Model Pier Demonstration Project:
Why Provide Free Mussel and Live Bait?

Making bait available will reduce the amount of incidental damage done to pier structures and wildlife when anglers collect their own:

MUSSELS:  The most popular form of fishing at Goleta and most piers is known as perching. The most targeted perch at Goleta are the split-tailed pile perch (Rhacochilus vacca} which grow to 17.5 inches and more than three pounds in weight.  Pile perch feed almost exclusively on mussel and the little crabs found in the mussel clumps. 

The fresh mussel found on pilings is considered much better bait than the frozen mussel sold in stores. It's also free for the taking which probably accounts for it's popularity at Goleta. 

Large grappling hooks are used to snag mussels from the pilings and frequently cause damage to the remainder of the clump and occasionally to the pilings as well. 

Often the grappling hook itself becomes so embedded in the clump that it can not be retrieved and is left behind along with 25 feet or so of rope. This dangling rope gets accidently snagged by anglers leaving entangled lengths of line with attached baited hooks. A hazard to both swimmers and seabirds alike. 

The amount of mussel retrieved in this manner is always excessive ... more than can be used by the entire pier in one day. The excess is discarded on the pier where, out of water, it dies or becomes a food attractant for the gulls. Subsequent foot traffic crushes the mussel shells and meat leaving a slippery hazard on the pier decking.

Subsequent foot traffic crushes the mussel shells and meat leaving a slippery hazard on the pier decking. Clearing these hazards is becoming  more time as the use of mussel becomes even more popular. 

Pigeon snagged on a sabiki rig  and left hanging under the pier where it died.LIVE BAIT:  When there are smelt, herring, anchovy or mackerel runs live bait anglers catch them with a baited or unbaited multi-hook jig known as a Sabiki or Lucky Lura rig.  It consist of 5 or more very small hooks attached to short leaders off the main line. It is cast out and retreived rapidly through the school of baitfish.

Because of the multiple hooks the rig often snags on kelp pieces which are discarded on the pier creating a very dangerous walking hazard. Or snagged under the pier and left dangling where it is a hazard to birds.

When multiple bait fish are caught at once the rig usually becomes quite tangled  ... so much so that it is common practice to purchase several rigs and discard the tangled ones. Often the discarded rigs end up on the deck as another hazard to the birds. 

CONCLUSION: By providing these two free baits the collateral damage done to seabirds and other marine life incidental to their take is controlled and thereby reduced and limited.

The Pier Host or selected anglers specially trained in conservationist harvest techniques can adequately provision sufficient mussels on a daily basis and live bait during the season for the entire pier. 

Questions or comments? ... email  Pierhead

Copyright © 2007 by Boyd Grant.  All Rights Reserved