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Pier fishing: The art of snagging surfers

Pier fishing. Photo by "Public Domain Pictures"

As surfers, we know that some of the best waves are created by a giant rock or a pier that gives the wave a distinct shape.

With the large crowds of new surfers filling up lineups all over California, you take what you can get as far as waves go.

Many of the piers around the Central Coast are filled with fisherman fishing off the side of these piers. These fishermen gather and lurk around the top decks of the piers like fiends, waiting for a bite or a snag, only to look down and see a surfer with a hook in their foot.

Now, on a day where there aren’t too many surfers out, or there is a nice open plot of water underneath the pier, I can understand.

But throwing a line out into a sea of people swimming with a viciously sharp hook on the end just seems unnecessary. 

I guess my question is: Is this really the best and most efficient way of catching fish?

On a day with big surf crashing underneath the pier, and 20-plus people lying around a fishing line kicking and talking, I would say the answer is no.

Cayucos Pier. Photo by “Photoeverywhere”

I have been snagged by one of these very inconvenient hooks at Cayucos Pier. A man and his son were tossing their lines right smack into the middle of a lineup of surfers on a crowded day. Some of the other surfers were jokingly grabbing the line as they swam past, or pretending to cut it.

To say that the majority of those who were surfing were not happy with the bright eyed fishermen would be an understatement. 

Later into the day, I jumped off the back of a wave and got on my board to paddle back out, only to realize my surf booty and part of my toe was caught by a hook. 

I angrily tried shaking it off before looking up and seeing that it was coming from the same man and his son. I bit the line to free myself from the fishing pole and ended up getting the hook out too.

The two fishermen proceeded to pack up their things and walk off. I must have been the only thing they caught that day because their bucket was empty, just as it had been when they showed up.

If you love to fish, then I am sure you can find a number of different ways and places to do so without plunging your hook into surfers’ toes.