Some early PFIC posts on the Monterey Coast Guard Pier

Ken Jones

Staff member
Date: April 14, 2001
To: PFIC Message Board
From: avidangler
Subject: Monterey Pier Report

The Coast Guard Pier is producing striped perch to 1 1/2 pounds and my buddy caught a small sheephead. There are always rockfish and lingcod around and as soon as the season reopens it should be fantastic for those in the know. Live anything for the lings. I have my preferential baits. Try shiner perch. Incidentally the striped perch are LOADED. Use shrimp.-AA

Date: April 24, 2001
To: PFIC Message Board
From: avidangler
Subject: Monterey Perch

I caught so many rainbow and kelp perch on mussels today that I lost count. Fished from around 5:00 to 7:00 at the Coast Guard Pier, right in the kelp on the harbor side. My friend Bucac got a big cabezon and some large rockfish, at least a pound a piece. All of the perch were nice sized.

Date: May 1, 2001
To: PFIC Message Board
From: Ken Jones
Subject: Monterey Piers

Got a report from our new reporter Avidangler who said, “The Coast Guard Pier has been yielding some great catches of black and rainbow seaperch to two pounds. Mussels are the hot bait for these perch. Shrimp can also be very effective. Lots of rockfish and some lingcod have been showing up in catches. Today we had a five pound or so ling chasing our perch from under a rock after we hooked them.”

Date: June 10, 2001
To: PFIC Message Board
From: aarondaar
Subject: Lobster in Monterey?

A friend of mine told me that sometime last summer (or two), there were a large number of lobsters (?) that came up on the beach (alive). She didn't see it in person, but saw it in the news. Anyone know what she's referring to? Inquiring and hungry minds want to know....aaron

Posted by Ken Jones

Haven't heard of any but know that some Eastern lobsters were released in the Santa Barbara area and off of San Francisco. For a few years I heard of occasional catches in both areas; haven't heard anything recently. Unless it were warm water conditions I don't think California spiny lobsters would survive. However, during the El Nino years it's possible a few headed north.

Posted by avidangleron

I saw one landed off the Coast Guard Pier last year, and a fat one at that. Not sure what brand though. I offered to buy some butter and boil some water but the guy thought I was joking with him. I do remember that it had no claws? - avidangler

Date: April 13, 2002
To: PFIC Message Board
From: avidangler
Subject: Re: Wharf #2 / Lover's Point (Monterey)

... The Coast Guard Jetty is loaded with fish and when the divers come in you can check the girls out in their underwear (I know, I'm scum!!). See ya-AA

Date: May 26, 2002
To: PFIC Message Board
From: avidangler
Subject: Monterey Coast Guard Pier

I just got back from three hours of non-stop rockfish catching. Fish are loaded at the jetty. Species included were yellowtail, blue, and kelp rockfish, a few bocaccio, and one calico bass. All caught on three-inch pumpkinseed grubs. All fish were released-AA

Date: September 24, 2003
To: PFIC Message Board
From: alfred
Subject: Monterey Bay Fishing report

Tuesday 9-23: Monterey Coast Guard pier: two hours with peas, cooked shrimp, and moss yielded one blackperch (released). My intended target were opaleye, but nothing I tried worked (bobber, bottom rig, etc.). There were some HUGE opaleye swimming in the clear water; any suggestions on catching them would be much appreciated. There was one other angler targeting rockfish with plastics, but he had no luck either.

Date: May 25, 2005
To: PFIC Message Board
From: pinoy
Subject: Monterey Bay fishing!

Sunday (5/22): Arrived at the CG jetty around 3pm and stayed until 8:30 when it closed. To the amusement of other fishermen and tourist I had to reel in 2 fish and a bird. My two hooks got a nice sized blue rockfish and a small perch, but an Albatross tried two take the small fish and got tangled in the line. Poor bird kept trying to fly off only to drop again. I had to reel them all in so I can cut the line and carefully untangle the bird. Its fine with a little cut an inch above its claw. Final tally for the day is 2 rockfish and 2 perch. Wife was not happy because she didn’t get any fish that day.
Monday: Arrived at the same pier at 6 and stayed until about 8:30 again. Wife got a 9” rockfish within a few minutes. I spent the rest of the next hour getting the teasing look from her because I wasn't even getting any nibble. Finally, I changed location and cast farther and closer to second line of kelp from the shore. As I was reeling in slowly between the two kelp beds my line suddenly felt so heavy. No wiggling or anything. It felt like I snagged on kelp as usual. I pull hard and I get a few inches of line back. I kept that up for a few minutes hoping it’s a fish. When my line cleared the nearest clump of kelp it seemed easier to pull. When I get it close enough to see, I saw that I was reeling in a lingcod! I hurriedly reel it in and flop it into the pier as the other fishermen crowded in. I thought it was undersized and so are a few of the others. They said that they might end up watching me throw it back. Well it was 24 3/8” long! We had to measure twice just to make sure. I got my 1st lingcod and it's just a few hairs past the minimum size. Whew!
Unfortunately, the Coast Guard closed the pier yesterday and will supposedly remain that way for a few days. They are so worried we will sneak in past their 2nd line of fence and use their mounted 50-caliber machine guns to get lings and rockfish. Funny thing is that the pier is closed but boat ramp behind their slip is wide open and its just a few feet of swimming to get to their boats. Doesn't make sense!

Date: June 15, 2005
To: PFIC Message Board
From: pinoy
Subject Re: Tsunami warning at Port Harford ... posted by pierhead

We received the same warning at the Coast Guard jetty here in Monterey. One of the CG guys came running down the pier advising everyone to leave immediately, while the rest of his buddies were running to their boats to go warn the numerous fishing boats on the bay.

Date: July 22, 2005
To: PFIC Message Board
From: pinoy
Subject: MB huge eel!

As usual, my wife and I went for a bit of fishing after I got home from work. The Monterey Coast Guard jetty was not crowded, and the water is so calm. Within 15 minutes of setting up, my wife started yelling for help. She's got something big that she can’t reel out of the hole between two rocks. I was skeptical, but when she handed me the rod it jerked pretty hard. I tested by releasing a few inch of line, and sure enough it kept pulling deeper. Finally, I released about a foot of line and timed my reeling when the line starts to get pulled. We were amazed to see that there's a huge eel on the end. It took both our efforts to get the eel out of the water and over the cement wall. I was reeling as much as I can while my wife is also pulling the line hand-over-hand. I didn't catch anything at all. Oh well! It seems my wife is outfishing me already nowadays. Here’s the picture of the 4lbs 25” long Monkey-Faced eel.

Posted by notsosmart

I have been there once. I was using long rod and casting bait out, while people are using small gear and like poke polling. I see most if not all people are fishing between the rocks. I saw only small rockfishes (<8” ) got pulled up once in a while. I spent 3 hours there fishing with just one bite. Seems to me the jetty is not that productive. Is that the normal case or was it just a bad day on the jetty when I was there. Also, any free parking near by? Thanks!

Posted by pinoy

First of all, I haven’t found a free parking close by. I live around the area, and we often go fishing around 6pm. To make sure I won’t get another parking ticket, I still drop a few coins to the meter so that it’s valid up to 7pm. Your observation is correct. Most people catch rockfish around 8” or smaller. But my wife and I have been going there a while and memorized many holes and hiding places. We often go home with a couple of 11-12” rf after usually losing 2 hook and sinker each. There's also the occasional eel and perch. I've also caught a legal lingcod from the end of the jetty. This other regular fisherman at the jetty has caught about 4 lings already since I started going there. They're around the 26”-30+” range. I guess it depends on luck too. He stays there all day sometimes until his arm is sore from casting. We do go home without any catch every so often. The most productive times is at high tide and sunset.

Date: July 28, 2005
To: PFIC Message Board
From: pinoy
Subject: Another Monster Eel!!!

Hi guys! My wife and I did some fishing at 7pm in Monterey CG jetty again yesterday. Anyway, I finally beat my wife's record monkey faced eel caught at around 7:30. We fished for another hour after the huge catch. Final tally is...
1 MF eel 27” and 5 lbs
2 8-9” rf (thrown back)
1 12” blue RF (kept for steaming)

Date: August 1, 2005
To: PFIC Message Board
From: pinoy
Subject: Believe it or not! Got another huge eel!!!

Sorry guys, I didn't post the report earlier. This will be like a summarized weekend report for Monterey Coast Guard jetty. Warning! Its looong!
FRIDAY: My wife and I decided to cap off the day fishing at CG. Usual setup with wife using 8-ft pole and me with 10-ft rigged with #4 hooks, 2-oz sinkers, and squid baits. Within a few feet of where we got the huge eels we posted last week, my wife got another one! She actually felt the hit and reeled as soon as she felt it. There wasn't much tug of war to get it out of its hole. But I had to run and help her pull the line by hand while it was midway up the concrete barrier because the eel decided to wiggle a lot to try and get free. Tourist had fun taking pics afterwards. There's this family passing thru, and the parents are divers. To my irritation, they kept repeating that its rare and it should be thrown back. “Rare?” I asked. Because they never see it while they're diving. I told them it was already the 5th or 6th monkeyfaced eel we got from the area. They had to repeat it three more times before they walked off like we're insolent stupid kids. But I answered them already that we are keeping it because its good eating and my dear old mother loved eels so much. It's not like were wasting the eel and just did all the effort just to play with it. Maaan, that really bugs the hell out of me. I don’t think the mf eels are sociable enough to go pose for pics with the divers when they're down there with their cameras. Anyway, my irritated mood probably contributed to my zero catch that day.
1 mf eel 26.5” and 8-lbs
7 8-9” rockfish very reddish color—thrown back
SATURDAY: Not much action except for quiet a few divers who love to go exactly where you're casting. No consideration. They swim right in front of you and then dive and poke around until you change spot, only for them to follow again in 10 minutes. I wonder if they're doing it on purpose. If they’re there before we do, we are nice enough to move on to a different spot. Or if they're passing through we reel our line in if it’s on their way. Can they do the same? Got only one good hit which almost took my pull over the railing. I left the pole to go share a muffin and coke with the wife until tourist passing by yelled “your pole is going over!”
1 fat 11” rf (steamed for dinner)
1 4” rock crab (thrown back)
Plenty of bites but nothing landed
SUNDAY: Slow again. Divers are plenty. These ones seem to be the older folks, and yes they are more considerate. They even look around first before they dive or swim by. Wish they were all like them. Not much action. My wife got a 5” rock crab whom she played with for a good 10 minutes. Crab will let it go then grab it again when my wife lowers it on the hole. Saw one fish that looks like a sheephead just lazily swim past my bait on a wide gap between huge rocks. What bait do they like? There's also something that jiggled my pole but didn't get hooked. I suspect it was a crab. There was this other fisherman who had to jump into the rocks below to get his pole because he got something big. He fought with it for a good 45 minutes, until his line broke. He didn't look happy at all.
1 baby mf eel (thrown back)
1 5” rock crab (thrown back)

Posted by dompfa ben

I don't know a thing about the MFE fishery up there, but rare or not, that's a nice catch. Tell the divers they would see more down there if they put the glass part of the mask on the FRONT of their heads. They might also consider taking their heads out of their grasses...eel grass, that is. I'm guessing those big pricklebacks probably spend a lot of time in their holes, and only come out to eat? Which makes the divers' comments about as valid as assessing an earthworm population in a field by walking across it.

Posted by its a keeper

I don't know if they live in colonies, but i doubt they do since each one wants their own hole (home). But sometimes they share the same big hole that house mini smaller holes in the main big hole. What I am trying to say is that they might be sharing the same driveway to the open. I hear stories and confirm that upon a big fish coming out of one hole, there are others in there as well. So go back to it and fish it again. There might be a huge cabezon in there perhaps.

Posted by its a keeper

Send in for California's record. I ran pass this site where this guy said he certified his MFE at 6.1 pounds and he mention the time he caught his the state record was 4.8 pounds. So you are well over that weight.

Posted by pinoy

I called the local Monterey DFG office but they don’t have much clue about the Angling record requirements. I told them I just need one of their biologist to certify it. Waiting for some guy from their Sacramento office to call me back. Do you guys happen to know anybody I can contact? There's also this thing about a State certified scale. Any ideas? Are these the scales they use at fish markets or local stores like Safeway? This is going to be cool if I can get it on the record! My cheap scale said its 8lbs. Another regular fisherman at the area previously verified my 5lbs catch with his digital scale. So I'm assuming it will be close even if my scale is off a bit.

Posted by pinoy

No more worries! Finally got hold of someone at the DFG Central Coast Regional office. She gave me a list of local Monterey DFG biologist and phone numbers. She also verified that any cooperative store that uses weight scale that’s inspected and certified by the CA Weight and Measures division (yellow tag attached) can do the weight part of the form.

Posted by pinoy

Sad note! I guess we can’t use a cooked eel for the required verification procedures for the angling record. My fault! I was so excited and researched about all morning, but I forgot to call and tell my wife. I got home and found out we have eel adobo for lunch. Hmmmm yummy!

Date: August 4, 2005
To: PFIC Message Board
From: pinoy
Subject: Eel Meister's lucky streak continues!!!

After a tough day at work, my wife and I hit the usual spot at the Monterey CG jetty around 6:30. Water was still low but calm. Used the usual rig (#4 hook, 2oz sinker) and squid bait. Dropped the bait into what you guys call “eel honey hole.” Left it there for about 5 minutes. It was heavy, but my leader broke after 3 minutes of tug of war. Reset my rig and left the bait in the hole again for another 5 minutes. When I went to check it was heavy, but when I pulled hard it gave a few inches and then stuck. Gave it a foot of line, and tried reeling after 30 seconds. Still not moving. Gave it more line 3 more times, and on the 3rd time I reeled after only about 5 seconds. It was heavy, but it was inching up as I reel hard. Within a minute, there it was another mf. Called the wife to help with the last 2 feet up coz my pole is bent and can’t reel in anymore. It was 25” at 4.4 lbs (2kilos). Afterwards, the rest of the time at the jetty was spent catching and releasing small rf (4”-8”) about 9 total. I played with something on another hole close by, but my leader or line kept breaking since it was directly grinding on the rocks. Didn't see what that was whose playing with me. After I fixed my rig for the 4th time, there was no more nibble from that hole. Oh well...
I've proven that what we were talking about in my previous post is true. That hole I found is a prime spot. Like "pointme2dfish" said, as soon as it’s vacated a new tenant moves in. Hehe! Too bad I couldn't submit my wife's huge eel for the angling record. As I said in my previous post, it was already cooked as adobo when I got home for lunch. This latest catch is a bit smaller than the record. Hopefully the streak continues, and we will get one that we can submit for the angling record. Keep on fishing!!!

Date: July 30, 2008
To: PFIC Message Board
From: la mosca
Subject: Monterey Coast Guard Pier

This past Sunday (7/27) my friend and I went by, and saw about 4 people fishing; most of the divers had already left or were leaving. Asked around and no one had caught anything. (My only experience with some divers is they yelled out: “PLEASE DON'T THROW YOUR LINE HERE!” Which I didn't, because I was just walking to another spot further down the way. IMO, if you want to avoid Divers at the Coast Guard Pier don’t go in the mornings, specifically on weekends.)

Date: September 17, 2008
To: PFIC Message Board
From: Sin Coast
Subject: (Re) Monterey Coast Guard Pier

While I don't consider myself a CG Jetty regular, I have fished it numerous times over the past 10 years. The divers can be a real obstacle here, especially on weekends, and even more so when it is a nice day w/good visibility.
Truth be told, I never catch anything when I cast out far, except a few random sanddabs or bullhead (and once a ray). The trick is to cast only 20-30 feet. I aim for the inside edge of the kelp, right about where the jetty rocks end.
You can expect to catch grass, blue, kelp, and black+yellow rockfish, along with eels, cabezon, and possibly lingcod. Although, the average size of fish is not very big. I often see families fishing there w/handlines—dropping bits of squid right into the jetty rocks. And they usually get a fair share of small rockies and eels.

Date: October 15, 2008
To: PFIC Message Board
From: northern boy
Subject: Crabs at Coast Guard Pier

The Coast Guard Pier/jetty is full of crabs. I would suggest a snare or even just chicken-leg-on-a-string rather than a hoop net tho’. You're likely to lose the hoop net to a snag or seals and even if you don't, it'll be hard to bring a hoop net up onto the jetty without spilling the contents. Snares are legal and very popular. You should be able to find them in any bait and tackle store. They're only ~5-6 inches across. There is a rule about the # of loops they're allowed to have, but I forget exactly what it is.
As for the crab taste; if you're not familiar with local crabs, you'll catch two types off the rocks here. One has black tipped claws that are very large. Their shell is brownish. The other type has a deep red-color shell and smaller (in proportion to their body), white tipped claws. This second type is generally larger as well.
IMHO the larger red crabs taste the best (better than Dungeness I think). The browns don't taste as good and there isn't enough body meat to make them worthwhile.
One final thing; some people claim you have to have a rigid measuring device. Just to be safe you might as well pick up a crab gauge when you get snares, they're only ~5 bucks. Cheap snares and gauges are made by Danielson I think.