Pier Fishing In California (the book) and pierfishing.com in the news—

The First Article —USA Weekend Magazine, May 9, 1997

Pier Fishing In California and the website pierfishing.com was mentioned in the article

Of course there have been other articles —


Pier fishing site assists anglers in California

By Thom Gabrukiewicz, (Redding) Record Searchlight

August 15, 2004

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 (the second edition came out in June, and sells for $29.95 at Publishers Design Group, www.publishersdesign.com).

He’s also the rat behind the online version of the book, at www.pierfishing.com, (where people also can buy the encyclopedia of pier fishing).

“It’s not a commercial site, other than the fact you can buy the book on it,” said Jones, who helps run the site from Lodi. “It’s something for the pier or surf angler, something different that gives people who want to do this kind of fishing find the right information.”

The site is clean, simple, easy to navigate — and has a vast amount of information for anyone who wants to throw a line in the ocean, either from a pier, or the surf. The site regularly highlights two of California’s 113 accessible piers. It has a message board, so pier rats can keep up with one another, an event organizer and an archive where all the site’s great information has been stored since beginning in 1997.

“When I started it, I wanted to teach people how to be successful pier fishermen,” said Jones, a former high school teacher. “Pier fishing is different. It’s probably not as good as being on a boat in the ocean. But I catch a lot of fish — and I can help you catch a lot of fish, by letting you know what you’re doing, whether it’s by lure or by bait.”

A good place to start, especially for newcomers to pier fishing, is the archives, Jones said. But the site’s best feature also is its newest. Back in 1999, Pier Fishing in California added the message boards, where people go to swap information. That has led to a vast archive of information.

“There have been literally thousands of threads over the years,” he said. “And you can get all the info you need about pier fishing.”

The event calendar also is a great place for people to find like-minded souls to fish with. The next outing is set for Saturday at Point Reyes, for example. The organizer, known online as xpostman, will be serving up barbecued chicken and oysters, served with red rice on Kehoe Beach. The anglers will then grub for redtail perch.

“This is a simple event,” xpostman wrote. “Meet, eat and fish.”

“Pier fishing, by its very nature, is social,” Jones said. “If you’re uncomfortable around people, you will have problems pier fishing.”

Piers also are where families can go to be successful anglers.

“It’s great for families,” Jones said. “Pack a picnic lunch, head down to the pier and spend the day. A lot of people I know got their start fishing from a pier.”

Which might be fodder for Jones’ next project — and sure to be part of Pier Fishing in California’s Web site.

“My next book may be stories from all the people who grew up fishing from a pier,” Jones said.

Know an Outdoors Web site you’d like to share? Outdoor Web runs every Sunday in the Record Searchlight. Reporter Thom Gabrukiewicz can be reached at 225-8230 or tgabrukiewicz@redding.com.


 San Diego Union-Tribune — OUTDOORS

No boats necessary — Dedicated pier patrons are proud and happy to spend their days fishing from California’s shoreline pilings

 By Ed Zieralski, STAFF WRITER, January 22, 2005

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. Pier rats don’t care.

“Our motto is no boats, no kayaks and no freshwater for posts on our board,” said newby pier rat Garth Hansen of Escondido. Their message board is on www.pierfishing.com.

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 www.pierfishing.com.

At a recent get together at Oceanside Pier, Hansen was joined by John Kim of Carlsbad, Reid Mimaki of San Marcos, Rod Mina of San Diego and Rich Reano, the site’s Web master from Chula Vista, for some early-morning shore fishing followed by a trip to the pier.

Hansen discovered the group while searching the Web one day. “The fishing report is one of the more useful things about the site,” Hansen said. “I’m a beginner, so it helped me with good fishing information and tips. I took my daughter out to the pier the first time. Except for a 16-inch smelt, we got skunked. But since then I’ve landed my first legal halibut, first legal sand bass and way too many croakers.”

Reano fished from the beach early and, like the others, landed a handful of barred surf perch. He used a unique offering, a size 8 Wooly Worm fly with a half-ounce barrel sinker, a standard Carolina rig. Reano has been the group’s Web master since 1997. “We get just over a half million page views a month,” Reano said. “We’re small compared to boards like Allcoast Sportfishing, but for pier fishing, we do OK. We have a narrow focus, but still have a lot of views for that.” There are 8,000 registered members of the board but, as Reano said, “many more lurking out there.”

Mina said the reports and pictures that pier and shore anglers post make the site valuable to those looking for information, tips and places to fish. “Part of it is people want to educate others about pier and shore fishing, but part of it is people want to brag, too,” Mina said.

The group stresses that all pier and shore fishermen follow Department of Fish and Game regulations, a big issue on the state’s piers. Many pier fishermen are recent immigrants who often plead ignorance on fish and game laws. They have a reputation with other fishermen for taking over-limits and fish or lobsters out of season. “We place a huge emphasis on rules,” Reano said.

Ben Acker and Bryan Burch traveled from Pasadena to join the others for the rare get together last Saturday. Acker, a sixth grade teacher in Arcadia, is a veteran hoop-netter and pier angler. “I have five younger brothers, and my mom said the only thing we could ever do without fighting is fishing and singing,” Acker said. Acker converted an old baby jogger into a fishing pier buggy that he loads all his gear on for an easy trek to a spot along the pier’s rail. As Acker was setting up his gear, a tourist passed by and said: “Do you need a fishing license to fish on a pier?” Acker responded, “No.” And the guy winced and said, “I just lost a $5 bet with this guy because I bet him you needed one.”

Anglers don’t need a fishing license, but knowledge of the shoreline structure under the pier is a huge benefit. And knowing how to rig for the various fish is equally important. “It’s a sharp learning curve, but if someone puts the time in, it’s not that hard to learn,” Acker said. Acker said piers are the best-kept secret for hoop-netting lobsters. “I’ve probably hoop-netted more lobsters from a pier than I have from my kayak,” said Acker, who has his own special way of lowering his hoop net. He cradles it under his arm and tosses it the way someone would toss a discus. He got a good 30 yards on his toss on this day.

Down the pier from Acker, Daniel Elrod of Lancaster, another bona fide pier rat, displayed his invention, the L-Rodholder that he uses for rods and even a pulley arm for pulling hoop nets up from the depths. He sells them for $45 to $59. “I’m 46 years old and I’ve been pier fishing my whole life,” Elrod said. “My dad started me out when I was young.” Elrod said he visited Ocean Beach Pier during lobster season last year and asked a hoop-netter there if he’d like to sample his pulley arm device for pulling up his net. Elrod said the man hoisted up 30 lobsters in two hours before the men were kicked off because there was an electrical problem on the pier. “It was the middle of the day, too,” Elrod said. “I mean every pull, every 15 minutes, he’d have five, six lobsters in there. It was incredible because they were all keepers (legal-size) except for one.” Elrod had his 14-year-old son, Kyle, along with him, doing his part to pass on the pier-rat tradition.

“I’m on that pierfishing.com site every day,” Elrod said. “It’s an addiction. I like to read what’s going on in Northern, Central and Southern California, and it’s a great place for that. Everyone has their own style of fishing, their own personality. But by knowing what’s going on along the whole coast helps me plan my own fishing trips and excursions.”

Boyd Grant is vice president of United Pier and Shore Anglers of California. He travels in his motorhome and checks on piers. He’s a mobile pier rat with a shell. “I’m a full-time volunteer and field representative,” Grant said. “I drive the entire coastline and check out the beaches and the piers. I have over 30 years of fishing every pier in California.”

Grant said one of the other features of www.pierfishing.com is that it includes a link to Ken Adelman’s www.californiacoastline.org. The site offers up-close and updated looks at beach access and fishing areas. Grant called “Pier Fishing in California” author Ken Jones “the best piling fisherman I’ve ever seen.” “When we go to Catalina, we get 20 fish. He catches and releases 200 or more,” Grant said of Jones. “I don’t care where it is. Any pier, any piling. He’s the piling master.”

Grant said he loves the entire atmosphere that can usually be found on a fishing pier “There’s a lot more to pier fishing than just hooking fish,” Grant said. “I’ve found that no matter where in the world we go, when we visit a pier we have so much in common with the people there. Within five minutes, we’re talking like we’ve known each other all our lives.”

As Grant spoke, the Flatt family fished behind him on the north side of the pier. Steven and Melissa Flatt were there with Kalyn, 2. It was a family, glad to join the ranks of the pier rats. “He wanted a fisherman, so Kalyn now is into fishing,” Melissa Flatt said. “This is her first time fishing the pier, but she’s caught bluegill and has fished in Yosemite already.”

© Copyright 2005 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.

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