Category Archives: Poke Pole

With trusty pole in hand, we raid dark holes!

5-19-2013 Ft Baker/Moore Rd Pier & Jetty Rock Cod Fishing

Just got home friday evening from staying at home all week to help my dad after his back surgery. Some of his vertebrae were too narrow, and he was in danger of having nerves pinched (read: paralyzed from the stomach down). Anyhow, after putting the surgery off for years he finally went in and got it and I spent the whole week back in Cupertino helping when I could (I even spent 1.5 days in the hospital).

Finally got back to Redwood City Friday evening for a relaxing weekend. Nothing planned, no rushes, just sitting back and relaxing. Been awhile since I had one of those. Decided to start on a second bow as well.

Second bow is on the right, and has a riser block (? handle? I forget) this time. Last time I got too lazy and skipped it. Spent an hour having a nice fellow (John) from craigslist help me cut it with power tools (I don’t have them…and I’m done grinding the entire block out with a rasp d=).

Anyhow! He did a great job and now I just need to sand/scrape it down. Probably aiming to have a lower strength bow this time and hopefully not splinter it during tillering…but it saved me days worth of work. Pretty sweet. I’ll post updates if it succeeds d=

Getting back on track, I spent most of the weekend happily half asleep in my armchair. Around 2pm Sunday I got the urge to go find some fish though, so grabbed some squid and hopped out the door. I’ve only been out to Ft Baker/Moore Rd Pier once so far, and that was a loooong time ago. Back when I thought drop shotting was the magical end all solution to all fishing. We came out, I bounced for ~10 minutes and had a rock cod! My first time ever landing one off a pier! Probably only the 2nd time I’d ever seen one landed on a pier at the time even. It was exciting, but that was the end that day.

I set out Sunday hoping that with all my experience since then I’d be able to land at least 2, regardless of size.

SF Golden Gate Bridge
My destination

Started on the pier, since I was most interested in fishing under the pier, between the pilings, looking for structure anywhere. Rockfish Ninja’s reports (from PFIC) always make me want to head out to a pier in the bay in search of rock fish. Soon as I got halfway out I realized exactly how windy it was. I thought I was boned, no way I could fish, but it turned out to be not so bad, as long as I wasn’t out on the front end of the pier. Tried fishing along the way out (the first initial straight section) for no bites. Didn’t get any hits until I was in the elbow of the pier. I had been tossing under the pier for awhile and not getting any hits, but I noticed on a few pulls I seemed to be nearly getting snagged on something just outside of the pier (in open water). Threw a little behind it and dragged my bait over it and found it felt just like a hole in the jetties.

Kept at that hole for the next couple minutes, even letting the bait rest a few times. Then one time after leaving it for about 20 seconds, FISH ON! I was totally surprised, still believed it couldn’t be anything besides a large chunk of seaweed I was tugging on. But then it started moving from side to side to side and I knew it was a fish, but I couldn’t horse it up real quick. Was using pretty light tackle (14lb line, but my rod was probably only weighted at 6-10lbs?). Had planned on using a different reel, but forgot it at home…so I made do.
10-15 seconds later, fish got away. When I pulled my rig up it kind of looked like the squid had been covering the hook to begin with? Figured either the fish was too small to set the hook itself properly, or it was just stubborn and wouldn’t let go of the squid. Fix the hooking, and tossed it back down (was using a carolina rig, 3/4oz sliding egg sinker, not pinned in place)
Based on how the fight felt, I suspect I didn’t really actually get the fish out of its hole too much, if any. Mostly just a tug of war that happened. My guess was in that situation the fish would probably still be hanging out in the same hole. From my experience unless you pull them out into open water, they don’t really move away.
With that in mind, I tossed back, working the same area. Finally got a hit and hook set on something from the other side of the pillar. This time I gave an extra little tug before anything else, even though I was using a circle hook. If its a small fish, it couldn’t hurt my chances anymore (the smaller ones don’t always hit hard enough to set the hook properly). Fought the fish up after about 20 seconds, though in all honesty it was more just pulling it up. Fish didn’t break to either side, just tried going straight down.

Was a maybe 6-7″ brown rock cod. But then I dropped it off the hook trying to get my rod and it over the railing…talk about noobish moves. Though there were tons of people around, and bunches stopping to ask how I was doing often, I lucked out and noone saw d=

Couldn’t get any more bites in that spot, and didn’t have the skill or space to fish anywhere else effectively. Tried the spot where I think I caught a fish last time, but no luck. Decided to use my time over on the jetty on the other side of the harbor instead. Tried it once with a diamond bar and…well ’nuff said. Don’t diamond bar off the jetty. I sure was an idiot in the past…

Anyhow, off I went. Nearly couldn’t figure out how to drive up next to it. Those super steep, super narrow dirt roads always make we worry since I no longer drive a ford explorer…I miss 4wd some days. Anywho, off onto the jetty I ran. Didn’t see anyone pull any fish up while I was there, but didn’t ask anyone either. Saw two asian guys with an ice chest, but they didn’t seem to get anything but snags. I fished one spot for about 5 minutes with no luck. Tried on the inside side of the harbor at one spot where water was coming through, no luck. Swapped back to the bay side and rigged up a berkley gulp shrimp. Same set up, 3/4oz sliding egg sinker and a 5/0 circle hook. Tossed out pretty far a few times with no luck. Tried tossing less far to save some time, and not even 4 ft out I got hit! I was a fool and still using the light tackle rod and worried I’d get rocked. The best I could do was keep the fish from diving downward and quickly reel in whenever it stopped diving. In the end I won out (lesson learned from multiple large fish lost on the HMB jetties…) and it was a nice ~9″ black cod:

Black rock cod from Moore Rd Jetty
Black rock cod from Ft Point Jetty




Fished for maybe another hour with no more bites. Guessing it was because swell was up, and wind was nearly howling. Better results than I expected for both the area and weather. 3 bites, “landed” 2. Not bad for a lazy sunday afternoon.
Didn’t really take many pictures, rest can be found here: http://imgur.com/a/xod7B#0

Anyhow, I’ll be out at Steven’s Creek Reservoir this Saturday (5/25/2013) targeting bass or crappie mainly, and maybe carp. Will be out there with 2-3 other people in kayaks/foldaboats. If you see a dude with a mini 1-2ft rod &/or a black/red chainmail bracelet, give a holler!
I’ll also be out at the half moon bay jetties with a few people the next day (Sunday, 5/26/2013) to poke pole the amazing low tide (-1.85!? Lowest I’ve ever seen, fishing should be amazing).

Random thought to close out the day, do fish believe in god(s)? When they get hooked and are fighting, can they comprehend what’s happening, or do is it just like they’re on some ride, courtesy of a magical force? When they break the line, do they go home and tell their buddies they felt the hand of god?

Quick ‘n Dirty HMB Update

Hit up the half moon bay/pillar point harbor jetty last night (5/7/2013). Bait was shrimp, went with a carolina rig. 1/2oz – 1oz. Water was like glass, but had to use one of my stiffer poles due to some reel problems. Hook was a 5/0 circle hook.

Size is definitely down, but the numbers are doing okay. Not as bad as I thought before, but not great. Two biggest fish were <10″ and skinny. Both grassies. Oddly enough the majority of fish caught last night were grassies. Kind of odd. Usually I only see 1 or 2 fat grassies every 4-5 trips. Continue reading Quick ‘n Dirty HMB Update

Cabezon ho! Also A How To Fish The Jetty Explanation

Went out and fished the HMB jetty & pier on 12/15 with my brother.  We started off on the half moon bay pier.  Rigged up with 1/4oz leadhead jigs.  I was using berkley gulp camo sandworms, my bro was using chunks of frozen anchovy.

We kept feeling something tapping around the inside corner of the L, but couldn’t get anything to commit.  Whatever it was managed to snap 8lb line in a flash.  My brother set the hook and then the line broke.  Wasn’t even a violent set.  Wonder what was going on.

I tried a little bit around him and managed to get a chunk of plastic.  Anyone know if there’s like a huge chunk of plastic bag caught up down there?  I’ve been multiple times and pulled up large chunks of what seems like a grey plastic bag in the same area.  Always throw it away in the trash can on the pier, but odd how it always seems to be there.

I moved closer to the sink and started tossing towards the rocks and working my way back towards the pier.  Eventually got a bite and set the hook.  Fish on!  Was up onto the pier pretty quick though…

Small rock cod off half moon bay pier
Tiny little thing

Continue reading Cabezon ho! Also A How To Fish The Jetty Explanation

Half Moon Bay South Jetty

So yea.  I went out to the south jetty at half moon bay last night to test whether or not I really did have a better grasp of how to fish the jetty or not.  Also wanted to see if fish did indeed grow larger the further out I went. Parked outside the RV park around 9/930pm.

Realized once I finished the post I didn’t go over my set up all at once anywhere. 8lb mono line, 3/4 oz & 1 oz sliding egg sinkers (increased weight because of higher wind, swell, & current, less is better), and a 3/0-7/0 hook tied directly onto the main line (snell knot, wound 6-10 times). Today was using an entire shrimp on every cast hoping for bigger fish. Hooked through the shrimp 2-3 times in any fashion. Since I was fishing at night I doubt presentation was a big issue.

Didn’t get to try the sea side of the jetty.  Not sure if its always that bad at low tide, or was just too hard to reach at night.  Sure didn’t look inviting and seemed like I’d instantly snag up.  Hopped my way out to around mark 40 before bothering to try to fish.  I was sort of behind schedule, and had to account for extra time spent traversing the jetty (didn’t want to get home too late).

First cast out ~25ft.  Got hit as soon as I jigged back near the jetty.
Canary Rock Cod Off Half Moon Bay Jetty

Continue reading Half Moon Bay South Jetty

Half Moon Bay Pier & Jetty – How To Destroy Your Legs 101

Its been storming out here for the past week, though its finally cleared up these last few days.  Really wanted to go fishing starting the first day of the storm, I really need to keep a better eye on weather.  See the post on PFIC here.  Usually fish are out feeding in force before storms.  They’ve got to stock up on food before hiding during most of the parts of the storm.  And boy was it a storm.

20-30mph winds most of last week.  I headed out Wed or something (its late, and I haven’t gone to bed before 3am yet this week…) last week to try my luck after work when it was only 80% chance of rain.  Didn’t realize 24mph winds were strong enough to prevent breathing if you weren’t careful which direction you were facing.  I decided I’d better just take a short walk and call it a night.  Noone around, obviously, and the swell was pretty crazy for inside the harbor.  I wonder what a fish does if it finds itself too far from a cave to hide in when it starts getting rough?

Talked to someone who contacted me through this blog and answered some questions to the best of my abilities.  Didn’t hear back on whether they made it out Saturday or not, am curious to hear how the crabbing was for them if they did indeed make it out on the south jetty.  If you guys are reading, please leave a comment or send me an email! :]

Anyhow, went home and threw my bait in the freezer to use on the weekend.  Looked like this past Sunday would suddenly clear up for a few hours in the evening.  Couldn’t help myself come Saturday when it cleared up slightly, and headed out around 12pm for a few hours.  Really becoming bothered by how many people are showing up there.  Not sure if its just because of crabbing season, or its just becoming more well known, but there are quite a few crabbers these days.  Not as crowded as the day after thanksgiving, but still very little room to crab if that’s what you wanted to do.  On the other hand there seemed to be quite a few crab around.  Most people had 2-3 from what I saw.  Someone even had maybe 3 or 4 large dungeness crab.

Only pro to having so many people around is you sometimes see really weird things.  Like this woman who pulled up a live shrimp
Shrimp from a crab hoop at Half Moon Bay Pier

Continue reading Half Moon Bay Pier & Jetty – How To Destroy Your Legs 101

Feeding the wildlife and chumming the water like a boss

This morning was the lowest tide this week, so I headed out to give night time poke poling another try.  I’ve asked Kirk Lombard about this matter before and he says the biggest hurdle to overcome was finding the holes and the fish shouldn’t necessarily be sleeping. He doesn’t seem to have a problem hooking up at least.

I’ve historically had terrible luck trying at night.  Last night wasn’t an exception, but it was better than my normal runs out there in terms of bites and # of successful areas.  Decided not to go to bed since it was already 2am and I was still watching How I Met Your Mother.  I never really understood all the Neil Patrick Harris jokes until now (only just recently started watching).  Barney is freaking hilarious.

Continue reading Feeding the wildlife and chumming the water like a boss