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Pier Fishing Tips

Last Updated: November 27th, 2020
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Pier fishing can be a very rewardable and productive way of fishing from shore. I have participated in several pier fishing outings and have caught some of my biggest fish off a pier. There are often pier fishing techniques and courtesies that every angler must follow. Below we will first dive into the pier fishing courtesies that every angler must understand and abide by, and then later review the techniques to improve your pier fishing.

Gear Up For Pier Fishing

Spinning reels are common in pier-fishing because they handle wind better than alternatives.

Depending on the species and technique, you’ll see everything from the longest surf rods to short stiff saltwater rods designed to fight monsters. 

Both extremes are easy to justify. Even on a pier that gives you prime access to the trough beyond the surf, you might want ultra-long casts to beat the fishing pressure. And in deep water where the big fish hunt the pilings for prey, I’ve seen impressive fighters that would break most rods landed through a combination of skill and heavy tackle.

But most of us chase flounder and fluke, croaker, specks, pompano, reds, and other inshore species that don’t demand specialized tackle.

For that, I recommend a medium power, fast action inshore spinning rod in the neighborhood of 7 ½ feet. You want a long, comfortable handle, good guides, and plenty of sensitivity to detect light strikes.

Among my favorites, you’ll find the St. Croix Mojo Inshore. A dream to cast with a fight-winning blank, it’s as good a rod as you’ll ever find for this kind of angling. Pair it with an awesome Daiwa BG inshore spinning reel, and you’ve got a wind-busting combo that’ll outperform nearly anything else.

Pier Fishing Courtesy

I will highlight a few pier fishing courtesies below that you as an angler are expected to understand:

  • Don't cast over of anglers lines- there is no worse feeling than reeling in a rats nest full of tangled line and lures. You sure won’t make any friends doing this and it will consume valuable fishing time and effort.
  • Fishing capacity- Most anglers tend to gravitate to the end of the pier to fish. If you see that the end of the pier is pretty crowded, do not force your way in. Fish the sides until room is made if you desire to fish off the end.
  • Don't litter- there is nothing worse than littering or leaving your garbage behind. Pick up after yourself and respect the area you fish.
  • Fish on courtesy- if an angler close by lands a fish, you must reel in. I have seen it too many times where an angler lands a monster and it ends up crossing lines and causing a disaster in which the angler can easily lose the fish in. My advice is to reel it in and grab a net, if you catch a fish they will be sure to support you back.

Pier Fishing Techniques

Below I will highlight some pier fishing techniques that will be sure to help you catch more fish!

  • Understand the current and surrounding underwater terrain- it is vital to understand the flow of the current so you can properly position yourself to play the current to your advantage. Fish often feed on current lines so be sure to target these areas. Familiarize yourself with the underwater terrain in which you are casting into. Are there and drops or holes in which you can target, are there weed or rock beds, what is the best depth to set your lure?
  • Jig close by- most anglers often cast far out but never seem to want to jig next to the peer. I have caught countless fishing right in front of me by jigging up and down.
  • Fish the sides- most anglers crowd to the end of a pier and never pay attention to the sides. The sides are often less congested and can hold just as many fish.
  • Landing a fish- before you start fishing understand how you will land your catch. Can you use a drop net or walk it to shore? Have a plan in place so you aren’t panicking when you reel that monster to shore.
About The Author
Pete D
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pete grew up fishing on the Great Lakes. When he’s not out on the water, you can find him reading his favorite books, and spending time with his family.
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