May 2019 Fishing Report, Southern California (#247)

Ken Jones

Administrator
Staff member
#1
May 2019 Fishing Report, SoCal (#247)

Remember — Lobster season closed on March 20 and any lobster caught by accident 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 —The pier closed mid-January due to storm damage and it is hoped it will reopen by Memorial Day. 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 – Vinny at the Crystal Pier Bay & Tackle said it’s still fairly slow. He’s not sure if it’s due to lack of fish or lack of fishermen. Not too many regulars are showing to date but some fish are being caught — mainly small leopard sharks, large jacksmelt, and mackerel (that are in and out). Both perch and croaker action is still slow as is the action on the larger sharks and rays. Hopefully things will improve. 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 the weather has improved and anglers are getting a lot of mackerel at the pier along with an occasional bass (all three varieties). He said there’s also been a lot of bait in the water so anglers are getting live bait for halibut but the halibut action remains only so so. 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 action is finally starting to improve although it still has a way to go. Inshore expect to see some small leopard sharks and an occasional yellowfin croaker (use bloodworms) but the surfperch and larger spotfin croaker are still missing. Mid-pier sees a few small bass, some sargo, and a possible halibut (usually a shortie). Mid-pier to the end produces some mackerel and the last few days has seen some sardines. Not much else except a couple of small barracuda were landed and an angler fought “something big” — probably a bat ray, for two hours before losing it on the pilings. Bill also said they’ve started to dredge the harbor which means dirty water until they are done — projected to be on May 22. 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 — Bill at the Oceanside Pier Bait and Tackle shop on the large pier, said anglers are doing good at the local lagoons, i.e., Carlsbad, (croakers, bass and corvina) but he hadn’t received any specific reports about the harbor’s pier. 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 — Josh at Hogan's Bait And Tackle (34320 Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point) said it’s been slow but starting to pick up. Inshore there’s been fairly steady action on perch and croakers but you have to work at it. Most are caught using lugworms or fresh mussels. Surprisingly some halibut (to 30”)are also being taken in the shallow water, most on artificial lures like LuckyCraft but also on live bait if you can get it. Inshore to mid-pier waters are also producing small leopard sharks with most being under 3 feet in length and thus illegal. Not much is hitting on top other than an occasional mackerel but out at the end a few of the larger rays and sharks are starting to show up. 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 — Josh at Hogan's Bait And Tackle (34320 Pacific Coast Hwy, said the action has been fairly steady on bass and halibut with almost all being taken on artificial lures. A few croaker also show up for those using mussels or worms. Some barracuda are also making an appearance generally falling to lures like MegaBaits and Krocodiles. 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: “Well, at last today the halibut fishing broke open. I lost one keeper, and got another keeper at 23 inches. My friend Andy got a 24-1/2 inch halibut plus an 18 incher. I got some smaller ones as well as my other friends. There were lots of strikes too. We were on the west side of the pier against the wind. Our bait was larger smelt and nice sized sardines. Lots of good bait. Those people fishing mackerel were doing well too on the end. Been waiting for this to happen. The whales are through heading North. It was cold today but nice. Can't wait to see if this continues. I now have 2 halibut in the freezer waiting for my Saturday night dinner with my family and friend.” 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 — Michael at “Let’s Go Fishing” on the pier said action has really heated up. The biggest news has been good numbers of both spotfin and yellowfin croaker in the surf area. Most of the croakers have been caught on bloodworms (available at the pier) and the largest was a huge 8 ½-9 pound spotfin. Top action sees both mackerel and sardines while some good-sized leopard sharks and BIG spider crabs have been making a showing on the bottom. Regulars using live sardines are catching a few halibut. Most are smaller halibut but a nice 39-inch halibut was also recorded. This sounds like the best pier to hit in this area at this time. 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” said there’s a LOT of mackerel at the pier along with some sardines. Inshore, a few yellowfin croaker are hitting along with small leopard sharks but both spotfin croaker and surfperch are slow. Mid-pier is seeing some decent halibut action on both live bait and on lures. He says there are also tons of small bat rays. 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” says that the mackerel and sardines are going crazy mid-pier while anglers are also picking up quite a few halibut, some shorts and some legal size, in the same area. Inshore waters see some surfperch. 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 smaller white croaker, sharks and rays should be available with a cast out from the pier. Mackerel will come and go. 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 he’s not getting too many reports but the regulars are picking up anchovies which means they are targeting halibut (so some should be around). If seeking out the hallies he suggests lures — with “Jerk Shads” in pearl white colors on a drop shot rig seeming to get most of the fish. 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 — Melody at Redondo Pier Tackle (on the pier) said it’s been fairly slow with most of the action being on mackerel and jackmelt. Nothing has been showing on the bottom. 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 — Waiting for a new report from Yosh. 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 the weather has improved as has the fishing. She’s getting reports of mackerel at the pier along with lots of small perch (inshore), small thresher sharks at the end, and a few short halibut. Some bass, mainly sand bass, continue to show and small white seabass are showing up in the surf area. 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 she hasn’t gotten too many reports but the regulars tell her that some mackerel continue to show up as well as some small and large 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 — SC McCarthy reported to PFIC on a mid-month visit to the pier when waves were breaking mid-pier. Using a camo sandworm with a Carolina rig he caught one 5" barred surfperch in the surf area but other than that the action was dead —excepting “a couple of local Filipinos (who always seem to be able to catch something).” He said there were several sheep crabs caught, including some very nice-sized ones. 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 — SC McCarthy reported to PFIC on a visit on the 27th with little success (Sabiki, camo sandworm, and dropper loops baited with mussel). He did see a few queenfish and said one person caught a horn shark but it sounds like it’s still slow at the pier. 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 — Mike, at the Bait Shop on the pier, said action has been hit and miss. He’s still seeing cool days, a lot of wind some days, and until recently muddy waters (from dredging in the harbor), All impact the number of fishermen and fish. The good news is that there’s a lot of baitfish in the water — small mackerel (most under a foot in length), sardines, anchovies and jacksmelt (small to large). They should bring in the fish. Halibut action is also decent both under-sized and legal-size fish with most being caught on live bait. Not too many sharks and rays have made an appearance with the exception of numerous baby bat rays. Lastly, anglers continue to pull in good numbers of rock crabs when using net. Spider crab action though has slowed. 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 — Mike, at the Bait Shop on Stearns Wharf, said a LOT of halibut were being taken from the pier until a few weeks ago when the winds picked up and action slowed. Hopefully if the wind improves there will be a return to the good halibut action. There have also been good numbers of mackerel and sardine and, as usual, the pipe reef continues to kick out rockfish and a few bass with most of the rockfish being small brown rockfish. I always try fishing the pipe reef and my last trip to the pier for me (a couple of months ago) saw me catch two sheephead from the reef. SC McCarty also reported to PFIC on two visits to the pier: “On 4/15, a friend and I went to Goleta pier. The surf was light and the water crystal clear. I rigged a multi-hook bait line with squid and shrimp, dropping 5 ft. from a bobber. My friend fished a baited Sabiki off the bottom. She quickly caught a 4-5" smelt, and then a 5" shiner perch. Using her smelt, which died in the bucket, on a dropper line, I cast under the boat launch. On my first cast, I almost caught a cormorant (I think it grabbed my bait, but fortunately let go). On the second, I caught a fat 12+" kelp bass (returned).” On 4/20 he returned: “Very little was caught by anyone. I tried squid off the bottom, on a multi-hook line, and later a Carolina-rigged camo sandworm, as I moved toward the shore. The only bites I got were pigeons flying into my line. As someone wrote in another thread, they did not seem bothered by it. My friend tried a hand tied jig line, with small brightly colored lures, and a Sabiki, with no luck. She caught a purple comb sand star. One person reportedly caught a nice mackerel, and I saw one guy leaving with a 2½' headless carcass, that I am guessing was a guitarfish. Those were the only fish I know about being caught.”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.
 

mav

Active member
#2
Imperial Beach Pier: The mackerel have started biting. Some small perch.

Bay Side Park Pier (J Street): Small spotted bay bass as usual (it's my thing lol), short flatties. Bait fish getting larger but not big enough to give Vinas any intrest. Missed the deep body anchovie spawning and the needle fish bite last month.

Shelter Island: Small macks and spotted bay bass with baby sea lions stealing catches.