttered sourdough toast.

With full stomach, I moved to the mole and took the 11:45 AM boat to the Long Beach Terminal. As a rule, I normally stay until the last boat before leaving the island. However, with Mole being closed to fishing and fish at the GPP being tight jawed, I decided to go home for some good sleep on my comfortable bed.

21-As I was packing I saw the unusual holes on my sea lion proof bucket.

I was wondering if the sea lion tried to get in the bucket, but realized it is perhaps the raccoons in our backyard doing this.

In closing, for now with Mole being closed to fishing and later the float in front of the GPP reducing the space, makes the island less attractive to me. The parking rate now is $19.00 per 24 hrs. and the EC no longer carries bagel and cream cheese. My breakfast on the 6:00 AM boat.

All is not lost though. I still have the option of taking my Hobie Mirage drive inflatable kayak to the island. Since it fits in a suitcase size carrier, it is allowed on the Express. Unlike regular kayaks.

I have done it once more for lobster fishing, and it requires some logistics figured out.


P.S. The plastic crab lure story continues……. It turned out that he was part of a “treasure hunt” for the cruise ship that was at the island. The participant had to guess what kind of seafood was at the pier, or something to that effect.

On another note, Usually the 6:00 AM boat leaving Long Beach is full of contractors with lots of tools and luggage. Since I am retired and can, I decided to go on Tuesday. I forgot that the cruise ship will be there. There were several passengers who fished the pier, reducing the railing space even further.

Next time I will check the cruise ship schedule as well!!

Really, really the end.


Well-Known Member
Thanks for the report.
I remember seeing the person with the plastic crab on a recent trip. I don't remember the exact acronym on the sign, but it was pretty amusing watching people try to guess it. Shame the Mole is going to be closed to fishing.