Posted by: socalsalty | July 30, 2012

A Day At Santa Monica Pier

This weekend, the kids and I didn’t fish.  That doesn’t mean that fish didn’t play a part in the weekend.  We observed people “fishing”, enjoyed the varied sights and activities at the pier, like singers and dancers, a dude flying over the water in a jetpack (really), rides and lunch at Pacific Park…then checked out Heal The Bay’s aquarium underneath the pier.

Check out this video…

HTB’s Aquarium


Once we were done up top, we went down below to see the aquarium.  I catch heat sometimes from other anglers for my association with Heal The Bay.  The reason why is that HTB was a big proponent of the Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) which impacted some of our best fishing spots here in Southern California.

First of all, I respect and appreciate what HTB has done in terms of cleaning up my adopted home fishery of Santa Monica Bay.  Lots of the older salties have told me that the quality of the water and thus the fish we catch in it has improved dramatically since the 70’s.  Much of that improvement can be attributed to the efforts of Heal The Bay and others to clean it up, especially as it pertains to wastewater treatment and storm drain runoff.

Secondly, I think that sportfishermen and environmentalists have more in common than not.  We may enjoy the ocean for different reasons, but protecting it for future generations is a common goal.  If we can build a bridge, maybe we can move forward faster for everyone’s benefit.

Baby swell sharks in their egg pouch

In terms of the aquarium, the kids enjoyed learning about and observing the fish, and participating in the various activities there.  For me, any time I can observe fish, even in a simulated environment, it helps me understand and visualize what’s happening at the end of my line.  I feel it has a very tangible result in improving my fishing.

They had some of our favorite species there in the tanks…chucklehead (aka copper rockfish), bugs (aka California spiny lobsters), bocaccio, sculpin and calico bass!  Regardless if you agree with me or not about HTB, the aquarium is a fun and economical (only $5 suggested donation, kids under 13 free) activity which I highly recommend for anyone.

More video…



  1. Great job once again! I want to go back to the place Where I learned to fish, the Santa Monica pier. Thanks Joe!

    • From a fishing aspect, I kind of want to go and show the possibility if you had some knowledge. Just bait danglers that I saw. The rest of the pier is pretty cool just from a fun perspective.

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