January 2019 Fishing Report, Southern California (#244)

Ken Jones

Administrator
Staff member
#1
California Pier Report, January 2019 (#244) — Southern California

Remember — Lobster season is now open. Follow all regulations and make sure you have a lobster card in possession.

San Diego County Piers

Imperial Beach Pier – No report this month. Any volunteers to be a reporter for this pier? How To Get There: From I-5 take the Palm Ave. (Hwy. 75) exit and follow it to where Palm Ave. and Hwy. 75 divide. Follow Palm Ave. to Seacoast Dr., turn left and it will take you right to the pier.

Ocean Beach Pier —Shirley at the pier’s bait shop said most of the action has been on mackerel although an occasional bonito also enters into the mix. Some bass out toward the end along with the usual sharks and rays. How To Get There: From the north, take I-5 to the Sea World Dr. exit and follow it until it turns off to Sunset Cliffs Blvd. From the south, take I- 5 to the Nimitz Blvd. exit, then follow that road to Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Follow Sunset Cliffs Blvd. to Newport Ave., turn right and follow the road to the pier parking lot.

Crystal Pier – No report this month; the pier has been occasionally closed due to high surf and waves. How To get There: Take I-5 to Garnet Ave. then take Garnet west to the foot of the pier.

Pepper Park Pier — No report although there should be a few mackerel and bass. We need a reporter! How To Get There: From I-5 take the 24th Street off-ramp west to Tidelands Avenue and go left (south) on Tidelands to the end.

Bayside Park Pier — No report although some croakers and sharays should be available. We need a reporter. How To Get There: From I-5 take the J Street off ramp and go west. Take J Street to Tidelands Ave., turn right. Take Tidelands to Sandpiper Way, turn right. Take Sandpiper to Bayside Parkway, turn left and follow the road to the park.

Embarcadero Marina Pier — No report although some mackerel and bass (kelp, sand and spotted) should be hitting along with some sharays. We still need a reporter! How To Get There: From the I-5 south, take the Front Street exit south to Market (just stay on Front Street, it runs into Market), take Market west to Harbor Dr. Turn left on Harbor Dr. and take it to 8th Ave., turn right onto Convention Way (formerly Harbor St.). Follow it a short block to 5th Ave. and the pier. It seems that with the new Convention Center the city is constantly working on these streets near the pier and renaming them; if you get confused remember that the park and pier are immediately to the southwest of the Convention Center. From I-5 North, approaching from the south, take the J Street exit, then go straight, three blocks up to Market, turn left and take it from there.

Ferry Landing Pier (Coronado) — Need a reporter although bass (a variety) always seem to be around as well as a mix of sharays (mostly round stingrays and bat rays). How To Get There: From San Diego, take the Coronado Bay Bridge (Highway 75) to Coronado. Once over the bridge you are on Third Street. Simply follow it to B Avenue, turn right, and follow it to the front of The Old Ferry Landing — the intersection of First Street and B Avenue. The pier sits behind the shops in the complex.

Shelter Island Pier — Michael, at Angler’s Choice, 1910 Rosecrans St, reports that anglers are still getting good numbers of mackerel, primarily on strips of squid and at night with glow sticks. Daytime and nighttime anglers are also pulling in quite a few bass including spotted bay bass. Last but not least, are the shark anglers who report both soupfins and 7-gills have entered the bay. Fish from 4-6 feet are reported most nights by the sharkers. How To Get There: Take I-5 or I-8 to Rosecrans (Hwy. 209) and go west, turn left at Shelter Island Dr. and follow the road until you see the pier and the entrance to the parking lot.

Oceanside Pier — Bill at the Oceanside Pier Bait and Tackle shop on the pier, said the big news lately has been the number of halibut being caught, both small and legal-size fish. Six legal-size fish were caught the day before I called and they had caught several more that morning. Apparently some sardines have arrived at the pier and speculation centers on them attracting the halibut. Mid-pier some sargo and small (kelp and sand) bass continue to show up in good numbers while mid-pier to the end continues to see mackerel. At night, the sculpin (scorpionfish) are showing while down around the pilings some blackperch and opaleye have been taken. Apparently a small white shark (6-foot long or so) has been hooked a couple of times but luckily released or broken off while whales are more and more numerous. Bill said three small whales came up scratching their backs on the pilings near the bait shop; he figured they were trying to remove the barnacles on their backs. As for the weather, it’s been cool and cold and even included some rain Christmas Day and the sea has had some chop to it. But, the fish and anglers keep showing up. Another big news item is that the “Ruby’s Restaurant at the end of the pier may be closing and changed to something else. To Get There: From I-5 take the Harbor Dr. exit off the freeway, follow it and it will wind down to the harbor; where the road splits stay to the right on North Harbor Dr., and follow it to the pier.

Oceanside Harbor Pier — Forrest, at Angler’s Tackle, 1413 North Coast Hwy., said the fishing has been slow. How To Get There: From I-5 take the Harbor Dr. exit off the freeway, follow it and it will wind down to the harbor; where the road splits stay to the right on North Harbor Dr., and follow it to the pier.

Orange County Piers

San Clemente Pier — Scott at the “Pier Grill” at the end of the pier reports that some mackerel are still around along with the normal mix of bass (calico bass and sand bass) and small sharks and rays. A few lobster continue to be taken at night. How to Get There: From I-5 take any of several exit streets west to El Camino Real, follow it to the center of town, and from there take Del Mar down to the pier.

Dana Harbor Pier — No report this month. How To Get There: The pier is located in the Dana Cove Park area of Dana Point Harbor. From the Pacific Coast Highway take Green Lantern Road south to the harbor, turn left on Cove Road, and follow it to the pier.

Balboa Pier — Our reporter Snookie said: “My group has been fishing regularly around Christmas, but even though there aren't a whole lot of fishermen, there are lots of walkers. It is amazing how many are here, but I am sure some are here for the Rose parade and Rose Bowl Game. We are getting more and more halibut with some keepers and some almost keepers. Also getting lots of butterfly rays one of which was 36 inches in diameter and weighed 26 pounds. That was fun to net. The fish that is targeted now is the Jacksmelt, and we are seeing lots of them leaving the pier in buckets. At least they are on the other side of pier from us. Our bait supply has been great with lots of sardines every time and smelt of course. The halibut want the sardines. Last week we had two surprise visitors on the water. Two black swans from Australia spent the day with us around the pier. Don't know where they came from, but we enjoyed seeing them. The whales are here too, but they are farther out right now. The water is running at 63 degrees right now — which is cold. There aren't too many mackerel right now. Guess we will see what the new year brings us. How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway take Newport Blvd. which will turn into Balboa Blvd., follow it west to Palm Street. Turn right and follow it to the pier and the adjacent parking lot.

Newport Pier — Generally about the same report as at the Balboa Pier. How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway take the Newport Blvd. turnoff and proceed west watching for signs directing traffic to the pier. The pier sits at the foot of McFadden Place.

Huntington Beach Pier — Michael at Let’s Go Fishing on the pier, says things have slowed somewhat. Some days have seen cold weather and high surf and it has impacted the fishing. He says some mackerel and jacksmelt are available on the top while a few halibut, stingrays and skates are on the bottom. How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.

Seal Beach Pier — Jimmy, at Big Fish Tackle, 1780 Pacific Coast Hwy., says it’s pretty much the same as last month — the weather has affected fishing but it’s the normal mix of fish: mackerel on top with some yellowfin croaker and an increasing number of surfperch taken on the bottom inshore. Quite a few gray smoothhound sharks and shovelnose sharks (guitarfish) are also being taken. How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway simply take Main St. west and follow it to the pier.

Los Angeles County Piers

Belmont Pier —Jimmy, at Big Fish Tackle, 1780 Pacific Coast Hwy., says anglers are getting a fewncroakers inshore, some halibut mid-pier (where the porta-a-potties are located), and both mackerel and sardines on the top out at the end. Also expect a few small sharks at the end. How To Get There: From the north take I-405 to the Lakewood Boulevard turnoff, and then go south to 7th Street, turn west (right) until you come to Ximeno Ave. and then turn left. Follow it to Livingston Dr. and go west. You will see signs by Ocean Ave. and Termino Ave. indicating the pier. From the south take the Pacific Coast Highway to 2nd. Street (Westminister becomes 2nd. Street when it crosses PCH), go west, follow to Livingston Dr. Follow it to signs by Ocean Ave. and Termino Ave. indicating the pier and parking lot.

Shoreline Aquatic Park Piers — No report this month but some mackerel and the usual white croakers should be available with a cast out from the pier. Expect a few bass and perch/sargo/croaker along the inshore area. How to Get There: From downtown Long Beach, take Pine Avenue south to Shoreline Drive. For the northernmost pier #1 follow Shoreline Avenue west and follow it around the lagoon to where the street ends. For the southernmost piers #2-#5 follow Shoreline Drive east to the markings for Shoreline Village, continue past the shopping complex, and follow the road out to near the end of the peninsula. You will see the piers.

Cabrillo Pier (San Pedro) — No report this month. How To Get There: Take the Harbor Freeway (I-110) south; it will turn into Gaffey St. Follow it to 22nd Street and turn left. Follow 22nd St. to Pacific Ave. and turn right. Follow Pacific Ave. to 36th Street and the entrance to Cabrillo Park.

Green Pleasure Pier (Avalon, Catalina Island) – It’s the normal mix of fish — rock wrasse, senorita, opaleye, sheephead, jacksmelt, and kelp bass. Use sea-worms, frozen peas, mussels, and market shrimp. How To Get There: The trick here is to get to Catalina. Ships and helicopters make the journey several times a day from the Port of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Newport Beach. Information is available on all of these by calling the Avalon Chamber of Commerce on the Pleasure Pier (213) 510-1520 or the Visitor's Information & Service Center (213) 510-2500. Once in Avalon there should be no problem in finding the pier, which is located at the foot of Catalina Avenue.

Cabrillo Mole (Avalon, Catalina Island) — The resident population of fish are still present—kelp bass, opaleye, sheephead, halfmoon, blacksmith, kelpfish, and scorpionfish (sculpin). How To Get There: The trick is to get to Catalina. Ships and helicopters make the journey several times a day from the Port of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Newport Beach. Information is available on all of these by calling the Avalon Chamber of Commerce on the Pleasure Pier (213) 510-1520 or the Visitor's Information & Service Center (213) 510-2500. Once in Avalon there should be no problem in finding the mole that sits right where most boats disembark.

Redondo Beach Pier — John at the Redondo Coffee Shop and Bait Shop on the pier said almost all of the action continues to be on mackerel. How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway, take Torrance Blvd. west to the foot of the pier and the parking lot.

Hermosa Beach Pier — No report this month although a few mackerel should be around as well as some croakers inshore and flatfish mid-pier. How To Get There: Take the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) to Pier Avenue and follow Pier Avenue west to the pier.

Venice Pier — No report this month although a few mackerel should be found at the end and an increasing number of surfperch. How To Get There: Highway 1 to Washington St., turn west and follow Washington St. to the pier.

Santa Monica Pier — Yosh at the piers bait and tackle shop, said things are still very slow. The weather has been iffy at times and the number of fish and fisherman is down. How to Get There: From I-405 take Santa Monica Blvd. west to Ocean Ave. Turn left, go to Colorado Ave., and turn right onto the pier.

Malibu Pier — No report this month. How To Get There: The pier fronts on the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) so just drive until you see it.

Ventura & Santa Barbara County Piers

Port Hueneme Pier — No report this month although there should be a few mackerel along with increasing numbers of barred surfperch showing up. How To Get There: From Highway 1 take Hueneme Rd. west until it turns into Port. At Ventura Rd turn left and follow it to Surfside Dr. Turn left again and follow it to the park.

Ventura Pier — No report this month although fishing for surfperch should be getting better and better. How To Get There: From Highway 101 take the Seaward Drive exit west to Harbor Drive, turn right and follow it to the pier.

Stearns Wharf — Bretzel, at the Bait Shop on the pier, says anglers are still getting a variety of fish and other creatures. Mackerel and jacksmelt are available on top while some croakers, small bass, and sub-legal halibut are showing on the bottom. Anglers are also pulling in fair numbers of crabs (rock crabs and spider crabs) along with quite a few whelks in their nets. How To Get There: From Highway 101 take Castillo St. or State St. west to the beach and follow signs to the pier.

Goleta Pier — Tiffany, at Hook, Line and Sinker, reports that the weather has still been iffy at times but when conditions are right the normal mix of fish are showing. Expect some mackerel at the end (on top) along with shark and rays action (on the bottom). Mid-pier to inshore yields a few, mostly small, halibut while the pipe reef continues to kick out small rockfish and bass (both kelp bass and sand bass). How To Get There: From Highway 101 take the Hwy. 217/Airport exit. Follow it to Sandspit Rd. and the Goleta Beach Park turnoff. Follow this to the park and the pier.

Gaviota Pier — The pier continues to be closed while the state moves with its typical glacial speed and bureaucratic response in efforts to actually get it open. How To Get There: From Highway 101 simply take the Gaviota State Park turnoff down to the beach and pier.
 
#2
Heard tiny bass on San Diego bay piers. It rained again before new year so Imperial Beach probably polluted. Small rock fish were being caught on the sides near the end. Small perch behind the breakers.

Most of the fishing focus has shifted toward surf fishing and lake fishing for crappie.