José Plascencia had a little help bringing this one in last February.
  • José Plascencia had a little help bringing this one in last February.
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“I’ve been coming to this pier for over 20 years to fish — every Sunday and at least four times a week,” José Plascencia told me as he was loading his grandson Ethan into his cart at the base of the Ocean Beach Fishing Pier. “I live in City Heights but everyone on the pier knows me for my sharks.”

Aside from his grandson, Plascencia’s cart was packed with six rods, gaffes, and fishing rope among other things. “Each rod is for a different thing. Smaller ones for Bonita, larger ones for sharks…. I’ve been on the news for sharks also — I caught a 100-plus pound shark on Valentine’s Day; that might be my biggest.”

He’s caught bat-rays, lobsters, leopard sharks, bonito, eels, octopuses, crabs, and sheepshead.

Bonita and refreshments

“I was told that I hold the record on the all the piers right now — San Diego, L.A., Imperial Beach, everywhere — for the biggest sheepshead fish, 22 pounds and 36 inches,” he stated. “I got a call from a guy in Washington who was doing a news story after he saw my post on Facebook about it.”

Best shark bait? “Live whole mackerel” he said. “Sharks love to eat them.”

José Plascencia and a tagged leopard shark he caught

Grandson Ethan

“A few months ago I caught a tagged leopard shark, so I called Scripps and tracked down the guy who tagged it, and he gave me a private tour of everything,” he said, referring to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. “I got to learn more about the leopard sharks: three foot is already ten to fifteen years old and the bigger leopard sharks only live to 30 years….”

“We eat everything we catch,” he said. “And I have about 15 or 20 shark jaws on display in my house, and a few bonitos….

"I watch my grandson every Sunday and bring him here. You can always find me all the way to the end of the pier to the left,” he pointed. “He loves it. I used to bring my kids here when they were little but now I get to enjoy my grandson and teach him how to fish.”


100 lb. shark caught

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