When the water is too rough to get the boat out or the beach is flooded with tourists, the best way to wet a line is to fish from the pier. Because they are easily accessible, open to the public, and legal to fish on, piers make great fishing opportunities.
Let’s dive into some pier fishing tips that will teach you how to pier fish and give you the best chance at success.
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Pier Fishing Basics
Fishing piers are an awesome place to set up shop for the day with your fishing gear. They cover a variety of water depths, ranging from shallows on the beach, all the way to 30-40 feet of water in some instances. This allows anglers to move throughout a fishery, testing different baits and depths in search of their target species.
They normally occur in saltwater settings, so the opportunities of catching are almost endless. By casting your line from a pier, you get the safety of fishing from shore, with the opportunity to fish deeper water, which is essentially the best of both worlds. The best time to do this is early in the morning, as the pier is usually a little less crowded, and the sunlight has not penetrated the entire column yet.
Advantages Of Pier Fishing
What Do I Need For Pier Fishing?
The fishing gear required for the pier is pretty minimal. We will discuss having the proper setup and perfect pier fishing rod, as well as some other necessities below.
Pier fishing rods and tackle
As far as rods go, you will want to be set up for catching any sort of fish from a pier. This is because there are so many different species in the area who all eat the same bait! Having a heavy action rod that is 9-feet long at a minimum is the standard practice. These rods need to hoist up large fish, so they have to be tough. The line should be an 80-pound test, and hooks should be of a circular nature. This allows fish to hook themselves and make a run.
Pier fishing Baits and artificial lures
The best baits to fish from a pier are usually going to be chunk baits and shrimp. The lack of casting mobility eliminates a majority of artificial lures, and with all of the live or dead baits in the area, artificials will not prove as fruitful.
If you can get yourself a bucket that also had a cushioned lid, you will be all set when it comes to pier fishing. You will want to set up a little fishing area for yourself, and having a chair that doubles as a fish locker are the way to go as far as mobility is concerned.
Drop net or gaff
Getting your catch from the water up to the pier is generally the most challenging part of pier fishing. Hoisting your catch upward will not always work, so you will want to bring a drop net that you can deploy to the water level and help retrieve your catch. If you are fishing from a pier that is close to the water's surface, a gaff will work as well.
Pliers or Filleting Knife
Pliers are something that you will want to keep on your hip at all times when fishing for anything. They can cut lines, remove hooks, and even hold fish steady in some cases—a great overall tool to keep handy. A fillet knife is also one of those necessities to keep in your pier fishing tackle box. They will help you to bleed the fish you are keeping, and most piers have a cleaning station you can use. The knife will already be packed, making the cleaning station a quick pitstop on your way home and allow you to discard the entrails without having to throw them away once you get there.
Fishing without polarized sunglasses is like looking at the moon without a telescope; it can be done, but it is way better with them than without them. Polarized glasses allow anglers to see beneath the water's surface by taking away the glare from the sun on the surface. This lets you see the fish along with structure or bait, rather than just casting out blindly into the surf. Having the glasses on is also a great safety measure. So many anglers on a pier throwing hooks around can be dangerous. Having glasses on prevents taking a hook in the eye.
How Do I Find Pier Fishing Spots?
The best place to start looking for pier fishing spots is to use the internet. Look up maps and charts of nearby piers. Check for structure and water temperatures, as well as what reviews say about each location.
5 Most Popular Fishing Piers
Fishing at Skyway Pier
Skyway Pier is an abandoned bridge in Florida that has become a premier pier fishing venue. Here you can pay $4 to try your luck at catching almost all of the great saltwater inland fish species. Grouper, cobia, and tarpon are on the list of possible trophy catches. Mackerel are also abundant at this pier fishing spot.
Fishing at Redondo Beach Pier
Here is a shortlist of Redondo Beach Pier fishing tips. First, bring your wallet! While you do not need a fishing license to cast from this California pier, you will want your card or some cash on you to check out all of the food vendors and shops on this full-experience pier. Second, plan to spend the day. With the tides coming through every 6 hours or so, you will have plenty of downtime to explore between prime fishing bites.
Fishing at Shelter Island Pier
Turbot and mackerel fishing from this pier are standard practices. Tips for fishing at Shelter Island Pier are to bring light gear. While pier fishing is traditionally known for requiring large rods and tackle, Shelter Island Pier is close enough to the surface of the water that you can get by with smaller tackle. Another is to bring a gaff. Being so close to the water, you do not need a net in most scenarios.
Fishing at Avon Pier
Avon Pier is known as America’s Pier. This location has a reputation for big redfish inhabiting the waters beneath it. This is a private pier, so a tip for pier fishing at Avon Pier would be to bring a few bucks for the entry fee and to get there early. This place becomes packed with anglers and tourists, so you will want to get your spot locked down early.
Fishing at Port Aransas
Sharks are the main attraction at the Port Aransas pier. This is a great alternative to the old Bob Hall’s Fishing pier. It may look a little run-down from the outside, but the fishing is great. It costs $1 per person and $1 per rod to fish here. A tip would be to go when the pier is closed so that admission is free! Even if you are not planning on fishing, watching anglers pull hammerhead sharks out is pretty impressive.
How To Pier Fish (Pier Fishing Tips): Step By Step Guide
Pier fishing can be quite simple, so I will break it all down for you right here, right now.
1. Get Your Pier Fishing Gear
To start, get yourself some gear that will provide the best chances for success. We discussed gear earlier, so I am not going to harp on that in this section.
2. Find A Place To Fish
Another topic we hit earlier is finding the best places to fish. Again, use the resources available to you via the internet to find the most advantageous fishing piers in your area or the region in which you plan to fish.
3. Use A Fish Finder
You can also invest in a castable fish finder, which will provide you with real-time information from your fishing spot without the need for a boat or transducer. The maps and charts online will be able to show you what the bottom structure is like, how far out of the water the deck of the pier is, and may even show you how crowded the pier can get in some cases.
4. Utilize local knowledge
There are tons of forums and reviews of fishing piers on the internet that you can comb through. Tackle shops will have fishing reports, and if you look hard enough, you are bound to find a podcast highlighting the specific pier you plan to target.
5. Pick Your Time To Fish
Once you decide where, then choose when and how. Picking the optimal high tide is a key to fishing success. Time it right so that you arrive early and have plenty of time to rig lines and secure your spot along the pier.
6. Rig Your Baits
By this point, you should have had lines, hooks, and sinkers all tied onto your rod. Rig your circle hooks with a nice chunk of cut bait or shrimp for the best chance at success. Squid can also be used, but only if they are prevalent in the area where you plan to fish naturally.
7. Make A Good Cast
Casting is not something that you will be doing time after time. Make a good cast the first time you think the best possible location for fish to be hiding, based on your map research, should be. Let your bait settle to the bottom of the column and remove the slack from your line using your reel. Set your drag to be sensitive enough to let the fish run once it is hooked and wait for your bite.
8. Reel The Fish In
Once you do get a bite, let the fish run but be sure not to let it get caught in the pier structure, this will surely break your line off and allow the fish to get away. Reel the fish in and either drop your net or gaff down to retrieve the fish. Give the photographer your best grip and grin before throwing the fish in your bucket and doing it all over again.
People also Ask (FAQs)
What fish are biting in the Outer Banks?
The Outer Banks provide tons of species to catch from piers. From redfish to snook to sharks, be prepared to take all sorts of fish when you are down near the graveyard of the Atlantic Ocean.
Where is the best fishing in the Outer Banks?
Rodanthe Pier Place is where you can find some traditional pier fishing in the Outer Banks. It is definitely worth a stop if you are in the area or are looking to try your luck at fishing from a pier.
Is Pier fishing better at high or low tide?
High tide is better for pier fishing, as it brings the baitfish along with their predators closer to shore. The water becomes deeper as the tide rises, making more of the pier real estate fishable.
Fishing from a pier is a great way to get out in any condition. You do not have to worry about waves or obtaining specialty gear. Bring the necessities we have discussed like tackle, specific fishing tools, and a bucket on your next trip, and you will be sure to position yourself with the best possible chance of catching.