Oddly enough, “Pier J” is actually not even a pier at all. Rather than extending out into the Ocean like a traditional pier, Pier J is a wide rocky isle where you can pull right up to the pier in your car, walk 5 feet across a sidewalk and cast your line. As counter-intuitive as the name may be, Pier J presents some of the most uniquely angler friendly conditions in Southern California.
First and foremost, there is no need to tread your way across hundreds of feet of a pier. If you forget something in your car, it’s just a few simple steps to retrieve it and get back to fishing. You will not find any waves at Pier J, these are very still waters complete with a beautiful view of the Long Beach marina. It tends to be sparsely populated, even during high season and is overall, one of the most relaxing places to go pier fishing in Southern California.
Another nontraditional aspect to this “pier,” is that unlike the other piers in Southern California, (like those in Belmont, Santa Monica and Venice) fishermen need fishing licenses to fish at Pier J. Potential fishermen for Pier J should take note of this – you must have a fishing license to fish on Pier J. No exceptions.
Most likely all of the anglers you will find at Pier J are locals (usually a good sign when searching out potential fishing spots.) People like to pull up to the pier usually with their families or in groups and hang out, fish and even have barbeques. It’s a great location for locals to come together due to the relatively secluded location and a gorgeous view of the harbor. Many local families spend the weekends at this pier enjoying the scenery and the gathered community. Even if you don’t like to fish, but like the idea of hanging out with others that do, a great benefit of Pier J’s is that parking is free!
Pier J has a wide variety of fish caught at this location and the catch usually changes along with the seasons. In the fall and summer months you will find bonito, in the spring you’ll find shovelnose guitarfish and halibut swimming around, and in September – December it is common to spot some lizardfish. Other common catches found at Pier J are surf perch, queenfish and sharks. However, one of the most common fish caught at Pier J is white croaker, which should not be eaten, as it is one of the five Do Not Consume fish. It is most likely you will catch white croaker or one of the other four contaminated fish in this area, so it is important to practice catch and release to protect your health.