Western Outdoor News And The California Piers

Remember the SAT test and the analogies? Well, this is analogy time (but it’s an easy one)! If estuaries are the home grounds for young saltwater fish, piers are the home grounds for (A) young saltwater anglers, (B) shotgun enthusiasts, (C) PETA hecklers. A, of course, is the answer although I imagine some people might just have picked C.

Due to the easy accessibility of piers, the fact that public piers do not require a license, and the fact that bait, tackle and snacks are often on the pier, or nearby, it’s easy to see why piers are a perfect place to bring the entire family and why they have been a nurturing spot for so many beginning anglers.

In fact, it’s sometimes amazing to talk to the professional anglers and hear, time after time, the stories of how they began to fish at their local piers. Later, when they were a little older and, I imagine, when they had a little more money, they made the transition to barges, half-day boats, overnighters, and eventually long-range boats.

A substantial number, when they reach retirement age return to the piers for their daily meetings with their buddies. At retirement time the pier can replace the local coffee shop as a social gathering spot—although the anglers also don’t mind catching a fish or two while they are out there.

Many anglers though never make the transition from pier to boat; they are content to fish right where they are on their favorite pier. Studies done many years ago by the Fish and Game Department showed that more hours were actually spent on piers by anglers than any other form of California saltwater angling. Although those studies may be dated, the often-crowded conditions on piers continue to give evidence of their popularity. Nevertheless, it is a fishery often overlooked by the media, it simply does not have the glamour or commercial tie-ins found in other fisheries To some degree, pier fishing also may not have had a central voice given the more than one hundred piers that attract anglers in the state.

That has changed. One web site, Pier Fishing in California (pierfishing.com), begun in 1997, has given focus to the fishery and the site has become one of the main stomping grounds for the state’s pier enthusiasts. Its message board has become a repository of daily reports from many pier and shore areas as well as a general forum where literally hundreds of questions are answered weekly. The beginners can ask the experts for advice and soon the new comers are experts themselves. It’s shortened the learning curve and helped create a whole new group of knowledgeable anglers. In addition, the heavy conservationist theme of the site is helping pier anglers improve their knowledge of both legal and ethical constraints that anglers should consider, and spawned a group of anglers willing and able to help the Fish and Game protect the resource. Given the more than 6,000 registered users of the message board, it’s easy to see why many pier and surf anglers get their daily dash of morning news at the site. Soon, readers of Western Outdoor News will also be able to check out the action on the piers. WON, in conjunction with PFIC, will provide a pier report that hopefully will answer any questions that readers may have about the piers.

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