UFO — Goleta Pier

From the pages of Pier Fishing in Califonia (pierfishing.com) —

Picture by Pierhead — Goleta Pier

Date: October 8, 2005, To: PFIC Message Board, From: Seabass_Seeker, Subject: UFO FIRST HAND SIGHTING GOLETA PIER

First post — please forgive any spelling and grammatical errors. Keep in mind content has been edited for younger readers. And one more thing, this is a FIRST hand report, please enjoy :-)

For those of you I haven’t had the fortune to meet yet, I am a young man of Asian descent, who was born in the US and lives like any other American striving for my American Dream. Thus far I have lived in two worlds, the world of science, and, going back to my Asian roots, a world of superstition. The latter being a place where both good and evil forces, ultimately deriving from nature, live in equilibrium; a world of the shaman, witches and strange creatures. The former, a world where humans are constantly striving to prove “what is real” and yet the minds of humans have always had questions unable to be answered by science. Some such as “are we the only conscience thinking ‘animal’?” or maybe “are we the only beings able to control our environment to better suit our needs as well as give us the upper hand in order to survive?” Well what about the most notorious of them all, “are we alone in this vast universe?” All if not more of these questions ran through my mind as the course of tonight’s events blended both my worlds into the only topic, which can, UFOs and ALIENS.

The sun had yet begun to wander over the College campus to the west when I arrived at my second home, Goleta Public Pier. All was pretty much like any other fall day; a few anglers here and there, UCSB joggers, tourists etc. Having spotted my friend Robbie, I set up in Martin’s usual spot and shoot to the kelp in the hunt for rockfish and bass. Since I had to to rush out here after work, I neglected to bring my bait, and Robbie, relying on the assumed predictable mackerel, only brought the metal. He was working his Kroc while I bread chummed smelt. Luckily, after some scavenging we also found some abandoned salted anchovies. This afternoon was anything but predictable; unlike the past few days which conditions had been glassy, winds to 40mph howled from the east, then changing directions to south and finally as the twilight settled, from the north. The so-assumed predictable mackerel must have made an unpredictable left instead of right at Albuquerque because they were plainly gone, and with them the game fish.

Goleta Pier

As dusk set in I was ready to call it quits. As I was cleaning up a group of boys asked Robbie if he could help them retrieve the top end of a pole they had dropped into the water with his crab net. After the successful search and rescue I informed Robbie of my situation; cold and hungry I was going to start packing up. As I clipped one of my circle hooks, and a one-oz bank sinker, one of the Hispanic boys came up to me.

“You see that funny looking star? Is that a plane or something?” To which I promptly answered “it’s probably a satellite.” “But no it’s moving kind of fast and blinking.” After careful observation I noticed the object had a strobing effect growing brighter and dimmer along with an irregular flight path. My response; gathering everyone on the end of the pier as witnesses. We all may have stared at the object for more than thirty minutes. It would zoom from place to place, sometimes hovering, sometimes retracing its own flight path.

Donblaze’s crew was out at the end, one their party members recounted he had seen stuff like that before and was not too surprised. While he kept his cool, my vocabulary reduced itself to sixth-grade level. “What the frig is it doing?” and “its just friggin playin with us man” were remarks floating into the dark waters from the mildly lit pier.

The best description of the object would be that the light emitted from it was about the size of the star, although it would strobe brighter and dimmer than stars. I wouldn’t really call it strobing more like a VERY exaggerated twinkling like that of the stars but with great contrasts.

The climax of the “sighting” was when two red lights appeared from over the ocean to the east in a flight pattern in a headlong dash toward the object. As they came closer we realized them to be two aircraft as we could barely make out the distinction between the red and white lights. These planes were making a headlong dash straight for the “object.” If the size of lights of the plane could give any amount of estimate to the altitude of the plane, we were convinced this thing was definitely in the upper atmosphere. As one plane proceeded to one side of the object, it appeared to hover in one spot, and soon bursts of light much like the object itself were seen by all pier goers (tourists who wandered by also).

Preparing for a cosmic battle, I was armed to the teeth with my 7-ft Uglystik Intercoastal across my chest, enhanced by an Okuma Avenger AV50. Included in my arsenal were not one but TWO #4 Mutu light Owner hooks and as my side-arm a 1-oz bank sinker, capable of accurately hitting targets 50-75yds away and infamous for leading rebel “greenbacks” to their doom.

But then for some reason the planes weren’t making the flanking maneuver we imagined but kept on going. Ok maybe not alien but now government test aircraft was totally legit. About this time the object, first seen on the east side going south, doubles back north.

Kaveman’s friend Paul showed up looking for shark only to find a UFO. He commented, “I was in the Air force and I have never seen anything like that.” And brought up a possible weather balloon, which may have explained the visit of the aircraft earlier. But then why would a weather balloon retrace its path and how would it be possible to appear to be moving so fast?

Finally the object was over the Santa Barbara skyline and seemed to be headed over the mountains when, it passes in front of the mountains. “IT’S LANDING!” Then, it passes in front of the trees, “What the HECK!?” meanwhile keeping the same characteristics. And finally comes to hover above the slough.

Without much thought into the matter Robbie and I race down the pier, all the while keeping a fixed glare upon the (hopefully) soon to be identified flying object. We into his truck parked at the base of the pier and ride down to the edge of the parking lot.

There the object hovered, still in its same unpredictable flight path and 9 feet under an… alien? “Hello?” Only this being was from no other place than that of this very earth! “Good evening!” Extended from his hand a 7-foot conventional tied with 30-lb test to a KITE!!! The kite had an LED fixed to the tail and had been reported 400 YARDS OFSHORE!!!

As reality hit us, so did the 50-degree night air with -10 degree wind-chill. The adrenaline fading we both decide to call it a night. The only “Men in Black” tonight were the young men suited up for the Dos Pueblos High School Homecoming Dance who were with their dates to eat at the Seaside Cafe.

Even though it turned out the “object” was just a kite, the experience felt on the pier was genuine. No one knew it was a kite, but everyone did marvel at the unexplained and beauty of that which is unknown. We live in times where we believe we are comfortable with the world around us since science and technology are the ways to the future, yet the very moment something goes unexplained our minds revert to the old, undying ways of superstition and marvel for the world around us.

Larval Goa’uld_alien_symbiote — Goleta Pier — 2006 

Posted by riorust

Very well written ! You had me going for a minute there ;)

Posted by 805_alive

Man, the one day I don’t go is the day we get visited by aliens. Bummer. Hey that was a pretty good read though. You gonna be there tomorrow?

Posted by pierhead

Some background …Jesse (Amo_Pescare) and I encountered ‘Mr. Kite’ several weeks ago when he was flying a 4′ kite in the shape of a plane on 4000′ (he said) of line … directly over the incoming flight path for Goleta airport. When Jesse mentioned to him that he could be creating a hazard for aircraft his response was a truculent ‘so let them move the (bleep) airport”. My guess is that he is looking for a confrontation … so lets be careful around him.

Posted by dompfa ben

For the benefit of Mr. Kite, there will be a show tonight! On Trampolines! On that note, if he insists on flying a kite in the approach path of an airport, I think a call to the authorities is in order…then the only flashing red lights will be on the tops of the Crown Victorias coming to pick him up.

Alien? No, just the mouth of a swell shark from Goleta Pier



Kelpfishes — Family Clinidae

California is blessed with a number of attractive little kelpfishes that unfortunately are rarely seen by an angler unless he or she is using small hooks in search of perch. Herein, are several of the smaller species. The Giant Kelpfish, Heterostichus rostratus, is given a different article).

Striped Kelpfish

Striped Kelpfish from the Malibu Pier

Species: Gibbonsai metzi (Hubbs, 1927); from Gibbonsai (William P. Gibbons, an early naturalist from Alameda), and metzi (Charles W. Metz, a student of ichthyology once interested in kelpfish).

Alternate Names: Striped kelp-fish, seaweed kelpfish, weed klipfish. Called sargacero or sargacero rayado in Mexico.

Identification: Reddish to light brown, usually with darker stripes or darker mottling on sides (color often matches nearby seaweed). Tail rounded (distinguishes them from a giant kelpfish); pectoral fin is short, not reaching the front of the anal fin.



A kelpfish from the Elephant Rock Pier in Tiburon

Size: To 9 1/2 inches long; most caught off piers are 5-8 inches.

Range: Punta Rompiente, central Baja California to Maquinna Point, Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Habitat: Shallow-water areas near rocks or kelp.

Piers: Found at piers that have a heavy growth of kelp or seaweed. Best bets: I’ve taken them at the Cabrillo Mole (Avalon), the Paradise Cove Pier (Malibu), Coast Guard Pier (Monterey) and the Princeton Harbor Pier. I’ve also taken them at several Bay Area piers including Agua Vista (in San Francisco), Berkeley Pier (East Bay), and Elephant Rock (North Bay). At the first two they were inshore by the rocks, at the latter the pier sits on a rock.

Shoreline: Occasionally taken by anglers fishing in rock or kelp areas if using small hooks.

Boats: An inshore species rarely take from boats.

Kelpfish from the Cabrillo Mole, Avalon, Catalina Island

Bait and Tackle: Light to medium tackle and small, size 8 to 6 hooks. Preferred baits appear to be pieces of worm, blood or pile, while small pieces of shrimp and mussels will also entice them.

Food Value: Too small, let ‘em go.

Comments: A pretty little fish that likes to hang by the rocks, dart out to grab the bait, and then head back to the rocks.

Crevice Kelpfish

Crevice Kelpfish from the Monterey Coast Guard Pier

Species: Gibbonsai montereyensis (Hubbs, 1927); from Gibbonsai (William P. Gibbons, an early naturalist from Alameda), and montereyensis (Monterey, an early collection point for the fish).    

Alternate Names: Spotted kelpfish and crevice klipfish. Called sargacero or sargacero de Monterey in Mexico.

Identification:  Reddish to brown or lavender; plaincolored to spotted or striped. Dorsal fin soft rays widely spaced at rear of fin. No scales at base of or furher out on the caudal fin. Color variable with several phases, reddish, green, dark and silver bars, which intermix freely; there is usually a strong dark ocellus above the lateral line canal behind the pectoral fin and there may be additionally several series of dark spots of various intensities; fins weakly pigmented at bases, anal and pectorals most so; head often with pigment bars radiating from eye

Size: To 5 ½-inches long; most caught off piers are around 4 inches.

Range: Isla Guadalupe and Bahia San Carlos, central Baja California to Ucluelet, Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Usually north of Point Conception.

Habitat: Shallow-water areas near rocks or kelp. Occurs in inshore rocky areas in algae, usually on exposed coast

Piers: Oceanside Harbor Pier, Cabrillo Mole in Avalon, and the Monterey Coast Guard Pier.

Shoreline: Occasionally taken by anglers fishing in rock or kelp areas if using small hooks.

Boats: An inshore species rarely take from boats.

Bait and Tackle: Light tackle and small hooks. Preferred baits appear to be sea worms—pile worms and bloodworms, pieces of shrimp, and fresh mussels.

Food Value:  Too small to be used for food.

Comments: Rarely caught due to their small size. A small fish with a small mouth that is sometimes an incidental catch by perch anglers using small hooks.

Spotted Kelpfish

Spotted Kelpfish from the Redondo Sportfishing Pier in Redondo Beach

Species: Gibbonsia elegans (Cooper, 1864); from Gibbonsai (William P. Gibbons, an early naturalist from Alameda), and the Latin word elegans (elegant or handsome).   

Alternate Names: Called Sargacero or Sargacero manchado in Mexico.                

Identification: Typical kelpfish shape—pointed snout, tiny mouth, rounded caudal fin, and long dorsal fin. Color varies widely; green to brown or tan or reddish—often blotched or streaked. 1-3 (often 2) ocelli on back. Soft rays more widely spaced toward rear of dorsal fin. Scales that extend well onto the caudal fin distinguish it from other kelpfish.

Kelpfish from the Oceanside Harbor Pier

Size: To 6.2-inches long; most caught from piers are around 4-5 inches.

Range: Bahia Magdalena, southern Baja California, including Isla Guadalupe, to Piedras Blancas Point, central California

Habitat: Shallow-water areas near rocks or kelp. Typically feeds on benthic crustaceans, small mollusks and worms, but also eats fair quantities of algae. Found from subtidal rocky areas to 56 m depth, usually in seaweed. Female lays white eggs in seaweed; male guards egg mass.

Piers: Embarcadero Marina Pier, Oceanside Harbor Pier, Cabrillo Mole in Catalina, Redondo Spotfishing Pier, Malibu Pier, and Monterey Coast Guard Pier.

Shoreline: Occasionally taken by anglers fishing in rock or kelp areas if using small hooks.

Boats: An inshore species rarely take from boats.

Bait and Tackle: Light tackle and small hooks. Preferred baits appear to be sea worms—pile worms and bloodworms, pieces of shrimp, and fresh mussels.

Food Value: Too small to be used for food.

Comments: A small fish that is rarely caught due to their small mouth. However, they are sometimes an incidental catch by perch anglers using small hooks.

Kelpfish from the Cabrillo Mole, Avalon, Catalina Island

Pier Fishing — There’s Magic in the Air

 Port Hueneme Pier — 2008

There’s something magic about being out over the ocean on an old wooden pier. It might be the fish, it might be the salty tang of the sea air or the feel of the ocean’s majesty as it pounds against the pilings, it might simply be the feeling that you’re away, even if ever so slightly, from the hustle and bustle on the normal world. Whatever it is, it’s an attraction that can be addictive in nature. Just ask any “pier rat” who has adopted a pier as his second home, or, in some cases, as his only home (although the “authorities” frown on such accommodations).



















Port Hueneme Pier — 2008


Yellow Snake Eel — Eew!


A yellow snake eel from the Balboa Pier

Species: Ophichthus zophochir (Jordan & Gilbert, 1882); Ophichthus, from two Greek words meaning serpent and fish, and the Greek zophochir, for darkness and hand (dark pectoral fins).

Alternate Names: Eww, a snake!  In Mexico called Tieso Amarillo; in Peru called Anguila amarilla or Culebra marina.

Jimbo Jack and a yellow snake eel from Huntington Harbor

Identification: Typical eel-like shape with a spike-like tail, no fin rays and no spots.  Reddish-olive, yellowish-brown or yellow above; lighter below.

Size: Up to 34 ½ inches.

Range:  From Huacho, Peru, to Eureka, Humboldt Bay; also seen in the Gulf of California.

Yellow snake eel from the Dana Harbor Pier

Habitat: Found in both sandy and rocky areas down to a 60-foot depth (although one source says 210 feet). Officially considered rare by the CA Fish and Game (supposedly under 20 ever reported in California) although Pier Fishing in California (pierfishing.com) has had many reports of these eels over the years, most commonly from Newport Bay and Huntington Harbor.

Piers: PFIC has had reports from quite a few piers. Best bets: Oceanside Harbor Pier, Dana Point Harbor Pier, Balboa Pier, Newport Pier, Seal Beach Pier, Belmont Pier, Burton Chace Park Pier, Venice Pier and the small piers inside of Newport Bay and Huntington Harbor. Science records show an Ophichthus zophochir being taken from the Del Mar Pier in 1960 (although the pier was demolished in 1959) and from the Berkeley Pier in 1964. PFIC regular “Mel” caught, photographed, and released a yellow snake eel from the Berkeley Pier in 2006. In 2002 I photographed one that was caught by a fellow angler one night out at the end of the Newport Pier  (the same night I caught a basketweave cusk-eel, Otophidium scrippsi). That snake eel and the cusk-eel were given to the DF&G.

 Yellow snake eel and basketweave cusk-eel from the Newport Pier

Shoreline: A rare catch by southern California shore anglers.

Boats: An inshore species rarely seen on boats.

Bait and Tackle: Taken incidentally by anglers fishing on the bottom for other species. Most commonly taken at night and with squid as bait (although their preferred food is supposedly fish and clams). Tackle should be kept simple: a medium-sized outfit with light line and a size 6 to 2 hook. Be prepared for a surprisingly spirited tussle.

Mel’s hands and a “whirling dervish” kind of an eel — Berkeley Pier

Food Value:  Don’t know anyone who has eaten one although most eels are considered fair to good eating.

Comments: An unusual, gnarly catch that enjoys twisting its limber body around your arm (and scaring the bejeebers out of you) when you try to unhook it. A related species, considered rare in California, is the Spotted snake eel (Ophichthus triserialis). The spotted snake  eel ranges from Peru  to Humboldt Bay, including the Galapagos Islands and the Gulf of California.

A spotted snake eel from the Hermosa Beach Pier

The gnarly end of the eel!

Rare fish caught at Belmont Pier — catalufa

Rare fish caught at Belmont Pier

Casting a bait and then sitting down and watching the rod tip on Belmont Pier isn’t the most glamorous and exotic fishing along the Pacific Coast, but it’s restful and sometimes productive for perch, an occasional halibut and other species. Then too, you meet interesting people.

Gerald Osier of 221 Grand Ave., who has worked on the pier and still does some part time work there in the summer months, likes to fish the pier and just loaf. Just recently he caught one of the rarest fishes in the Pacific Ocean. It was small, and there was no way that he could have filleted it and got a dinner for two  So he reported to the department of Fish and Game, and  one of  the DFG biologists came to take a look and carry the fish back to the laboratories at 350 Golden Shore.

The fish was red, looked like a perch, had large blue eyes almost the size of nickels, weighed 11 ounces, and was 9 ½ inches long. Now Osier has a letter from John Fitch, research director of the State Fisheries Laboratories at Long Beach DFG, saying that the fish is a catalufa, extremely rare. In fact, said Fitch, fewer than 15 had ever been caught either by hook and line or in commercial nets in all the time that he has been with the DFG. Fitch, in his letter to Osier, said that the largest  that he had ever seen was 13 inches long and weighed two pounds. He also told Osier that the fish was being sent to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. It will be made into a mount and displayed.

This is just one sample of what can happen in pier fishing, which can be fun for individuals or a family except for the fact that all piers now are afflicted with vandalism. What public facilities are not endangered the same way? Belmont Pier is the one remaining public fishing facility in Long Beach and it deserves enough security protection to keep it clean.

 —Donnell Culpepper, Long Beach Press-Telegram, November 21, 1975