Cayucos Jack and the Cayucos Pier posts...

Ken Jones

Staff member
Some interesting reports from Cayucos Jack and others about the Cayucos Pier, especially the shark information. Funny but I've never had much luck catching bigger fish there but then again I've never fished for sharks at night there. Need to find someone who lives in the area and set up a nightfishing trip to the pier (when the sharks are in the area). Received an email the other day saying it is currently DEAD at the pier.

Date: December 13, 1998
To: Ken Jones
From: Dennis Herndon

Subject: Cayucos Seven Gill

Wayne who caught the 180 lb. seven gill at Cayucos last month is a friend of mine. It took him over an hour to land. He caught the fish on a fresh sardine. He was using 40 lb. mono and NO wire leader. It took six guys to lift the fish onto the pier and they had three rope gaffs in the fish. One of the gaffs, if you can believe it, went into the shark’s mouth. The shark was 7 ½ feet long. Wayne told me that he hooked a big thresher the day before. When he caught this fish he found the hook that he was using the day before in its mouth.

Date: August 14, 2000
To: PFC Message Board
From: joe

Subject: Cayucos

Went to Cayucos this weekend. I saw a thresher shark about 80 yards off the beach on Saturday night about 300 yards south of the pier. I thought I was seeing things, too much Bud, but my wife saw it too! The next day I went to the pier and was talking to the rental place about a sea kayak and I told him what I saw, he told me that last week a 100-lb thresher was caught from the pier and the reason is that a lot of ‘chovie is massing at the beach due to the red tide south in Santa Barbara. What a weekend!

Posted by cayucosjack on July 30, 2002

Visited Cayucos Pier Monday evening used Sabikis with squid strips and anchovies to catch lots of queenfish (croakers) and quite a few very small bocaccio. Don’t let the rig sit on bottom too long keep jigging them or you'll end up hooking up a 4 inch bullhead on each hook within seconds. Threw out a big rod for sharks for a few hours after dark with no luck. But under the lights the queenfish kept me busy. If you go please follow the rules and let the bocaccio go if they are sublegal. I heard one guy bragging about how he brought home a bucket full just the night before most no longer than 8 inches and had a great fish fry. People like this is why we are in this situation in the first place.

Date: August 25, 2002
To: PFIC Message Board
From: cayucosjack

Subject: Cayucos Pier Report

Went to Cayucos Pier Saturday night from just about 9-10:30pm. Landed one dog shark at about 9:30 using small smelt I had frozen. A little over 3 feet long, maybe 10lbs. very nice one. Caught four croakers up to 12" on squid under the lights. Lots of bullhead. Then about 10:20 I packed up all the rods except one intending on going home early after a little bad Chinese food. Just as I started to pick up the last rod got hit hard turned out to be a leopard shark, about 2 1/2 feet long, very fat & ugly and had an attitude to match. All fish were released successfully much to the disdain of other anglers, “let me have that dogfish for bait” if you are going to waste one on bait catch your own buddy! Just when I was becoming convinced all the big fish were gone from the area, get surprised with a good night. Who knows how many more I could have caught if I could have lasted longer! The tide was just peaking and the moon had just rising. I didn’t see anything else being caught outside of the croakers and bullhead but I'm sure there were some more sharks caught after I left.

Date: September 8, 2002
To: PFIC Message Board
From: cayucosjack

Subject: Cayucos Pier 9/8 Report

Fished Cayucos pier Sunday night from 9-11pm. Caught several white croaker and a few bullhead on squid. Caught the small (puffer?) shark in the picture on half an 8" frozen sardine. If anyone has any info on this type of shark I would appreciate it, I can't find it in DFG fish profiles and I have caught several at Cayucos. I was told that they release a potent toxin in the water when they "puff" up and that I should not throw it back where I was fishing because the toxin scares away all other fish and nothing else will bite. I didn't take any chances and threw him back far away from where I was fishing.

I got two other strikes on the sardine halves, one felt really big, only to have the lines go limp after just a few seconds. I guess I need to re-learn how to set a hook or something...oh well. The kelp got to be a real pain around the peak of high tide so called it a night. Only a couple of other fisherman out and it was a beautiful night.

Date: September 10, 2002
To: PFIC Message Board
From: cayucosjack

Subject: Cayucos Pier 9/10 Report

Went to Cayucos Pier 9-11pm Tuesday. 13 white croakers...on squid Sabiki (released)...bullheads...bullheads and more bullheads. Caught the little “swell” (thanks for the info guys) shark on a half frozen sardine. I have caught one of these ugly mean critters 3 out of the last 4 times I have went. This one was by far the smallest and was the only one that didn't blow up like it swallowed a basketball. Had one other really good hit on the same set up, felt like a bat ray but who knows because he came unbuttoned. I ran out of my sardines which seem to be about the best thing going lately. Resorted to anchovies, squid and even a small white croaker as bait but came up empty on all attempts.

The crabs have apparently moved in, its bad enough having to worry about the bullhead picking your bait to heck but tonight it was the crabs. Reeled up at least 6 and just about every time I would check my line I brought up a few that would fall off when I brought it out of the water. I don't know much about crabs but they were all yellow/tan and some were actually of decent size.

Date: September 15, 2002
To: PFIC Message Board
From: cayucosjack

Subject: Cayucos & Morro 9/14

Went to Cayucos Pier from about 9pm-11 deciding to just work with my squid and that one mackerel. Threw out chunks of that mackerel and got a hard hit within 10 minutes. After the initial hit it just felt like pulling dead weight (and a lot of it). Got it to the surface to see that it was yet another swell shark. This one was definitely the largest one I have hooked yet. It must have filled up with water because it was way too heavy to hand over hand up on 12-lb test. After trying to remove the knots in my rope on my crab hoop I had to watch him come right off and swim away. Oh well I guess that's a clean release. Would have liked to get a picture and a tape to it though. I think it was well over 3 feet long and most that I have read say they only get to be 3 feet. The Pier was very fogged in, visibility was low and there were a bunch of anglers crowding under the lights. Also caught a few white croakers, bullheads and jacksmelt with squid strips on Sabikis. Most everyone was shark fishing but I did not see another one caught while I was there.

Date: November 26, 2002
To: PFIC Message Board
From: cayucosjack

Subject: Cayucos Pier 11/26 Report — Steelhead Surprise!!!

Fished Cayucos pier 9:30-12:30. Low/incoming tide. Had some pile worms left over from my San Luis Res. trip on the weekend and wanted to use them before they dried out so decided to go perch fishing. When I arrived there were only two other anglers, they were catching perch and jacksmelt one after another on what looked like mussels or clams. I caught a small smelt right away on my bare Sabiki and threw it out on a sliding live bait rig hoping for a halibut. Not even a bite on that rod all morning. I baited my Sabiki with cut pile worm and put it down in the pilings for perch. I caught several barred surfperch this way and several jacksmelt (some very large ones). I was hooking up every minute or so when suddenly I was pulling up what looked to be 3 VERY large smelt at once. I got the line out of the water and noticed the one on the bottom wasn't a smelt. My first thought was that it was a huge white croaker when I saw the pink on its sides, I got it closer and thought maybe its a small white sea bass. I got it on the pier and to my surprise it was a Steelhead! It was just a small one but it was a steelhead none the less! In my haste and excitement I forgot to weigh/measure but did get the pic. It was about 14" long maybe 2lbs. It lost a lot of scales when it hit the planks so I wanted to get it back in the water right away. I don't know if it was schooling with the smelt or what but it took the pile worm and they all 3 hit at the same time. I fished for another hour or two hoping for another only bigger. I was fishing just opposite the fish cleaning station.
Fish count:
25+ Jacksmelt (some very large ones included)
7 barred surfperch
1 walleye surfperch
1 Steelhead
All released unharmed.

Date: February 28, 2003
To: PFIC Message Board
From: cayucosjack
Subject: Cayucos Pier—Perch still hot

Fished outgoing tide 12:30-2pm. Mid-pier. Good action for the perch again today. Used small chunks of mackerel for bait again and they loved it. One frozen mackerel lasted about my last 10 trips, can't beat that. Cheap and effective bait. Upsized a couple hooks to try and find some bigger perch and it paid off. All the action came within 30 minutes and went dead after that. Low tide was at about 3:15 (fyi).

Total catch:
2 small walleyes (Sabiki with mackerel)
5 barred 1/2lb-1lbers (hi/lo with size 1 hooks with mackerel chunks)
All released.

Date: June 15, 2003
To: PFIC Message Board
From: cayucosjack
Cayucos Pier 6/14 Report

7-9pm. Incoming tide (big). Clear and nice weather. Just some kelp in the water. Pier was crowded as it ever gets around here, at times close to a hundred rods were out. Tons of bait all around. Jacksmelt were thick with some schools having some up to 17”. Right before sundown the bite took off and most were catching 2-5 fish per cast. Some Spanish mackerel were mixed in. Occasionally someone would find a school of silvers or walleyes and bring up 3 or 4 at a time too. I wanted to stay later but the lights were a little crowded so I decided to call it a night early. I am sure the bite stayed hot for a while and with all those lines out someone had to get into at least some sharks later. It was one of those days where you could catch as many as you would want and unfortunately some people kept way more than you would need to feed an army. Also the annoying “catch a hundred fish and feed them all to the cute birds on the pier” guys were everywhere. Good night of fishing though. Hopefully it stays like this for a while.
my catch:
3 silver surf perch (bare Sabiki jigged, all at once)
20+ jacksmelt (bare Sabiki, or squid tipped)
3 Spanish mackerel (bare Sabiki only on quick retrieve)
2 bullhead (squid, anchovy Sabiki)
1 thornback(about the size of a coaster, Sabiki with squid)
I released all but 2 of the smaller jacksmelt I was planning on using for shark bait (maybe tomorrow). (CayucosJack)

Date: June 17, 2003
To: PFIC Message Board
From: cayucosjack
Subject: Cayucos Report

Cayucos Pier: Fished 6pm-11:30pm. Low-incoming tide. Clear but windy weather. Again tons of baitfish all around the pier. There were only a few of us out and we had it pretty good. The sea lions were pushing schools to the surface everywhere, all night long. I put in some hours looking for the big one (halibut, shark, ray, etc.) to no avail. I still had a blast and am extremely excited about what could be to come as we all caught a good variety of fish. I caught my first bocaccio of the year, some HUGE sardines, and perhaps most exciting to me was the run of Pacific Mackerel. In the 3 years I have been fishing Cayucos pier I have only seen a few caught and usually in the fall. El Nino must be at work. Gets me excited about the possibilities for the summer. Most would of you would think I was crazy to get excited over mackerel but around these parts its a big deal. There were 3 kids at the end of the pier that were just nailing them. One of the kids was pretty smart about fish and he said he had been there since 10am and he caught 5 short halibuts in the morning hours. He may have exaggerated but I do believe he caught some and he knew his species like a Peterson’s Field Guide. He had what has to be the largest sardine I have ever seen (had to be over 20”). There were a few people out sharkin' late. All I saw landed was what appeared to be a small swell shark. I saw a guy get bent big time but he never landed it, must have broke off. My big rod only bent once and I missed it. Promising night though.
My catch:
6 shiners (Sabiki w/sardine strips, after dark)
3 bullhead
1 small bocaccio (Sabiki w/ sardine strips, after dark)
2 white croaker (Sabiki w/ sardine strips, after dark)
1 Spanish mackerel (Sabiki bare jigged, daylight hours)
3 Pacific mackerel 10”-14” (Sabiki bare jigged, daylight hours)
25+ sardines (bare Sabiki, daylight hours, most were 12”-15”)
40+ jacksmelt (on anything, anytime, some in the 18-20” range)

Most were released. I kept what is in the pic for my freezer and used about a half dozen sardines/macks for bait while I was there. Its not very often I come home with more bait than I leave with. Still looking for my first hali of the year and first shark of the year. (CayucosJack)

Date: August 12, 2003
To: PFIC Message Board
From: EddieE

Subject: Cayucos first LEGAL HALIBUT!!!

I had an EXCELLENT day!! I got my first legal halibut! OK, here come the details. I got to the pier around 10:45 this morning and grabbed the bench on the beach side of the wash station. Since my dad didn't come with me I decided to try and kill two birds with one stone. I put one of my lead heads with a fish trap on the bottom of my Sabiki instead of a weight. I hadn't jigged for very long when I saw a group of small jacksmelt chasing my Sabiki to the top of the water. When I noticed them, I started jigging slowly right next to the pier...then...WHAM! I got hit! I yelled at a guy I'd met on the pier a few times and he came down and helped me with the crab net. I got worried once, while he was trying to net it he bumped it with the net and it ran under the pier... I had it on my lightest pole and I was worried that it was going to get in the pilings, but I pulled it back out. I fished for a few more hours without any luck other than baitfish. Time to cook...*grin* Eddie

Date: August 25, 2003
To: PFIC Message Board
From: Slash

Subject: Cayucos Pier 8/23

August 23, 10am to 2pm, Cayucos Pier. Custom rod of unknown origin and unknown components, 7 ft long. Pfluger Oceanic reel. 20 lb line, unknown brand (borrowed rig). Trolley Rig, 3 oz flat sinker, 3” Silver Perch for bait.

I finally made it back to the Central Coast this past weekend. After much time had been spent planning my short stay to include as much fishing as possible while still accommodating my wife’s desires and our friends who were invited along, I only got to go out once on Saturday. However, the quality of the trip made up for the lack of quantity. Thanks go out to EddieE and CayucosJack for letting me know where they would be throughout the weekend for a possible get-together.

While our wives went shopping, my friend and I spent some time on the Cayucos Pier. We started out about mid-pier with a couple of Sabiki rigs to try and make some bait. We used bare rigs at first and soon progressed to baiting the hooks with squid, chicken livers, and some cooked bacon that my friend snagged from the breakfast dishes as we left the house. We weren’t catching anything, just like most of the other people on the pier. One lady was catching some shiners, though, but not very many. After awhile, we decided to try the end of the pier. My friend’s Bacon-Sabiki started getting hits right away. He pulled in some little fish (less than 3” long) that looked like some kind of bass, but it was difficult to tell. He also brought up a small silver perch that he wasn’t interested in keeping. He gave it to me and I had visions of pulling in a halibut—just like Eddie did the other day. So I made up a trolly rig like I saw in Ken’s book and let that little fish go to do his thing. While I was waiting, I used my light rod to jig around the pilings. My friend kept pulling up little fish with his Sabiki and wouldn’t switch to a bigger rig because he said he was having too much fun with the little guys.

After a while, I noticed that my rod tip quickly dipped just a little, twice. I figured it was the perch swimming around and went back to jigging. About 20 minutes later, I decided to check on the little guy and picked up my rod. Wow! It felt heavier than a 3-inch perch! I thought I was hooked in some kelp, or maybe on a piling. I cranked a little and hauled back on the rod, and then I felt something alive on the end of my line—and it was kind of heavy! It didn’t run and didn’t fight much, so I just hauled and reeled. I looked over the railing and there was this ugly face looking back at me with lobate fins spread out on either side and two eyes sitting on top of the head. A big rockfish! My first though was that I had hooked a Cabezon. Well, here I was with no net, no gaff; and my rod was bent double. So I handed my rod to my partner and pulled this fish up hand over hand until he was safe on the deck. Man, he was ugly! And look, he’s blue—I had a Lingcod! My, what big teeth he had! I had to step on his lower jaw with the toe of my shoe in his mouth to keep him still enough to measure. While being measured, he started chewing on my foot—that was a weird sensation. 24-1/2 inches—long enough to keep. I considered throwing him back, but decided that he would taste great on the grill. So, now two nice-sized fillets are waiting in the frig for dinner tonight!

Date: May 27, 2004
To: PFIC Message Board
From: scotty

Subject: Dazzlin' Dan

On a vacation couple years ago, I was fishing off the end of Cayucos Pier. About 9 AM, this white bearded guy in his 60s drives out to the end of the pier in a golf cart, takes out a rod, sticks a big fish head on a huge treble hook and casts it way out. I generally like to pick up fishing tips from local regulars, so I asked him if he was fishing for sharks and if he fished this pier often. He told me that he was disabled and semi-retired, and fished the pier the same four days each week.

I asked him what was the biggest shark he had seen caught at the pier. He told me that he had caught a 7 1⁄2 footer, but that he had seen an 8 1/2 footer caught, and launched into a series of Cayucos “big shark” stories. Now I have seen my share of threshers caught at Pacifica and leopards in the Bay, but I was skeptical about all these monster shark stories. However, I kept listening politely because who can begrudge an old fisherman his stories? I noticed that he didn’t have a net, and I asked him how he got such large sharks up on the pier. He showed me his pier gaff. Then he told another story about how he was having trouble gaffing this 7 foot shark, so his buddy jumped off the pier, grabbed the pier gaff with one hand and the shark with the other, and manually gaffed the shark. This was too much for me, I started to feel insulted that he expected me to believe this, and I backed out of the conversation.

Then he said he was featured in Sunset Magazine, and pulled a scrapbook out of his golf cart. The scrapbook indeed contained an article about Cayucos Pier and referenced a pier rat named “Dazzlin’ Dan.” Then he turned a page in the scrapbook and showed me a photo of him on Cayucos Pier with a 7 1⁄2 foot shark. There was another photo of an 8-foot shark on the pier. Then he showed me a photo with another big shark and his (wet) buddy who had jumped in after it. Picture after picture of very impressive sharks on the pier, enough to back up his tales. Ya never know.

Date: August 11, 2004
To: PFIC Message Board
From: HookinFish
Subject: Cayucos Pier

It's a little late but about the 8th caught about a hundred sardines off of Cayucos pier. Saw some people catching jacksmelt and perch but nothing more. Heard a guy caught a 65-lb angel shark I believe the day before. The 9th went out to Morro Bay and caught a rock fish of some sort it was small. Also caught a starfish that had spines on it. pretty slow all in all. But happy to be finally writing up my first report in Cali.

Date: August 31, 2004
To: PFIC Message Board
From: EddieE

Subject: Short Report—Cayucos

I'm dead tired so I'm going to make it short. Went to Cayucos and fished from 6:30PM till about 12:30 AM. Bait was EVERYWHERE... Caught ‘chovies, jacksmelt, Spanish mackerel, croakers, bullhead. The dog sharks were also there. I ended up with a total of 11 dog shark, smallest was 12" largest about 3'. Eddie

Date: November 2, 2004
To: PFIC Message Board
From: by cayucosjack
Subject: Cayucos Pier 11-1-04 Report

Started off the afternoon fishing the Estero Bluffs for about an hour. Landed 2 decent grass rockfish using squid heads on 2/0 circle hooks, 15-lb test mono. I noticed a lot of bird activity around the pier so I packed up and headed that way.

When I got to Cayucos pier I could see that there was a lot of bait just past the end. I decided to throw a grub (1.5" perch powers) in the surfline for perch while waiting for the bait to come in. Hooked into a couple of small walleyes and some big jacksmelt right away. The perch were right under the pier so I was working next to the pilings when I pulled up a 11" steelhead on the grub. Thought it was a croaker till I looked closer. Took a pic and released the little guy. They are in a bit early as the creek isn't even breaking the beach yet. I caught another small perch and decided to move down to mid-pier and use it for live bait on a halibut rig.

Set up shop at the sink and changed from a grub to a Sabiki with a Kroc at the bottom on the small setup. I tipped the Sabiki with squid and soaked it in Bang. Right away the big smelt were hitting the mackerel Kroc as well as the fishskins. I eventually found some anchovies, shiners and small topsmelt as well. I was able to keep an assortment of small live baits out the whole time but they went untouched.

I started jigging the Kroc/Sabiki next to the pilings to find the shiners (for leopard bait later that eve) when I found another school of steelhead. I caught and released another four (one on the Kroc, the others on the squid/Sabiki hooks). They were all 8-10 inches long and just beautiful fish. The pictures don't do them justice. Please release these sweet little fish if you go...
5 steelhead
30+ jack/topsmelt
12 anchovies
4 walleye perch
3 shiner perch
4 bullhead

All fish released except about 6 smelt, 1 walleye and the shiners (save what I used as live bait). The sun went down and I decided to follow through with my plans to target leopards in Morro, despite the urging of regulars who claim the dogsharks and swell sharks have been on a hot bite at Cayucos.

Date: November 28 2004
To: PFIC Message Board
From: mobynick1

Subject: Big Skate

I decided 5 years ago that I wanted to try fishing on Cayucos pier. One evening last June, my son and I went fishing and this is what I caught. The next morning, I went to the harbor patrol office and checked their records to identify the fish. According to their records, she was a big skate, about 100-120 lbs., and about 100 yrs old! I'd guess she was at least 6 ft. long and 5 ft. wide. I only had her out of the water a few minutes and then I let her go. I always wanted to catch Moby looks like I got his mom. Now, I want to catch his daddy! Anyone else catch anything like this?



Date: February 5, 2005
To: PFIC Message Board
From: cayucosjack
Subject: Perchin' the Yuke

Fished Cayucos Pier from about 3-5:30pm Thursday. Midway through a small incoming. Went looking to get some grubbing in without getting wet. I set up just outside the surf zone and worked a Carolina'd grub from the sand back out to me on the North Side (South had a bunch of surfers out). I stuck with small Kalin's Perch Power's scented with shrimp oil and on the other outfit a Sabiki tipped with cut mackerel. The grub caught fish immediately but the mackerel at the edge of the surf ended up producing much better fish (numbers and size). I also tried cut shrimp which caught a couple of fish too but they definitely liked the blood bait better. Most fish were small, a few were pushing 1-lb.

After the perch bite tapered I moved out to deeper water. The bottom from just outside the breakers to as far as I could cast off the end must have been covered in little sanddabs. Unfortunately most are the speckled variety and few were over 5”. They would hit any small hook baited with anything near the bottom (they'd hit it before it even got down). I quickly got bored releasing these little things and went home. Don't the bullheads know that Cayucos Pier is their territory? Do they realize that a bunch of little dabs are stealing their (annoying) thunder?

A regular at the pier said he caught a few sharks the night before. There must be a regular sanddab buffet for any predators lurking. Maybe I'll give it a whirl tonight to see for myself.
4 BSP on grubs
13 BSP on cut mack
2 big walleyes (shrimp and mack)
32 sanddabs
ALL fish released.

Date: February 8, 2005
To: PFIC Message Board
From: cayucosjack

Subject: Cayucos Pier 2-7-05

Headed to Cayucos pier after it got too dark at the jetty. The tide was incoming, weather cold and clear. After about an hour of fishing I was joined by EddieE, the shark master himself, and he brought some luck out with him. We had a banner night by February standards. We fished until about 11pm from the end. I got a fat 16" flounder on squid. The little sharks were congregating off the pier in great numbers. At one time we had a shark on 3 different rods at the same time. As usual the shark master out-sharked me. I got still got him in total numbers and 'sides I got an edible fish too! The flounder was the first I've caught in a long time and probably my biggest. Since I never catch them I wanted to eat him but I also figured that was the best reason I could have to return it. I played it forward and released him hoping I'm doing my part to bring back the populations. Either that or I just missed out on a tasty meal. I did get one Pacific sanddab that was big enough to keep too.
my stats:
1 jacksmelt (squid)
5 white croaker (squid & mack)
4 bullhead (squid & mack)
2 walleye perch (squid & shrimp)
1 speckled sanddab (squid)
1 Pacific sanddab (squid)
1 starry flounder (squid)
5 smoothound sharks (squid & mack, all were lil 14-19"ers)

Eddie's stats (I think)
10 smoothound sharks (all lil guys)
1 thornback ray

We released everything. After dark some people were catching BSP in the surf on bait. They reported the bite was awesome just before sunset. Even though tide was really low (that whole high tide perch theory is just not holding water lately).


Date: June 20, 2005
To: PFIC Message Board
From: cayucosjack

Subject: Cayucos Pier 6-20-05

In hopes of finding some shark action I took the stroll out onto the pier about 5pm. There was one other family group that was spread out over the last half of the left side. Most of their rods were out for the big boys but they reported some perch and croakers on the bait catching outfits. I threw a Sabiki tipped with mackerel pieces and couldn't keep it in the water. No smelt or mackerel, just a white hot croaker bite. Just before dark I gave up on the small stuff and went with two bigger rods. One was set up for anything that might come along, the other a bit smaller (17-lb test) to keep those lil guys fun. The little rod (Slydo, 24” 30-lb wire, 2/0 lightwire circle baited with a squid head) got bent first. I was surprised by the little skate in the pic. My second of the year at Cayucos (fairly rare around here). The angler next to me reported catching some bigger ones recently at Avila Pier.

Went on to have steady, even if not stellar, action. Most came on my bigger rod using Offshore Angler 5/0 wide gap circles and golfball sized chunks of mackerel. The swell sharks were out in force along with the thornbacks. No dogs or leopards like I saw on the weekend. As usual the swell sharks provided the tourists and other fisherman something to gawk at. Luckily I didn't have to burp any!

The family next to me was getting frustrated. Every time I got one on they'd chime in "Not again!" I suggested they lose the squid and go with fishy baits and before I left they had started to catch thornbacks at least. I decided to let them have my hot corner and left about 10:30.
~20 white croaker (mackerel tipped Sabiki, even some 12”ers!!)
1 bullhead
1 sanddab
4 swell sharks (up to 30", on mackerel)
2 thornbacks (mackerel)
1 (small) Big? skate (squid head)
All fish released.

Most fish came between 8pm and 9:30pm. Fishy baits work best. Weather was cold and windy upon arrival but calmed at dark like it’s supposed to and was a nice evening after that. Moon was full, sky was clear. High tide was about 9:30pm and was almost a +7!!! Great Cayucos tides and a classic Cayucos Summer evening (well would have been with a dogshark or two).

Date: July 27, 2005
To: PFIC Message Board
From: cayucosjack

Subject: Morro Bay & Cayucos

Cayucos: Lots more bait here than in Morro but not much else. Mackerel and smelt dominate catches lately. Shiners and walleyes can be had down in the pilings on bare and baited Sabikis jigged. Some BSP are in the surf zone but not many big fish. Small sharks (dogs, leopards and swell) are active at night with the obligatory thornback and occasional bat ray thrown in. They have been pulling hali's off the beach at Morro Strand and out to China Peak in boats so they are very close to the pier and I'd bet that at least one or two have been pulled of the Yuke. August and September are the months to be fishing the piers on the Central Coast and it looks like this summer won't be any different (assuming we don't get a 3 month red tide like last year).

Date: April 22, 2006
To: PFIC Message Board
From: calpolypierrat
Subject: Cayucos is actually pretty hot right now....

Short version:
-two ten foot poles: one with 65lb spectra and the other with store spooled 20lb test.
-squid and whole sardines for bait
-wire leader and 6/0 circles
-50-60lb bat ray with 3ft. wingspan
-56 inch shovelnose
-37.5 inch spiny dogfish
-5 thornbacks

Long Version: To start this story, let me give you some background. On Tues. night of this last week, my friends and I went out to Cayucos to do some fishing since we hadn’t been there in a while. There were a bunch of people fishing there and within 5 minutes of us fishing, we caught on to two small spiny dogfish. The rest of the night was fun and we caught about 15 small dogfish between us. A gentleman at the end actually caught about a 4-foot shark that we helped land. It was fun so we decided to go back last night...and wow. We got there around 8pm and the night started of with my roommate catching the biggest thornback I have ever seen. That’s not that impressive, but it was an indication of the night to come. An hour later or so, my pole almost goes flying off the end of the pier. A 15 minute battle later, and with the help of those on the pier, I landed a 50-60lb bat ray! That is my first successful landing of one. I was using 65-lb spectra that I had just bought that day. Boy was I glad I did. An hour or so after that, my roommates pole literally flies off the end of the pier, and we see in make its way into the ocean blue with something on the end of it. I made three desperate attempts to snag his line or pole with my rig, and on the third time, I got it. I fought his fish for about 5 minutes with my rig on his pole. Eventually we got a pier gaff and snagged his rod in the water once it was close enough, and then he finished off the battle for 15 minutes longer. With the help of some fellow Cal Poly students (thanks guys if you read this) we landed a 56-inch guitarfish! Now this is the first one I have seen alive and it was a monster. I didn’t think that they got any further north than Pismo either. Anyway, it weighed almost just as much as the bat ray. Not wanting to end the night yet, we stayed till 3am and about an hour or two before we actually left, I caught what I came to catch, my first shark of any significant size. The dogfish tipped the tape at just over 37 inches and was a decent fight. So, for all of you wondering what is going on at Cayucos, here is just a taste. All I can say is get out there and chance it...we did and boy did it pay off!!

Date: June 23, 2006
To: PFIC Message Board
From: pierkahiki

Subject: Re: Morro Bay/Cayucos Action??

My girlfriend and I fished at Cayucos pier last Saturday night from sunset to about 11:00 pm. Using hi-lo leaders with 1/0 circle hooks baited with chunks of mackerel or squid we caught 1 bullhead, 2 thornback rays, and 1 swell shark. Mackerel was the hot bait and we left the sharks and rays biting when we ran out of mackerel.

The swell shark was a very interesting creature, I've never seen one of them before. One of the other fishers on the pier offered to impale it on a pier gaff but I declined. He seemed offended and said "well you're not releasing that alive!" I told him I was and he protested saying that the shark will emit a poison in the water preventing anyone from catching fish the rest of the night. I told him that wasn't true and he seemed shocked. I honestly couldn't tell whether he believed his story or whether he was just really disappointed that I didn't plan to kill the shark. Everything was carefully released.

Date: January 6, 2007
To: PFIC Message Board
From: eventhorizon
Subject: Heck of a night at Cayucos Pier

I caught off the end of the pier between 8 and 10 pm with mackerel on a steel hi/low rig.
1 legal sized halibut (barely).
1 40-inch leopard shark.
1 (I believe) 58-inch, 82-pound pacific sharpnose shark.
The last was a great fight (where is my aspirin) that began with a 150 yard run and ended with two twists around the pile at the end.
All were released to be caught again.
1 month ago my son brought in his first shark. it was a broad nosed sevengill at 58 inches long ( my son is 53 inches tall). This one was eaten.

Date: April 2, 2007
To: PFIC Message Board
From: Danthefisherma

Subject: Cayucos Pier (night fishing)

Hit Cayucos Pier for a little Sharayin' with CayucosJack. Bait was squid and Sabiki for me, and squid and Mack for ‘Jack. It wasn’t long before CayucosJack hooked up, and brought in the first fish. His medium sized ray put up a nice little fight, and so it seemed we would have a good night. Unfortunately, that was the only decent sized fish for a few hours. Luckily there were a few kingfish willing to keep us occupied. After catching several kingfish, a fellow angler/camper pulled up two spotted sanddabs. By the time I could stop him, he had already thrown one back. But the second dab: I promptly sliced and put on a hook. Since I was fishless on squid, I figured this could be my ticket.

It didn’t take long. Though I was hoping for an early night stalker Halibut, or even a big Leopard, I wasn’t disappointed when the reel started to scream! I knew it was neither a ray nor shark, but was unsure. After a nice fight the fish showed itself... The fellow fisherman who caught the sanddab said he wanted to keep it, and after CayucosJack said it was one of Ken's favorites to eat, I was convinced and bleed the shark. One last pic: Can’t catch a 4-ft Shovelnose without a little song and dance! Playing the guitar...

That was the last fish of the night. And overall the action was pretty slow (too bad, it woulda been nice to take pics of more than one guitarfish!!), but it was a nice night and good to get out! Another day on the Central Coast!

Date: June 5, 2007
To: PFIC Message Board
From: phiberoptiks

Subject: Cayucos Pier 6/4 Night

Headed out, dropped first line around 7:30. Wasn't sure if I had bites, but turned out I had 2 squid stolen. This third time, I would be watching closely. Rod bent a little and quivered, and I snatched it up. Before I knew it I had a strong fight. Finally was able to surface the fish to see what I thought was a ray. Then I realized that it was a halibut! Wrestled with it under the right side pier, then eventually dragged it to the left side. Here was the hard part, since I was fishing by myself. Straddled the rod between my legs, and then tried to net the thing a few times, thought I was gonna lose it! Finally caught it in the net and hauled my butt off getting that thing up the pier. Sorry for the weird sentence grammar, its 2:30am and it took an hour something to fillet that thing.

Used whole squid as bait with a sliding setup. 8-ft Ugly Stik caught this ugly fish. Okuma Epixor reel. 65# stealth Spiderwire main line with Big5 $1.99 reel of 25-lb mono for leader. and a whole lot o' luck
Estimated 3 ft, 20 lbs

Date: July 3, 2007
To: PFIC Message Board
From: jmobfishen
Subject: Re: Fish of the Day—Swell Shark

Funny you mentioned our little puffy friends. I fished Cayucos Sunday night while in town for my wife’s high school reunion. We fished from 6pm to midnight. Lots of macs and smelt around...even a few lizardfish...1st time I have ever seen lizzies that far north. However the water is very warm. Some of the warmest water I have ever felt on the central coast.

Anyway back to our puffy friends. I caught one about 9pm it was about 3 feet long. I have caught lots of these little guys at Cayucos Pier while fishing for larger sharks over the years. As for the rest of the night we landed 2 Spiny dog sharks and a small skate along with countless smelt mackerel bullheads and the occasional lizardfish. The dogfish were both a little over 4 feet...both were brought up in the crab net and then released via the same method unharmed and back to happy spawning. One was male and was kind enough to let me know he was ready to spawn....LOL

Date: July 15, 2007
To: PFIC Message Board
From: Gip of Paso

Subject: Cayucos is slammin'

Went to Cayucos after work yesterday, macs were rippin' most were around 14” range, but some were absolutely huge, we weighed the largest that my friend caught and it was three and a half lbs. Then at about nine o'clock the dogfish swarmed the bait. Largest spiny we brought to the deck was four feet nine inches. The sharks kept everyone busy, not one angler at a time but three to four people were hooking up. Last night was great, and it wasn't stopping, when we left at midnight people were still hookin' up.

Posted by Danthefisherman

57” huh? Looks like them sharks are getting bigger. Biggest I've seen so far was 45”. Its been going off with the macks and dogsharks for about a month. I've pulled a couple of all nighters and the bite usually starts once the sun sets, and ends at about 12-1am, but sometimes the school will come through again at 2 for a few more hookups. After that it’s dead. I haven’t been on a weekend so I can’t speak for the crowds, but weekdays have been PACKED. Get there after dark and you wont get a spot anywhere near the end (not that it matter b/c you will catch sharks off the side too). It sure is nice to have the pier going off though huh? Hopefully these dogs will finish up their business and some new species will move in.

Posted by Gip of Paso

Started at 6:30 ended at 12:00. We fished by the second light on the south side. Wind was blowing to the north. People were thick. Go catch one of the big dogs like we were getting, and the doubting will stop. I've fished this area since the seventies and have never seen anything like the bite that was going on. Go get the biggies, they're here.

Posted by Danthefisherman

Believe me I know! I had a double hook-up myself. ALMOST landed two simultaneously...almost. Each day they get a little bigger...been going on for about a month with the action really picking up this past week. It appears that most the sharks are about ready give birth soon. That and the future tides say it will only last another week, maybe two. Then maybe we can catch something new. I like the sharks and all, but they don’t fight too well, and seem to “control” the area (can't catch another species if you tried while they are here). WTG on the 4’8” shark...definitely a big 'un. Here’s 15 minutes for 4 anglers Thursday night (there were many more anglers, and many more sharks caught...this was 2am and the final “run” for the night)... Here’s my biggest...15lbs 11oz. Setup was an Ugly stick striper paired with an abu5500c3 and 12lb mono (fun but still not much of a challenge).
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