September 2020 Fishing Report, SoCal (#258)
Remember — Lobster season will soon open. Follow all regulations and make sure you have a lobster card in possession.
San Diego County Piers
Imperial Beach Pier – Waiting for a report. 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 — Seth at the Ocean Beach Pier Bait Shop & Café, on the pier said action was hot up until a couple of weeks ago but now has slowed. He said there are always mackerel and occasionally a few bonito but he hasn’t seen much on the bottom— a couple of leopard sharks, a few halfmoon, and some small croakers. He said the shark action at the end is also slow. 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 – Hunter at the Crystal Pier Bay & Tackle said action remains somewhat slow although a few spotfin croaker are being taken, a few perch and mackerel, and a LOT of bat rays. 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! 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 (a variety) always seem to be around as well as a mix of sharays (mostly round stingrays). 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., said the main effort is on mackerel but it's hit and miss. Anglers are getting a few bass, a few halibut, and a few sharks at night. 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 — Ed at the Oceanside Pier Bait and Tackle shop on the pier, said people are catching spotfin croaker inshore on fresh mussels along with a few corvina but the bonito disappeared on the 27th. He said there’s some mackerel and millions of sardines. Not much else has been reported. Most interesting story is about a mother and baby giant (black) sea bass that are hanging out just under the fish cleaning station and being fed by the anglers. The regulars are worried that some knucklehead may try to hook them and are keeping an eye out for them. 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 —Awaiting the report. 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 — Dane at Hogan's Bait And Tackle (34320 Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point) says the pier’s been producing a TON of mackerel and small bonito and basically they will hit anything flashy—Krocodiles, etc. Inshore action on perch and croaker (lug worms) has been slow but mid-pier to the end is seeing some sand bass (squid and anchovies) and an occasional halibut (live bait or an artificial). At the end the sharkers have been doing well with a number of threshers and good numbers of leopard sharks and bat rays. 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 — Dane from Hogan's Bait And Tackle (34320 Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point) says the main action has been on spotted bay bass on the bottom and mackerel and bonito on the top (and both come and go). An occasional halibut also shows up but most are shorts. 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, “As to the pier fishing well it is improving. We are getting some big bonito, just not many. There are lots of mackerel. The halibut have been small, but there are some big ones around. There have been a few keepers caught. There are quite a few thornback being caught, yellowfin croakers and little white seabass. There are a few shovelnose guitarfish being caught too. Some are quite small. There are some butterfly rays, stingrays and bat rays also being caught. Have seen some thresher sharks around. Our supply of sardines is plentiful and the threshers like them. We have a lot of smelt and grunions too and queenfish for bait. The water got to 78 degrees which is almost unheard of in that close. Maybe we will get some yellowtail in the surf area like we did in 2015. It is almost time.” 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 — Javier at Let's Go Fishing (on the pier) reports that some croaker are being caught inshore (including some nice-sized spotfin) and a few halibut have also been taken lately (mid-pier). He says there are a lot of mackerel all around the pier for those so inclined but the sharkers out at the end have seen their catch come to a stop for the most part. How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.
Seal Beach Pier —Ron at “Big Fish Bait and Tackle in Seal Beach” reports things are slow at the pier. He says people are still buying bait but he isn’t getting any reports of fish. 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 — Ron at “Big Fish Bait and Tackle in Seal Beach” reports things are slow at the pier. 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. Mackerel and white croaker should be available with a cast out from the pier. 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) says the pier continues to be closed. His Lordship, the mayor of Los Angeles, continues to keep the Los Angeles piers under his jurisdiction, Venice and Cabrillo Beach, closed. Only piers I think that are closed in the entire state. 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) – I talked to the Harbor Master and the pier is open but hotels and restaurants in Avalon are hit and miss, some open, some not. Given that the Mole is closed, pier fishing is restricted to the pleasure pier but he said it’s usually not crowded. When open it’s the normal mix of fish—kelp bass, opaleye, halfmoon, rock wrasse, senorita, sheephead, etc. 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 Mole is closed for repair and reopening dates are unclear. 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 — Joanna, at the Redondo Pier Tackle (on the pier), said people continue to catch good numbers of mackerel while the bonito come and go. Apparently not much action 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 PFIC reports have shown a decent amount of mini-bonito and mackerel and a few halibut. How To Get There: Take the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) to Pier Avenue and follow Pier Avenue west to the pier.
Venice Pier — His Lordship the mayor of Los Angeles continues to keep the Los Angeles piers under his jurisdiction, Venice and Cabrillo Beach, closed. Only piers I think that are closed in the state. How To Get There: Highway 1 to Washington St., turn west and follow Washington St. to the pier.
Santa Monica Pier — John at the Santa Monica Pier Bait & Tackle shop towards the end of the pier reports fairly slow fishing. A few yellowfin croaker are taken inshore, some perch show up under the pier, and jacksmelt and (some days) mackerel are taken out at the end. A few sharks show up, mainly leopard sharks, but only a few. Lobsters are still in season but for the poachers at the pier lobster season never ends. Unfortunately, the CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife chooses to ignore the problem.] 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 fishing has been good, especially for the thresher shark fishermen at the end that have brought in a number of big threshers. She says there are a lot mackerel and their numbers are supplemented by some calico (kelp) bass, a few halibut, and perch. How To Get There: The pier fronts on the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) so just drive until you see it.
Paradise Cove Pier — No report. 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 — No report. 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 — No report. Need a reporter. 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 Stearns Wharf Bait Shop on the wharf says it’s been a wild summer with generally good fishing but he thinks it’s starting to wind down. It was a big year for thresher sharks as well as a lot of leopard sharks and angel sharks but surprisingly few shovelnose sharks (guitarfish). What’s still hitting are the mackerel that seem to show up every night about 7 pm. During the day it’s a mix of calico (kelp) bass, sand bass and jacksmelt along with an occasional perch or opaleye. He says when the temperature goes up he gets some good fishing but as soon as the temperatures drop and the wind picks up things seem to slow— and it’s been an up and down summer as far as the weather. 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 — Tiffany at Hook, Line & Sinker in Santa Barbara (and on the pier) says the fishing has been great. Everything from white seabass to halibut, calico (kelp) bass, corbina and shallow water rockfish (on the pipe-reef). She also said her dad (Capt. David Bacon) is retiring and both he and she will no longer be running their Wave Walker Charters. She’s going to stick to rod building. 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; it’s now been closed for six years. Ridiculous! How To Get There: From Highway 101 simply take the Gaviota State Park turnoff down to the beach and pier.