Last modified: August 28, 2019

Fishing Piers Southern California

Redondo Wharf No. 1 (Santa Fe Wharf), 1888-1915 — Gone But Not Forgotten

Repairs on Wharf No.1 are progressing rapidly, but the passenger steamers still use No. 3 for landing passengers and unloading freight. —The Redondo Reflex, January 17, 1907

Yellowtail Galore — Schools of Squid Draw Almost Unprecedented Numbers of Big Fish

It has been years since yellowtail in such quantities as have been running for the past few days have been seen on our shores. Tuesday morning 475 were hauled in from Wharf No. 1 between ten and eleven o’clock… The water fairly boiled with fish and anyone with a line had no trouble in pulling out  one big fellow after another. At times the wharf, especially the north side, was so littered with wriggling fish that it was almost impossible to walk. It is said that it is eight years since the squid have shoaled in here before… One man hooked 75 and Mrs. Goodrich, who is known to all old residents as one of the most indefatigable anglers, caught over twenty. The fish began coming in on Sunday gradually increasing in numbers until the climax was reached on Tuesday when they took to deeper water, though good catches were made yesterday a short distance out. On Tuesday a man who was not dragging one or more yellowtail along was almost a rarity on the streets. —The Redondo Reflex, October 24, 1907

Rod and reel enthusiasts report a fine run of fish and catching good luck today at the two southerly piers, Nos. 2 and 3. One man came through town on his way home, with over a hundred pounds of yellowtail and stated that he had left the rest of his catch because of inability to carry it. He had landed thirty-one of the big fish. On Pier No. 1 however, Spanish mackerel and smelt reportedly were the sole visitation of the finny tribe. —Los Angeles Times, November 28, 1907

Laporte Man A Fisherman— Caught 12 Yellowtails — One Day Weighing 15 lbs. Each

Mrs. J. H. Cissel is in receipt of a letter from her son, Lew W. Cissel, who is now at Redondo Beach, California, where he recently figured in a large catch of yellowtail. Mr. Cissel enclosed a newspaper clipping from the Los Angeles Times, showing a picture of the women on the pier and an article of the big “run.” The Times says: Redondo experienced a remarkable run of yellowtail yesterday. Twenty-four tons is a conservative estimate of the amount carried off Pier No. 1. A count at the Redondo fish market of the yellowtail that had been taken off the pier by 5 o’clock, when they ceased to bite, showed 2,500, and there were fully 500 more of the gamy fish lying on the pier at the time. These 3,000 fish weighed an average of 15 pounds each. Less than five tons of the enormous catch were handled through the Redondo fish market, and the balance were carried away by amateur fishermen who flocked to the pier when it was discovered that the phenomenal school had come. In every back yard in Redondo a group was to be seen cleaning fish yesterday, and along the streets were many of the prominent citizens with large fish dangling from their hands. Stores and shops were closed while the proprietors and clerks took an hour off and rushed down to the pier to enjoy the sport. Women left their baking, got out their husband’s tackle and hastened to the wharf. By 8 o’clock in the morning the one pier where the yellowtail were biting was crowded with fishermen and women. The carnival lasted practically all day. The arrival of the steamship Santa Rosa in the forenoon temporarily interrupted the fishing on one side of the pier, but with the departure of the vessel a greater crowd than ever swarmed to the fishing place. The presence of a myriad of squid about the pier was the cause of the inrush of yellowtail from the deeper water. The squid are the chief food for the larger fish, and an immense school of them had been driven close to shore. They took refuge under Pier No. 1 while the voracious yellowtail lurked about the edges of the wharf, devastating the ranks of their prey. The squid is a peculiar soft fish of a bluish color, and the school was so numerous at Redondo yesterday that it was only necessary to drop a fish hook in the water to snag them. While still alive they were fastened to the hooks, and thrown into the water to be snapped up by the waiting yellowtail. —LaPorte Indiana Herald, November 28, 1907

Wharf To Be Extended

The new pile driver now being completed in the shops of Los Angeles & Redondo railway company, will be the largest pile driver in Southern California.The new machine will be put at work early next week extending Wharf No. 1 or No. 3, several hundred feet to accommodate the larger passenger and freight steamers hat now visit this port on the line between Seattle and San Diego. —The Redondo Reflex, February 4, 1909

Redondo Beach, May 5.—This beach has been experiencing an unprecedented run of pompano during the last week. Sunday and Monday the local wharves were black with anglers, who came here for the purpose of enjoying the sport. Many fine specimens of other varieties have been caught, amongst them three sea bass which aggregated 1000 pounds. The largest of these is estimated to weigh nearly 500 pounds. —Los Angeles Herald, May 5, 1909

Redondo Beach, May 14,—Large schools of pompano are running at wharf No. 1 during early hours of each day, and many large catches are reported. The prize catches of the run this morning were made by Charles Clark and Ed Sheely, who caught several dozen each. A curiosity in marine life was a double halibut taken on the banks this morning by Charles Johnson. The fish was identical on both upper and lower sides. —Los Angeles Herald, May 15, 1909

Must Have License

The state fish and game commission is sending out notices to the beach fishermen that anglers cannot sell fish they catch from the pier or from boats unless they pay the commercial fisherman’s license. Many fishermen going down to fish for a few hours or for all day have caught more fish than they want for their own use and have been in the habit of selling the over-supply to the fish markets. This will now be against the law unless the angler has provided himself with a commercial fisherman’s license. The licenses are obtainable from the fish and game commission or their deputies and cost $2.50 per year for citizens of the United States and $10 for aliens. Some of the beach fishermen, particularly those at Redondo Beach are inclined to think that the ruling works a hardship. —The Redondo Reflex, June 3, 1909

Biggest Sea Bass Of Season

Harold Rampe, a fourteen-year-old boy, caught the largest sea bass of the season this morning from Wharf No. 1. The fish weighed 35 pounds. It is but seldom that sea bass are caught so close in or that they are of such a size. After making his big catch Harold calmly tied the fish to the wharf and threw it into the water while he proceeded to continue his fishing. —The Redondo Reflex , June 3, 1909

Big Bass Is Caught By Young Fisherman — Boy Has Real Sport With Light Tackle

Redondo Beach, June 5.—Harold Rempe, a 14-year-old angler of this city, had an exciting experience Thursday when he took in a sportsmanlike manner, with rod and reel, a 35-pound sea bass while fishing from wharf No. 1. Young Rempe was using a live bait and had just made a clever cast when he felt a sharp strike that nearly wrenched the rod from his hands. With a poorer outfit the youth would have lost his fish on the first rush. He applied his thumb break, but did not attempt to stop the fierce run too suddenly. Ignoring the gratuitous advice and suggestions of hand-line hacks and “pole” fishermen the boy played his fish is a mastery way, reeling in like a veteran on inward rushes and checking up with the brakes on the mad dashes away from the pier. When one persistent and garrulous meat hunter crowded in on the lad with shouts and gesticulations Harold said with all the dignity of his fourteen years: “If you will keep cool I think I can bring this fish to gaff.” And bring it he did. After about fifteen minutes’ play the big bass showed signs of giving up the fight and was soon alongside the wharf, where a drop gaff secured the prize. Older anglers on the pier and a score of others attracted to the scene congratulated Harold on his catch. They made him submit to the photographic ordeal. —Los Angeles Herald, June 6, 1909

At Redondo on wharf No. 1 the pompano are greatly in evidence, and with the exception of steamer days, when the sport necessarily ceases for a time, men, women and children constantly line the pier and dangle lines between the pilings. At number 3 wharf yellowtail and sea trout are taken occasionally, although they have not made their appearance yet in great numbers. —Los Angeles Herald, June 12, 1909

Big Run Of Pompano

Pompano fishing was the chief occupation Monday and Tuesday of all who could slip away from their sterner duties as well as the regular of the wharves, for pompano were thick in the water about Wharf No.1 and all who fished caught pompano as long as they cared to fish. Monday in about five hours Deputy Collector of Customs C. A. Sheldrick secured seventy-eight pounds, or about 400 fishes. Three and four on his line at a time were drawn up until at least he stopped only because he was tired. Fishermen from Los Angeles soon learned of the sport and each car from the city brought eager sportsmen who could be seen later leaving with well-filled baskets. —The Redondo Reflex, June 17, 1909

Sea Trout Running — Two Big Catches Made Yesterday

Fishing has been unusually good sport this week from Wharf No. 1. Sea trout are running in large numbers and anchovies, the bait used for the trout, are plentiful. C. Brandt, formerly of this city, came down from Los Angeles Wednesday and succeeded in landing the biggest sea bass that has been caught anywhere this season. The fish weighed 60 pounds and was caught with a rod and reel. Mr. Brandt had a half hour’s tussle with the big fish before landing it. Walter Rampe and Jack Watson caught a 250-pound jew-fish yesterday morning with a throw line. —The Redondo Reflex, June 24, 1909

Your summer girl..

Good Fishing At Redondo—Redondo, Oct. 12.—Spanish and greenback mackerel and yellowtail are running in great numbers here now. All three wharves are occupied by many fishermen. Some exceptionally large mackerel have been caught. —Santa Ana Register October 12, 1909

Fishing Good

Tomcod, which are said by old fishermen to be the forerunners of surf fish, have been running in great numbers about Wharf No. 1 this week. This means the opening of the spring fishing, which will no doubt continue good from now on. Tuesday James Todd, a police officer of Los Angeles, caught a gunnysack full of the tom cod, weighing about 150 pounds if fish. His catches were made by many from the wharf. A 400 pound jew fish was caught Wednesday by Charles Johnson, a local fisherman. —The Redondo Reflex, January 27, 1910

Take Tons Of Fish By Reel — Big Yellowtail Stacked at Redondo Beach

Excitement was perched on a hair-trigger at Redondo Beach yesterday by one of the most phenomenal runs of yellowtail ever seen in southern waters. Not only were there plenty of the big fish, but there were millions of them. The waters around the wharves fairly swarmed with them. Out beyond the wharves the sea was fully alive with them for more than a mile. At daybreak the cry of “yellowtail” rang through the downtown district of this town like a clarion calling troopers to war. The response was immediate. There was a rush for the wharves which were already well strewn with big yellow fellows that had been brought to gaff after fights such as for gameness and generalship in the water are only surpassed by battles with tuna. By 9 o’clock the wharves were lined with a forest of poles. The whole town had gotten the “yellowtail” fever by this time. Those who were unable to find room to cast, and there were hundreds of them, crowded the wharves all day and witnessed a miniature battle of Santiago, as hundreds of the big fish were putting up fights which made some of the old-time fishermen begin to think they had hooked Jack Johnson. Twelve Hundred Caught—The record for the day, of fish accounted for, is 1202. Of these 294 were caught on wharf No. 1; 154 on No. 2; 326 on No. 3, and 429 in skiffs around the wharves. The fish weighed between seventeen to twenty-nine pounds each. Averaging them at twenty pounds each, the total weight of yesterday’s catch was 24,040 pounds, or more than twelve tons. Of this enormous catch, which undoubtedly breaks some records, each fish was caught on a hook and line… The afternoon found nearly every business house in the city “gone fishing.” Even the schoolteachers could just as well have enjoyed the sport for all that was doing at roll call. W. T. Maddex, superintendent of the Los Angeles and Redondo Railway, whose Olympian Jove is a scientific yellowtail—one of those able-bodied fellows with a pull like a ward heeler, was absent from his office all day. To Maddex the singing of a reel is as sweet as the music of Aeolian harps, and the final gaffing, an honor shared by only chesty Toreador. His catch was four which averaged twenty-four pounds. At sundown he was still on the wharves admiring the big catches and making estimates on today’s crop. This Woman Scientific—To Mrs. W. J. Bell belongs the honor of the most scientific catches of the day. She brought to gaff three yellowtail with an eight-ounce rod and an eighteen-thread line. W. C. Eckert, a tourist from St. Louis, enjoyed the sport and went home with seven of the largest sized ones to his credit. He says the run was the largest he had seen in the forty years he has been indulging in the rod and reel sport. His fish ranged from eighteen to twenty-eight pounds. The record-breaking run of fish is attributed to recent storms at sea and the presence of phosphorescence in the waters at several other points on the south coast. Not only are the big fish in evidence, but the neighboring waters are fairly alive with anchovies, sardines, and schools of small mackerel, and the big fish always follow these smaller fish upon which they feed. Three years ago this month there was a large run of the same kind of fish, and at that time Redondo Beach was the seat of excitement. The run of yesterday, however, surpassed that of three years ago, as there seems to be no letup, and today’s catches will probably equal those of yesterday. The only letup of the sport yesterday occurred in the afternoon when a large seal joined in the sport, and, after getting his fill, started off toward the beach row where he has been “at home” for the past three months… A feature of the fishing yesterday was the fact that there was an endless quantity of fishing tackle which could be rented for the entire day for 25 cents for an outfit, which price did not prevent those in small circumstances from joining the sport. Those who employed the cheap tackles were as fortunate in landing the big fish as the expert with his high-priced outfit… It was not at all uncommon yesterday for a man who had just caught a large yellowtail to offer it in even exchange for a live bait, meaning a mackerel five or six inches long… Charles McGwyre and Dudley Wright, fishing for halibut on wharf No. 1, landed 49, the largest of which weighed 17 pounds. Hindus from the British steamer Iran launched the life boats and replenished their larder with about 1000 pounds of the fish, which they salted for a “rainy day.” Late last night the wharves were lined with fishermen, many of whom camped through the night in order to make sure of a berth when the battle is resumed this morning. Practically all of yesterday’s catches from the wharves were with rod-and-reel tackle. This is in marked contrast with the hand lines almost exclusively in use only a few years ago. Then the fishermen used an iron weight which, after letting out eight or ten feet of line, he would swing around his head in a circle till the acquired momentum was sufficient to throw the weight and attached hook out from the wharf. —Los Angeles Times, September 22, 1910

Seals Gorge On Big Fish — Heavy Run Of Yellowtail in Redondo Waters

One of the largest runs of yellowtail that ever swept into the bay at Redondo came to an end yesterday morning, when a gay young heard of seals and dolphins from the blue waters of Catalina Isle dashed in among the game fish and put them to rout. Sunday the run was at its height and every boat, launch and yawl was pressed into service and the piers at Redondo were literally black with fishermen and sightseeing tourists. It is estimated that 2000 pounds of yellowtail were caught at Pier No. 1 at Redondo Sunday afternoon. There was a corresponding number of pounds of fish caught at the other two piers near by… At the same time as the yellowtail were running so freely a tremendous run of sardines began. The waters surrounding Redondo were literally alive with the writhing, squirming little fish. They were everywhere and it became tame sport to catch them. Nets were lowered and raised as fast as strong men could handle them. They would be pulled out of the water a veritable mass of sardines. The fishermen would shake the fish as free as possible from the nets and return the nets again to the water, while they still contained hundreds of pounds of the little fish. Tourists who crowded the wharves could see millions of the little fish in the clear water and the sight was one long to be remembered. Boys armed with homemade nets would dip them into the water and bring them up almost bursting with the mass of fish they contained… Yesterday morning a crowd of enthusiastic anglers went to Redondo at an early hour to participate in the wonderful fishing, which they expected to last another day. Instead of the plentitude of yellowtail they saw little the little harbor dotted here and there with leaping black forms of seals. There were hundreds of them and they drove the yellowtail into deep water in an hour or so. At times the water was fairly boiling with the rush of the seals and a few dolphins as they gave chase to the fleet yellowtail. While the fishing was not as good, the sport to the onlookers was never better. It was a fishing match on a large scale, with the seals and dolphins acting as fishermen. The seals are thought to have followed in the wake of the yellowtail from their usual haunts around Catalina Island, and it is expected that after remaining at Redondo a few days they will again disappear toward Catalina. Yesterday the seals became so frolicsome after their first yellowtail that they came into the shallow water and seemed at times about to come out of the water onto the beach. The presence of such great numbers of sardines brought with them a vast flock of pelicans, which infested the waters around Redondo throughout the day. These pelicans together with the seals, dolphins, sardines and yellowtail, combined to form an aquarium of the entire bay around Redondo. The run of sardines is expected to last several days ad the fishing companies say that if they have luck they will secure the largest stock of the toothsome little fish they have ever had in the bay. —Los Angeles Times, January 17, 1911

Yellowtail And Sea Bass Taken At Redondo Beach — Best in Years

Sea fishing alongshore has held out rather better than usual thus far this month. January usually is about the best of the winter months for angling, and is featured in most seasons by a run or two of yellowtail, pompano, jack smelts, mackerel, or even corbina. These latter are usually “seen but not heard” flopping on the wharf at such times, as it is hard to induce them to accept bait in winter. Quite the best fishing of the week has been enjoyed at Redondo Beach, where yellowtail and sea bass have been taken, and no end of large sardines and small mackerel have been in evidence. It has been possible to have sport with the big fellows, or land a mess of small fry, as the fisherman willed. The fishing at Redondo formerly was the best along the entire coast, and after a relapse of a few seasons, seems to be coming into its own again. There have been spasmodic runs of yellowtail in which several hundred would be corded up on the wharf in a day, but the old-time sport at Redondo was not of this nature. Instead, there would be months at a time when the hand-liner, who still flourishes to a limited extent at that resort, could be assured of several yellowtail and a sea bass or two at any time he chose to go after them, and happened to strike a school of bait in alongside the wharf. The big fellows would be lying along its outer edges, readily responsive to the blandishments of a crippled live sardine artfully dangled from a clothesline within temptingly easy reach. —Edwin L. Hedderly, Los Angeles Times, January 24, 1911

Gaffs 233-Pound Fish After Six-Hour Fight — A Los Angeles Business Man Lands Sea Monster While Fishing From Pier

Los Angeles, May 20.—The pier fishing record for Los Angeles was broken at Redondo yesterday when James Helbach, a local business man, brought to gaff a Jew fish weighing 223 pounds. Helbach fought his prize from 6:30 in the morning until 12 o’clock, and after it was landed on the pier he nearly fell from exhaustion. No fish approaching this one in size was ever caught before by a pier fisherman in Los Angeles. —Los Angeles Herald, May 20, 1912

Redondo Beach, Oct. 20.—The largest lobster caught here this season was hooked on a drop line from wharf No. 1 today by Richard de Stombs, clerk of the Hotel Yorkshire, Los Angeles. The lobster weighed fifteen pounds. A lobster weighing ten pounds was caught from the end of wharf No. 1 yesterday on a line. The lobster catches brought in by the fishermen continue to grow smaller and prices accordingly are going higher. Lobsters are now retailing for 25 cents a pound. They started at 15 cents a pound at the beginning of the season. —Los Angeles Times, October 21, 1912

New Pilings For Pier

A construction gang has been at work during the last week on Pier No. 1, taking out a number of the old pilings, and in their places installing new ones which will lengthen the usefulness of this popular promenade. —The Redondo Reflex, January 10, 1913

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