Last modified: June 8, 2020

Fishing Piers Southern California

Peck’s Pier & Bruces’ Beach — Manhattan Beach — Gone But Not Forgotten


Much of the criticism seems to reflect the article in the Los Angeles Times from June 27, 1912.  That article reported the name of George Willard and the fact that much of Peck’s beach was roped off from black bathers the day of the story.


What no can answer is how George Willard or Milton T. Lewis, both black real estate agents, gained the rights to sell property unless Peck gave them that right (and did he later change his views?). Until further proof emerges that would change current beliefs, Peck will be given credit for opening up property to the blacks of that era but, due to recent criticism, many will dispute that credit. 

<*}}}}}}}}}>< — Fishing

Fishing seems somewhat secondary in the story of Peck’s Pier but it certainly was important to people at the time. Reports tend to concentrate on the surf species, primarily surf (corbina) and yellowfin (croaker) although sea trout (white seabass) are also mentioned from time to time. Given the absence of any reports on spotfin croaker, and the large sizes reported for some of the yellowfin croaker, I think it’s quite possible both were lumped together in the yellowfin counts.

T. F. Phillips, Louis Streuber and several other anglers tried the new wharf at Peck’s Manhattan without much success in numbers. Phillips landed one huge yellowfin of three and three-quarter pounds weight, which gave him a lively run. 

Los Angeles Times, June 2, 1907

Fishermen, who customarily try for surf and yellowfin along the beach between Playa del Rey and Peck’s pier, and from the various piers in that vicinity, are now seeking new haunts. The Japanese fishermen who have been camping along the beach in that neighborhood have been dragging the water almost continuously during the last month and have scared away what fish they have not taken.

Los Angeles Herald, September 22, 1907

Peck’s wharf—Good. Corbina, yellow fin, smelt, mackerel, sea trout, perch, bass.

Los Angeles Herald, June 13, 1908

John Beckwith yesterday caught one of the finest yellowfin yet taken this season at any point on the coast. He was fishing at Peck’s wharf, where surf and yellowfin ran freely. Beckwith’s yellowfin weighed four pounds and nine ounces. The fact that Beckwith is not a member of any angling club alone probably prevents him from receiving a prize. Professor Emory also took away a nice basket of yellowfin. W. H. Rogers caught two yellowfin which weighed over two pounds each and two sea trout. The latter fish were of good size and the professor was under the impression that he had caught them with clam bait. It is believed, however, that in these cases another small fish had been nibbling at the bait and seen by the trout, which made a quick dart for the little one and was impaled by the hook.  Instances of trout being caught this way are believed to be common.

Los Angeles Herald, July 14, 1908

There were fewer fishermen at Peck’s wharf yesterday than usual, and the fishing was rather poor, although Robert Pottinger of Bakersfield, who is summering at the seashore, made a good catch. He caught three yellowfin which weighed three and one-quarter, three and three-quarters and four and one-half pounds. Three surf fish [corbina], which he also caught, weighed five and five-eighths, four and one-half and three and one-half pounds.

Los Angeles Herald, July 15, 1908

W. E. English landed several large sea trout yesterday at Hermosa and Billy Edwards was equally successful at Playa del Rey. At Peck’s, Prof. R. B. Emory caught a half dozen fine trout, and other fishermen also landed a number.

—Los Angeles Herald, September 15, 1908

Numerous complaints are being made by local anglers regarding the Italian fishermen around Playa del Rey and Redondo. The anglers claim that the Italians are violating the law in pulling in their seines each morning within a few feet of Peck’s wharf at Playa del Rey. The law is to the effect that no nets or seines of any kind shall be pulled in within 200 yards of any wharf. It is claimed that the nets are being pulled in with the early morning tides. In all probability the authorities will keep a sharp lookout for the malefactors and if possible bring them to justice.

Los Angeles Herald, September 22, 1908

Tuesday at Peck’s wharf, between 3 and 6 o’clock, there was a great run of yellowfin, and a half dozen were taken which ran above the 4-pound mark and one was hooked which scaled a fraction over 5 pounds. One fisherman took four of these gamy beauties, totaling 14 pounds 9 ounces, which makes another record.

Los Angeles Herald, July 24, 1909

For the first time this season the beneficent effects of the seining law passed by the legislature, forbidding the taking of corbina, yellowfin and croaker except with rod and line, was felt to its fullest extent, and because of the fact that these game fish are protected from the market fishermen the sportsmen anglers who fish for pleasure reaped a plentiful harvest of these beauties… At Peck’s wharf, where for two years the fishing has been nil, there were some splendid catches made. Both surf and yellowfin were running in numbers and in large size, and a catch there on Thursday is a sample of what happened all week. Frank Munser of Bakersfield, Prof. R. B. Emery, Edward Nelson, John Ward, S. J. McKenzie, John Hebbard, Oscar Baer and two or three others took forty-eight surf and thirty-four yellowfin on the incoming tide. The surf ranged from one pound in weight to six and a half pounds; the yellowfin from three-quarters to two pounds. On Monday Prof. Emery, Mr. Munser and Mr. Hebbard took fifty-eight yellowfin at sundown, ranging in size from one to four pounds. Smaller fish were thrown back into the ocean.

—Los Angeles Herald, July 31, 1909

Surf fish were caught at Peck’s wharf, between Del Rey and Manhattan, last week.

Los Angeles Herald, February 27, 1910

Between Del Rey and Peck’s wharf large yellow-fin are reported in large quantities. The fish are of good size, and commence biting about 5 o’clock in the evening, continuing all night. At the approach of dawn they refuse to listen to the earnest pleadings of the ardent Waltons who brave a night under the silver moon for the sake of a good catch, and return to their briny haunts.

Los Angeles Herald, October 19, 1910

Rod And Reel Club Gives Out Winners Of Winter prizes—In the yellowfin class, President Max Loewenthal won another reel, his second, with a three and three-fourth pounder, taken off Peck’s Manhattan wharf November 20. O. E. Forsyth took second prize, a 200-yard spool of six thread line with a three-pound six ounce specimen also taken at Peck’s April 21.

—Edwin L. Hedderly, Los Angeles Times, May 7, 1911

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