July 2019 Fishing Report, SoCal (#249)

Ken Jones

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Staff member
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July 2019 Fishing Report, SoCal (#249)

Remember — Lobster season closed on March 20 and any lobster caught accidently on hook and line must be returned to the water.

San Diego County Piers

Imperial Beach Pier – No report this month. 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 Ocean Beach Pier Bait Shop & Café, on the pier says the mackerel have started to bite along with the usual herring (queenfish), a few halibut, and some big bat rays. She also reported that several sheephead had been taken out at the southwest corner including brute-size fish of 13 and 17 pounds. She says that corner is also starting to produce some big sharks — leopards and soupfins. Apparently not much action inshore with no croakers reported. I was there mid-month (June 13) and caught a diverse mix of species—kelp bass, black croaker, sargo, scorpionfish, mackerel, rock wrasse, jacksmelt and senorita. 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 – Pam at the Crystal Pier Bay & Tackle said the mackerel have finally started to bite along with some sardines and smelt. Croakers and sargo are also showing up but it’s still slow on halibut. Yellowtail are seen most days but none to date have been landed. 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). 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 — Luke, at Angler’s Choice (1910 Rosecrans St.), says he’s getting reports on lots of mackerel and lesser number of bass and halibut. I fished the pier for a couple of short, mid-month trips and caught a mix of fish—kelp bass, spotted bay bass, rock wrasse, scorpionfish, jacksmelt and blackperch. I also saw a couple of sargo and a small halibut. 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 action still isn’t hot although quite a few fish are being caught. Mid-pier to the end sees both herring (queenfish) and mackerel, while inshore some croakers are being taken (to 4 pounds) but the “real” croaker bite hasn’t started. Pier regulars report several halibut (all shorts) along with some white seabass (also shorts). Sharay anglers have gotten some good-sized shovelnose sharks (guitarfish) and while thresher action remains slow a large thresher was hooked and lost one day. Finally, another giant sea bass was hooked and released. As said, it still isn’t hot action but the water temps are rising and action should improve. 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.

Oceanside Harbor Pier —Wally at Pacific Coast Bait & Tackle (2110 S. Coast Highway), said he doesn’t get many reports from the pier but he has heard they are catching mackerel and the usual croaker mix—spotfin and yellowfin. Sargo and small bass are usually also in the offering along with some small sharks and rays. 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 — Brett at Hogan's Bait And Tackle (34320 Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point) said the croaker action has picked up, especially on yellowfin, and while the mackerel action has been somewhat slow, a few small bonito have been taken as well as some short barracuda. Halibut action’s been dead but Brett did report a couple of BIG sand bass. As for the sharays, no sharks are showing up but quite a few butterfly rays. 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 — Brett at Hogan's Bait And Tackle (34320 Pacific Coast Hwy, said the actions been pretty good on yellowfin croaker but really nothing else has been consistent. A few halibut have been taken but action on top water species has been dead. 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 says: “the fishing has picked up some. The mackerel are doing their thing. The halibut are around, but they are small now. That is good though. It means we have some adults here. Even had a few undersized barracudas this week. A big turtle came by. When I asked for a description my friend said just turtle. Saw a blue whale at a distance last week. Those are easy to spot because of their spout heights. A friend got a 32-inch white seabass on the snag this week. Its' belly was full of sardines. Yes, we do have sardines around a lot now. We also have a homeless encampment at the foot of the pier by the restroom. It is a mess. The city won't do anything about it because they are afraid of getting sued. At least they don't bother us on the pier. The Jr. Lifeguards are about again now. At least they haven't bothered us yet. Summer is upon 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 the action mirrors, for the most part, that seen at Balboa. 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 — Unable to get a report (phone full of messages) but action had been fairly good recently. How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.

Seal Beach Pier — Jimmy at “Big Fish Bait and Tackle in Seal Beach” reports that anglers are seeing some surfperch and yellowfin croakers inshore while mid-pier to the end is producing halibut, some bass, and lots and lots of mackerel and sardines. 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 Bait and Tackle in Seal Beach” reports good fishing for halibut mid-pier for those using live smelt for bait. Inshore sees some croakers (yellowfin and spotfin) while mackerel are plentiful at the end along with a few sharks (shovelnose and smoothhound) and small rays. 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 expect some perch, sargo and croaker while fishing the inshore shallower waters while mackerel, white croaker, sharks and rays should be available with a cast out from the pier. 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) — Alex at the Rusty Hook (245 N Gaffey St., San Pedro) said the mackerel showed up and there’s been a steady bite with most anglers using Sabikis for the fish. He also said the halibut continue to be taken by those who know what they are doing (including one that measured 32 inches). Most are taken on lures with the Berkeley Gulp Jerk Shads (white color) and Zoom Flukes (white color) the top lures. Fish them with a drop shot rigging. He said some bass also continue to show up along with small sharks and bat rays (small and large). 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 — Sunny, at the Redondo Pier Tackle (on the pier), said the mackerel are biting fast and furious (actually I said fast and furious). She just said the mackerel are biting (for the 194th straight month (or so). Usually the early morning and early evening is the best time for the macs (into the night). 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 the 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 mackerel should be found mid-pier to the end as well as some croakers and small sharks and rays. How To Get There: Highway 1 to Washington St., turn west and follow Washington St. to the pier.

Santa Monica Pier — John at the bait shop towards the end of the pier reports some steady action on mackerel out at the end along with some yellowfin croaker inshore (from the surf to about half way out on the pier). Also expect to see some perch and sargo if fishing under the pier (accessible by the walkways). It’s slow on sharks and rays and no halibut have been seen. 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 — Ginny at Wylie’s Bait & Tackle (18757 Pacific Coast Hwy Malibu) said she’s getting reports on mackerel, jacksmelt and lots of small perch along with a few sharks and small rays. How To Get There: The pier fronts on the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) so just drive until you see it.

Paradise Cove Pier — Ginny at Wylie’s Bait & Tackle (18757 Pacific Coast Hwy Malibu) said it’s the same as last month — the mackerel continue to show up as well as some small leopard sharks and bat rays. Note — this is a private pier so a license is required. The pier is open sunup to sundown but a steep $25 parking fee greets the visitor (which can be offset if you spend $20 at the restaurant; then the fee drops to $3). It is possible to park for free out on PCH, and walk down the mile-long access driveway, but you will stay pay a walk-in fee ($5 per person last time we checked). There are restrooms in the restaurant and near the beach but basically no facilities on the pier itself. How To Get There: Take Highway 1 to Paradise Cove Dr., turn west, and follow the road back into the parking lot.

Ventura & Santa Barbara County Piers


Port Hueneme Pier — No report this month. 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. 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, said there’s been a nice mix of fish. Mackerel have been hot one day and dead another but most days see them. Small calico (kelp) bass and jacksmelt make up most of the other action although many people are still seeking out and getting rock crabs. She also mentioned that thresher sharks are showing up with most being 6-8 feet long. 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 — No report but I imagine there’s some macks on the top and there almost always seem to be a variety of fish available from the pipe reef. How To Get There: From Highway 101 simply take the Gaviota State Park turnoff down to the beach and pier.