Shore anglers in the Santa Barbara area: be aware there has been an oil pipeline burst affecting the shore,
four nine miles of beach from just west of El Refugio State Beach toward El Capitan State Beach. Currently El Refugio State Beach and El Capitan State Beach are closed to the public. For news on the beaches and their reopening, see the CA Dept of Parks and Recreation page.
For more information, see http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Oil-Spill-California-Coast-Santa-Barbara-Refugio-State-Beach-304399991.html
The 2015 Mud Marlin Derby was held on May 16 at the Berkeley Pier and like many of the derbies, it was a night filled with contrast.
There was ample good cheer, especially the opportunity to spend some time with friends. But the cheer was tempered by weather that was more than a tad bit cold (in fact the adjectives chilly, shivery and face numbing come to mind). But if you live around the Bay you know the evening hours can be windy and with the wind comes less than balmy conditions. No change this year. Of course you prepare for the cold—and most did.
A little unusual was the contrast in overall number of participants and those from PFIC. Almost every year has seen the vast majority of people being from PFIC. This year a large number of people participated, with 116 signing up for the derby, but the number of people from PFIC was actually fairly small. A sign had been posted in the Berkeley bait shop and it attracted the large number of anglers. Good on one hand but perhaps not so good on the other. It did increase the numbers but also meant a lot of newbies unused to the normal rules and expectations at PFIC/UPSAC events and it showed.
Nevertheless, the number of anglers also meant a good number of “mud marlin” would be caught. The final tally, and we might have missed a few, was 34 bat rays aka mud marlin, one of the largest numbers in the history of the tournament. No really big bat rays were caught but a number were caught in the 28-38” inch range. In addition a number of brown smoothhound sharks were caught and one angler at the end showed a mid-sized 7-gill shark so fish were being caught and people were experiencing some excitement.
1st place — Long Moua, a 44-inch wide bat ray that weighed on a somewhat suspect scale 53 pounds. That weight seems somewhat light. According to a PFIC chart developed in 2007 the ray would have weighed ≈ 68 pounds*
3rd Place — Scott Burton — 38 ½-inche wide bat ray, ≈ 40 pounds*
* Based upon a 2007 PFIC chart
All in all it was an enjoyable evening and plans are already being formalized (along with a few changes) for 2016.
* Updated the Board Members page
* Added a Mission Statement page
* Don’t forget to come visit the Berkeley Pier this Saturday May 16 for the Mud Marlin Derby, from 6 pm till midnight!
* And if you’ve found a spot that’s hot, tweet @UpsacLive and we’ll repost it to UPSAC
May 11, 2002, saw the first Pier Fishing in California Mud Marlin Tournament and it was held at the Berkeley Pier. It was an absolutely wonderful night highlighted by the appearance of over 40 of the web site’s “pier rats,” some coming from as far away as Louisiana and Los Angeles. The result was (what sounds like a trite saying), a true bonding, which is a key element of pier fishing. The following posts give the highlights of that special night:
Date: May 12, 2002
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
Subject: Mud Marlin Derby Results
Here’s who was in attendance: (board members): Ken Jones, Scooterfish, Big Rich, SteveO, Mjonesjr., Salty Nick, West Coast Dave, Ranger76, Mr Tuna, Dave Mush, CrstLuv, Stinkyfingers, DolphinRider, Jimmythekid, Rockfish, AbeV.Perry, Rock Hopper, Oregon Green, Sinker, PierHead, Skinner, Ben, Baitfish, RosterQueen, MartyMart, Lucy, Prometheus, Snakeman70, Songslinger, Gyozadude, R4616, Redfish, Blackmarlin, Marv, EdTam, Wildmoose, Nufo (but several others came late and did not register – KJ).
Subject: And the winners are…
MartyMart with the biggest bat ray going 55-lbs and 42″
Rockfish with the most (6 bat rays)
Each took home enough to get themselves a nice new rod or reel.
Subject: Bat Ray Tally
Nufo: 1 ray 16-lbs 28″; Mjonesjr: 1 ray 16-lbs 28″; Jim D.: 1 ray 27-lbs 34″; West Coast Dave: 4 rays—34-lbs 37″, 28-lbs 34.5″, 12-lbs 25.5″, 15-lbs 27″; Stinkyfingers: 1 ray 10-lbs 26″; Dolphinrider: 1 ray 12-lbs 27″; Rockfish: 6 rays—5-lbs 22.5″, 10-lbs 26.5″, 18.5-lbs 26.5″, 20-lbs 31″, 24-lbs 32.5″, 27-lb 32.5″; OregonGreen: 1 ray 10-lbs 26″; Ben: 5 rays—37-lbs 37.5″, 7-lbs 33.25″, 17-lbs 29.5″, 16-lbs 28″, 21-lbs 33″; MartyMart: 2 rays—14-lbs 28″, 55-lbs 42″; Prometheus: 2 rays—10-lbs ?”, 13-lbs 27″; Redfish: 2 rays—19-lbs 37.5″, 5-lbs 18″; Songslinger: 2 rays—4-lbs 20″, 8-lbs 21″. Total of 29 rays.
Date: May 12, 2002
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
Subject: Mud Marlin Derby— a great time (LONG!)
What a fun evening!
I arrived a few minutes before 7:00 P.M. During the course of the evening, I fished off both sides of the pier, and tried squid, anchovies, and sardines (the last two supplied by the People’s Bait Co.), and caught not so much as a nibble. However, I got to see a number of bat-rays (a first for me) and even got to “man” the crab net to assist Songslinger in hauling up one of the rays he caught. (This wasn’t much of a feat, mind you, since the ray was a little 8-pounder.)
For those who aren’t familiar with the pier, it’s a good 3,000 feet long, maybe a little more than that (according to my navigation chart of the bay). That’s over TEN football fields long! The original pier was made of wood and was much longer, extending approximately 13,500 feet into the bay. The ruins of the old pier are still there, and between the end of the new pier and the ruins of the old one is a fairly narrow passageway for boats to get through, so that they don’t have to go clear around the end of the ruins. Across the end of the new pier is a wooden barricade about ten feet high. People call this a “windbreak,” but it’s not; it’s actually just a barrier to prevent people casting lines into the boat passageway. (A real windbreak wouldn’t have two- to three-inch gaps between the boards!) What’s all that got to do with anything? Well, at one point, Redfish, who was fishing on the south side of the pier next to the barrier, hooked a ray. The ray didn’t want to be caught, so it headed north, around the end of the pier– which meant that Redfish either had to break it off or climb up ONTO the barricade. Being both determined and very agile, he did the latter—and then Stinkyfingers and Scooterfish climbed up there too, with a crab net! For several minutes, they struggled to try to land the ray from the TOP of the barricade, while the rest of us stood there in awe of their bravery and hoped none of them would fall into the drink. Finally, they were able to work the ray around the end of the pier and land it from the north side. I really WISH I’d had a video camera—that was a hell of a show! I did get some pictures and will post them when I get them developed.
It was a fairly clear evening, and so we had an excellent view of the fireworks show, impeded only slightly by Yerba Buena Island. The weather had been nice and warm during the day, but it started to chill down in late afternoon, and by the time the derby started, it was chilly and windy. As the evening went on, it got chillier and chillier, and there was ALWAYS wind—sometimes strong, sometimes dropping to a mild (but cold) breeze, but always there. Wind, wind, wind! The people from So-Cal found out what I was talking about when I posted that warning! Fortunately, they had heeded it and were well prepared with plenty of layers. At one point, I dug out the Space Blanket I’d brought along and sat down on the pier huddled up in it to try to get warm—and wonder of wonders, it actually works as advertised! The blanket totally blocks the wind, and the Mylar lining reflects your body heat back to you, so that you can actually get warm even though you’re already chilled AND are sitting in the wind.
Now, a big hats-off and thank-you to BigRich. He bought plastic tarps and tied them over the barricade, so that it actually served as a windbreak. He also brought a barbecue grill, water for coffee or hot chocolate, and hot links, and he spent much of the evening cooking hot links and brewing fresh coffee. Thanks to him, people could get out of the wind, warm their hands over the barbecue, refuel themselves with a spicy hot link, and revive their energies with a cup of coffee. His efforts and thoughtfulness were much appreciated, so THANK YOU, BIGRICH!!!!!
Also, a big thank-you to PierHead and Sinker, who brought a whopping supply of their “People’s Bait” and provided anyone who wanted it with salted anchovies and sardines. By the way, that pier cart they’ve got is something else—and of course, I stupidly forgot to take a picture of it.
Also, a thank-you to Baitfish (Adam), who really does have a singular talent for untangling bird’s-nests. Right at the end, I had given up on catching anything and was just casting for practice. I hadn’t had a bird’s nest all evening, but finally I got one. I struggled with it for a while, with no success, and then Baitfish came over and offered to help. It was amazing: he pulled a bit here, tugged a bit there, and presto! I told him he should give lessons!
Also, a thank-you to Gyozadude, who gave me a ride home, and another thank-you to each of those who offered to do so.
Finally, a BIG thank-you and a standing ovation to Nufo, for coming up with a great idea and turning it into a reality, and to those who helped him with the process. It was a smashing good job! And of course, another BIG thank-you to Ken Jones, for obvious reasons!
We hear so much about all the bad people in the world—the criminals, the crooks, the dishonest politicians (is there any other kind?), the greedy, the scumbags and wretches who make it their life’s work to cause problems for others—that it’s easy to forget that there are many, many GOOD people in the world. Get-togethers like this one are a great reminder of that fact. One example: Wild Moose, who had read my message about my Wednesday evening casting practice, when the wind came up and my hands got cold, actually brought a pair of gloves to give to me in case I didn’t have any! Can you believe that? I was just floored.
A great group of people, a great evening, and I’m SO glad I went! I’m going to shut up now, before this turns into a book!
Date: May 12, 2002
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
From: Ken Jones
Subject: Thank you all for the Mud Marlin Tourney…
Sorry for the late report but this was a tired fisherman when I arrived back in Lodi at 3 A.M. Seems like the bones just don’t respond the way they did thirty years ago. Anyway…
The wise sage who said it’s the fishin’, not the catchin’, that makes fishing special could not have been more right, at least when it came to the Mud Marlin Tournament, 2002 version, that took place last night at the Berkeley Pier.
I, for one, never even rigged up the rods and reels I had brought to the affair. Nor did I lob out any special concoction in hopes of attracting those mystery sharks and cute little rays (little?). I didn’t even give thought to providing the crabs food for their larder.
What made it special was the assemblage of the “pier rats”—the Pier Rat Nation so to speak, and a friendlier, more diverse, more helpful, more benevolent, more conservation minded group of anglers would be hard to find. And, not to forget, well educated and literate. The contrast with the stereotypical image of pier anglers as a slovenly, take-‘em-all, ill kept and not-too-friendly group (or booboisie) was somewhat mind-boggling.
Yes, fish were caught! 29 mud marlins (bat rays) were officially entered into the derby sheets but a plethora of sharks—brown smoothhounds, leopards and spiny dogfish—were also taken. However, the sharks were not eligible for the prizes. And although a couple of little batties were caught (do I hear the names Songslinger and Stinkyfinger anywhere) several in the 40 and 50 pound range were also included. Nothing huge but some nice fish. And some were lost, perhaps even bigger fish than the winner, but we’ll never know for sure. Personally, the fish were secondary in nature to the pier rats themselves and the evening out on the end of the old ferry pier, one of the bay’s premier observation points to view San Francisco, nature’s ever-changing weather patterns, and man-made intrusions, some positive, some negative.
Some facts for those not in attendance:
The weather: The evening went from sunny, cool and windy, to dark, cold and windier (did someone really say it was bracing?). Everyone was prepared for the weather condition but still expected and hoped that the wind would subside by 9-10 P.M.; it didn’t really happen although the wind wasn’t too bad.
Sights: A pretty sunset, followed by the usual beautiful view of The City, followed in turn by a spectacular fireworks show from KFOG over in San Francisco (and no fog to block the spectrum of colors dancing over the skyline). And not to forget the flotilla of boats, yachts, bathtubs (not really) etc. that headed over from Berkeley to witness the fireworks up close, and then returned in a maelstrom of Indy-like speeds back to their home port—all via the narrow inlet at the end of the pier. Umpteen cries of “watch the lines” followed by “thank you” as (most) boats moved away from the pier. More than a few lookie loos’ out on the pier for a view of the fireworks, a few dressed-for-the-prom young men and women (and how refreshing to see one well dressed young man take off his coat and give it to his date before they began the half mile or more chilly trek back to their car).
Pier Rats: As mentioned, more than wanting to fish, I wanted to meet the group. So many names on the Message Board over so many months (and years) and yet I had met only a few before this night. The Derby would allow me to make some connections and provide a little visual reality to round out the pictures. Unfortunately I did not keep a list of all the people I met—unlike the list of fish I catch. I should have done it. Over 40 people showed up with around 35 or so actually fishing. Every one of them I met was friendly and having a good time. Herein are some mental notes I made—and I apologize in advance because I know I will leave out some worthy names.
Nufo—organizer par excellence. Keeper of the list, money and measurements. Good guy and job well done.
Dave Mush—as soon as a fish was landed (and sometimes before) here came Nufo and Dave to weigh and measure the batties. Great job.
Big Rich—always there to offer a hot cup of Joe, hot chocolate, some delicious sausages and friendship—what more do you need.
Scooterfish—all the way out from New Orleans and a finer fishermen would be hard to find. Obviously knew the ins and outs of the Berkeley fishing scene and would make a great fishing guide (so go for it Scooter).
Stinkyfinger and Dolphinrider—their usual charming and effervescent selves.
Songslinger—he fished a little inshore of the others but nonetheless managed his fish—as usual.
Redfish—a Berkeley “regular” who knows the spots and techniques and showed everyone how to truly walk the end of the pier.
Mike Jones Jr.—same name as my son and a Message Board contributor when the Message Board was still in its infancy. Glad to finally meet you.
Black Marlin—now you’ve finally promised me that autobiography.
Lucy—we finally met and I find her as charming a lady as I expected. Now we’ve got to help her get some of those big monsters.
Wildmoose—showed up with his fly rod but the wind was too strong on this night. However, he had hooked up several batties in the morning while fishing the South Bay flats. What a great way to fight these marvelous creatures.
Our SoCal contingent—PierHead, Sinker, Baitfish and RoosterQueen and SteveO—as knowledgeable and helpful a group of anglers as you could meet, experienced “a different” kind of angling (and, dare say, different weather conditions). Absolutely great people. By the way, PierHead and Sinker drove all night up from Santa Barbara and then met Stan at 5 in the morning when they headed over to Strawberry Point in Marin County to fish for some bat rays. Landed five I believe before continuing on to the bat ray tournament. When they left at 1 am they were a very, very tired duo. Just hope the drive back down was uneventful (as in little or no sleep in two days can be dangerous). Baitfish and RoosterQueen on the other hand were staying in a motel in Oakland and hoping for some striped bass action—somewhere. Did it happen?
West Coast Dave—Not a bad night, both quantity and quality fish. Good job.
Gyozadude—Not a great night fishing for Gdude but he was as full of wit and wisdom as always.
Marty Mart—congratulations on your derby winning 55-pound mud marlin.
Rockfish—Wow, six rays for the evening. The squid stuffed with anchovies and sardines were evidently the main course for the evening.
Prometheus, Skinner, Ben, Rock Hopper, CrstLuv, Rockfish, AbeV.Perry. Oregon Green, Skinner, Ben, Snakeman70, R4616, Marv, EdTam, MartyMart, Salty Nick, Ranger 76, Mr. Tuna—thanks for the opportunity to meet all of you and to experience the pleasure of your company.
Fishing Results: 29 bat rays weighed and measured, one more landed before the official starting time, and at least 6-8 lost to the piling. Many brown smoothhound sharks, at least one leopard sharks and a 40+-inch spiny dogfish. An impressive toll of fish for the evening but Berkeley regulars know that the results could have been even better—both more fish and at least a few bigger fish.
Only negative notes: (1) Stupid people (none of ours I am sure) who trashed the bathroom. (2) One angler who got stuck by the stinger of a bat ray. It was painful and although the group dressed up the wound as good as possible you’ve got to be careful that stingray wounds do not become infected. Be careful when handling these fish.
Some of you have thanked me for the book and the site. I prefer to thank you for the friendliness you showed last night and the job you do in your daily visits to the piers and shoreline areas. You’re an elite group and your actions show people that “pier rats” are indeed a proud and noble group.
Date: May 29, 2002
To: Pier Fishing in California Message Board
Subject: More Memories …
The City of San Francisco held fireworks that day… Mother’s Day I believe, May 11, 2002. While it wasn’t specifically for us at the MMD, it certainly was spectacular from Berkeley Pier.
On May 7, 2015, UPSAC President Ken Jones and Los Angeles Regional Coordinator Hashem Nahid attended the Santa Monica Bay Pier Stakeholder Summit.
The stated goals were to discuss human-wildlife conflicts, pier/ocean user conflicts, possible solutions, and pier management strategies. The meeting was hosted by Heal the Bay and the California Fish & Game Commission.
The “Summit” was prompted by the “illegal” actions of the Manhattan Beach City Council in 2014. The council closed the Manhattan Beach Pier (state owned but managed by the city) to fishing for a 60-day period starting in July 2014. It then, in mid-August, adopted new, local, fishing regulations that differ substantially from the statewide fishing regulations established by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
- M.B.M.C. Sections regarding Fishing On The Pier
2.40.090 — Pier Fishing
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
(A) Fish with more than one (1) fishing line or cast out more than one (1) fishing line at the same time on or from any part of the pier, whether such line is attached to a fishing rod or not.
(B) Cast a line by swinging said line above the iron railing on the pier or by swinging or casting said line overhead from a pole or from the hand. Casting must be from below the level of the railing of the pier (overhead casting).
(C) Place, throw, or cast from the pier any fish or parts thereof (“chum”) or other debris into the water.
(D) Cast any line other than a monofilament line from the pier. A maximum forty (40) pound test line weight is allowed.
(E) Cast any steel, metal, or braided leader line from the pier.
(F) Cast with any hooks larger than a 4/0 or three inches (3”) in length by two inches (2”) in width from the pier.
(G) Fish from the pier using more than two (2) hooks on a single line.
(H) Clean or gut fish or other marine life on the pier.
(I) Fish from the pier with any fishing tackle, line, hook or other equipment in a manner that is dangerous to persons using the beach, the pier, or the water. Any person fishing from the pier shall comply with any directions given by the City’s code enforcement officers or police officers as may be necessary to safeguard lives, persons and property near or in the vicinity of any person fishing.
The rule changes followed an incident at the pier where a great white shark was hooked by an angler on the pier and then bit a swimmer. The city’s actions in closing the pier to fishing, and imposing new regulations, were done unilaterally and against the express instructions of both the California Coastal Commission and the California Fish and Game Commission.
Attendees at the conference included representatives from the California Fish & Game Commission, Heal the Bay, United Pier and Shore Anglers of California (UPSAC), The Sportfishing Conservancy, California Sportfishing League, Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, Surfrider Foundation, and representatives from the local Santa Monica piers—Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Venice, Santa Monica and Malibu.
Two presentations were given. The first discussed the recent Shark Ambassador Program, a survey of pier users and their catch done by Heal the Bay. The second was a presentation on Sharks of Santa Monica Bay by Dr. Chris Lowe of Long Beach State. Both were interesting although UPSAC had several criticisms regarding the Heal the Bay survey results.
The majority of the meeting concerned what had happened at Manhattan Beach, if there actually was a problem, and possible solutions to the existing conflict between the city and state. It was made clear that only the Fish and Game Commission can establish fishing regulations but it was also clear that a workable solution that avoids taking the case to court is preferable.
After considerable talk, considerable disagreement, and some agreement, it was concluded that further meetings will be needed and all participants agreed to meet again during the next few months. Hopefully by mid-summer 2015 a consensus can be reached on the best practices (and regulations) needed to meet the needs of the various groups sharing the ocean waters.
Grab your warm clothes and flashlights, your heavy bat ray gear, and join us at the Berkeley Pier for this fun annual derby, now in its 14th year! Trophies will be awarded for heaviest ray, a potluck dinner is available, and there will be a raffle as well! This year looks to have approximately 200 participants and it’s going to be FUN! This event is sponsored by both the Castro Valley Sportsmens Center and the Berkeley Marina Sportsmens Center; hit them up earlier in the day for supplies and gear, and thank them for sponsoring the Derby.
Official rules are posted here.
Like the art? Shirts are still available from last year with this logo! Drop a comment as to quantity and size and we’ll bring ’em to the Derby.
With 2015 comes a new Webmaster: gretchdragon from PFIC.
A new year brings with it new updates!
* Updated logo
* Weather bar on the left. Defaults to Berkeley Pier; type in your location to see your local fishing weather
* Pier maps are converting to a new format and should be online shortly
Our friend, fishing companion, mentor, and fellow UPSAC Board Member James Liu has passed away at the early age of 48 and his passing has stunned us all. Unfortunately, it’s hard to adequately list all his accomplishments or do justice to someone who impacted so many lives in such a positive manner. James was a big man with a big heart, always ready to help out where needed, willing to selflessly give of his time and money, and willing to work longer and harder than most can imagine. James had a brilliant mind as evidenced by his degrees and jobs but what was truly brilliant was his ability to achieve so much success in so many different endeavors. Success helping out his children’s schools, success with UPSAC (United Pier and Shore Anglers of California), success with the Boy Scouts, and success with a plethora of other organizations. Most important though was the success he achieved with his own family, his loving and supportive wife Dora, and his three wonderful children, Warren, Amanda and Elaine. His ability to handle a highly demanding job while at the same time being an exemplary role model for his children is all too rare today. He had high expectations for his children, and they have met the challenge, but he also provided the love and support needed for the challenge and was always a role model to be emulated. We rarely use the term great in describing a person but in this case that seems the most appropriate work, a man who achieved greatness in many ways and one who will be missed by all those who’s lives he touched.
Fisheries Management always seems like a tough thing to do here in California. But take a trip up north, away from the environmental squabbles to places, like British Columbia, Canada, where they use a technique called “Active Fisheries Management” pioneered by researchers at the University of British Columbia. The basic concept is to break the fishing locations into lots of zones. And to actively make changes in-season short term as well as long-term to retain stocks and enhance fisheries.
The technique has continued to allow a fishery to thrive. Last year was a banner year for sockeye in the Fraser River and overall Lower Mainland BC. This year, the pinks are running in huge numbers. In some places, along the shores of West Vancouver and Howe Sound the fish are thick and caught by folks from shore in water just a few feet deep. It’s been decades since Pacifica, California has such abundant salmon runs, and it’s been a long time since shoreliners caught fresh ocean run salmon in SF Bay in quantity. But BC might hold some keys to enhancing our own fisheries. If we, in California, could just get away from the need by some very vocal and activist few that condemn fishing altogether and would do away with the sport. Their motives aren’t to enhance the fisheries, but to end them. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Planning a fishing trip at your favorite beach, jetty, or pier on Saturday, September 25?
While you’re waiting for those hungry perch, stripers, and rockfish to bite, take a few minutes to bag up some trash and participate in California’s Annual Coastal Clean-Up Day. While the official event takes place from 9:00 A.M. to noon, please take this opportunity to conserve and protect the near-shore environment by reusing a grocery or shopping bag by filling it with old fishing line, plastic, trash, and any other waste you find at the beach.
United Pier and Shore Anglers would also like to invite you to send a picture of you and your fishing buddies participating in the Coastal Clean-Up Day. Take a digital shot of your group and your “clean up loot” and send it to email@example.com. If you include your names and the location (general location is OK to protect your secret “fishin’ hole”) where you picked-up trash, we will include your contribution in an upcoming post and “UPSAC Coastal Clean-Up Coverage Map” at UPSAC.ORG.
No prizes or giveaways for this one; just our heartfelt thanks for doing your part to keep our beaches clean.
For more information on the California Coastal Clean-Up Day, visit http://www.coastal.ca.gov/publiced/ccd/ccd.html.