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Monday, March 25 , 2019, 3:09 am | Fair 48º


Captain’s Log: Good Times at Goleta Pier

The scenery is magnificent, the fishing is good — and you just might reel in a little excitement

Another feller and I were whittling time, practicing underhand casting at the end of Goleta Pier. There are signs posted against overhead casting, to prevent accidents with sharp hooks and passers-by. We both had jigs with treble hooks tied on and were trying to improve our distance and accuracy because there are times when a long distance, accurate cast is needed to hook a good fish.

Capt. David Bacon
Capt. David Bacon (Ramona Lisa McFadyen photo)

One of the other anglers fishing at the end of the pier had cast out a baited rig, let it sink to the bottom and leaned the rod against the rail. I always get nervous when I see someone do that because I have seen fish yank a rod right off a pier, boat or shoreline. Sure enough, about 10 minutes later, that rod twitched, bent, flipped up and launched over the pier railing as if a mighty warrior from ancient times had thrown it like a spear.

I had just reeled up, so I broke the rules — I sure hope I don’t get in trouble for this — and made a fast, precise overhead cast to well beyond where the rod had disappeared below the surface of the sea. I let my heavy jig sink out rapidly, put my reel in gear and started a jigging action. I suddenly felt resistance and began a steady retrieve.

The treble hooks on my jig had snagged the rod, and I was able to reel it up and hand it to the owner. He reeled the line taut and found that he was still hooked up to a fish. He fought that critter and was soon hauling up a good-size shovelnose shark (aka “guitarfish”). The tail of a shovelnose is meaty and tasty, so he was set for dinner.

He kindly offered to share the bounty, since I had saved his rod and reel. I thought that was nice of him.

My advice is to never leave an unsecured rod leaning against a rail, boat or shoreline. Some fish pull hard, and it sucks to watch your rod disappear.

Goleta Pier is an exceptionally nice place. It has magnificent scenery, and the fishing options are above average. Besides a sandy bottom, there is a rock-covered pipeline within casting distance — underhand, of course — where an angler can catch calico bass, sand bass, rockfish, sheephead, cabezon and a number of other tasty denizens of our coastal waters.

Goleta Pier is frequently visited by members of United Pier & Shore Anglers of California, who are knowledgeable and helpful. Look for them.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help.

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