Last modified: October 6, 2018

Fishing Piers Southern California

Coronado Ferry Landing Pier

Spotted sand bass

Both Fish Traps and Big Hammers have also proven effective on halibut with the waters inshore of the pier usually being more productive. Light tackle, by the way, is generally the preferred method at this pier. Water here is often crystal clear and the fish can be very wary of the heavier lines, especially during the middle of sunny days.

Spotted sand bass

Diamond turbot, the small cousin to halibut, ate also available. Most are caught on high/low rigs or Carolina-type rigs using small hooks, generally size 6 or 8 (since they have small mouths) and bloodworms, small pieces of shrimp, pieces of fish, or strips of squid.

The Pier Rats Speak

Date: August 9, 1997; To: Ken Jones; From: Ritchie Reano; Subject: Reporter for Coronado Ferry Landing Pier

Howdy! Great site by the way and I do have your book. I fish the Coronado Ferry Landing Pier almost exclusively. Here’s my report. All around great pier. Varied species. Small pier, no concession or bait stand, but the Ferry Landing has a number of nice places to eat. When the fish aren’t biting you can take a walk and shop along the shops in the Ferry Landing.

Halibut seems to be the prize catch at the pier and lately are being produced consistently, average of one keeper per day. Lively smelt is the bait of choice and among the piers in San Diego, Coronado seems to have the biggest smelt population. Smelts are being caught with dip nets or small baited hooks. I recently landed and kept a 23-inch halibut using a 6-inch smelt. Jigs are also catching the flatties. Natural color shad bodies or grubs seem to work the best. Halibut rigs consist of egg sinker and snap swivel, but lately the sliding leader technique described in your book is becoming popular.

Bonito have been seen splashing the waters around the pier. But it seems every time they run by, no one seems to have their Cast-a-Bubble rig ready. I’ve not seen one landed recently. Mackerel runs are fair to good. Squid strips and fresh mackerel cuts are the bait of choice, but when the macs are finicky, small smelt will entice them to hit.

Yellowfin croaker are scarce and fall mainly to ghost shrimp, with a few taken on small smelt. Sand bass are abundant using live smelt or mackerel cuts. Fishing on the shore side of the pier seems to be the best area to catch them.

Good-size guitarfish are also seen being caught on this pier with squid and mackerel slabs being the bait. Other notable catches… needlenose fish (which seem to be more of an annoyance) and flounder.

Thanks! And keep up the great work with the website. Ritchie Reano


Rich Reano, “Webmaster” for Pier Fishing in California, and a small gray smoothhound shark 

Date: August 31, 1997; To: Ken Jones; From: Ritchie Reano; Subject: Ferry Landing update

Hi Ken, Just got back from fishing today from the Ferry Landing Pier… Mackerel are visiting the pier in numbers. I’m seeing bucketful’s lately. Most anglers are using bait rigs sweetened with squid or mackerel. Best times seemed to be early morning or late afternoon. Smelt still cloud the waters with their abundance. Catching your own bait is a breeze.

Halibut are still hitting consistently. Most are caught on smelt. I landed a 23.5-inch halibut today using a 6-inch smelt on a sliding rig. I was also talking to a father and son team and they caught a 30″ halibut about two weeks ago using smelt. In fact, the halibut was so strong that it yanked his pole into the water. Fortunately, the pole floated and a treble gaff was on hand… Recently, a friend of mine hooked a 4-foot-wingspan ray but it came off while trying to net it. No sign of bonito. Thanks! Ritchie Reano

Some good-sized halibut are caught from the pier

Date: March 27, 1998; To: Ken Jones; From: Rich; Subject: Coronado

Hi Ken, I like the new website look. Have you ever considered getting a domain name? Like

Anyway, fishing is getting interesting at the Ferry Landing. During the recent grunion run, quite a few anglers were hooking up with some decent size rays. I only observed the catches during the day. The night fishing must have been even better. Another interesting catch was a nice sized barracuda, although a little short of legal. It was caught using a Salas iron jig fished on the surface. Live bait such as smelt are hard to come by at this time. Most of the smelt near the pier are much too big. Even if there’s not a lot of catching going on, it’s still a nice place to hang out on a weekend. There are shops and decent eateries only a short walk away. Take care! Sincerely, Rich Reano

To: Rich; From: Ken Jones; Subject: Domain Name

Hi Rich, In answer to your question regarding a domain name, no I don’t know too much about it. What are the advantages? Best, Ken

Ken, Your website name will be easier to remember. (which by the way is available) is easier to remember than and looks more professional. Also, you would probably get more visits to your site. I am sure someone has tried typing in to see if a website like that existed. I know I have. Sincerely, Rich

Yellowfin Croaker

Date: December 28, 1999; To: Pier Fishing In California  Message Board; From: Rey; Subject: Re: Now you have my attention!

I have caught some big Needlefish at Coronado Ferry Landing. You can see them cruising near the surface from this pier. I usually don’t target them, but when I see them I use a cast and retrieve method using a long strip of squid on about 6-pound line. The faster I retrieve my bait, the better luck I get on strikes.

Sand bass caught by OBPierrat

Date: April 15, 2000; To: PFIC Message Board; From: Mark Taylor, LAc.; Subject: Coronado Ferry Landing report

Fished the landing this afternoon between about 4:30 – 8:00 pm, incoming tide. I’m kind of a beginner in these waters so I’m used to getting skunked, and today was no exception. Fished fresh sardines and frozen ‘chovies off the bottom. One good strike, but I didn’t set the hook in time. Tried some Fish Traps, plastic grubs and a Kroc for a while, but nothing.

There were about 10 of us on the pier and one guy fishing over near the floating ferry dock was pulling in bass after bass. Every time we looked over this dude was pulling another decent bass out of the water. I’m told he was using dines, live or dead I don’t know. He didn’t look real friendly so I didn’t ask. Two guys near me caught a too short butt, a nice keeper sand bass and what I think was a spotted bass. Same bait/rig as me.

One of these guys next to me must have caught a dozen small foot-long stingrays (or the same one 12 times; you have to wonder, they were identical in size) in an hour, until he decided to stop squandering his ghost shrimp and switch over to dines/chovies.

The rest of us did our best, but…that’s how it goes sometimes. I wonder if the place to fish on this particular pier is where that bass-o-matic guy was—over near the floating ferry dock, which forms a right angle with the fishing portion of the pier: Maybe the decent fish like to hang out in all that cover. Tight lines and good luck!

Occasionally joining in the fun with the round stingrays and diamond stingrays will be a few butterfly rays. 

Date: June 30, 2002; To: PFIC Message Board; From: Rich Reano; Subject: Coronado Ferry Landing

Fished the Coronado Ferry Landing Pier for an hour from 2:30pm ~ 3:30pm hoping to catch a corvina. There were quite a bit of baitfish around but large ones were nowhere to be seen. No corvina but I did manage this spotted sand bass on a watermelon red/flake zipper worm. Got him out of the water, snapped a picture and back into the water in less than 30 seconds.

Spotted sand bass caught by Rich Reano

Date: August 13, 2002; To: PFIC Message Board; From: pEsCaDoR5312; Subject: In reply to strange people…raver fish…

I was at the pier with my brother one day (this is the Coronado Ferry Landing Pier which is probably visited by interested tourists and weirdos more often than other pier).

Well, one night the last stop of the ferry hits and two girls got off of it. I noticed they were ravers by the way they were dressed. They noticed that we were using light sticks (mackerel) and one girl asks me what we used the light sticks for. I told her they’re for “raver fish, the light stick attracts them because they like to dance around it. That’s why they call it a raver fish. Then when they see the bait they hit it.” The girl looks at me in awe and says, “that’s F***ing amazing!” So I say “yup” and they leave. My brother and I laughed about it the whole night.

*note* — raving is a style of dancing. A raver is one who likes to go to raves and dance to quasi-techno-style music. Many like to use light sticks in their hands while they are dancing to give a cool effect to their actions. I posted this story in no intentional offense toward any ravers on this board. Don’t bother me… I’m fishin. <*)))>=<| pEsCaDoR5312

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