Pier Ratings

Ken Jones

Staff member
Given the recent thread about safety at piers, specifically the San Leandro Marina Pier, I've revisited this original thread. At the time I tended to agree with Ben that it would b every hard to make such judgments and that it might not be needed. However, the pier articles are long and I am not sure how many people actually read them (it's a different world today when it comes to reading versus a quick look at a YouTube video). Perhaps it would be useful to have a short rating section that could be added — probably next to the "Pier Facts" at the end of each pier article. Using the new Word Press format I can actually make these changes myself and it's easuly done.

(a) What do you think of the idea — good or bad?

(b) Would people be willing to give input on what should or should not be included — and give feedback on how they would rate their favorite or least favorite piers?

Original Thread —

Date: November 25, 2004
To: Pier Fishing In California Message Board
From: Ken Jones
Subject: Pier Ratings

I've been kicking around the idea of rating the piers and need some input. What points would you assign to the following and is there anything I am missing?

Pier Ratings —
Quality of fishing: 30
Hours open: 10
Bait & Tackle: 10
Parking: 10
Safety (day and night): 10
Food and snacks: 10
Size of pier, crowding: 10
Restrooms: 10

Public transportation: Needed? If so, how many points? The problem is that there are some small inner-bay piers that have few amenities but which can produce excellent fishing. They would rate low but are actually quite good if you know where they are and are only interested in the fishing. Perhaps a comments section could explain such situations.

Posted by Songslinger

Ambience: 20

Posted by cruelpoet

Maybe aesthetics? Some piers are just calming by virtue of their views and overall beauty. Most of what I bring home from pier fishing is "peace of mind" and man...I love those sunsets! I'm getting my last visits in before I move to Colorado; the piers, breakwaters and surf fishing are about all I'm going to miss in so-cal.

Posted by fishmom

I would think published ratings would include points for each category, not lumped together, so each person could make judgments based on the criteria that matter to them. This would allow folks who care just for the fishing to seek out those "small inner-bay piers that have few amenities."

Posted by Red Fish

Should be more like a Kelley Blue Book rating system. List the factors that the pier is being rated on and give them an: excellent, very good, good, fair, bad rating. Then at the end give an over-all rating for the pier. Similarly with a car, they all drive and burn gas in the end, but some serve the purpose with/without a few extras!

Paradise Pier is the best NoCal pier but you pay $8 to use it. (overall family friendly and clean and picturesque). I imagine Malibu is the nicest in L.A. but that is only my perception of the pier as I have never fished it. And, I believe Malibu is free (maybe there is a parking fee?)

Posted by unclesteve

I agree with Red on Paradise Pier..!

Posted by goonerdude

if you arrive early enough to Malibu you can park on the street which is free.......there is a parking area run by the city if the street is full....and its $10.....all day....they also opened a small bar/resturant right at the street end of the pier.....not sure of the openeing times but in the summer there is an outdoor bar....so if the fishing is realy bad you can always have a beer.....but my fav so cal pier (that i have fished) is goleta......and also santa barabara....but st-b is because of all the people there....it gets crowded in the summer .....tourist's etc.....but you can have some amazing conversations on that pier....... G'day Guvn'r

Posted by Ken Jones

Maybe different categories with 1-5 stars?

Example: B Street Pier — Crescent City
Overall Rating ***

Fishing **
Ambiance *****
Restrooms ***
Parking ****
Snack Bar/Bait & Tackle *
Hours *****
Safety ****

Posted by unclesteve

GOBBLE GOBBLE...and the next day more GOBBLE. I would segment the categories carefully to avoid being myopic in the segmentation process. For example, view and ambience could be considered the same thing, but ambience has a larger scope. Another example, restrooms, bait shop, parking lot, could be included into one category (Facilities???). A large or small list of segments work well as long as it's consistent.

By the way, I like this idea a lot, especially the 1-5 star rating system. Gives us a chance to feel like a movie critic...

Posted by johnp

Does 3 stars mean that there is a restroom?

Posted by Ken Jones

In this case it meant that there are restrooms (actually Port-A-Potties) but they are at the foot of the pier, not on the pier. If it's a long walk they don't deserve fives stars

Posted by Red Fish

Maybe you should just rate the bathrooms and forget about rating the piers! Heck, I mean guys will go anywhere, let's face it. But, it you want all that nice stuff for the wife and kids. I used to use Solomon Grundy's bathroom when I was a kid! For you youngstas, Solomon Grundy's is now Skates restaurant at Berkeley Pier.

Posted by norcalangler

Perhaps you could also put a rating on how well a certain fish is caught there. Example would be rating salmon at Pacifica Pier a 9 rating out of 10 and say a seven or six point rating for striper at pier seven.

Posted by dompfa ben

I like the thorough reporting that you have performed for each pier in California, Ken. I think simply listing the facts about the piers is enough. Let people make their own comparisons and evaluations.

There are too many variables that can play tricks on a rating system. Fishing might be rated "5 stars" at two different piers. The difference is, one is dynamite for halibut, and the other is dynamite for thornbacks. These sorts of nuances would detract from the validity of a rating.

I like the idea of offering some factual and anecdotal evidence for people, but in the end, people should make their own opinions about ratings.

Posted by smellsfishy909

Pier Crowding-20

Posted by pOtAtO_heAd

I think that's a great idea. I like to hear other people’s opinions before I try out a new pier. I'm still working on getting my first striper. Been fishing @ Oyster Point every chance I get (usually late night) and still haven't caught one... but still trying.

Red Fish

Senior Member
Ken, as you have stated, times have changed. No doubt people still want to enjoy the outdoors. Yeah, ha, ha, if by a very slight chance I fished with my nieces or nephew today, and Berkeley Pier was still open, I would walk them over to Skates to use the bathroom.

Actually, that is what I did about seven years ago when they were 7 and 9 years old. That was probably their only visit to the pier along with one or two visits to Ferry Point. Back then, believe it or not, Ferry Point Pier was a lot cleaner. Now, if you could go during a weekday you could maybe have the same experience. What the guy moving to Colorado said. Port View Park is probably the nicest pier in the East Bay. Very quiet, picturesque but the fishing is not great. And, the bathroom is actually open and clean during the daytime sometimes as the security uses it and I've seen people cleaning it again. I believe the security locks it about 5 pm.

The ratings you had previously were good Ken. You could use a blog with pictures to actually show some of the areas but the description is good enough. For example, when you came to Ferry Point a couple months ago, the bathrooms were very clean because you were there first thing in the morning after they had been cleaned (other times they are not as nice).

I was amazed how clean the bathrooms were at Arrowhead Marsh Pier a month ago when I went there but it was early morning, during a weekday, and the bathroom actually smelled like it was just cleaned at the second landing as you enter the gate.

As mentioned: many of the piers are very rustic and I would really be picky if I was to choose a place for women and children because many piers don't offer much in the way of amenities but can be a great place to fish. And some fishermen choose these places specifically to get away from the crowds/families. So, various spots offer different attractions to an angler looking for such.
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Ken Jones

Staff member
Your points, and they are good ones, show why it is so hard to come up with a rating system. But, a generalized rating system still might be preferable to no ratings, especially if you don't like to read my articles or are just in a hurry to get a quick look at a new pier. I also think a sentence or two describing each rating would help.

Example: Restrooms: 10/10 — Actual restrooms that are kept clean and stocked throughout the day.

Restrooms: 6/10 — Actual restrooms with toilets and running water. However, although usually clean in the morning when first opened, they are cleaned infrequently and by mid-day can not only be odorous but also out of such things as toilet paper and hand towels.

Restrooms: 3 /10— Six Port-a-Potties are set up near the entrance to the pier. It's unclear when/if they are cleaned and stocked with paper. Some type of nose device (that would pinch the nose and help prevent the urge to gag on the smell) would be advantageous. Bring disinfecting wipes with you.

Restrooms: 0/10 — No restrooms. Windbreaks often have an urine smell and occasionally even have human droppings (poop) in the windbreak. Bring disinfecting wipes with you.