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Santa Monica Pier, a prominent feature along the California coast, has a history that intertwines with the cultural and recreational tapestry of the region. Erected in 1909 for a purpose far removed from recreation – as a part of the city’s sewage plan – it rapidly became a cherished spot for fishing, a pastime favored by the community even before the pier’s completion.A Historic Pier: Sewage Plan to Fishing HavenThe original concept behind the Santa Monica Pier was purely functional, but the community’s love for the site’s rich marine life quickly turned the utilitarian structure into a bustling fishing destination. The abundance of the Pacific Ocean made it an anglers’ favorite, with the pier providing a convenient and scenic spot for casting lines.Evolution Through AdversityThrough the years, Santa Monica Pier faced and overcame several challenges. In the late century, severe storms battered the pier, and it suffered significant damage. In 2016, it experienced another setback when a fire threatened its existence. However, the strength of the pier and the determination of the community prevailed, saving most of the structure from destruction.Modern Recreation and FishingToday, Santa Monica Pier is open to all and remains a free and accessible fishing spot, no California Fishing License required. This welcoming approach allows anyone to enjoy the fishing experiences it offers. Here are five popular species anglers pursue at the pier:1. **Surfperch**: Often caught with small grubs or worms, these fish are usually found near the surf where the waves break.2. **Halibut**: Using live bait like sardines or artificial lures, anglers target these flatfish along the ocean bottom for a potentially sizeable catch.3. **Mackerel**: With their shiny bodies, mackerel are attracted to similar lures or small bits of bait on multi-hook rigs and offer an active fishing experience.4. **White Sea Bass**: These elusive game fish can be caught using live bait such as squid or larger lures, particularly during early morning or dusk when they are most active.5. **Leopard Shark**: Requiring a bit more skill to catch, these sharks are typically attracted to baits like mackerel or squid set on the sea floor.6. **Pacific Sardine**: These small fish can be caught in large numbers using small hooks and bits of worm or dough for bait, and they’re often found schooling around piers.The fishing community at Santa Monica Pier enjoys a variety of species and a pleasant angling atmosphere year-round, with the Pacific Ocean’s vastness providing both a challenge and an opportunity for a rich catch.Ongoing Commitment to Conservation and CommunityThe pier’s management ensures that while fishing is free, sustainable practices are promoted to maintain the health of marine life populations. Educational efforts help to maintain the pier’s standing as a destination that respects the ocean’s ecological balance while providing enjoyment for those who fish its waters.ConclusionFrom its inception as part of Santa Monica’s sewage plan to its status today as a historic and cultural icon, the Santa Monica Pier symbolizes the transformation of public spaces across generations. It stands as a testament to the adaptability and resilience of the community, a place where the past and present merge, offering endless entertainment, relaxation, and the enduring pleasure of fishing.


200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401, USA


Operating Hours

OPEN DAILY: 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Admission & Pricing

FREE ADMISSION, PARKING – $7 – $18 (park in – price varies based on day and season)

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Available at shop

Bait Option

Available at shop


Fish Caught

Calico Bass, Bonito, Mackerel, Halibut, Turbot, Corbina, Yellowfin, Croakers, Rainbow Perch, Sargo, Black Croaker, Black Cod, Sea Bass

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200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401, USA

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