Extending off the coast of Long Beach more than a quarter mile into the San Pedro – Long Beach breakwaters is the long standing Belmont Pier. Covered in mussels, views from the Belmont Pier include some of the most iconic Southern California images from the Queen Mary to the Spruce Goose Dome which used to home Howard Hughes’ famed wooden aircraft (it’s now mostly used as a movie studio.) While this version of the pier has been around since 1966, the Belmont area has been home to a pier since 1915.
Belmont Pier is a fishing pier. While a lot of other piers come at the end of Boardwalks (see Venice Pier) or with big Aquariums within walking distance (see Cabrillo Pier,) Belmont is the land of the angler. Which is not to say that Belmont is off on an island – far from it! Belmont is a short drive from the spectacular Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific as well as the Second Street shopping district. But the people who are best off out on Belmont Pier are fishermen, particularly those looking to take advantage of the plethora of live mussels Belmont is known for.
If you do head out to Belmont, you can usually expect to find a good number of fish biting. Corbina is the first name on the list with dozens and dozens coming up on a good day. Like most piers in Southern California, you’re also going to get a good deal of white croaker which is unfortunate because white croaker caught off of the Belmont Pier is a Do Not Consume fish because of dangerously high levels of contaminants. Herring is around, mackerel, halibut, as is the occasional sand bass, a few different types of rays and for the daring angler, enough people do catch shark at Belmont to warrant it as a legitimate target. There have been reports of some big shark catches on Belmont, makos and even whites… but we here at pvsfish.org have yet to see pictures. In all likelihood, you’re looking at leopards, guitarfish and if you get lucky, maybe even a thresher.
Parking is relatively cheap, mostly in meters on the street. The pier officially opens an hour or so before sunrise and closes at midnight. The people who frequent Belmont tend to be fewer in number than many of the other piers in Southern California. But what they lack in number, they more than make up for in expertise – you are going to see a whole bunch of well rigged set-ups smartly cast by some salty looking lifelong fishermen. Walking up the pier looking into everybody’s bucket is like checking out a great fish market – tons and tons of variety to go along with good quantities. Like the overwhelming majority of piers in California, there is no license fee required at Belmont.