California Pier Report
November 2022 Fishing Report, Southern California (#280)
Remember that all lobsters must be caught in the appropriate lobster nets, none can be kept when hooked on a fishing line.
San Diego County Piers
Imperial Beach Pier – Reports indicate that the mackerel bite is good and that small bonito are also making a showing. This is the time to go! 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 — Liz at the Ocean Beach Pier Bait and Tackle said quite a few fish were being caught the day I called but she had no idea what kind of fish they were. Oh well! 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 – Unfortunately the bait shop has closed and we now need a reporter. 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. We need a reporter! However, we got a PFIC report from Ray619 on 10/11 that said, “Received some Intel that Big Corvina were around the pier. Brought my best surface lures. Fished today from 12pm to about 2:45 pm tossed everything for nothing. Only thing exciting was a big needlefish followed my Shimano waxwing lure, but it did not strike. Saw some major boils away from the pier. Saw two big mackerel caught on Sabiki rigs. One guy using shrimp caught three black croakers. A lady next to me caught a small needlefish. Cool looking fish. 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. 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. We 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 (kelp, sand and spotted) 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 — No report and we need a reporter. 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 reported that the bonito are gone although some Pacific mackerel, jack mackerel, and sardines are still around. Inshore anglers are picking up a few croakers, mainly spotfins, while the mid-pier area continues to offer up halibut but almost all are shorts. Mid-pier to the end is also offering up some bass, both sand bass and kelp bass (and Bill even caught a rock wrasse one morning). Another giant (black) sea bass was also hooked and took the angler up and down the pier before breaking off on the piling. How To Get There: From I-5 take Mission Blvd. west to Pacific, turn left and follow it to the pier.
Oceanside Harbor Pier — No recent reports but expect the occasional croaker, sargo and bass on the bottom, jacksmelt and possibly a bonito or two in the top waters. Some perch and bass may show while fishing by the rocks. 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 — Skyler at Hogan's Bait and Tackle (34320 Pacific Coast Hwy., says it’s windy but that hasn’t hurt the early season lobster results which have been excellent. As for the fish, it’s mostly the same story. Inshore that means some croakers and perch, mid-pier you start to see some bass, kelp and sand, while out at the end some mackerel and bonito are still showing in the top waters but they seem to come and go. He says there also are still a lot of small leopard sharks and bat rays being reported. Apparently a couple of thresher sharks were taken by surf anglers just down the beach from the pier. A PFIC report from evanluck on 10/24 said, “Arrived at 6:30AM and went to the end. Fished mainly hi-lo rig with size 8 and 6 hooks with market shrimp and bloodworms. Bite was slower than usual perhaps dampened by the rain the day before. Also fished a bit for live bait and threw a small smelt out on a split shot rig. Most productive combination was casting the hi-lo out to the reef. Ended up catching: 1 Sand Bass;2 Leopard Sharks;1 Sargo;1 Blenny;1 Black Croaker;1 Giant Kelpfish;1 Yellowfin Croaker; 3 Salema; 12 Jacksmelt. My girlfriend added a yellow fin croaker of her own before she left early at 9AM. I packed up and left at 11:30. Most fish with the exception of the sargo bit on the shrimp. Sargo took the bloodworm. I got one good bite on the live smelt. Fish grabbed the bait and took off on my bait runner style reel but dropped the fish before eating the hook. No other fish were caught at the end but most other anglers were throwing big baits for thresher sharks. There was another couple fishing hi-los and Sabikis. They got a couple bites but did not land any fish. No sign of mackerel or bonito. I saw a medium sized spotfin croaker being cleaned by an angler at the cleaning station inshore. Fun morning and always fun fishing this pier because of the variety of catches fishing the reef at the end.” A PFIC report from Fishman Fishman on 10/19 said, “Arrived on pier at 5:30 a.m. greeted with a beautiful clear night sky! Total black night with incredibly bright stars. Constellations were very clear. Identified the Big and Little Dipper's respectively. The early morning bite started off with Pacific mackerel. Upon the morning sunrise a variety of fish started to hit - Pacific and Spanish, mackerel, Queenfish, Jacksmelt and Topsmelt. It was a slow but steady bite. Around 9 a.m. I added Black perch, Sargo and a short Calico bass to my catch list. The fish were caught on a variety of baits - anchovy, shrimp and mussel using a hi/lo rig. Lots of big bait balls consisting of sardines and smelt around the pier. Occasionally a Bonito could be seen chasing the bait. A Bonito fisherman using feathers had a triple hook up on Bonito. They were a good size about 16 to 18 inches. These were the only Bonito caught all morning. A side note. The fish cleaning table at the end of the pier did not have any running water. First time I have experienced this situation at the pier. Overall a wonderful morning on the pier. Good luck everyone!” 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 — Skyler at Hogan's Bait and Tackle (34320 Pacific Coast Hwy. says there’s been a good bass bite going on lately, most being taken on lures but some on bait. Croakers (mainly spotfin) and perch are also available. 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, “What a great month we have had. There have been bonito everyday. The best bait has been sardines. Some lures have worked, but live bait was best. They are nice-sized fish for a change. There has been a few mackerel as well and the thresher sharks have been showing. Don't think anyone is fishing for them yet. I have my 10th keeper halibut now and lots of strikes mostly in the surf area. Saw a nice corbina caught by a snagger. Saw a 2-foot barracuda swimming near and looking at my bait. Also lots of white seabass one of which was over 24 inches, but not 28 inches. We’ll see what the rain does this week. Hope it doesn't destroy the fishing. By the way the paper says the water is 63 degrees. I think it is warmer than that. Hope all is going well with you. I am enjoying eating halibut. I do like bonito too.” A PFIC report from Rusty on 10/18 said, “Wide open Bonito bite in the early AM until about noon, when the bite slowed down, but a few anglers were still managing to still catch. Lots of Bonito up to 2-lbs. Still smallish, but that doesn’t stop anyone from taking as much as they can fill their sacks with. Bite picked up again around 4pm. (I mentioned that the limit for small bonito is five.) Rusty’s reply, “yep. And all of those people know the regulations. No one cares anymore. Literally everyone was taking all they can, except a few. And not limited to any specific ethnicities or gender. Disappointing to see this happening, everyone is all for themselves nowadays. I tossed my catches back (which upset a few anglers), gave a few away to some that couldn’t manage to catch. An even more disappointing sight was someone trying to sell their Bonito on the pier, lugging a bucket full up and down the pier. Now, this kid, I have seen fishing here for years, I remember when he was barely 3 feet tall, begging me for sinkers, hooks, and rigs. The fish only wanted sardines, and they were a bit picky at those, they had to be the right size, strong swimmers, and not beat up or bloody.” A PFIC report from Rusty on 10/8 said, “Got down here at about 8am and setup to catch sardines. Bonito everywhere, easily spotted on the surface. Didn’t want to play with any of my lures, sniper, croc, Kastmaster. Lively sardines were the hot ticket if you can get past the billions of smelt. I couldn’t even catch bait fast enough! As soon as my bait hit the water it got slammed! Limits within an hour! Heading home by 11am! The hot spot was in the middle where the kid with the green shirt is in my pic, he was a pro at catching sardines! If you want to get on some of this action, get down here! Huge thanks to Snookie!” An earlier report from Snookie on 10/5 said, “Yesterday the bonito decided to be with us from early morning until 4p.m. It was just before noon when they broke everywhere on the pier. We had a tremendous amount of bait all around and they were after it. The bonitos were about 16 inches which is much better than they have been. They wanted lures, smelt and sardines. One rod is all that you could handle they were so fast at taking when you were offering. We fished the surf area for most of ours. We used sardines that were readily available straight down. We made sure that the people near us earlier on the end knew the regulations of 5 bonitos. Some of the older people had never caught bonito, and were having a blast. That was fun to watch.” 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 although when the fishing is hot the mobs will be bigger and the railing space more limited. How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway take the Newport Blvd. turn off and proceed west watching for signs directing traffic to the pier. The pier sits at the foot of McFadden Place.
Huntington Beach Pier — We need a reporter. How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.”
Seal Beach Pier — Jimmy at Big Fish Bait & Tackle, 1780-C. Pacific Coast Hwy, said a variety of fish are being taken. Inshore it’s mainly spotfin and yellowfin croaker on the bottom (on mussels and bloodworms). Inshore to mid-pier sees some stingrays and shovelnose sharks (guitarfish). Top waters, mid-pier to the end, are still seeing some bonito, 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 Veterans Memorial Pier — Jimmy at Big Fish Bait & Tackle, 1780-C. Pacific Coast Hwy, said it is mainly yellowfin and spotfin croaker in the surf, halibut mid-pier (on live smelt or sardines), and some bonito and mackerel in the top waters. 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 (Long Beach) — Expect the usual when casting straight out from the pier(s), some white croaker (tomcod) on the bottom and possibly some mackerel or even bonito on top. Casting parallel to the shoreline rocks should produce a few croakers, some sargo and a possible perch using mussels, lugworms, or shrimp. 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.
Pier J Piers (Long Beach) — White croaker are available most days as are a variety of fish, mackerel on top and rock frequenting species like perch and opaleye along the rocks. How To Get There: From I-710 follow the signs saying S. Harbor Scenic Drive. From downtown Long Beach follow Queens Way past the Catalina Landing and on to the Queens Way Bridge over the water and take the S. Harbor Scenic Drive.
Cabrillo Pier (San Pedro) — Alex at the Rusty Hook, 245 N Gaffey St., San Pedro, said the big news lately was quite a few bonito showing up with most being taken on lures like Krocodiles and Kastmasters. It’s slow on halibut but expect some bass and perch when fishing by the rocks. 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) – Expect the normal species—kelp bass, rock wrasse, senorita, opaleye, halfmoon, and sheephead. Now that lobster season has started also expect a few lobster from the pier at night although I’m told the pier has been hit pretty heavy so the numbers should be decreasing. 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, Newport Beach (near the Balboa Pier) and Dana Harbor. 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) — Expect the normal species—kelp bass, rock wrasse, senorita, opaleye, halfmoon, sheephead and ocean whitefish. Some bonito and barracuda may also show up. 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, Newport Beach (near the Balboa Pier) and Dana Harbor. 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 when you walk off the ferry onto the landing you are at the Mole.
Redondo Beach Pier — No report this month but the last report said some mackerel and bonito were available. How To Get There: From the Pacific Coast Highway, take Torrance Blvd. west to the foot of the pier and the parking lot.
Manhattan Beach Pier — No report this month. How To Get There: From Sepulveda Boulevard, turn west on Manhattan Beach Drive and follow it to the pier.
Hermosa Beach Pier — No report this month. 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. How Get There: Highway 1 to Washington St., turn west and follow Washington St. to the pier.
Santa Monica Pier — No report this month. 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 is cooling off but quite a few fish are still being reported from the pier. A lot of sargo continue to be taken along with yellowfin croaker but the corbina have moved on (to somewhere). Some perch are still to be had (a variety) and there are still a lot of leopard sharks and bat rays being reported but there hasn’t been any recent reports of thresher sharks. 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 anglers are still reporting some large bat rays. She says due to the high cost of parking most anglers are walking in from the street. How To Get There: Take Highway 1 to Paradise Cove Dr., turn west, and follow the road back into the parking lot. It’s very expensive unless you buy a meal at the restaurant and then you are allowed to fish for, I think, three hours.
Ventura & Santa Barbara County Piers
Port Hueneme Pier — No report this month but a variety of fish should be available. 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 — Waiting for a report from Boyd Larson at Hyun’s Tackle, 3695 E Harbor Blvd., Ventura. The action had been excellent recently at the pier including many halibut. 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 — Kai at Hook Line & Sinker, 4010-5 Calle Real, Santa Barbara, says the fishing has been slow but quite a few crustaceans are showing up, a lot of crabs and smaller numbers of lobster. 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 — Kai at Hook Line & Sinker, 4010-5 Calle Real, Santa Barbara, reports that a lot of rays are showing up (bat rays?) and quite a few bass, both sand bass and kelp bass. Also expect the usual species at the pipe-reef, mainly small rockfish but also a few bass, perch and even a possible cabezon or sheephead. 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 has now been closed for somewhere around eight years but I have been told that the state has now allocated money to rebuild the pier. My fingers are crossed. How To Get There: From Highway 101 simply take the Gaviota State Park turnoff down to the beach and pier.