Pacifica 8/7

#1
Snuck out of work early today to hit up Pacifica again.

Stopped by Coastside, grabbed sabikis, dead anchovies and some grass shrimp and they confirmed the striped bass fishing had been hot “from Rockaway to Mori” but had slowed to a steady pick on the pier.

Got to Pacifica and started fishing a sabiki tipped with grass shrimp to make bait. Quickly caught a hand sized walleye perch that was too small to eat but too big for bait... argh. Started seeing good sized stripers caught right around the blue/green water line (28-32”). The guy next to me said there were anchovies at the end of the pier biting gold hook sabikis so I went out there. Caught one on my first drop and put him out on a live bait rig. Kept fishing for bait but unfortunately no more. Checked the anchovy and it had been neatly sliced right behind the hook, probably a halibut. There was a humpback whale feeding on the anchovies that surfaced twice right next to the pier, which was cool and somewhat awe-inspiring.

Kept trying for anchovies but couldn’t get any more, so I went back to the green / blue line to fish dead bait. Saw two more bigger stripers caught (one on a live anchovy, one on a shiner) and finally got a take. Powerful run that went left up the pier and tangled about 4 lines... ended up bringing it in and it was a 25lb Ray. Someone helped net it and it was released, but man were the locals pissed about the tangled lines. “City guy.... fishing braid, what an idiot... should have cut the line” etc. I slunk off the pier and resolved to use a heavier setup for my bait rod next time.

Anyway... Iive and learn. There are stripers out there if you’re patient enough to make bait. If anyone on this forum was one of the guys I tangled... please let me buy you a beer next time I’m out.
 
Last edited:

Reel Newbie

Active member
#2
By any chance, what rod reel combo and rigging were you using? I’m starting to feel undergunned with a penn pursuit 6000 loaded with 40lb braid on a 10’ ugly stick. I’m also not too sure about what size hooks and sinkers to use. Also considering using an old school bg20 with 20lb mono on a 7’ mh rod.
 
#3
I was way too light, stupidly brought my bay setup... 8’6” MH steelhead rod with a Calcutta 200b and 30lb braid

Bigger rig is a 9’6” Century slingshot with a Stella 5k and 40lb braid. Kind of feel like I’ll stick out like a sore thumb on Pacifica with that, probably should just get a big BG on an 8 foot Powerstick or similar with high vis 20lb mono for utility live bait fishing.

I was using a 1/0 circle hook as I usually set my bait rod down. For sinkers there was definitely a swell and I was not able to hold bottom until I went up to a 4oz pyramid.
 
Last edited:
#4
Don't let the local Pacifica guys discourage you, I know its easier said than done but try to maintain some resolve. I have been fishing that pier since I was 12 years old in the early '90s and that place always seems to attract the most unsavory scum. Combat fishing is the name of the game out there and even they know that tangles are a part of daily life on that pier. A 10 ft heavy surf rod with fast action should do the trick, I prefer Okuma or an Ugly Stik for the sensitive tip to detect light bites. Just make sure its got a strong backbone, but not a broomstick. If you have any questions feel free to ask, Pacifica had been my stomping grounds for almost two decades.
 

Reel Newbie

Active member
#5
In that case, what baits are usually the best when live bait isn’t available? Is the usual rig a fish finder rig? What size hooks are needed and what test leader? What rigging would you use for live bait for striped bass, and do you need a rod holder?
 

Igor

New member
#6
Do not pay attention about braid line talks - most of the locals use braid lines right now.... they mostly use mono on freshly bought combos, because it's already there
 

Red Fish

Active member
#7
In that case, what baits are usually the best when live bait isn’t available? Is the usual rig a fish finder rig? What size hooks are needed and what test leader? What rigging would you use for live bait for striped bass, and do you need a rod holder?
Okay, Ken has a few notes on what to do from Pacifica Pier and a book entry. I will offer a few ideas from my visits there starting about 1988.
*Fishing “Little Manila” or “International” (that would be the end of the L). There, a trolley rig: baseball sized float, 11-13’ of 20# mono, one ounce egg weight separated by a couple beads, snap swivel, 2’ hook line snelled with a 3/0 barbless circle hook, 8 ounce pyramid or spider weight. This is for salmon. People will use a similar rig (heavier) when thresher shark are about. Other than that, you will see some sabiki down there and some kingfish fishermen. There was only mono line back then and it makes sense when it is super crowded to adhere to this. But some old heads will try to press this even during a lousy season with only (6) fishermen (fishing 2 rods) in Little Manila. Just look where you cast (west) and make sure your weight is settled on the bottom and NOT crossed with anyone before you slide down the bobber. Most important is to neatly thread tray anchovies on your hook (you will be sorry if try using bag bait as I know from wasting many trips in the past as the bait will fall off and you will be fishing with nothing on your hook). Rod holder not mandatory but helps and will hold your spot.
*Fishing near the beginning inside the breakers. Seems like the best action is the north side of the pier (but people will fish with the tidal push as to side many times). Okay, so again sabiki or multi-hook hi/lo leader with shrimp or squid strips or striper fishing here. I haven’t striper fished here as much (as the end) but this is it basically: rodholder, set a rod with some backbone of 8.5 to 12’ in the holder, use a sliding rig of about 3’, weights of about 3-6 ounces, circle hook of 1/0-5/0 to match bait size, drop to bottom then crank (a couple feet just so bait is suspended and so crabs don’t get it) up off bottom. Note: the longer rod puts your rod out from the pilings a little better in that the line is just flipped out and not casted out on the method I am referencing. That’s primarily it. Bait with live anchovies, shiner, smelt, kingfish, queenfish, mackerel. 15-30# (some using 40 for thresher) mono was what was used for gamefish. Braid line should not be a problem now at the beginning of the pier. Bring a net or gaff with at least 50 feet of rope so you can land your own catch. You can “bulldog” and just lock your drag and pull a fish up on a heavy rig (or hand line it up) but you risk losing a prize catch. A bucket (or live bait bucket) and 50 feet of rope can only help to keep your live bait alive.


PFIC Book - Pacifica Pier

Good luck!
 
Last edited:
#8
Would also add that a bunch of the guys that I tangled were fishing halibut, which have apparently been caught at Pacifica lately in decent numbers (I have not seen any myself but tackle shop confirmed). These setups were fish-finder or three way rigs in rod holders with a live anchovy or shiner on a trap rig... many of the ones I saw also had hoochies or spinners / flashers ahead of the bait which seemed like an odd setup for set and wait but the guys fishing them also looked like they knew what they were doing. Did see these guys catch stripers on them which seemed to be there in decent numbers.

If you specifically want halibut you're probably better off going to Muni or St Francis Yacht Club jetty based on recent reports.
 
#9
Dont mind them. Many of them use braid too, they're just salty. Fish run and tangles are inevitable. You should see what happens when one of them get into a thresher shark and creates a mess all around. Just say sorry and move on. A lot of them are old timers and they think that's the best way to approach the situation. The entire: I'll throw you off the pier, etc etc etc is a joke. The entire more bark than bite type of deal. Be friendly and cordial, don't mind the trolls.

Btw, the modified halibut rigs: extra flash and wiggle doesn't hurt, but I wouldn't be surprised if they are hedging their bets on trying to entice a salmon as well.
 
#10
Here's a hot tip for combining braid with HiVis line when in combat fishing conditions.

That said I do agree with the other replies: don't let the salty dogs get to you. They all know that tangles are inevitable when you're fishing at the pier.
 
#11
Not worth another separate thread but the pier was going off today again.

I couldn’t leave work until after 4 but I saw a 38” striper decked as I got there. Heard there were 15+ 34-40 inch fish caught, all by the blue/green line just past the breakers. The first third was mobbed when I got there so I set up deeper - this time had no problem getting bait (actually took Red Fish’s advice re sardines at mole and used tiny size 12 gold sabikis with no beads). Every drop was 2/3 anchovies but unfortunately I was likely fishing too deep.

Saw a 28” halibut decked across from me and got a lot of short strikes from small halibut or large perch but ultimately went home fishless. (I’m very curious what kind of fish hits as a sharp tap tap and consistently mauls skin/scales off anchovies and if there’s any way to combat it - this time I was not getting crabs because I was a good 3 feet off the bottom with a long sinker dropper.) The bite completely shut off at high tide and the outgoing was much, much slower than the incoming had been.

I will be fishing the pier all weekend if anyone else makes it out... the action seems too steady right now not to keep trying and I have striper sickness.
 
Last edited:
#14
Not worth another separate thread but the pier was going off today again.

I couldn’t leave work until after 4 but I saw a 38” striper decked as I got there. Heard there were 15+ 34-40 inch fish caught, all by the blue/green line just past the breakers. The first third was mobbed when I got there so I set up deeper - this time had no problem getting bait (actually took Red Fish’s advice re sardines at mole and used tiny size 12 gold sabikis with no beads). Every drop was 2/3 anchovies but unfortunately I was likely fishing too deep.

Saw a 28” halibut decked across from me and got a lot of short strikes from small halibut or large perch but ultimately went home fishless. (I’m very curious what kind of fish hits as a sharp tap tap and consistently mauls skin/scales off anchovies and if there’s any way to combat it - this time I was not getting crabs because I was a good 3 feet off the bottom with a long sinker dropper.) The bite completely shut off at high tide and the outgoing was much, much slower than the incoming had been.

I will be fishing the pier all weekend if anyone else makes it out... the action seems too steady right now not to keep trying and I have striper sickness.
Not sure if it responds your questions, but perch bites are quite characteristic. One or two sharp, but short bites to 'try', then the good one. Always very sharp bites from perch. Once you have felt some they are so easy to detect.

Regards
 
#15
Tremendous amount of bait around today with a fleet of boats in hot pursuit (believe one was California Dawn)

No stripers yet but hopeful for the incoming this afternoon

Guys at the end got at least 4 salmon!

Put the time in today getting to know some locals and they have been hugely helpful.
 
#18
You guys know what bait was around? Thinking of catch and cooking some sardines.
All anchovies - some pods were 3-4”, some were bigger but the water was black with them at times

Unfortunately the bite never came today, only saw one keeper striper landed all day and it was ~20 inches
 
#19
Fished Pacifica Pier today from around noon till sunset. Mostly fished the trolley rig for salmon. Today there were none caught, nor did I see any strikes. Worked a second rod for a few small Kingfish and perch. Spent the last two hours down in the shallows hoping for a big stripe bass but had no such luck. I did see 4 nice big ones were caught while I was wasting my time targeting the elusive salmon this year. I had good luck getting live anchovies in the shallows on Sabiki with only red bead. I think you really have to put the time in out there. Most of the locals I spoke with have not caught salmon yet this year.... but a few have been caught here and there. Rumor is this will be a record late run due to the few caught having very small eggs.. so it might be another month. Benicia 1rst street and The State Park are all zeros for the year so far. They have said this is the longest dry spell past opening day in recorded history. All in all it was spectacularly beautiful day, and everyone was friendly and helpful...even the salty dogs!