Last modified: October 26, 2018

Central California Fishing Piers

Pismo Beach Pier

Bugs & Pismo Beach —

Confirming the decline in the number of clams was the California Fish Bulletin #96 from 1953 that said: “The town has been famous for its long stretch of beach but especially for the delicate flavor of its clams. Pismo clams, once unbelievably abundant from Monterey Bay into Mexico, made their last stand in the United States against practical extinction at Pismo. In early days the clams were uncovered by a horse-drawn plow and carted away in farm wagons. Later a clam cannery operated at the edge of town (1902–1914). As tourist and commercial digging decreased the clam supply, more stringent protective laws were passed till finally the sale of clams was prohibited in 1947. The town has a fishing pier but there are no other facilities. The records for Pismo show little else than clams. The average annual take figure was about 85,000 pounds but the peak year of 1937 showed 172,000 pounds. There have been no fish landings of any kind since 1949. Sport fishing is chiefly clam digging with pier fishing and some surf casting.”

<*}}}}}}}}}>< Publicity, but not necessarily the type of publicity the city desired was recorded in 2007 when the city announced plans to trap and kill the pigeons rooting on the pier.

City plans to kill pigeons as way of cleaning up ocean?

The July 19, 2007 online ran an Associated Press report, with information from the Santa Maria Times, on the plans of the City of Pismo Beach to kill pigeons roosting on the Pismo Beach Pier.

It is stated that the pigeons will be trapped and killed by a pest-control firm, possibly as early as August, and then taken to Paso-Robles-based Zoo to You to be fed to the animals there. What means will be used to kill the pigeons is not specified.

Also not specified is what will be done with nestling pigeons, and whether or not any consideration is being given to preventing young fledgling pigeons who can fly, but who cannot feed themselves, from dying of starvation, if they are not all caught in the traps. The article generally makes light of the fate of the pigeons.

The stretch along this part of the beach has been closed due to high levels of bacteria. There appears to be no evidence linking high levels of bacteria in the water to the presence of pigeons, and there has been speculation that there may be a sewage leak, which is causing the problem. High concentrations of E Coli and other bacteria have been found in the water, causing health officials to post repeated warnings.

A new feeding ban ordinance was passed recently, and the plan was originally to wait until November to see whether or not the ban has led to the departure of the pigeons. The plan to hire the pest control firm for six months may cost $30,000.

—Sharon St. Joan, Best Friends Network, July 31, 2007

Pismo Beach Needs Hollywood Pill —The Birds Are Still Flocking To The Pier

The Pismo Beach Public Works Department hasn’t seen any decrease in the plethora of pigeons frequenting Pismo Pier looking for free food since feeding birds at the pier became illegal last month. And on Tuesday, the City Council will again discuss the controversial option of hiring someone to trap and kill the birds, which are suspected of polluting ocean water near the pier.

Public Works Director Dennis Delzeit also said he and his crew of 30-plus employees haven’t seen the individuals who are known to bring large bags of food, mostly bird seed, to the pier area to feed the birds.

City staff believes the “bulk feeders” are contributing to the huge pigeon population at the pier and in the pier parking lot at the end of Pomeroy Avenue as well as at the Cypress Street Bridge. “We’ve been on the lookout” for them, too, Delzeit said about the bulk feeders. “We don’t know if they’ve stopped the feedings or if we’re just not down there at the right time to see them.”

Delzeit added the city has “no proof” that bulk feeders are contributing to an increase in the number of pigeons at the pier, but instead are basing the belief on expert opinions, like those of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Representatives from the animal rights organization that’s headquartered in Norfolk, Va., recently came to Pismo Beach to meet with Delzeit and the city manager after learning the City Council was considering a trap-and-kill program to deal with the pigeon problem. “PETA has confirmed that in other situations, pigeon populations will increase dramatically with just one bulk feeder,” Delzeit said. “We think that’s why we’ve seen such a huge increase in the number of pigeons at the pier (in the last few years).”

—April Charlton, Santa Maria Times, August 19, 2007

<*}}}}}}}}}><  My grandson Adam is a big fan of Sasquatch and gets a kick out of watching the search for the legendary creature on TV. Imagine my surprise to see that Sasquatch had been spotted surfing next to the Pismo Beach Pier. I told Adam we would have to head over to Pismo Beach if he wanted to spot Bigfoot. After reporting the sighting on PFIC one member wrote in “I have seen Santa surfing next to the Seal Beach Pier but never sasquatch. ”The story was reported on

Surfing Sasquatch Takes Over My Fishing Spot

I’ve seen some funny stuff over the years, but when I went to fish off the Pismo Beach Pier in Calif. on Sunday and saw a surfing sasquatch, I had to share. Sure, it didn’t have a whole lot to do with fishing, but it prevented me from doing much fishing on this day (which doesn’t happen a whole heck of a lot, so I had to mention it). While attempting to haul in some surf perch on this Sunday, here’s the scene that I ran into: This guy was catching waves like crazy, which not only was spooking my fish, but was raising all kinds of noise from the fans on the pier. In any case, it was fun to watch, and made me a believer in Satch thesurfing sasquatch.

Brian Milne,, September 30, 2013

<*}}}}}}}}}>< —  For the past two decades the number of great white sharks reported in waters from Pismo Beach to San Simeon has seemed to increase each year. Many are seen from the piers and a few have been hooked — and landed, even though such an act is illegal. It has put fear in the minds of some people and created various conflicts between surfers and fishermen.

Great white sharks seen in Pismo; surfers blast chumming online

Multiple sightings of great white sharks off the coast from Cayucos and Morro Bay to the Pismo Beach Pier have been reported this week, and some surfers say fishermen are creating a potential hazard in popular surf spots by chumming, or dumping fish remains off the pier to attract the sharks.

On Friday morning, fisherman Pete De la Torre of Santa Maria and his 12-year-old son, Eddie, who regularly fish off the Pismo Beach Pier, said they saw a 6-foot shark they believed to be a great white.

“It was dark and was kind of scoping out the area before it swam out to deeper waters,” De la Torre said. “It was shocking to see one up close.”

Grover Beach surfer Mike Schwartz, who regularly surfs in the area, said he was surfing off the north side of the Pismo Beach Pier on Tuesday evening when he saw a giant fish — about 6 to 7 feet — that appeared to be a shark.

When he got out, a girl visiting from Oklahoma showed him photos she had taken of the shark.

“I just spotted it swimming by,” Schwartz said. “After looking at the photos, it wasn’t a thresher, which have those elongated, pointy tails. It had the characteristics of a juvenile great white shark.”

In online discussions, surfers recently have blamed fishermen for chummingto attract sharks off the Pismo Beach Pier.

Using the handle “inhabitoryresidue,” Schwartz recently wrotein an online discussion: “I have witnessed fisherman discussing and rigging their rods expressly for catching ‘the shark.’ ”

Schwartz continued, “Do you put a 2-inch circle hook through the middle of a 10-inch smelt to fish for halibut off the pier?? I think not. Whether these actions could lead to a surfer being attacked is debatable, but the fact that they are trying to catch ‘the shark’ is not.”

An Instagram post by “dave.morgan_” added, “Maybe some police signage on jail time if anyone injured due to chumming. Could squeeze in something about hooking surfers as well.”

In another Instagram post, Walt Cerny, who goes by “stillfrothy,” urged the city of Pismo Beachto “please monitor that for all of our safety. Not cool!!!”

De la Torre, who fishes for perch, mackerel and smelt, said that he has witnessed some chumming taking place. But he said it was infrequent, and he hasn’t heard of anyone fishing for great whites.

“I have seen people going for the threshers,” De la Torre said. “Sometimes they use a big hook and rope and just haul the thing up.”

Schwartz said that he heard of a catch that was likely a great white.

“I wasn’t there, but I heard from a credible source — I won’t give out any names — that some fishermen off the Pismo Beach Pier recently hauled in a shark that appeared to be a juvenile great white,” Schwartz said. “They gaffed it and used a crab net to get it up on the pier.”

One Response

  1. Is the Pismo beach pier open this month, March 2019?

    Is there a local store where I can rent fishing poles, reels, bait for pier fishing?

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