Grassy rock cod caught on the Pillar Point Pier (Taken by Fishermen Never Lie)

Half Moon Bay Pier Fishing for Rock Cod with Trout Poles!

I’m back!  I had the July 4th week off, and went fishing a bunch!  You’d think I’d use that time to wisely catch up on all the videos I haven’t gotten around to editing yet buuuuut… no I went fishing a ton instead!  Many trips to the Half Moon Bay pier to fish for rock cod were made 😀  Many successful trips to the HMB Pier for rock cod in fact!

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That’s a 2+lb grassy rock cod off the Half Moon Bay pier by Andrew yo!  Video’s up too, you can check it out on YouTube (if you haven’t already seen it) or view it below:


Compilation of many trips:

We’re landing a ton of rock cod on trout poles!  Good fun, light tackle rock cod fishing from shore (pier)!   You can find this pier in the Pillar Point Harbor (some like to call it Princeton Harbor, same thing as far as I know).  Its directly behind Barbara’s Fish Trap.  Its usually a pretty decent rock crab spot, but the rock cod fishing can be a little spotty if someone’s come through that day and cleaned house already.

Now, before I move on, I have an update.  As long time followers may note, I’ve been inactive for well over a year now (at least on this blog).  I’ve just been not feeling that motivated to post often.  The last few posts talked about getting back into the swing of things, only to go silent again! @_@

So I think I’m going to be trying a different style.  Rather than give a play by play (collective sigh of relief from ya’ll?) I’ll just skim over the main highlights + gear and fishing tips then call it a day.  Hope that works for everyone, if not let me know in the comments!

Weapons of choice for the trips:

      • Bait & hooks:
        • We fished mainly plastic in the forms of various swimbaits.
        • Ming was using small 2-3″ swimbaits and averaging 10+ fish per trip easy.  He also hooked into a big ol’ ling cod at one point so
        • We were using anywhere from 1/4oz to 3/4 oz jig heads (any brand will work, doesn’t really matter)
        • Ideally you’ll want the thinner, wire hook type jigheads, as you can sometimes bend the hook on snags & get your rig back
        • My favorite from all the trips was the Berkley Powerbait Ripple Shads (firetiger felt luckier for rock cod):

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          Check out the video or the pictures (imgur album) to see the colors – as you can tell I ran out of both…

    • Gear:
      • Light trout poles
      • 8lb test mono – You can run heavier for rock cod off the pier, but if you’re snagged up heavier line doesn’t seem to help that much.  Easier to just use light weight + line and you won’t sink as fast/hard into those snags
    • Bait:
      • Based on my own experience, I think the rock cod at Half Moon Bay seem to prefer eating shrimp, and will hit that the most aggressively.  However, this doesn’t seem to work too well off the pier (using 1/2 to a whole shrimp while poke poling on the jetties nets better results)
      • As I said earlier, I like the firetiger color the best (by Berkley Powerbait, its scented!):

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        It was doin’ werk off the Pillar Point harbor pier!  You can get them on Amazon here

      • Any bass plastics will probably work for rock cod off the pier too:

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      • Squid – On one of the trips out we brought along squid strips to tag the swmibaits with.  The rock cod definitely seemed more eager to bite this, we got hit a lot more often, but that was just one trip so maybe we were the first people out that day…?  Either way, it couldn’t hurt!
      • Scents – These seem to help if you have ’em.  I’d recommend shrimp, otherwise anything else will probably work just as well too for rock cod
      • Currently there’s a lot of bait in/near the Princeton Harbor (you can see birds diving near the surfing spot around Highway 1).  One of the rock cod spit this up:

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    • Fishing tips/strategies for dem rock cod off the piers / jetties:
      • Light weight!  This was something I took a long time to learn.  The lighter the weight, the better the flutter and the slower your jig will fall.  If it falls slow, it won’t get snagged instantly!
      • Only recently have I seen that rock cod will totally just hang out on top of the rocks!

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        • What does this mean for you?  It means you don’t need to bounce down into caves, like you would while poke poling or pocket fishing. on the jetty.  As long as you bounce along the top of the rock piles you’ll hook into rock cod!
        • Just hop your jig/bait/etc. across the rock piles underwater.  Search shallow & deep, you never know where the rock cod might be hiding!
        • I’d say don’t be afraid to fish bigger baits (as big as 4″).  Rock cod are pretty aggressive, and will not hesitate to hit baits the same size as themselves!   Overall, on average when we fished the bigger baits off the Princeton Harbor pier we hooked into bigger rock cod more consistently.

  • Other misc. notes of interest:
    • Imgur album with all the pictures from the trip (there’s many I didn’t use in this post) can be found here!
    • Got to see a small Leopard Shark swimming along the jetty near the pier!

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      See the video on YouTube here to see it swimming!

    • I’m way behind on video uploads from various times.  Let me know if you prefer I start with any from this list of still-waiting-to-be-edited videos of fishing trips @_@:

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    • Recently discovered new motivational things at the gym!

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      HOW COOL IS THAT,  there’s fish games on the rowing machine!  Now I can exercise while being a fish!  …or something.

And on that awkward note, I’m out!

P.S. My instagram got hacked & I had to restart.  Remember to refollow it!

2 thoughts on “Half Moon Bay Pier Fishing for Rock Cod with Trout Poles!”

    1. Both jetties can produce up to keep size lings & cabbies! I like the north jetty just because less people get out on it, but I’ve heard more stories of big cabs off the south jetty (mostly just more people poking every hole).
      I definitely hear the ocean side of the north jetty produces lings more regularly though (use swimbaits!)

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