Pier fishing is a cool way to spend vacations with your family and friends or alone. It offers a variety of fish, and the best part is that you don’t even need a rental boat. Just bring the essential equipment and fish away.
Let’s see what you need.
Landing the Catch
Waiting for fish to hook is easy. The real challenge comes when you have to get it up on the pier. Fishing veterans can tell how hard it can be, especially for a newbie. If you don’t want to lose your win, use a drop net to prevent it from escaping. Hoisting the catch-up and over without the net may cause it to break free.
Some anglers use a hoop net made from an old bicycle rim to land a heavyweight. This is a cheap and easy alternative method. You can also opt for crab hoops.
If the fish is large, it can break the mainline. A heavy mono-leader with a few turns on the reel can solve this problem.
Right Time for Pier Fishing
- Increase chances of getting bites by using a tide calendar to determine the transition between high and low tides. Bigger fish come to shores in search of smaller ones with the tide.
- The perfect time to fish is at dawn or sunset, especially before dawn or the first 2 hours after dusk. Watch for low-light conditions as fish are less cautious and come to shallow waters.
- Look for wave breaks. Fish are fond of swimming around these areas to find food on the edges.
Right Location for Pier Fishing
Every pier is built differently with its unique geography. Water may pass through it, or it might serve as a breakwater. You can even reach some depths that are not possible at the shore.
Search for kelp beds or reefs or ask the locals. Fish are likely to hang out at such places. Sandbars and troughs are also great places as they provide traveling routes to both the prey and predators.
Submerged structures have marine growth that attracts small baitfish, which are a food source for a big game. During low tide, look for such structures.
Many fish species travel in a cluster. When you find one in a specific place, there may be more in the same area.
Don’t cast far because fish are usually around the pier. Dropping the line nearby can hand you your meal of the day.
Wherever there is cloudy water, you can probably find fish. Another tell-tale sign is when fish-eating birds are hovering over the water. They know fish movement and pattern at particular locations.
Pier Fishing Equipment
- Get a fishing pole durable enough to withstand the weight of your catch. Beginners should get a conventional pole that can handle 50 lb. of resistance.
- Mono line between 20 and 30 lb. can absorb the resistance of the fish and won’t hang up on the pier or below.
- Invest in a good conventional, spinning, or baitcasting reel. Make sure it is durable and resistant to saltwater.
- Sinkers can hold your bait in the water, keeping it from moving too fast with the current.
- Use baits such as bloodworms, squid, sardines, shrimps, and anchovies.
- A J-shaped hook is commonly used for pier fishing.
- You need something strong to cut through the line like scissors.
- A knife to cut your bait into pieces to attract fish.
- Drop net can be useful for landing the catch in case it tries to escape.
- Pliers are ideal for removing the hooks out of the catch.
- Keep a flashlight if you are a nighttime angler.
- Get quality polarized sunglasses to see through water and locate fish by sight. They will also protect your eyes.
- Carry a box to keep sinkers, hooks, knife, and everything else. You will also need a bucket or cooler for storing your catches.
- Bring a chair to the pier for sitting comfortably and waiting for the fish to come by.
Rules and Regulations for Pier Fishing
Every state has its regulations for fishing license and permits. Generally, publicly owned waters need a license, and you must follow all state-wide rules. Always be courteous to fellow anglers and cast some distance away from them.
Keep the pier clean as it is important for the local economy and fishing culture. Have a bag with you to collect your trash.
Safety is essential in pier fishing. It would be stupid to sit on the railings or hang over them. In certain states, there are even fines for such actions. Children are naturally inclined to explore. It can be very dangerous if they climb and accidentally fall over, so they should be supervised at all times. For pier without railings, carrying a life vest may come in handy if you have kids around.
Pier Fish Species
There are several pier fish that are caught only at specific periods:
- Redfish, winter bonito, flounder, sheepshead, and pompano in January.
- Winter bonito, redfish, and sheepshead in February.
- Spanish mackerel, cobia, redfish, king mackerel, sheepshead and pompano in March.
- Whiting, redfish, Spanish mackerel, pompano, cobia, king mackerel, and blackfin tuna in April.
- Ladyfish, bonito, Spanish mackerel, redfish, king mackerel, cobia, hardtails, and pompano in May.
- King mackerel, ladyfish, redfish, Spanish mackerel, bonito, hardtails, and tarpon in June.
- King mackerel, redfish, ladyfish, Spanish mackerel, bonito, tarpon, and hardtails in July.
- Bonito, king mackerel, tarpon, redfish, whiting, ladyfish, hardtails and Spanish mackerel in August.
- Bluefish, sailfish, redfish, ladyfish, blackfin tuna, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, whiting and bonito in September.
- Pompano, bonito, flounder, Spanish mackerel, redfish, ladyfish, bluefish, sailfish, hardtails, whiting, blackfin tuna and king mackerel in October.
- Bonito, blackfin tuna, king mackerel, redfish, flounder and whiting in November.
- Winter bonito, flounder, redfish, and sheepshead in December.
Famous Spots for Pier Fishing in America
- Jacksonville Beach Pier in Florida
- Skyway Fishing Pier State Park in Florida
- Oceanic Pier in Maryland
- Galveston Fishing Pier in Texas
- Monterey Municipal Wharf II in California
- Santa Monica Pier in California
- Apache Pier in South Carolina
- Casino Pier in New Jersey
I hope this guide would be useful for you. Thanks for reading. Enjoy your fishing trips.