Oceanside Pier Bait Shop

Ed Gonsalves and the Oceanside Pier Bait Shop

After fishing California’s coastal waters for more than fifty years, one of the things I have learned to appreciate are good bait and tackle shops. Although at one time nearly every pier had a bait shop, and most of those had live bait, today the number of shops and what they carry has dwindled.

An efficient and helpful crew

Luckily I’ve made enough trips along the coast fishing the piers that I have learned where most of the shops are located and which are the ones to visit. Do they carry the necessities? Are the people friendly, helpful and knowledgeable? Are the hours determined by the needs of the customers instead of the needs of the owner. All are questions of importance to me and when I find a shop that meets my criteria it’s a shop that I will visit time and time again.

Tourists have got to buy something — right?

An excellent shop, and one right on a pier, is Pier Bait on the Oceanside Pier owned by Ed and Pam Gonsalves. It’s not very big but it’s crammed to the rafters (literally) with items and it’s usually busy from early morning well into the night. Bait, drinks, light snacks and seemingly a million and one ocean knick knacks seem to flow through the windows non-stop. And, if you need some tackle, rental rods and reels are available.

Lastly, and this is one of the things I like, Ed and his crew try to keep the fishermen informed of the rules and regulations. A ton of fishermen on the pier are newcomers who can’t identify fish and who don’t know the rules. Ed has published various sheets showing the species and shows both size and number limits. He doesn’t have to do it, and most bait shops don’t go to such lengths, but he’s simply trying to be a good citizen and trying to keep the marine environment (and species) as healthy as possible.

This pelican is usually found next to the bait shop and probably has been photographed about as much as any bird in California

We all owe Ed a round of applause and thanks — his hard work is appreciated.

It sometimes seems like the lines will never end — even late at night


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