California Pier Report
September 2021 Fishing Report, Southern California (#269)
Remember — Lobster season is now closed.
San Diego County Piers
Imperial Beach Pier – We still need a reporter. 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 — Dominique at the Ocean Beach Pier Bait and Tackle shop on the pier said the pier is seeing good numbers of mackerel but most of the action is slow. Some croaker inshore, some small bass, some sand sharks (guitarfish?), some sting rays and some lobsters (although out of season). He says the pier is closed just past the restaurant/bait shop and far fewer anglers are fishing since the deepest water is now unavailable. 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 – Pam, at the bait shop on the pier, reports a recent legal-size halibut, a nice-sized leopard shark, and the usual species—spotfin and yellowfin croaker, some sargo, and a few guitarfish. People also are still picking up mackerel on top. 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 (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 — It sounds like the main fish continue to be mackerel. 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 — A report from my friend Bill said anglers had caught several striped bass the morning I called, all by the regular halibut fisherman that are in the medium shallow waters around the bait shop and using live bait (smelt). Further inshore, the regulars were picking up some croaker. Out at the end anglers have been picking up mackerel but not in big numbers and a few, half dozen of so a day, bonito. Shark anglers are absent because they’ve had a hard time getting the mackerel for bait. How To Get There: From I-5 take Mission Blvd. west to Pacific, turn left and follow it to the pier.” How To Get There: From I-5 take Mission Blvd. west to Pacific, turn left and follow it to the pier.
Oceanside Harbor Pier — The pier is currently closed for repair. 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, said the fishing has been OK but not great. Inshore, in the surf area, it’s the usual perch and croaker along with a few halibut falling to Lucky Craft lures. Mid-pier to the end sees some bass along with mackerel but not in big numbers. No bonito to date. The sharkers at the end are seeing some good-sized sharks, mainly leopards, along with small threshers. As usual, a few big bat rays enter the mix. 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, said it’s the usual. Try for halibut using artificial lures such as Lucky Craft and swim baits or spotted bass using swim baits. A few croakers and perch are available using bait. 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 long-time reporter Snookie says, these months seem to get by me too fast. Not too much to report. Have been getting some halibut. I just haven't gotten any keepers yet. Have seen a few though. Have seen a lot of spotfin croakers. Some have been over 5 pounds. Lots of yellowfin croakers, but not big ones. There have been several thresher shark caught on the end of the pier by the few that know what they are doing. It has been nice on the pier because the crowds are gone now. The mackerel fishermen are happy with the amount of mackerel being caught. It is just enough to keep them satisfied. We have caught quite a few pregnant stingrays lately in the surf. I had a legal calico bass for supper this week. It was 15 inches and delicious. Most of the bass have been small. The live bait situation is okay. Some days we have to really work at it, but we are getting enough. Noticed that the Spanish mackerel are here now in various sizes. Maybe the yellowtail will come looking for them soon.” Got a report from blfishing on 8/8, “Just came back from pier to make more bait for my catfish and stripers. Water is dark green. Swell was unusual tonight. Switching north to south to incoming to outgoing in a matter of a couple hours. All the sardines you want. However the macks were absent. Only caught 5. Also I believe I got a couple of herring? Sure looks like it. It was a great afternoon evening fishing session. Ate my burger with my beautiful gf, enjoy the cool weather, watched fellow anglers laughing, music blasting. It was the perfect summer night at the beach.” 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 — Still unable to get through to the pier. Croker action should be decent inshore while mackerel should be available mid-pier to the end. Also expect some of the larger sharks and rays at the end. Fishman Fishman made a report on 8/19, “Today my wife and I took my 85 y.o. mother fishing at Huntington Beach Pier. It's been over 5 years since she went pier fishing. Our last recollection of a fishing trip with her was to Oceanside pier. She caught three smelt today! I caught one Thornback ray and one Round ray. I also caught a very large sand crab. It went after some anchovy! The spotfin and yellowfin croaker bite was active at the midpoint. Fisherman using fresh mussel. Over a dozen caught between the 3 to 5 pound range for the spotfins.” EgoNonBaptizo made a report on 8/30, “I fished Huntington just past the lifeguard tower on the incoming tide from 7 pm to midnight. Using fresh mussels, I caught one round ray and one yellowfin croaker. It looked similarly slow for other people fishing in the surf zone. I did, however, see people walking down from the end with buckets full of mackerel, but I didn't want to walk the distance.” How To Get There: Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) to Huntington Beach and the pier.
Seal Beach Pier —Liz at Big Fish Bait & Tackle, 1780-C. Pacific Coast Hwy, said fishing’s been somewhat slow lately, pretty much the same mix of perch, corbina and croaker, all inshore, while a few mackerel should be out at the end. No reports of halibut. EgoNonBaptizo made a report on 8/30, I started fishing Seal Beach at 8pm, for even slower action on mussels, catching only one round ray. I moved to the end and got into a wide-open mackerel bite on strips of cut bait behind a glow-stick. I caught something like ~40 fish before I ran back to the car at midnight (yes two hours after closing time).” 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 — Liz at Big Fish Bait & Tackle, 1780-C. Pacific Coast Hwy, again said fishing’s about the same as last month, mainly mackerel and small sharks and rays. 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 — Expect the usual—tomcod (white croaker) and mackerel casting out from the pier, sargo and perch fishing the inshore waters. 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, said people are fishing the pier and getting some halibut and mackerel. Most of the halibut unfortunately are shorts, and most, whatever the size, are falling to swim baits to the regulars. The mackerel are mainly falling to bait, pieces of mackerel and a mish mash of other species to those just casting out a bait. A few bass and perch should be available against the rocks, a few small sculpin under the pier, and an occasional croaker on the bottom. 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 all the normal species—kelp bass, rock wrasse, senorita, opaleye, halfmoon, and sheephead. 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) — Recent reports indicate that all the regular species are showing up—kelp bass, rock wrasse, senorita, opaleye, halfmoon and sheephead. Bonito are finally making a showing as well as good numbers of barracuda. EgoNonBaptizo made a report on 8/13, “I took the 6:30 am ferry to Avalon on 8/11 and started off fishing the Mole. What immediately stood out to me as soon as I got to the northeast corner was that the kelp was beginning to grow back. I started out fishing cut sardines, while a friend I had brought fished for opaleye. I caught a couple tiny (5”) calico, and my friend caught many garibaldi, with a couple very small calico mixed in. Fishing was extremely slow the entire day, with pretty severe wind at around 10 am to 11. Around 2 pm I caught a 16" bonito on the splasher, and around 6 pm I caught another 21" fish on the same rig. Sometime towards the end of the trip I also caught a 11" scorpionfish.” Got another report from EgoNonBaptiso on 9/5, Stayed at Avalon for two days (8/31-9/1) and a night to do some fishing. After getting off the ferry, I started off fishing the Mole with a 42 g green coltsniper, the first fish I caught was a greedy calico bass. I then hooked a much better fish (likely a bass), that took me into the kelp and broke me off. I put on a new blue and magenta coltsniper, and around 8:30 am, caught a decent sized bonito. After about an hour of no bites fishing only the jig, I switched to the splasher-fly rig and after a couple casts, had a missed strike. A couple casts later, I hooked and landed another bonito. A steady bonito bite continued until about 11:30, when the sun came out and I had limited out. After two fishless hours, I moved to the GPP. Immediately I noticed there were no opaleye around the pilings, only the usual horde of short calico. After catching and releasing too many shorts, I headed to Seacrest Inn and checked in. After sleeping a bit, I went back out to the Mole at 6:30 pm and began fishing lures again. After a couple short strikes on the 42 gram, I switched to a 28 gram jig and immediately began hooking about a million short barracuda. This continued up until around 8:30, when it was completely dark. I fished the Mole until about 10, and after catching nothing, headed in. I woke up at 5 am the next morning and headed down to the Mole. I started off with the 28 g coltsniper and around 6, caught my first of many more short barracuda, which were boiling on the micro bait huddled around the Mole. Around 9 am, the bait dispersed, as did the fish. I then saw a singular boil in the distance, and cast out to it. My jig was picked up almost immediately, and the fish went on a screaming run, nearly spooling me, then ran back to the pier, buried itself in the kelp and broke me off. Reflecting on it, I feel sick to my stomach; that could have been a yellowtail. I switched back to the 42 g coltsniper and continued to fish, catching two bones and a couple scattered short barracuda, before the wind picked up around 12, and I took a break. I started fishing again around 2pm, but this time for some of the larger baitfish I had seen around the pilings, I caught a couple smelt, which I dropped down by the pilings, and a swallow damsel. I didn't catch anything on live bait, but around 4 pm, the micro bait showed up close to the pier again, and I began fishing the 42 gram jig. At first the fish were sporadic, with only a couple cuda here and there, but at 5, the bite went off. I was again catching fish after fish, and after a while, I switched over to a Krocodile to try and get a bigger fish on the larger profile lure. I quickly caught two legals, and got a lot of short bites. I lent out more of my jigs to some people fishing nearby, and they were able to catch some fish of their own. I took the 7:30 pm boat back home.” 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 — Hong at Redondo Beach Tackle on the pier said most of the action continues to be on mackerel although a few halibut and bonito are also being caught. A 29 ½-inch halibut had just been landed. 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 – Best bet mackerel in the morning and evening hours. How To Get There: From Sepulveda Boulevard, turn west on Manhattan Beach Drive and follow it to the pier.
Hermosa Beach Pier — Best bet mackerel in the morning and evening hours. How To Get There: Take the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1) to Pier Avenue and follow Pier Avenue west to the pier.
Venice Pier — Is it open? Need a reporter. How To Get There: Highway 1 to Washington St., turn west and follow Washington St. to the pier.
Santa Monica Pier — Unable to get through for a report. 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 she’s been getting some good reports. She said people are seeing good numbers of mackerel mid-pier to the end while shallow waters are seeing small perch, yellowfin croaker and sargo (including some good big ones). Out at the end of the pier anglers using live mackerel continue to catch some thresher sharks, some of decent size. 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 continue to report good numbers of BIG bat rays. 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. 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 — Ludia at Hyun’s Tackle, 3695 E Harbor Blvd., said it’s the usual—primarily perch and croaker showing up inshore, some halibut mid-pier, and sharks mid-pier to the end along with some mackerel. 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 — Still unable to get a report. 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 — Shawn at Hook Line & Sinker at 4010-5 Calle Real, Santa Barbara said he heard of six halibut being taken over the weekend but only two were legal size. And, some calico bass were reported. Other than that expect the usual—small brown rockfish, a few Johnny bass (olive rockfish) and calico (kelp) bass from the pipe reef on the right side of the pier and some mackerel at the end (and sharks at night). 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 eight years—and counting. Beginning to wonder if it will ever reopen. So much for state government and the California Parks Dept.! Ridiculous! How To Get There: From Highway 101 simply take the Gaviota State Park turnoff down to the beach and pier.