September 2019 Fishing Report, Central California (251)

Ken Jones

Staff member
California Pier Report — September 2019

San Luis Obispo County Piers

Pismo Beach Pier — Surfperch and jacksmelt, should be available most of the day, mackerel MAY show up, and if it’s like most summers quite a few sharks should be available at night. How To Get There: From the north, take Hwy. 101 to the Five Cities Dr. exit; follow Dolliver into the middle of town, then turn west on Pomeroy and follow it to the pier and parking lot. From the south, take the Pismo Beach Exit (Price St.), follow it to Pomeroy; turn west and follow it to the pier.

Avila Pier – The pier is currently closed. How To Get There: Take Hwy. 101 to Avila Rd. and go west; turn left off of Avila Rd. on to Front St. and follow it to the pier.

San Luis (Harford) Pier — Amy at the Patriot Sportfishing (on the pier) said most of the pier action has been on perch although the mackerel are also in and out. How To Get There: Take Hwy. 101 to the Avila Rd. turnoff and head west; follow the road to the end and the pier.

Morro Bay T-Piers – A variety of perch and rockfish should be available—blackperch, pileperch, and striped perch along with grass, brown, copper, blue and black and yellow rockfish. How To Get There: From Highway 1 turn south onto Main Street, follow it to Morro Bay Boulevard, turn left toward the bay and follow it to Embarcadero, turn right and follow Embarcadero to the end of the public parking which adjoins the piers.

Cayucos Pier — Expect a variety of perch inshore along with too many small bullheads (staghorn sculpin). Top-water action sees mainly jacksmelt but mackerel can also make an appearance. Summertime nights is when the pier can shine for sharks and though I haven’t had any reports I imagine the sharays (a variety) are showing up. How To Get There: Take Highway 1 to either Ocean Boulevard, which is the main street and will take you past the pier, or take the Cayucos Drive exit which will take you straight to the pier.

San Simeon Pier — Expect the usual, a variety of perch inshore while mid-pier to the end sees more pelagic action on top—mackerel (some days) and jacksmelt. An occasional flatfish or rockfish may make a visit but not too many. How To Get There: Highway 1 to the entrance to the park.

Monterey-Santa Cruz-San Mateo County Piers

Monterey Coast Guard Pier — Apparently the pier is closed for repairs. How To Get There: From Hwy 1 going north: Take the Aguajito Road exit, turn left at the first traffic signal intersection, which is Aguajito Road, and continue under Highway 1 and cross Fremont Street. At the next traffic signal intersection, which is Del Monte Avenue, turn left. Continue down Del Monte Avenue and under the tunnel where the street turns into Lighthouse Avenue. Get into the right-hand lane. As the street veers to the right it turns into Foam Street. Continue on Foam Street to the first right and turn into the parking lot. From Hwy 1 going south: Take the Del Monte Avenue exit, continue down Del Monte Avenue for several blocks and go under the tunnel where the street turns into Lighthouse Avenue. Get into the right-hand lane. As the street veers to the right it turns into Foam Street. Continue on Foam Street to the first right and turn into the parking lot.

Monterey Wharf #2 — No report this month. How To Get There: From Highway 1 take the central Monterey exit and follow Del Monte Avenue to Figueroa Street, turn right and follow to the wharf.

Seacliff State Beach Pier — Ed at the Capitola Boat & Bait, said he's not getting many reports but assumes the regulars there are catching fish since they haven't come over to Capitola like they do when things are slow. Unfortunately there’s not much of a pier left so it can be crowded and there are a zillion kelp flies so I rarely recommend the pier any longer. A few barred surfperch and calico surfperch should also be available in the surf area, along with some walleye perch. How To Get There: How To Get There: From Highway 1 take the State Park Drive exit; follow the road west to the park entrance.

Capitola Wharf — Ed at the Capitola Boat & Bait, on the pier, said the fishing is still good and should remain so as long as the anchovies are around the pier. Halibut are the main sportfish and though some striped bass are still making a showing more are being caught down on the beaches. Mackerel are in and out with biggest numbers usually in the evening. Not much else although a lot of small perch are around—walleyes and shiner and some of the regulars prefer the shiners as live bait over the anchovies (they last longer). Some blackperch are also to be found under the pier at the end. He said boat fishing is excellent! How To Get There: From Highway 1 take the Bay Avenue exit west until it hits Capitola Avenue where you turn right; stay on this to Cliff Drive, turn right and park wherever you can find a spot.

Santa Cruz Wharf — Chris, at the Santa Cruz Boat Rental (on the wharf), said the anchovies are back in around the pier, the red tide is gone, and the halibut bite has started back up. Get some live anchovies for bait and fish near where the wharf widens out mid-wharf. The stripers have gone but there’s apparently a million small kingfish (white croaker) on the bottom. Just remember than kingfish now have a ten fish limit. How to Get There: Ocean Street south from Highway 1; when you get to Laurel Street turn right and follow it to Pacific Street, turn left and follow Pacific to the wharf.

Pillar Point Pier — No report this month. How To Get There: From Highway 1 simply take the Pillar Point Harbor turnoff and follow the road down to the main parking lot. This pier is to the far right of the parking lot

Pacifica Pier — Marque at Coastside #2 Bait and Tackle, 1604 Francisco Blvd, said small perch are being taken on Sabikis and some stripers are showing up inshore but the salmon action has been basically dead. It’s not too exciting! Luckily the Dungeness season isn’t too far away. PFIC also had an early in the month report from StripeDoc who said: I went to Oyster Point on Sunday around 1pm with a dropshot/gulp mullet setup to plug for a bit. Pier was dead after 1hr, on my way out I met a fish counter from DFW who interviewed me. I asked him where he'd seen action lately and he mentioned Pacifica pier had quite a striper bite from late July into early August. While I assumed this info was probably stale, I decided to give the pier another shot, as I had a bad experience when I had tried for surfperch in March (belligerent homeless, lots of trash, crab lines EVERYWHERE with nonstop tangles). Found parking and got onto the pier, which was wall to wall along the first 2/3. Saw lots of surfperch in buckets (mostly smaller walleyes) and everyone who was fishing for them seemed to be catching jacksmelt. I kept throwing my gulp (3" white mullet on a size 1 hook with a 1oz ball sinker drop shot) and first cast I got hit by a 12" white croaker. I threw him back but was immediately elbow to elbow with three more folks who were excitedly shouting "kingfish!" Got hit on the second cast / missed him, but realized my hook was likely too large... switched to a half gulp (just the curly tail) on a size 4 but unfortunately had no more action over the next 45 mins. Went down to the beach where there were several folks fishing sandfleas [sand crabs-KJ] on fish finder rigs and saw one had a 24” striper in the cooler. I started throwing a Kastmaster and came back with sandfleas snagged on 2/3 treble points. I could take a hint, so I went home and grabbed a bigger surf rig with a 3oz hi low (size 2 hooks) and a sandflea scoop... first two scoops were loaded with nice sized fleas, including soft shells and several with eggs. I got perch hits on the soft shells but the outgoing tide and swell made it hard to hold bottom, even after going up to 4oz. Also tons of seaweed in the water so I moved back up to the pier. I got up there and found out the angler next to me had caught a 25" striper 30 mins before so I was hopeful. Unfortunately all of my soft shells got picked off by tiny perch (probably more walleyes) and I had trouble keeping the crabs off as well. Hooked/landed two legal dungies that evidently liked sand fleas but threw both back (out of season) - to the chagrin of the woman next to me who asked if she could keep both! Eventually got late (~7pm) and witnessed a pretty heated altercation between a homeless man and a fisherman, so I decided it was time to head home.” One reply by Astralography said: “Fished at Pacifica Pier yesterday. One salmon was caught in the morning on a trolley rig. Nothing else came up the rest of the day. The locals said it has been the worst year there for salmon in memory. Striped bass in the surf appear to be gone. Didn't see any come up. There were nice size anchovies to be had and I went home with about 20 and a few nice Kingfish. Weather was nice and two huge humpback whales came in very close to the pier, which was just an awesome sight. Also saw a 10 to 12 foot plus shark wander on by.... right between my two trolley rig bobbers. Not overly crowded, and people were friendly and in good spirits. A couple of guys were crabbing and keeping Dungeness out of season. Best bait for the Kingfish were small pieces of anchovy cut up on small hooks. Anchovies were hitting bare Sabiki with #8 hooks.” How To Get There: Take Highway 1 to Pacifica, take the Paloma Avenue-Francisco Boulevard exit, take Paloma west to Beach Road, turn left and proceed a short way until you see markers indicating the way to Fort Point, turn left on Long Avenue and it will take you down to the pier.