San Francisco Fishing

A lot of field herpers seem to go fishing, or maintain aquariums, as much as they do herp! Any and all things fish are welcome in this forum.

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Zach_Lim
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San Francisco Fishing

Post by Zach_Lim » December 15th, 2013, 10:17 am

With below freezing temperatures lingering around the SF Bay Area, a few of us herpers here have recently switched to pier fishing for the winter. I find the smaller, more unusual fish that hang around kelp beds and pilings much more interesting than sport fish (much like how I like my herps). So, with small freshwater rods and uncooked, head on prawn...

One-spot Fringehead (Neoclinus uninotatus)
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Cabezone (Scorpaenichthys marmoratus)
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Buffalo Sculpin
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Rainbow Surf Perch
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Brown Irish Lord (Hemilepidotus spinosus)
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Unidentified Goby
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Me with a Monkey-faced Prickleback Eel.
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All the fish were released after capture. The eel went into the frying pan.

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El Garia
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Re: San Francisco Fishing

Post by El Garia » December 15th, 2013, 11:43 am

Fabulous post, Zach! As far as fun-factor, and variety of species, I haven't found anything that beats our intertidal zone. It truly is a "box of chocolates". Sculpin Beer and ichthyological oddities… sounds like the perfect day!

I believe that your unidentified goby is a sculpin. What kind, I have no idea. I've been looking through my fish books, but can't identify it. Hopefully Vic can shed some light on your catch (and hopefully share some of his poke-poling experiences, too.)

Thanks for the great post,

Derek

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Re: San Francisco Fishing

Post by VICtort » December 15th, 2013, 12:30 pm

Hey Zach, that looks like good fun, I spent much of my misspent youth on piers doing similar, and like you, I was often more excited (to the consternation of friends) about something odd or different than large and edible. Like you, I enjoy eating the monkeyfaces, they are quite good and good fun to catch, as El Garia says, poke poling is effective, I am surprised you were able to land one on light conventional gear, as they live in holes/cracks and usually "knot up" under stress, hard to pull out.

I concur with El Garia, looks sculpin to me but I don't have access to my fish key, and some of these obscure sculpins are difficult for even experts to ID, maybe the fringe along the lateral line will help. PM me if you don't solve it, I will try when I get to my books (Miller&Lee).

How confident are you on the Irish Lord ID.? Pretty small one, certainly possible. Maybe someone in the NW will confirm, they are far more common up there. The Monterey Bay Aquarium staff has been responsive to my inquiries, maybe they can help us out? Your photo is quite good (a refreshing change), so there is a chance they will nail it. PM me if needed and I will get you a name, otherwise go to there website and see what you can find. You also have a great resource in your town at the Cal Academy. When you take photos of mystery fish, having the fin rays extended really helps, as does a clear photo of a live, adult fish, lateral view.

Fringeheads are real characters, they inhabit a great many empty bottles on the bottom, and good thing they don't get larger or we would surely be eaten. They are great fun in aquariums if you are ever inclined.

Fun post, you have a real knack for taking common events and animals and making me see them in a new light, and sometimes you are literally in places I adventured decades ago. Thanks for posting this, it made my day.

Vic

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Re: San Francisco Fishing

Post by Zach_Lim » December 15th, 2013, 1:02 pm

El Garia wrote:Fabulous post, Zach! As far as fun-factor, and variety of species, I haven't found anything that beats our intertidal zone. It truly is a "box of chocolates". Sculpin Beer and ichthyological oddities… sounds like the perfect day!

I believe that your unidentified goby is a sculpin. What kind, I have no idea. I've been looking through my fish books, but can't identify it. Hopefully Vic can shed some light on your catch (and hopefully share some of his poke-poling experiences, too.)

Thanks for the great post,

Derek
Hey Derek,

Our intertidal zone is amazing. I only recently rekindled by love for fishing (thanks to Jared) and I am so happy to know that we have such species diversity in the City.
You should come out fishing with us one day!

And yup, the "goby" is a sculpin!
VICtort wrote:Hey Zach, that looks like good fun, I spent much of my misspent youth on piers doing similar, and like you, I was often more excited (to the consternation of friends) about something odd or different than large and edible. Like you, I enjoy eating the monkeyfaces, they are quite good and good fun to catch, as El Garia says, poke poling is effective, I am surprised you were able to land one on light conventional gear, as they live in holes/cracks and usually "knot up" under stress, hard to pull out.

I concur with El Garia, looks sculpin to me but I don't have access to my fish key, and some of these obscure sculpins are difficult for even experts to ID, maybe the fringe along the lateral line will help. PM me if you don't solve it, I will try when I get to my books (Miller&Lee).

How confident are you on the Irish Lord ID.? Pretty small one, certainly possible. Maybe someone in the NW will confirm, they are far more common up there. The Monterey Bay Aquarium staff has been responsive to my inquiries, maybe they can help us out? Your photo is quite good (a refreshing change), so there is a chance they will nail it. PM me if needed and I will get you a name, otherwise go to there website and see what you can find. You also have a great resource in your town at the Cal Academy. When you take photos of mystery fish, having the fin rays extended really helps, as does a clear photo of a live, adult fish, lateral view.

Fringeheads are real characters, they inhabit a great many empty bottles on the bottom, and good thing they don't get larger or we would surely be eaten. They are great fun in aquariums if you are ever inclined.

Fun post, you have a real knack for taking common events and animals and making me see them in a new light, and sometimes you are literally in places I adventured decades ago. Thanks for posting this, it made my day.

Vic
Hey Vic,

I am glad you enjoyed my post! I am very new into fishing and appreciate the encouragement.

It was odd that the Prickleback was pulled up on a line and hook. Maybe it was out of its hole at the time? And I agree, poke poling is quite effective for landing them.

Per Jared, the mystery fish was ID's as a Scaly Head Sculpin (a male in breeding colors)- what a gorgeous fish.

In regards to the Irish Lord ID- I had no idea what it was. Jared makes all the ID's when I am out fishing with him. Every fish that I see that is bony and spiky is a sculpin to me haha! I am curious to find out what it is.

Thank you for the insight on how to take proper ID photographs. I will surely keep that in mind.

Fringeheads are amazing. That fish, as well as that now ID'd sculpin, made me consider a small, cold saltwater tank. We are actually targeting the Sarcastic Fringehead, which apparently are amazing to see live!

Zach

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Owen
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Re: San Francisco Fishing

Post by Owen » December 15th, 2013, 2:38 pm

I've had the Ballast Point Sea Monster Imperial Stout. OK, but there's way better out there (Firestone Parabola :thumb: )

You forgot to show the rock crabs that also get yanked up while poking.

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Re: San Francisco Fishing

Post by VICtort » December 15th, 2013, 8:12 pm

Zach, I used to get Sarcastics (what a name...) along outside edges of Kelp in Monterey Bay, Opal Cliffs-Santa Cruz area. They get pretty good sized at times, and also look like cartoon characters. I think you should take a dive course at your local JC, you would love it. Also you might enjoy renting a skiff and fishing down in Santa Cruz or Monterey? Owen would do a great job photographing the action! Or buy some kayaks...dang, this is making me want to go back to the coast and get you guys into some trouble...

Tight lines, Vic

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Re: San Francisco Fishing

Post by SurfinHerp » December 16th, 2013, 12:00 am

Nice assortment of unusual fish Zach!


Your Ballast Point Sculpin photo is my favorite. I like the beer, the fish, and the reflection :beer:


Jeff

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Re: San Francisco Fishing

Post by Zach_Lim » December 16th, 2013, 2:03 pm

Owen wrote:I've had the Ballast Point Sea Monster Imperial Stout. OK, but there's way better out there (Firestone Parabola :thumb: )

You forgot to show the rock crabs that also get yanked up while poking.
Owen,
I've yet to try the Parabola, but will do next time I run to the store (which is all too frequent).

I have gone poke poling in awhile! I do pull red rock crabs on the line, though! Delicious as all hell, but quite a downer when you think you caught a ray or sand-dab that's suctioned to the seafloor!
VICtort wrote:Zach, I used to get Sarcastics (what a name...) along outside edges of Kelp in Monterey Bay, Opal Cliffs-Santa Cruz area. They get pretty good sized at times, and also look like cartoon characters. I think you should take a dive course at your local JC, you would love it. Also you might enjoy renting a skiff and fishing down in Santa Cruz or Monterey? Owen would do a great job photographing the action! Or buy some kayaks...dang, this is making me want to go back to the coast and get you guys into some trouble...

Tight lines, Vic
Vic,

Sarcastics are ridiculous looking and acting fish. If I caught one, I would probably have to run out and get a salt water set up right then and there!

I have always been terrified of open water- especially the ocean haha! A dive class may help to soothe this irrational fear. I've also never fished off a boat before! Only unsuccessful shore fishing and pier fishing. I really am a novice here.

Maybe we should make a trip out somewhere in Santa Cruz or Monterey and all go fishing!
SurfinHerp wrote:Nice assortment of unusual fish Zach!


Your Ballast Point Sculpin photo is my favorite. I like the beer, the fish, and the reflection :beer:


Jeff
Hey Jeff!

Ballast Point makes some pretty good beer!

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El Garia
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Re: San Francisco Fishing

Post by El Garia » December 17th, 2013, 8:17 am

VICtort wrote:...dang, this is making me want to go back to the coast and get you guys into some trouble...
We'd only get in trouble if we tried to keep up with you, Vic.

That really sounds like fun! I'm having two surgeries this winter, and there's nothing I'd like better than to get a gang together for some poke-poling. It's been many years since I've been able to do the intertidal thing. Hopefully, my back will be healed up enough, come mid/late spring.


Thrashing poke poles,

Derek

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Re: San Francisco Fishing

Post by hellihooks » December 17th, 2013, 8:36 am

I think you guys are just making all these names up... :crazyeyes: :lol: :lol: does make me want to go drown a few worms though... :D jim

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Re: San Francisco Fishing

Post by BillMcGighan » December 17th, 2013, 4:43 pm

That first fish, One-spot Fringehead, is so cool and is like a characature in a cartoon strip.

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Re: San Francisco Fishing

Post by Zach_Lim » December 18th, 2013, 9:28 am

I would very much like to go fishing and beer drinking with you all!

Just for kicks, here is our target- the Sarcastic Fringehead

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Joseph S.
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Re: San Francisco Fishing

Post by Joseph S. » December 18th, 2013, 11:34 pm

sarcastics are really neat fish in the aquaria for sure. They actually do ok together-provided they have plenty of retreats to choose from. We get them at work sometimes and have sent them to various public aquaria. Here in Socal they prefer sand/mud bottoms at depth-on sand barrens every wavytop turban shell has either a fringehead or an octopus in it.

You'd need to get the water down cold we run our system at 58 degrees F. A 20 gallon long would be great to start with depending on the size of the fish. As you can guess they are rather sedentary.

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Re: San Francisco Fishing

Post by jared68nova » January 9th, 2014, 1:03 am

The Pier fishing has been excellent as of late. I have a few other species pics on my instagram, but I can't seem to be able to copy them. Here's some of my photos:

Brown Irish Lord

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Red Irish Lord

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Black Surf Perch aka Pogey

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Rainbow Surf Perch in full breeding glory

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Shaker Cabezone


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Sand Dab

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Juvi Kelp Greenling

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Adult Kelp Greenling

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Pacific Staghorn Sculpin double header

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Record Shiner Surf Perch (not sure on this one)

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Good ol Buffalo Sculpin...very cool little fish, those spikes are no joke

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Striped Surf Perch

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Brown Rockfish

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Lifer Ronquil

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SF gave me crabs...

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Favorite fish of recent outings have to be these One Spot Fringeheads. Super feisty fish that actually watch your actions and will try and succeed in biting you, so rad.

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Wooly Sculpin

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Then there was the mystery fish, which I am positive now is a Scaly Head Sculpin also called White Spotted Sculpin, crazy coloration and canines

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Good times with tight lines, nice weather, a few frosty beverages and a great variety of fish to be found in an urban area. Zach even managed a shaker Lingcod caught on a live Smelt I managed to tail hook. I love the piers in winter. :beer:

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Re: San Francisco Fishing

Post by hellihooks » January 9th, 2014, 8:19 am

Is there somewhere you can check the ID of your 'mystrey fish'... like a Pier Review Board? yuk yuk... :D jim

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Re: San Francisco Fishing

Post by SurfinHerp » January 9th, 2014, 9:01 am

Nice variety Jared!

I'd like to see what you catch if you use some of those small fish as bait. I bet the perch would attract something big and mean.
Do you think it's possible to hook into a salmon from a pier in SF?

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Re: San Francisco Fishing

Post by VICtort » January 9th, 2014, 11:06 am

Jared and pier anglers, your "record shiner" perch is quite likely a white surf perch (Phanerodon furcatus), was it over 7" L? The more common shiner perch (C. aggregate) make excellent live baits for the bays predatory denizens, such as ling cod, striped bass, grass rockfish, Ca. halibut and leopard, smooth hound sharks, etc.

If you want large fish, live bait or large baits will select for them. The catch per unit of effort is usually low, and it is a real challenge to land a large fish from a high up pier... You can catch shiners near pilings using sabiki rig or tiny baited hooks.

It sounds like you are keeping busy, hooking up and landing a wide variety of small species doing as you are, having fun. As Jeff questioned, you can catch a few large game fish in the bay, including stripers, salmon and White Sea bass, but it involves luck where you are. Sometime try baiting a whole squid or even better, abalone guts, cast into sandy area and you may get bat rays which are a scream to catch .

Good luck, we are enjoying seeing/hearing your adventures.
Vic (pier review board per Hellihooks)

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Re: San Francisco Fishing

Post by jared68nova » January 9th, 2014, 11:40 am

We've thrown out surfperch and smelt as bait and have hooked into Lingcod, the crabs are voracious at this time of year, a whole squid...or anything sitting on the bottom would be snatched up in a second. I have caught a few of the bays larger predators in years past, its fun but also gets kinda old fighting sting rays and sharks like seven gills for 45 mins at a time haha. We so far have been using light line set ups, we couldn't even get a large fish up to the pier unless we seriously stepped up the gear :roll:.. I have heard stories from a long time ago of salmon being caught from the piers...I don't see why it wouldn't be possible, I've hooked them from shore in Benicia and in Rodeo after casting out with spinners about a 1000 times haha. I have caught Halibut from piers using lip hooked sculpin and live smelt under a float, it's a long wait between bites though, I like the fast action of the little oddball fish personally :beer:

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Re: San Francisco Fishing

Post by hellihooks » January 9th, 2014, 12:44 pm

Being almost exclusively a fresh water fisherman... I generally eat what I catch... trout, bass, catfish (if farm raised) unless fly casting barbless hooks for trout in catch/release streams...Here's me with an hrs worth a pan size Striped Bass, shore fishing from Silverwood...
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I got a boat, I'm working on, to go trolling for the 20- 40 lb striper out in the middle of the lake... :D jim

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