Reviews of Pier Fishing in California — 2nd. Edition

“Pier Fishing in California: The Complete Coast and Bay Guide, 2nd Edition”     


“Pier Fishing In California, The Complete Coast and Bay Guide, 2nd Edition, by Ken Jones named 2005 Second Place Winner for book”

Outdoor Writer’s Association of California  (OWAC)


 “One of the great original efforts at fishing books published in recent years is Pier Fishing in California by Ken Jones.”

—Bud Neville, Western Outdoor News


“Pier Fishing in California, the encyclopedic-and-then-some guidebook, by Ken Jones”

—Jonathan Miles, Field & Stream


“Ken Jones’ Pier Fishing in California is the ultimate pier fishing resource for Pacific Coast anglers. This second edition covers 113 piers; the history of California piers and pier fishing; tackle, rigging, baits and lures; cleaning and cooking; and an “encyclopedia” of the 100 most commonly caught species. The chapter “The Pier Rats Speak”, compiled from the discussion boards at, offers a colorful glimpse into pier fishing “culture.”

International Game Fish Association Magazine, 2005


The Pied Piper of Pier Rats —

“Basketball has its gym rats, golf has its range rats and, yes, fishing has its very own pier rats…They are a special breed of angler, these fanatics who fish from pilings, whether they be concrete or wooden… In his excellent book, Pier Fishing in California, Ken Jones, the modern-day Pied Piper of this new breed of pier rat, leads his cult-like followers to 113 piers, including those in the Carquinez Strait (about 20 miles northeast of San Francisco) and West Delta. In his second edition of the book, Jones includes an enlarged fishing-tips section and also details a history of the piers. There’s an entire section on fish identification, and he tops it with a section called The Pier Rats Speak, a dozen classic posts from the Pier Fishing in California message board on”

—Ed Zieralski, San Diego Union-Tribune


 “Ken Jones just might be California’s ‘No. 1 pier rat,’ a title he takes very seriously.  ‘It’s an old term, like wharf rat,’ Jones said.  ‘We’re pier rats, we fish from piers. We have a lot of fun with it.’ What makes him Pier Rat No. 1? Jones is the author of Pier Fishing in California, a 516-page bible of pier fishing, from Crescent City to San Diego, that describes all 113 piers where people can toss in a line.”

—Thom Gabrukiewicz, Redding Record Searchlight


“Even experienced anglers know somebody who is just getting interested in fishing. Whether they are a relative, friend or neighbor, the great new book “Pier Fishing in California” by Ken Jones is a perfect choice for any new angler with access to the coastline. The book is a hefty 516 pages long, and the author has completely re-written his earlier 1992 edition.

            Pier fishing is a perfect way to get started in fishing. However, nothing will turn a “newbie” off from the sport quicker than getting skunked. I spend a lot of time walking on piers, and am amazed that some of the anglers I see ever catch anything [many don't!].

            Fishing ranges from fair to excellent on almost any pier in the state, and this book makes sure that the reader joins the 10-percent of the anglers who catch 90-percent of the fish. That old cliché is even truer on piers than anywhere else.

            Included is comprehensive information on hundreds of piers from Imperial Beach to Crescent City. Fishing techniques, common species, and the history of each pier are all included. The fishing information is especially detailed, and will help the beginner or experienced angler alike maximize their catch.

            Jones has really done his homework, and this book will be interesting to almost any angler. The book answers questions like how to rig for perch, halibut, sharks, striped bass and salmon off piers. You’ll even find out which California piers have seen albacore and bluefin tuna caught on them in relatively modern times, and which pier had a 600-pound black seabass caught during the 1920′s.

            I spent much of my youth on the Santa Monica, Venice and Redondo Beach piers; I wish something like this book had been available back then!”

—Steve Carson, Fishing Writer, Radio and TV Personality, Member of the Outdoor Writer’s Hall of Fame, and a “Berkley” Pro


“The Ultimate Pier Fishing Resource. The ultimate resource for Pacific Coast pier anglers is Ken Jones’ remarkable book Pier Fishing in California: The Complete Coast and Bay Guide, the second edition of which is due out in May. The first edition was a 200-page volume covering 92 piers from the Mexican border to the Oregon border, but the vastly expanded second edition runs 528 pages and covers 113 piers.

In addition to the 20 new piers, the second edition also features expanded chapters on the history of California piers and pier fishing, cleaning and cooking a wide range of species (including “oddballs” like skates and rays), and an exhaustive discussion of tackle, rigging, baits and lures.

Over 350 new photos and illustrations have also been added, including detailed, species-specific illustrations of fish-cleaning, rigging illustrations, and maps. An “encyclopedia” of the 100 most commonly caught pier species is also completely illustrated.

Another new chapter in the second edition, “The Pier Rats Speak,” reproduces a dozen classic “threads” from the discussion boards at, which offer a colorful glimpse into the unique pier fishing “culture.”

The sheer amount of research and experience that’s gone into this book is simply mind-boggling; it really does seem to contain just about everything there is to know about California pier fishing. Even if you’re not a dedicated pier angler, it’s a fascinating read and an admirable accomplishment.”

—Zack Thomas, Pacific Coast Sportfishing


 “This book is positively biblical in scope. And that is fitting because, if pier fishing is a religion, and perhaps it is, Ken Jones is certainly its prophet.”

 —Milton Love, (self-described) Hotshot Marine Biologist, University of California Marine Science Institute—Santa Barbara, author of Probably More Than You Want To Know About The Fishes Of The Pacific Coast, A Humorous Guide To Pacific Fishes, and director of “The Love Lab.”


 “Pier Fishing in California will teach you everything you want to know about fishing on piers and the piers themselves. An amazing amount of time and research went into this book. Ken Jones’ passion for pier fishing comes through loud and clear. In addition to all of the facts, the book is weaved with clever and funny anecdotes. A must read for anyone who has fished on a pier or is thinking of it.”

 —Shawn Arnold, publisher— Fish Taco Chronicles


“This book will appeal to any angler who has a curious mind. That is, one to whom an answer to a question only suggests more questions. In addition to having a curious mind, the author uses his skills as a former teacher, to share his storehouse of fishing lore with the reader. This book is filled with the answers to every pier fishing question the author has thought of, plus the questions of every angler he has talked to; and that is hundreds. In addition to practical tips for catching fish from piers, there is a host of related topics such as pier histories, conservation ethics, angler manners, fish biology, and how to clean and cook your catch. This book will foster a love of fishing, and quickly build angler confidence to try other venues for fishing such as shoreline and boat fishing. I recommend this book to pier anglers who want to fully understand their sport and catch more numbers and varieties of fish.”

 —Paul Gregory, retired DF&G Marine Biologist


 “Ken Jones, the authority on pier fishing in California, has done it again. His book, Pier Fishing in California, has been the definitive book on fishing from Piers in this state. This revised edition includes more piers, adds details about fishing and the fascinating history of California piers all the way back to the 1800s. If you even think about fishing from piers or are just interested in their history, you need this book.”

 —Ray Rychnovshy, Outdoor writer and author of numerous fishing books including California Guide: Great Saltwater Fishing, and San Francisco Bay Area Fishing Guide.


 “Every angler in California ought to have this book! In addition to telling you the when, where, how, and even the why, of pier fishing, the book is just plain fun reading.”

 —Tim Turner, Editor in Chief, Rabid Angler Magazine


 “Pier Fishing. Never did I hold Daddy¹s hand more tightly than when we walked out on a pier. Too young to understand my own size compared to the threats in the big world around me, I feared slipping through the cracks into a world populated only by naughty children who wandered away from their folks.

            I grew older and discovered other dangers, and my childhood fear was buried under other emotions, good and bad. It returned in a new form only recently, when I discovered Pier Fishing in California: the Complete Coast and Bay Guide, by Ken Jones. Now I fear slipping through the pages of this book onto a rickety old wooden structure jutting out into constantly plunging waves. I fear baiting up once again, again to fall short of that perfect cast I need for success. While standing and waiting, my hair will turn gray, my hems grow uneven and my bifocals crust with salt spray. Hours and days will slip through those fearful old cracks, and the time to leave will always lie just beyond the surf line.

            If your soul finds satisfaction in fishing, or in history replete with black-and-white photographs, in meeting genuine characters far too real for reality television, or merely in settling down with great literature, acquire this book, already in its second edition.

            True, you can use Pier Fishing as your guide to fishing from the B Street Pier in Crescent City all the way to the Imperial Beach Pier from which it¹s an easy walk across the border into Mexico. Wherever life takes you, this book offers the best information on how to while away a few hours in the company of your oldest or youngest family members, your most driven colleagues, or just yourself. You¹ll meet other pierophiles there, folks who share your fantasies. I still recall waking one night from a dream that I free-gaffed a marlin from the Redondo Beach Pier.

            Pier Fishing tells what species you¹re likely to catch, what tackle is best for catching them, some interesting methods for cooking them, the history of the pier and the personal experience there of the author.

            But valuable as Pier Fishing is for its information, the quality of the writing makes it as readable, and rereadable, as the finest tales told by masters of literature. Only two possibilities present themselves as explanations as to where mild-mannered Ken Jones acquired such a superfund of information. Either he truly is California¹s Number One Pier Rat, as he claims, or he is considerably older than he looks. He claims to have over 40 years of records, compiled by himself, of fishing the piers he writes about, and the proof is in the putting of this data into the introduction. You¹ll see why he confesses that the Pacifica Pier is probably the best in the state. ³No other pier in the state  yields the number of fish, nor the quality of fish, that Pacifica sees most years, he declares.

            You want to argue with him? Visit Ken¹s website at and join the ongoing discussions. Make the case for your own favorite pier, or ask a newbie question for a speedy answer from a pro or two. Buy this book at the website, or ask for it at your local bookstore.

            And I¹ll look for you on the pier this time. With any luck at all, I¹ll still be on the top side.”

 —Kathie Morgan, Fish Sniffer Magazine


The Pier Rats Speak  — From

 “The second edition of Pier Fishing in California has been eagerly anticipated for a long time. It was worth the wait. This new book is more than an update, it surpasses the original. Ken Jones has reestablished himself not only as the authority on piers but as an important California writer who is expertly versed on saltwater fishing from coast to bay to estuary. Pier Fishing in California is superbly crafted and executed. It is well organized, easy to use and wonderful to read. Piers and their environment are rendered into living histories that capture the imagination as well as edify the fisherman. If there is any bias it is the man’s love for his state and its magnificent shoreline. He warms to his subject and passes on that glow to his readers. I know of no other single source for species identification and angling strategy: this alone would be worth owning the book. It is an operating manual, tour book, field guide, encyclopedia, and history, wrapped all into one. Whether veteran or neophyte, this book will make a better angler out of anyone.”

Glen Gustavson-Falck (Songslinger)

 “Ken Jones has outdone himself. He has created the California “Bible” of pier fishing, in the form of the 2nd edition of his “Pier Fishing in California.” And although he covers the specifics of fishing the piers in California, much of it can be applied to pier fishing in any geographic region. Whether you are a beginning fisherman or a seasoned “Pier Rat,” there is a wealth of information for you here. As in the first edition, Ken covers the complete range of California coastal and bay piers, and this time ventures up into the West Delta and Carquinez Strait piers as well. Along with an expanded tackle section, there are extensive chapters on the history of California’s piers, the social and ethical concerns associated with fishing, and even recipes for a “toxic world.” I especially enjoyed reading some of the historical background of some of the fishing piers in California. There is also input from some of the local “Pier Rats” who regularly frequent some of California’s fishing piers. At 516 pages, it will be quite some time before I read it cover-to-cover (if ever), but rather I find myself jumping around to sections that interest me or to read about a certain pier I will fish. Ken, thanks for writing the definitive book on pier fishing, a must-have for any California angler.

 Jeff Ishikawa  (fishing enthusiast)

 “If you fish from any pier, beach, breakwater, jetty or rocks on the California coast, you must have this book! Questions about pier and area history, what can be, and what has been caught, and how to catch it, are answered here. You will find what bait, tackle, and rigs to use to increase your chances before you get there. Read stories and posts from by some of the legends and regular Pier Rats of the pier fishing community. The love of the sport, and the expertise Ken Jones has acquired from the many years at the railing, is passed on to the reader.”

 Harry A Goodell (Graybeard)

“Volume 2 is Awesome! I’ve had my copy of volume 2 for two days now, and it is incredible! I can still remember how volume 1 changed fishing for me. I think volume 2 has the potential to change a lot of people’s lives. The first volume turned me on to the wonderful and unique resource that our piers are for recreation. I learned about pier carts, hoop nets, hi-lo’s, dip nets, bucket aerators, etc. Volume 2 does all that, but goes one better. This book truly catches the joy and excitement of our style of fishing. Ken has included tons of e-mails and postings from the archives here. The enthusiasm and joy of our fellow pier rats is evident throughout. I truly believe that our ranks are going to grow, thanks to Ken’s efforts. Let’s all give him our support in his new endeavor. GET YOUR COPY OF THE BOOK AS SOON AS YOU CAN! You won’t regret it. I think I have to get a second copy, so I can keep one in pristine condition. Tell all your friends about it.  And then…. get ready to make some room on the piers. I think there are going to be a lot more folks out there fishing in the years to come. Gordo Grande”

Ross Kestin (Gordo Grande

Volume two [Pier Fishing in California] is the canonical authority on pier fishing in the known universe. Volume one remains an unparalleled resource, suitable for keeping in one’s tackle box.  So while Volume one is like a field journal, Volume two is a reference journal. Each has its valuable place in the life of every pier and shore angler.

Ben Acker (Dompha Ben —”DOMPFA: Dominating Positive Fishing Attitude!”)

[It] Looks like an exam preparation book…You might as well have test questions at the end of each chapter. Actually, it is a very unusual book as far fishing is concerned. Parts read like diary entries. Maybe it should be titled: “PFIC: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Fishing but Were Afraid to Ask.” LOL Nice thoughtful writing Ken and localized too!

Robert Gardner (Redfish)

VOLUME 2 IS AWESOME! Even though it’s a big book, I’ve been carrying it around with me everywhere I go. A great read for sure!



 Amazon.Com — Customer Reviews — Pier Fishing in California: The Complete Coast and Bay Guide, 2nd Edition

Filled with facts and tips for novice and experts, August 17, 2004 ★★★★★  Reviewer:  James Liu (Sunnyvale, CA)

Public Piers are great places for families and visitors to fish because they are the only places in California where anglers over 16 don’t need a license. I’ve been fishing for 26 years now and build my own rods. I’ve traveled a lot and fished international and this book is unique in the focus it brings to fishing in my home state of California. Much thicker than the first edition and filled with tips and facts that have made my trips more productive. I have other books, like Tom Steinstra’s well thumbed guide to California fishing spots, but, those are just a general guide without much depth. Ken Jones gives a detailed review of all the Public Piers in CA. I’d recommend it as required reading for those who are truly interested in catching fish off any California Pier. I’ve used the book and found it invaluable as a desk side reference in looking up and planning fishing trips and answering questions authoratively on Ken’s website.

The best source for Pier Fishing In California, August 18, 2004 ★★★★★ Reviewer:  “fishnchips “J” (California)

The new edition is larger, but is chalked full of useful info for any angler. It has great rigging techniques, and a huge amount of info on all of California’s piers. Ken Jones knows his stuff, and the book shows it. I own both editions and they are permanent items on my coffee table at home. I’d highly recommend this book to anyone interested in fishing… these books have it all.

Pier Fishing in CA, June 30, 2006 ★★★★★ Reviewer: B. Bishop “sand crust” from Santa Cruz, CA 

Lots of info and history, easy to read and use.

Ken Jones’ Masterpiece, July 15, 2006 ★★★★★ Reviewer: #72 from California

If you fish piers in California, you need to buy this book.

Great for newbies, salty dogs and historians alike, February 12, 2007  ★★★★★ Reviewer: Erik Cline “hobo cline” from Alameda, CA  

“My title says it all. If you’re looking to start a new hobby, get better at your current one, or want some leisurely California history reading, this book can’t be beat. I can’t wait to hit the piers…”

A must-have for shore fishermen!, August 16, 2008 ★★★★★ Reviewer: P. Rabbitt (Silicon Valley, CA)

I have two copies of this book – one I purchased through Amazon, and a personally autographed copy I won on the PFIC Internet site. I gifted one to my friend, who I “hooked” into fishing a couple of years ago. The book is filled with useful fishing information for both the novice and more experienced angler, and the intel on California piers stands alone. If you’re looking for a book on shore or pier fishing in the Golden State, you can’t do any better than Ken’s book!

Pier Facts Good, March 28, 2009 ★★★★★ Reviewer: M. Cochrane “vrede” (Calif)

This is a very useful tool for evaluating pier fishing on the California Coast. Since I grew up in So. Cal. and migrated to NorCal, this book was especially useful in describing the changes in techniques required to catch fish in the North. It was also comprehensive in that it covered every pier in California, which also included spots in the Delta. I highly recommend this as a “starting tool.” However, there is nothing more valuable then chatting with the local pier gurus; that is if they’re in a talkative mode. I gifted this to a friend who intended to start pier fishing but he was from the East Coast and didn’t know where or how to start. He reports that the book was a lifesaver for him. So that he at could least formulate the right questions when fishing off his local pier in Pacific. Very helpful document.

SoCal Pier Bible, December 16, 2009 ★★★★★ Reviewer: Michael P. Kisselburg 

There is no better book for pier fishing in southern California. If you are a fisherman, and do not own this book… well you should.

Not Just for Californians, June 28, 2010 ★★★★★ Reviewer:Ahnko Honu “Beach Boy” (Kailua, Hawai’i)

Island boy from Hawai’i but have siblings living in the Bay area so to prepare for fishing the piers there several years ago I bought this book. The tips, and techniques in this book are very detailed with even a pier-by-pier description of all fishing piers along the California coast. The techniques described are very informative and can be used by pier fishermen not only in California but the whole West Coast, East Coast, and Gulf Coast. They even came in handy fishing the piers here in Hawai’i. I highly recommend this book, and the newer additions too. Mahalo again Ken!

Everything About California Pier Fishing! June 30, 2011 ★★★★★ Reviewer: Bacardi79

This book has everything you need to know about California pier fishing. The ratings system for each pier is just brilliant. There are tips for what to use on each pier and what you can expect to catch. I also love the stories about people’s experiences on the piers. Lots of people don’t fish off of piers they simply walk out and take pictures or just enjoy the view.

Very In-Depth, April 2, 2012 ★★★★★ Reviewer: Mako

This book is basically 40 years of pier fishing up and down the California Coast. The photos and illustrations are excellent and leaves the reader with a well rounded education of the “pier rats” and why people love to fish piers.

Great book! December 15, 2012 ★★★★★ Reviewer: The Zissou

Great book… has all of the obvious spots, tells you what bait to use, how to rig it, and what you should be catching.

Great Book, January 19, 2013 ★★★★★ Reviewer: Jon Banks “Reggae Lover”,  (Fairfax, VA United States) 

This book is a work of art. The author put so much into it and we all benefit. I have fished several of these piers because of this book, and even when I didn’t catch anything I had fun. The pier guys and ladies are generally a great bunch very friendly and willing to swap advice. The book is arranged is sections and each pier is listed geographically. Details such as hours open, best catch and other features are given. For the price, this book is nice to have just as an addition to your travel library. All the more if you actually fish. If you live in CA or plan to visit, this book is a great way to find great fishing piers. As an added bonus, most piers are located in or near great locations so aside from getting great fishing spots, you’ll be near good tourist sites.

 WOW!!!, June 14, 2013 ★★★★★ Reviewer: satoshi saneto 

Lots of great info plus an entertaining read. You get stories, history, nostalgia, mixed in with all the great fishing tips. [It] has inspired me to road trip the coast… and I’m confident I’ll be well prepared.










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