Date: July 28, 1999; To: PFIC Message Board; From: goatfish; Subject: Seal Beach Pier
Decent day at the pier today. Personally—1 Sand bass, 2 Thornbacks, 1 Lizardfish, 3 White Croaker, 2 Mackerel, 2 baby Grey Smoothhound and about 15 Salema, some of which were 6”-7” (which is pretty good size for Salema!) Saw a good-sized (about 3 feet) grey smoothhound landed and several undersized halibut. Salema were the rule today, as many people had several in their buckets. I did see one of the craziest things that I’ve ever seen today; these kids had “Pixy Stix” candy mixed with water and were injecting it into their bait and were smokin’ everybody on the pier. These guys were landing fish left and right! Their day did end abruptly, however, when after one of them landed a stingray and after being warned by yours truly about the stinger in the tail, one of them got stung in the wrist. I suggested they high-tail it home and gave them the first aid procedure for taking care of it. Memo to beginners: Stingrays are not toys, handle with caution!! Tight lines to all!
Date: August 14, 1999; To: PFIC Message Board; From: RDubop; Subject: Seal Beach Pier
We hit the Seal Beach Pier this morning 5 a.m. till noon; the halibut were biting everything. One keeper was landed (24”) while dozens of undersize ones were being tossed back. There was some barracuda action on the end, while corbina and croakers were hitting in the middle of the pier. Many parents brought their kids and most of them had a great time jigging Lucky Luras and catching lots of queenfish. The weather was overcast with a mist all morning and the sun didn’t make a showing while we were there. The pier was crowded in the early morning and stayed that way, but still ample room to fish. It seems that Ruby’s is remembering to lock the end gate at night, but if your lucky there’ll be a delivery truck to break it open for you like this morning.
Date: June 14, 2001; To: PFIC Message Board; From: jimbojack; Subject: Seal Beach
If you’re looking for halibut, use live bait and drop your line straight down almost anywhere along the pier. Corbina have been caught up in the surf and some sargo inside the breakwall lately. Perch bite has dropped off. The sharks and rays are generally taken more from the deep end, but do sneak into the shallower water depending on the tides, availability of bait, etc. Use live smelt, queenfish, chunk mackerel, or whole squid for the big boys and cast out as far as you can. There is an artificial reef along the deep end of the north side. That is the only spot I’ve ever caught bass, but watch for snags in that area. Never had a problem catching plenty of live bait with a Sabiki at Seal.
Date: September 1, 2001; To: PFIC Message Board; From: jimbojack; Subject: Seal Beach Pier 8/31/01
Finally made it out to a pier on Friday night as the Mrs. gave me a break from baby duty. Got to the pier with Grandpa about 4:30 PM and he waited a few minutes while I attempted to catch sand crabs on the north side of the pier. Big mistake. After about 15 minutes, I had maybe six crabs for my efforts. Went up on the pier and got him situated on the first benches over the water while I went back to try for more sand crabs. Tip: get your crabs on the south side of the pier. Even better under the pier, but watch out when big waves come in and crash into the pilings. Sends spray everywhere. Prepare to get wet and maybe bring some dry clothes.
Jimbojack’s grandpa and his corbina!
So we fished in the surf area for a few hours and I caught one 6” yellowfin croaker. We moved to the benches just opposite the tower and Gramps tosses out a larger sand crab on a #2 hook. Meanwhile I brought in a decent 11” yellowfin croaker, when BAM! Gramp’s pole goes off and he’s got a real fight on with his lightweight gear. Gets the fish up by the pier and we were reluctant to drop the net because the end of the seawall is right there. So he asks me to handline it up and I was nervous the whole time as I thought the fish would fall off at any second. It was just getting dark and at first I thought it might be a small WSB, but as I got it a ways up I could tell it was a big corbina. It was the biggest he has ever caught in 70 years of fishing the Pacific and would not part with it. (Sorry Mola Joe) Grandpa was real excited as he doesn’t fish much any more and usually has rotten luck when he does. Caught a few more small croaker on sand crabs and thin strips of squid.
I caught a 12” stingray and 14” leopard shark with whole squid on a 6/0 octopus hook. Missed the hookup on a few good runs. Saw a small bat ray and lots of tiny yellowfin croaker caught. Beautiful evening as the wind was mild after sunset. Left about 10:30 feeling pretty good to see an old guy so happy. Jim
Date: November 13, 2001; To: PFIC Message Board; From: jimbojack; Subject: Biggest Fish From A Pier
Big skate — 32″ wingspan, 42″ length. Estimated weight at 25 lbs. I got this beast last January or February. I caught it from the Seal Beach pier out near the bait shack. Bait was chunk mackerel I think. It’s not my longest pier fish, (I’ve caught longer sharks) but it was certainly the heaviest and best fighter from a pier. Made a few good runs and I thought I was tangled up on the pilings, but managed to pull him out. My arms were tired! My grandma took the pictures with her camera and just got the film developed. If you have never eaten a skate, you should try it. Very tender white meat, a little stringy like crab, very delicate flavor, and not fishy at all. Jim
Date: March 3, 2002; To: PFIC Message Board; From: jimbojack; Subject: Seal Beach Pier Friday 3/1/02
Didn’t get a chance to post until now. My daughter who just turned seven months cuts into message board time. I don’t mind one bit. Got out to the pier with my grandpa about 4:30 PM and it was a little breezy. He went on the pier, I went for the shore. Very few sand crabs and very tiny. I was putting 4 at a time on my # 6 hook. Only a few subtle hits and no hookups. Maybe I should try Mola’s technique and let it go in freespool as it seemed the fish were just mouthing the bait. Tried lugworms and grubs with no luck. Went on the pier at dark and met a guy named Nick. He was at the fish cleaning station with what looked to be some good-sized corbina and yellowfin croaker which were beheaded and gutted.
Grandpa hadn’t caught anything except for some smelt. He was way out by the bait shack. We fished for a while using a variety of baits, and I was beginning to think I would get skunked. The wind died down and it was beautiful. Slow until about 7:30, I remembered the lugworms and tried those. Started getting queenfish like crazy. Got a bite and thought it was a mackerel on steroids, but turned out to be about a 10” [yellow snake] eel. Threw him out live for shark bait but no luck. Grandpa pulled in a small corbina about 9″ and about a minute later I got another corbina about 18″. Grandpa got a good sized round stingray on chunk mackerel. The rest of the night was a few thornbacks on mackerel and squid and queenfish on worms. Jim
Date: May 27, 2004; To: PFIC Message Board; From: oldmanandthesea ; Subject: Using cut squid and store shrimps good bait?
I grew up fishing on Belmont and Seal Beach pier, like 50 yrs ago. Both piers have been rebuilt since then, Belmont because it became dilapidated. Seal Beach got wiped out in a heavy storm. Both used to have live ‘chovys. You would buy bait tickets and take your tickets and bucket to the bait guy and he would scoop ‘choves from a tank and put them in your bucket. Bonita and Halibut were the main target and live ‘choves was the bait of choice. But, when the Herring were around we would use a snag line and try to snag Herring (the smaller the better) and use these for Halibut. Almost all the Halibut were caught in the 1st half of the piers and the Bonita and Barracuda caught on the far end. The action was fast and furious back then, ten and twelve-pound bonitos and thirty five- pound Halibut were common, a whole book could be written about it. Times have changed but don’t dismay, I was there last summer (2003) no live bait tanks but still snagged herring and got Halibuts to fifteen pounds. And caught a lot of bat rays and Dogfish. Dogfish are new but Bats have been there for my whole life many 150 pound plus caught off Rainbow Pier, long gone… To answer your Question, in my experience squid and shrimp were not that good of a bait off Belmont or Seal Beach piers