Ocean Beach Pier is very symbol of this unique beach community
by Johnny McDonald
Feb 07, 2013 | 2734 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The West Coast’s longest concrete pier reaches out into the ocean as Ocean Beach’s monument to recreational enjoyment. It’s a majestic piece of work.

Supported by leggy pylons, it measures 1,971 feet for the benefit of walkers, skateboarders and fishermen night and day. Despite the height, though, on stormy days, high waves can still lap dangerously at its sides.

In 1991, more than $2 million was spent on the pier to repair damages caused by winter storms.

It’s not the longest pier in America, mind you. That honor belongs to Santa Cruz, where the pier reaches 2,745 feet.

We dropped by the other day to take another look at activity there — even busy on a week day, largely because municipal pier fishermen do not need a license. Thus, there is a greater gathering. In addition, the PB Pier is reputedly one of the finest pier-fishing locations up and down the coast.

The original purpose was for fishing. Anglers can be tested by tangled lines in the vast kelp and rockbeds below. However, they can avoid some of this by going to the end, where the water depth is between 25 and 30 feet. Offering more room, the T-shape end measures 360 feet to the south and 193 feet to the north.      

The most common fish you will see caught on the pier are herring, often called queen fish. There’s also sand bass, halibut, surf perch and the rest of the saltwater surf-zone fish ready to take the bait.

There is a shop, cafe and restroom on the pier, so you can get a snack and buy glow sticks for night fishing.

In late summer, upon graduation, junior lifeguards take their graduation plunge. Depending on age, there are several locations from which to swim ashore.  

The picturesque structure has been described as one of the most-visited landmarks in the county. It was officially christened on July 2, 1966, and at the time, an estimated 7,000 people turned out for the celebration. Gov. Edmund G. Brown, the current governor’s father, was on hand to cut the ribbon. He even fished for a couple minutes.

The Ocean Beach Pier was first named San Diego Fishing Pier. In fact, the plaque is still there.

I don’t know who’s doing the counting, but it has been reported that more than 500,000 visitors trod there each year.

And for a terrific view, you can’t beat the sunsets.

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