Walk down Huntington Beach Pier 12/23/2022

Hi everyone,

It's been a while since I last posted a report. I haven't had a lot of time to go fishing recently.

I happened to be in downtown Huntington Beach and took a brief walk down the Huntington Beach Pier to see how the fishing was. I was walking from about 5:30 PM-5:50 PM as the sun had just set. A combination of moderate winds and a very cold temperature caused very few people to be fishing on the pier, with only two groups of anglers who were both set up at the end. The night was very clear and I could clearly see the lights of the Newport Pier and the Huntington Beach Coastline. The tide was extremely low, to the point where the waves only started breaking underneath the Let's Go Fishing tackle shop (which I'm not sure is still operating). The beach was deserted, with only a couple of surfers in the water. The pier also had much less foot traffic than usual.

At the end of the pier, it looks like the new restaurant that replaced the old Ruby's Diner is now open for business. The restaurant is called "Bud & Gene's" and it is named after two of the first lifeguards at Huntington City Beach. The restaurant is decorated to be beach-themed and has a somewhat casual atmosphere, very different from Ruby's.

Behind the restaurant towards the right, I saw one group of three anglers who were just arriving. They had brought a small amount of tackle, carrying only one tackle box, and used large sabiki rigs with size 4 hooks baited with cut Market Shrimp. I couldn't tell what size weight they were using. They had two moderately heavy spinning setups with mono line, but I couldn't identify the exact model of rod or reel.

The second group of anglers was set up behind the restaurant on the left side. These anglers brought a standard pier cart and had been fishing for a short while. They had five rods, with two light setups and three heavy setups (presumably for sharks and rays). One of the heavy setups was a Penn Jigmaster, while the others were spinning reels. The light setups were also spinning setups. The Jigmaster had braid, while the other setups had mono. On the Jigmaster, one of the anglers reeled up a massive Thornback Ray (which was the only fish I saw landed). He was using a Carolina Rig with what I estimate was a 3-6 oz sinker that had been modified with metal prongs to anchor it into the bottom, an estimated size 2 live bait hook, and cut frozen pre-purchased anchovies. The ray was large enough to require a flat hoop net to land the fish. I am unsure if it was kept or released. I do not know what other rigs this group of anglers was using or if they had caught any other fish before I arrived.

The walk back from the pier was uneventful. It felt strange seeing the normally bustling pier deserted, save for a few people walking, but nowhere near the amount I usually see. There is also a temporary ice-skating rink set up near the front of the pier if anyone likes to go skating. The parking lot appeared to be crowded, but the people were instead frequenting the shops and restaurants of Main Street.

-It felt very slow on the pier tonight. I'm not sure if it's because the fish are dormant from the cold temperatures, or because there were so few anglers out fishing.
-If you are desperate for action at the pier, small rays are always biting.
-On a slow day, it is better to downsize tackle to maximise chances of catching fish.

Ken Jones

Staff member
Thanks for the report! I had been wondering how long it would be until they replaced Ruby's so good to find out the city found a tenant.