WON NorCal Pier Report, November 1, 2004

Special to Western Outdoor News

Central Coast Piers

Monterey Wharf #2— Frank, at the Compass at the front of the wharf, said the water has been a little rough lately and that’s affected fishing. Sardines and some mackerel are still around, as well as a few perch, but the salmon run appears over. So far the steelhead haven’t shown but if it continues to rain the steelhead should follow behind. Seacliff State Beach Pier— A few perch are still around but most of the stripers and halibut have headed out to other areas. Capitola Wharf— Jo Ann, at the Capitola Baitshop, reports that lots of big perch have been taken lately along with a few steelhead (taken on anchovies fished under a bobber). And, they’re still getting striped bass on anchovies, Pencil Poppers and Kastmasters. A few leopard sharks are also making an appearance. Santa Cruz Wharf — Butch, at the Santa Cruz Boat Rentals, reports that there is still lots of bait in the water (anchovies, smelt, sardines) which has resulted in a few stripers being taken.   There’s also some decent  perch action along with kingfish and jacksmelt. Piller Point Pier – As usual it’s mainly small kingfish (white croakers) together with some jacksmelt. A few rockfish are being taken along the inshore rocks.  Crabbers continue to pull in rock crabs. Pacifica Pier — Joe, at the Rusty Hook in Pacifica, says things are slow. A few stripers (mostly on the beach) but also some kingfish and perch at the pier. Crab season opens 11/6 and the Dungeness should provide some good eating.

Bay Area Piers

San Francisco Piers—Fort Point Pier — Hippo, from Hi’s Tackle Shop, says anglers are still getting a few striped bass at the pier but he hasn’t heard of too much else.  Mostly it’s been sharks, rays and some jacksmelt. Fort Mason Piers — It’s mainly kingfish, sharks and rays. San Francisco Municipal Pier — Some perch and quite a few jacksmelt  (and many are the “huge” horsesmelt, fish approaching 18 inches in size). Pier 7, San Francisco — Perch, kingfish, sharks and rays, the normal early winter fare. Ferry Building Pier/Pier 2 — It sounds like a broken record! Jacksmelt, a few kingfish, and some sharks (leopards and smoothhounds) and rays. South Harbor Marina Pier — It’s sharks and rays. Agua Vista Pier — It’s been slow. A few kingfish, perch, an occasional flurry of jacksmelt and the usual sharks and rays. Heron’s Head Pier — The mix is mainly a few jacksmelt,, some perch, and an occasional striped bass. Candlestick Point — Although it’s primarily jacksmelt and stripers that are keeping anglers happy, I did get one report of a nice halibut. Fernando Banaria reported  “arrived in the farther pier at 11:30 am.  Fished my smaller rod with Sabiki to catch shiners at the middle left side of the pier.  Caught about 4 shiners, 2 of which I baited to my larger rod (1 bottom and 1 sliding), and which I baited onto the smaller rod on a slider rig.  The last shiner I kept for later rebaiting.  Both poles were positioned on the left middle side of the pier.   Around 3:20 pm, as I was just observing the 2 poles while seated, the smaller rod (7 footer) had a solid hit.  I set the hook and felt the tug of something small.  As I was slowly reeling in the line, the feeling of small gradually became heavy until it was starting to pull my rod and line out within 10 yeards of the pier.  I finally managed to see color and it was a halibut!  I was very surprised to see halibut in this pier, thinking that they only come around in this part of the South Bay during spring and summer seasons.   Anyway, I managed to land the14 pound halibut on the rocks at the base of the pier.”

South Bay Piers—Brisbane Fishing Pier — Sounds like a few stripers are showing up including some legal-size fish.  Same with the leopard sharks, a few, and some are large. Oyster Point Pier — John at Oyster Point Bait and Tackle, says anglers are getting a little bit of everything right now—striped bass, perch, an occasional halibut, and the usual sharks and rays. Some big stripers are showing up in the evening hours.  Fishingmama  reported  “On the 21′st I arrived at Oyster Point about 4 pm. Lee and James had already caught four very nice stripers between them, largest was 28.” Nothing happened for a couple hours then it become …STRIPER MADNESS… everyone was catching em. I even caught two on barbless hooks; didn’t land em due to the net guy was a little slow (or could have been due to my barbless hooks or I could’a just choked). All in all, between 15-20 legal fish were caught and a couple throwbacks. It was pure madness; we could not believe what was happening. Every hit was a striper: front of the pier, back of the pier, side of the pier.” Robert E. Woolley Peninsula Park Pier. — Sharks, rays and smelt. A report from  unclesteve said “Grapeape, Bass Master &  his GF, and I fished the pier from about 8 to 12 am. The high tide produced small sharays (sharks and rays) and at low tide the bite was gone.” However some jacksmelt are still around. Dumbarton Pier — Sounds like the sharks and rays are still around. FakeFisherman  reported  “It was a slooooooow day at Dumbarton until about the last hour or so (after 7:00 pm)…. I started to zone out from nothing happening but then I hear my bells go off and I reeled in a good-sized brown smoothhound (forgot to measure and weigh it). Quickly released the shark. Baited up my poles for “one last cast” and a little later, kaboom…pole goes 90 degrees. I was using a big chunk of mackerel so I didn’t think it was a ray, but after a good fight I get it to the pier and it is a good-sized ray. Tranbaby lands it with his crab net (and of course I forget to measure and weigh it) and back into the drink it goes. Arm still aching, pole #2 goes 90 degrees and I grab it. “Anyone want to take this one?” Tranbaby takes the pole and the fight is on. I’m thinking it’s another ray but when he gets it to the pier it’s a legal leopard! Tranbaby and oneway land it. Cool…a nice 43″, 11-lb. Leopard.”

East Bay Piers—Arrowhead Marsh Fishing Piers — Some decent sized striped bass are showing up; try live smelt for bait or artificials. Veterans Court Fishing Pier –   jamespeach reported “I stopped at the bridge on my way out to Arrowhead to get bait and ran into fishoff and unclesteve; they caught a shaker. Then I headed out to Arrowhead to get my live bait and headed back to Veteran’s Court. I fished live bait for about 4 hours then decided it was time for some lures, so I busted out the 4 1/2in. black, Broken Back Rebel and promptly hooked into one on the first cast. But he got off, so I reloaded and cast again, fish on — the fatter one…24″. So I throw him in my trunk and head back out. After about 2 hours I hook into the smaller one (22″) right next to the bridge retrieving it so it was in the light.” Fruitvale Bridge Piers—Fishoff reported “ Got the fishing bug last night, and mom wanted to see the moon. So headed to Fruitvale with a throw net and one pole with a couple of lures. Also a few crackers and Capri Suns for Jim, the homeless man that lives there. We weren’t the only ones out enjoying the moon, the pier was the most packed I ever seen it. At least twenty people. Got to the pier at around 9:00 pm and threw out my throw net. First throw got me enough shiners and smelt to last me a week. Baited up on a slider setup and sat there with mom and enjoyed the view. No bites till 10:00 pm then my Triton clicker went off. Jerked back, FISH ON. Got one little dink striper about 16 inches. It was getting cold so we packed up and left. Did see about three legal stripers get landed on swimtbaits and one fat striper about 35+  get landed on a Broken Back Rebel.” San Antonio Pier — It’s decent jacksmelt action when you can get through the shinerperch. Good bat ray and shark action is also available, especially in the twilight hours, but the local gendarmes have prohibited nighttime fishing. Estuary Park Pier — The pier is seeing a few kingfish (white croaker), jacksmelt, and sharks and rays. Some stripers are available, usually early evening. Port View Park Pier/Seventh Street Pier — Sounds like it’s decent action on sharks and rays including some good-sized leopards. Emeryville Piers (Chevy’s and Shorebird Park) — Sharks and rays (sounds like a broken record). It’s typically best at sunset and with a cast off the right side corner of the pier. Emeryville Marina Fishing Pier — Some jacksmelt, a few kingfish and quite a few bat rays and sharks. Berkeley Pier — It’s been slow although there are some reports of good jacksmelt action; sharks and rays are available at night. Ferry Point Pier — It’s still kicking out some kingfish and perch together with decent shark and ray action.

Carquinez Strait/West Delta— Eckley Pier  — Anglers report both small and keeper-size stripers along with a few sturgeon and an occasional salmon. Martinez Pier – Jorge, at the Martinez Marina Bait and Tackle shop, says lots of striped bass are being taken (although most are along the shoreline). Try bullheads for the bigger bass. The steelhead haven’t shown yet. Got a report from Jim Babwe “Went out to Martinez yesterday morning between 10 AM and 1 PM on the incoming tide to kill some time before the little monsters arrived. Started out at the middle of the pier fishing whole shad on a sliding rig. Crabs were annihilating my bait almost instantly. Saw a few people catching some kingfish out on the pier. After losing two rigs to a notorious snag, I moved over to the shoreline section to the left of the pier. One guy had landed a 5-lb striper on the shore side of the pier as I was moving. After getting nothing for about an hour in my new spot, two guys showed up and set up with their twelve foot rods on either side of me. I was having rod envy as these guys hurled their baits (anchovy bits and grass shrimp) about 50 yards beyond where I could reach with my old school 8-foot pole. Almost immediately both of my new fishing partners hook up twin 17.5 inch bass, a shoebox full of shorts, and one 18-1/4 incher that went on the stringer. I did manage one striper of about 6″ before calling it a day.” Benicia 9th Street Pier — Curtis, at the Benicia Bait & Tackle, says most of the action here has been on stripers. City of Benicia Fishing Pier — Curtis, at the Benicia Bait & T says the jetty that connects to the pier is the site of most of the local salmon action with anglers averaging up to 25 fish a day. The salmon are ranging from 6 pounds up to over 20 pounds. Stripers are also all over the place with Curtis recommending a low outgoing tide as best. Pittsburg Pier — Lots of small stripers with a few keeper-size fish making it interesting. Anglers on the adjacent jetty are picking up quite a few salmon, as many as 20-30 a day. Antioch Pier — Like most of the local piers, it is seeing tons of small stripers and more and more keeper-size fish. Antioch Marina Pier — Some striped bass (mostly small), some catfish, and an occasional sturgeon hookup. Do take extra tackle with you to the pier since the bottom will grab some of your rigs. Antioch Bridge Pier — David, at Gotcha! Bait & Tackle, says action remains strong on striped bass but now, in addition to the small stripers that almost always seem to be present, most anglers are getting at least one keeper-size fish a day. The bigger stripers are landed on mudsuckers, shad or sardines. One 27-pound, 48-inch sturgeon was also landed at the pier. Rio Vista Pier — Stripers (some small, some larger) continue to lead the hit parade here although salmon are moving through the area and a few have been hooked from the pier. Catfish and squawfish continue to be available, especially at night.

North Bay Piers—Point Pinole Pier — Jacksmelt, kingfish, a few stripers, sharks and rays—it  sounds like a broken record. Mel reported “ We hopped on the first shuttle which left at 7:30 AM. John and I set up on the left side of the pier. A group of about three guys went to the end of the right side of the pier and fished live bullheads. It was pretty slow and wet all morning. We used ghost shrimp, grass shrimp, pile worms anchovies and eel. Some board members began trickling in slowly. Kennygotskunked, Bcooney and his son Shane, Heretic and his girlfriend, Phishinpat, Rockin Robin and Minnow magnet.  I did manage to catch a leopard shark, between 30 to 36″, released, and I caught a striper that was about 19 inches which I kept. Both were caught on anchovies. Those were the only fish caught all morning on the pier. For a while it looked like it was going to be a dead day. Then the tide turned around (outgoing) and just like that, the bite picked up. The guys fishing live bullheads hooked up with two nice stripers about 26″, and started catching bat rays and leopard sharks. Phishinpat caught about a 20 inch striper and JTF69 got to fight a ray just as I was leaving.” New Vallejo Pier — Edgerar, at Norm’s Bait and Tackle, reports that quite a few legal size stripers are showing up. Most of the bigger fish are being taken on bullheads or anchovies. Sturgeon have been absent. McNear Beach Fishing Pier (San Rafael) — The action is on kingfish, shark and bat ray fishing (one pier rat calls this the sharay action) , and an occasional striped bass of which a few are keeper size. The halibut action has slowed. Paradise Park Pier (Tiburon) — It’s much the same as the McNear Pier. Mainly it’s kingfish, stripers, sharks and rays. Elephant Rock Pier — Jacksmelt, small rockfish, perch, stripers and some good shark and bat ray action if you give it a good cast. Fort Baker Pier — Jacksmelt and perch with crabbers filling their buckets with rock crabs.  Sharks and rays are available at night.

Northern California—Lawson’s Landing  — The pier is kicking out a few perch, smelt, sharks and rays. Miller Park Pier — Bat rays are the main offering. Lucas Wharf (Bodega Bay) — Action continues good on jacksmelt, some big bat rays, and an occasional leopard shark. Tide’s Wharf (Bodega Bay) — Rock Hopper reported “ Fished Tides Wharf last night with friends Ryan, Shane, and Noah. My buddy Bob from work bet me lunch that the lunar eclipse would ruin the fishing. I told him that (at this spot anyway) it wouldn’t make any difference. Fished from about 7:00 PM ‘til 10:00 PM. The bottom of a strong outgoing and the beginning of a swift incoming. One pole each w/squid on sliding sinkers. The other cats didn’t show up until about 8:00 PM. I caught a small leopard within the first 10 minutes, then rebaited, cast out, and within two or three minutes hooked into a big bat ray that almost spooled me on the first run. A group of youngsters and their parents came out to watch the battle, but left after about fifteen minutes. The father left with a “WOW, good luck, man!” as most of what they saw was the ray peeling line off my reel and me getting it back inch by inch. The whole time I’m praying that my friends show up and help me land this thing, ‘cause pulling huge rays out of the water by yourself in the dark is not much fun. Thankfully they showed up right as I was bringing it in! Landed the beast and got a few pictures and released it. Everyone else got set up and cast out. The crabs came in force as soon as the tide started coming back in and our bait was gone within five minutes for the rest of the night. Shane managed to hook and land another big ray through the crabs, but that was it.” Spud Point Marina Pier (Bodega Bay) Jacksmelt continue to be the main species here.  Some schoolie perch are also showing—walleyes and silvers—along with some sharks and rays. Point Arena Pier — It depends on the weather but when calm expect some striped perch and a possible seatrout (kelp greenling) or cabezon. Keep an eye on updated regulations! Del Norte Street Fishing Pier (Eureka) — Todd, at Bucksport Tackle, reports slow action on the local piers although he is getting some reports of perch and a few sharks. Trinidad Pier — Apparently things are very slow at the pier. Not too many anglers and even fewer fish. Citizen’s Dock (Crescent City) — Both the Citizens Dock and the B Street Pier are seeing occasional flurries of jacksmelt along with the regular perch (walleyes, silvers and a few redtails).   Most of the action at the B Street Pier continues to come from crabbers. Citizens Dock also sees some small rockfish in the inshore area together with a few cabezon, greenling, and an occasional sole.

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