How many read the articles? Too long?

Ken Jones

Staff member
I was talking to a member that said most viewers probably do not read the articles; they are too long. Most people today just want a very short, couple of paragraph, description that covers the basics.

True? Here's four articles, how many have read them?

Cabrillo Mole, Avalon, Catalina

San Clemente Pier

California Yellowtail

California Halibut

Red Fish

Senior Member
I read the articles if the topic interests me. For example, I read all of the halibut article. If the article had redundant material throughout, perhaps I wouldn’t read all of it, but if there is relevant new material the entire way through, I am going to take the time to complete a blog article. Perhaps if there were separate, distinct categories, people could navigate the material better. I probably have more interest than many on the blogs filled with pictures as I recognize many of the fishermen from where the pictures were derived from their original posting on PFIC.
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New member
I've read almost all the bay area pier articles and most of the fish articles, especially for ones I'm trying to catch for the first time. I really enjoy the historical facts and accounts in some of the pier articles. The way they're subdivided makes it easy enough to jump around and find some info quickly if that's all you need.


Active Member
I read almost all of the articles posted by Ken or referred to in links by other members.
PFIC is NOT face book. That is probably its biggest asset.
If folks don't want to read the articles, then - I don't know - DON"T READ THE ARTICLES!!!
Why does the vocal minority ( whiners and nay-sayers) have to impose their preferences on the rest of us?
Don't change a darn thing.


Well-Known Member
When you sample the audience you already have, you are going to get feedback that supports what you are already doing. I agree that this is an invaluable asset and it is best consumed on a computer when you have time to research and really focus on the material. That being said as time goes on, more and more of what is considered to be the most valuable demographic for advertisers is younger people who spend almost all of their time on a cell phone. The core group of PFIC are really PC users. PC users are becoming more and more rare.

The site would really benefit from having overviews of the piers that gave the most relevant information in a "just the facts" style or even visual style with icons and what not in a format that looked good on a cellphone. That way these pages could almost become the "home pages" for fishing on the various piers. People would go to them first on their phones to find out what time the piers open, where the bathrooms were located, how much the parking costs and what are the dominant species. Add in the most recent reports and you have what 80% of todays users are looking for when they search for information on the piers. The other content is fantastic but can be placed lower down on the page for people who have the time to read. It doesn't need to be either/or, it can be both.

Why are there so few fishing reports? Are people who frequent the site not fishing? Are they fishing and not reporting? Do they report their fishing activities on other sites?
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Well-Known Member
As a practical example, I've reported my fishing trips to Cabrillo Mole on a Facebook Group that focuses on pier fishing. Those reports got lots of interactions. Over 100 likes and and a bunch of comments that also peppered me with questions like:

how do you get there?
what do you bring?
what bait do you use?
what times does it open?
can i bring a tent and camp there?
how far do you have to walk, once you get off the boat to start to fish?
can i bring my poles on the boat?
can i bring a cart?
what about a cooler?

These and many others are the questions people are asking who frequent a Facebook group that has almost 5000 users that is focused on Pier Fishing in California.

Why do people not go to google and type in Cabrillo Mole and get the PFIC page to answer all these questions?

Honestly, I have read the Cabrillo Mole article on PFIC many times. I even own Ken's book and have read the information there too. But when I actually decided to fish the Mole, many of these questions came up and I used the community here as a resource to help me feel confident enough to take the trip by myself. But I already felt part of the community. I had fished with people on here before and felt comfortable posting and asking questions and even sending direct messages to people. I am betting there are many people who frequent this site that do not feel comfortable doing those things. This is always the case. The majority of the audience of an active online site are silently "lurking," that is reading but not posting.

Looking at the current users online right now I see myself and 15 guests. That is me, 15 people who have not logged in.

Ken Jones

Staff member
Keep the feedback coming and I understand what evanluck is saying. And, I am working on a very short, just the basics pamphlet that is smaller in format.

I ask though because I want the site to be relevant to anglers. I've put a lot of time into the articles and it's somewhat depresing that so few are willing to share their angling experiences. We have a core group of people, and I have tremendous respect for all of you who post, but as Evan says when one user is on line with 15 simply watching it gets a little depressing.

There is Facebook and Instagram and we have discussed making PFIC sites on them linked to PFIC. They would not provide the information we try to teach but they provide easy feedback and reporting. Maybe it's time?


Active Member
I try to read them all but just dont have the time- i do however read all the ones that interest me or pertain to my area. I love having the resource, and if the lazy kids cant read more than 1 sentence, too bad for them!😆
Information and knowledge is priceless!
My perspective as someone who's newer to pier fishing/fishing in California and probably on the slightly younger side here...

You might consider making the forum requiring a log-in in order to view posts. Or, making certain forums/post types (like reports) members only. The truth is things like Facebook Groups and Fishbrain have made it now so easy for people to view other people's catches and post spots, that it's almost come to be an expectation; I bet a lot of lurkers here are those that just mine the content and don't contribute (which, for the internet, is common--see this Wikipedia: 1% Rule). That said, those posts on Facebook and Fishbrain aren't really a report though; they are often merely a chance to show off a nice catch or few. Some FB Groups are an exception; I'm a member of one in particular that always has positive attitudes and actually solid reports. Other groups are always littered with selfish comments "what spot" and "what end of the pier" and "what bait". Sometimes they ask for so much information that they might as well ask someone else to do the damn cast for them. I get the sense that most of those types of members are looking for an easy way to get a keeper. That said, I get it...I was a beginner (and still am in many ways)...and you gotta start somewhere. But I feel like some groups are more purely transactional, than communities. They lose sight that fishing is not only just where and when and what, but how...all the little things add up.

I don't always post a report myself because sometimes my excursions are pretty short (I'm not at the pier the whole day sometimes, sometimes it's just a couple hours), and/or there just isn't much action to report on. I've seen other forums do this well by just having an ongoing thread with smaller reports versus larger threads. For example, I actually got my first keeper striper of the year today. Somewhat exciting - but there wasn't really much to it -- went to a spot, tried some different lures, switched spots, finally got a nice bite on a last second blowup. I might share that in an existing thread, but probably didn't feel it was exciting enough to post in a thread of it's own. (Hmm...maybe I should start this thread...)

I think the articles might be a little long (especially when sometimes it's old reports/old forum posts constituting a decent amount of the article) but I've always honestly found them informative. I like that they are also written in earnest tone, not gimmicky and fake (like those recipe blogs...). I've actually appreciated that in some articles I've seen the some pictures of "regulars" and then actually run into them on the pier! It really shows the community. On a more technical side, I bet you also get most of the site traffic on PFIC from search engine rankings, so these articles are also regularly looked at by Google's website scrapers and they probably help the site a lot in terms of getting traffic. So I honestly wouldn't change much there.


Well-Known Member
As far as I can tell, none of the current members are complaining about the length of the content. The suggestions that are being bantered back and forth are about increasing the site traffic and attracting new people. PFIC sustains itself through donations and ad revenue. Both would be increased if the traffic on the site could be increased.

If current trends continue I worry about the valuable knowledgebase and core community that has developed here.

PFIC can’t be viewed like an angler’s favorite secret fishing spot. For the health of the site, the more users, the merrier. The server can take 10x the amount of traffic with no deterioration in performance for those of us that already enjoy the site.

Ken Jones

Staff member
My concern is when I look at the number of posts and then think back to our earlier message boards that received many, many posts and really interesting discussion. I guess I miss those days. But, I have also talked to several of those who do post and asked their opinion of why more people do not post. The most common answer is that times have changed and the younger people do not want to read a lot of information. They are kind of like Dragnet's Joe Friday—"Just the facts, ma'am." They prefer the CliffNotes over the book itself. They have their cell phones and are happy with limited information. They may engage in limited conversation on Facebook or Fishbrain, or post pictures on Instagram, but they really do not want much information. I of course am much older, grew up in a different world, and have always enjoyed reading and delving into subjects (especially fish, fishing, piers, and pier fishing). But that's me. As Glen said, no one has to read all the information but it is there for those wanting greater knowledge about the subject.

But perhaps while the information remains the same it can be presented in a somewhat better format, i.e., the basic pier facts at the start of the article instead of at the end. For now, PFIC will see little change but we are going to look at, make some changes to it, and perhaps use it as a model to test out a variety of ideas.

I thank all of you for your opinions on how we are doing and also on how we may be able to make improvements. Please keep the comments coming, I am taking notes.

Ken Jones

Staff member
I might add the following — When I published Pier Fishing In California, 2nd Ed., the complaint I received from distributors and tackle shops was that it was too big (516 pages). More than once I was told that people don’t want all that information, they want a short book, no more than 200 pages (100 even better) that contain a lot of pictures (and that was over a decade ago).

In other words they wanted a book more similar to Pier Fishing In California, 1st Ed., a book that was only 214 pages long. It was part of a very successful set of books published by Marketscope Books—Fishing In Southern California, Fishing in Northern California, Saltwater Fishing In California, Trout Fishing In California, Bass Fishing In California, and Serious Pacific Angler, most written by Ron Kovach. All were relatively short; around 200 pages, and all sold many thousands of copies.

That length or even shorter seemed to be the norm. I noted that the book Sturgeon by Abe and Angelo Cuanang was only 140 pages long; San Francisco Bay Stripers by Abe Cuanang is only 87 pages long. Both were very successful books but both were also on fairly limited subjects.

But, I was disappointed in that first edition. The book was limited in length by the editor and didn’t contain some of the things I wanted included. I even had to argue for the inclusion of the photos of the piers; all of the other books had line drawings but no photos.

I decided to publish the second edition on my own. I felt that to adequately cover all the nuances and facets of pier fishing demanded a different approach that that series of books. The focus would be on needed content rather than on size. The book perhaps became too big but I’ve always said the 1st edition was like a rough draft with the 2nd edition being the more polished final edition.

Unfortunately, the consequence was less sales even though the book won awards and most people who purchased it seemed to like it. It’s long but there’s no need to sit down and read it all at one time (although some claim to have done that).

As for the website, most pier articles are indeed long; the fish articles on the other hand are shorter and just contain the basics.

I find everything about a pier and its fish interesting. And, having been a history teacher, I also find the history of the piers interesting. The funny thing is that some people feel the history sections and miscellaneous information is what most differentiates PFIC and sets it on a different, higher plateau than the more limited information fishing sites.


Well-Known Member
I really don’t think that young people are necessarily uninterested in information but they do have much shorter attentions spans and process information differently. That’s why YouTube has become so popular.

The other thing is that online culture has become prickly and unnecessarily argumentative. People lurk and don’t post because they don’t want to be called out or get into an argument.

PFIC has attracted a core group of people that are knowledgeable, and generous with sharing information and encouragement. This is invaluable. I think the quality of the core community deserves a bunch of fresh new, eager to learn anglers that can benefit for the collective knowledge of this group.

Ken Jones

Staff member
Keep the thoughts and suggestions coming. The aim is to always improve the site and the best feedback is from those that use it.
I used to have a modest site that was fun to exhibit, and in its heyday received messages from all over. I have fished with people from every continent except Antarctica--and I'm still talking shop with a guy there. They found my site and contacted me. It was a good time. I learned more from them than they did from me. There was a wonderful, creative boom with personal sites and eager people who wanted to share. But I now feel fishing sites are outmoded and bad for the environment. So I took down mine after 20 years.
I think I just put 2+2 together. Are you Songslinger? If so, for whatever it's worth, I appreciated your site. I learned a lot from it and it helped me become a better fisherman. For some reason, especially memorable is the poke pole diagram you had and the "holes" and the sinker shape article--so thank you.


Active Member
I appreciate all the work you have put into the site and the book throughout the years. I enjoy reading the information and browsing through the history of piers. If anything, its just format that will get to people. Some folks want all photos with minimal info while others want all info with no photos. Can't please them all. The current format of stories first does draw in the curious, but it can be straining when you quickly want to glean information for your chosen location. As suggested before, have the most basic info posted for readers as the abstract (species available, length of pier, age, amenities/accessibility) then follow up with a more in depth look where you can read about the piers tales and specific methods that work. Just my opinion on the current method of posting up pier info.

A side note: Will the old archives ever be available to search again? Its always nice to look at how far we have come throughout the years fishing.
Ken, any well-written article is never too long. As with your case, your articles are perfect. Do not shorten the articles. As to which articles I have read and will read, I have and will only read what pertains to me. If anything, include more pictures of people and their catches because I think that is what draws more people in. But, is drawing more people in a good thing? It's dependent on who you ask.

G _ _ _, I'm surprised it took so long for these rookies to realize who you are. I haven't been in this forum for years and I can still recognize you from your font of choice. No offense, nolandw, but you're obviously not a rookie if you recognize his old handle. Just saying. And also, from the few times I have met G _ _ _, I clearly remember at the front of the Berkeley Pier when he pulled up about 50 baby shiners with his cast net right in my face (none were kept, of course). He gave me a glimpse of his method of catching bait, and I want to personally thank you, G _ _ _, for that life lesson. I am now a proud owner of 6 cats (Tiger, Binche-Binche [somehow evolved from "Princess"], Blu-Blu, Zeus-Zeus, Tigger, and Mavy). All neutered and spayed. 5 were rescued. G, every bait that I catch with my cast net and every fish that I catch with that bait is a credit to you!

You might consider making the forum requiring a log-in in order to view posts. Or, making certain forums/post types (like reports) members only.
I agree. 100%.
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