Can anybody out there write about the winter fishing on the Cayucos pier? I’m mainly interested in catching perch.
Caveat - I've never been to Cayucos Pier. However I have fished similar piers a little to a lot further north. What is below is based on that.
Before you head out I would call the bait shop that's a couple of blocks from the pier to find out whether or not Cayucos Creek has opened up. There's two reasons to ask. First and foremost, if the water is muddy at the pier from the creek you should stay home because the fishing will be crummy all the way around. The second reason is because steelhead tend to stack up and cruise outside the surf waiting for the creek mouth to open up (at least up here).
Also ask if anyone is hooking any stripers.
--------- Surf Perch------------
Try the outer half of the surf zone, especially on an incoming tide. Look for holes to cast into. Common baits include sand crabs, pile worms, fresh mussels or small pieces of market shrimp.
If you like artificials, try a 1-1/2 to 3-inch plastic grub with root beer, motor oil/red flake, and pumpkin seed patterns often producing the most fish. Two-inch Berkley Gulp! Sand Worms and Minnow Grubs (in pumpkinseed color) can also be productive.
Small chrome, chrome with blue, or chrome with green Kastmaster spoons work well jigged/mooched just off the bottom as close to the pilings as you dare. Pilings with kelp closeby tend to yield the best results. You may hook an occasional rockfish or other species using this technique.
--------- Stripers & H'buts -------
I don't know if they be there but, if they are, they'll be in the zone from midpoint of the surf area out to 25 yards past the surf (roughly mid-pier) seems to be the best area for both California halibut and striped bass. You can't go wrong with live bait such as anchovies, bullheads, shiner perch, small kingfish, sardines, or small mackerel (I would take a bait trap and/or a Sabiki rigs), and all should be fished on the bottom with live bait rigging (drop shot).
If you choose not to use live bait, Hair Raisers, large Krocodiles and lead-head swimbaits are good options.
I use large Krocodiles:
- blue&silver, green&silver and silver when it's sunny;
- blue&grey-scale, red&gold and grey-scale when it's cloudy;
- flat black during nautical twilight
----------- Steelhead -------------
I go with medium to large Krocodiles (I like the 100+ yd range) and throw parallel to the beach from the surf to the end of the pier. Other common steelhead lures (eg, rooster tails, spinners, spoons etc.)
Hope this helps,
Good luck and GO OUT AND GET SOME!