Pier fishing is a great activity to have some fun on a slow day. You can relax, have fun, enjoy the sun, and enjoy the glistening waters and stunning catches that nature has to offer. But, how exactly could one land a solid catch from a pier?
The approach should be based on the pier location and the target species to catch a fish from a pier. Apart from suitable gear and components, effective execution when dropping your line in terms of timing, positioning, and casting distance will play a huge role in landing catches.
Pier fishing is excellent for beginner anglers, as you learn how to respect each other’s space as well as tricks of the trade given its confinement. The required equipment is inexpensive and can either be purchased or rented from the local shops.
I’ve gathered some of the most effective tips on how to land a fish from a pier, factors that should be kept in mind, and the equipment you should have on hand.
How Do You Land Fish From A Pier?
When trying to land a fish from a pier, the most critical factors will be when and where you drop your line, as well as the way in which you reel in your rig.
Keeping your rod over the pier so that it doesn’t snag on the pier wall is very important and is a slight detail that some beginners miss.
Although some anglers cast at greater distances, casting only a few feet away or straight down is still beneficial for catching fish from a pier.
The most common forms of fishing from a pier include spinning, float fishing, and feathering – all of which should be approached in similar manners in terms of timing and execution.
Most target fish species that are fished from a pier swim at around 8 – 14 feet beneath the water’s surface, so your hook should be dwelling somewhere within that range – without being too near the surface or the bottom.
Tight lines and glorious catches from a pier will greatly depend on your understanding of the environment, the species being targeted, and your gear with components in relation to these factors.
Every single pier is different, whether it’s freshwater or seawater, they offer varying fishing opportunities, which would need to be considered against your preparation.
When fishing from a pier, knowing when and where to drop your line will play a huge role in the overall outcome of your trip and understand the behavior, movement, and feeding activity of the fish species being targeted.
Piers can be either sandy or rocky, and spending some time with locals in finding out about such factors would be beneficial before going ahead.
But, before the fun pier fishing adventures can begin, you would have to do some homework. Certain fishing permits and licenses should be researched as it may be necessary to attain these before going ahead with your trip.
Also, there are unwritten rules, such as anglers’ etiquette, which will need to be understood in order to have a pleasant and stress-free fishing day.
When To Go Pier Fishing
Remember that fish do not stay in the same area for an extended period. They frequently move around, and you have to time your movements. For success on the pier, your skills and gear add to your success, but your timing is when you throw the line that matters a lot.
So, when should you fish on the pier? It depends on the area and climate you are in. In warmer areas and environments, draw the line at sunset or sundown. This is when you will get lucky.
However, if you are in colder regions, and it is time for winters, trying your luck at dawn or dusk will not be favorable for your enterprise. It is suggested that you throw in the line when the sun is in all its glory.
Pier fishing also depends on the fish in the area. Some species are active during the day and some when the sun goes down. You have to have knowledge of the elements and use them to your advantage.
If the fish are active during the night or you want to catch the early parts of the day, get assurance that you are welcomed at the pier at that time, and there are no regulations against it.
Where To Find Fish
We are tackling the basics of pier fishing one after the other. The top priority is to time your fishing expedition. This is followed by how to find the fish while on the wharf. There are some tricks that you should hold up your sleeve to make the most of your journey.
The most important tidbit to learn is that big fish like deeper waters, and they are often found at the end of the pier. Throw your line further, and you will be able to catch the prize you came to look for.
In addition, if there are drop-offs or rock formations along the shore, these are good places to drop your line. Fish huddle together in these places to hide and to feed, which makes these locations ideal to strike lucky. This statement rings truer if there are predator fish in the area.
One way you can find where the fish are is by looking at where the birds are circling. That is the area where you need to go hunting as well. Follow the predators, and you will find fortune smiling on you.
Which Bait To Choose For Pier Fishing?
We are docked at the right time and are aware of where the fish are, now is the time to strike with the elements in our favor and put your equipment to use.
So, which bait should you use when dropping the line? This is very important as all your preparation can go awry if your selection is not correct.
The most expensive bait is not always the one that you should go for. It can be multi-purpose but always go for a lure that entices the fish you want to catch for optimal performance.
It has to match the fish should be the primary choice, followed closely by the fact that it matches your throwing ambitions. A bait is of no use if you cannot hurl it accurately in the direction of your choice.
If you are unaware of the fish at the pier, ask questions at the local shops. They can guide you on the type of fish in the area and which bait to use while also reinforcing your prior information.
Rules And Regulations Of Pier Fishing
You must be thinking that an activity that seems as simple as sitting on a pier can be so complex. One has to do his homework to make the most of your time, and this is just part of the process.
Usually, you can go to a pier and fish with ease, but not all piers are made some. In some areas, you need a license to fish, while there is a fee for the opportunity in others. These rules are put in place to ensure that overfishing is avoided and to keep a check on the activity.
Fishing on a public pier does not require a fishing license.
These are also done for your own safety. This is why time limits for fishing are in effect. Most of this information is not difficult to have and helps you a long way to plan your day.
There are also restrictions on the number of rods you can place. The limit is two, and you can gauge these were enacted to ensure everyone gets a chance to enjoy.
In addition, always remember to give your fellow anglers enough space to cast without issues. This goes both ways as, during the day, you will be casting regularly and will need similar treatment from your contemporaries.
If you fish in California, you can check the California Department of Fish And Wildlife (CDFW) for more information.
What Equipment Do You Need To Land Fish From A Pier?
Of course, the basic fishing setups will be necessary. Your setup should be based on the size of the fish species being lured, such as a lighter outfit for smaller fish and a medium-heavy outfit for larger fish.
Your casting distance will be the primary influence when determining the length of your rod, as shorter rods at around 6 – 7 ft. would be ideal for dropping bait straight down from the pier, and a 9 – 10 ft. rod would be more suited for casting at greater distances.
The line should ideally be around 20 – 40 pounds, which is suitable for most species roaming around piers, allow fairly decent casting distance, and offer speedy retrieval.
As for sinkers, it would be dependent on the pier since pyramid sinkers are better for sandy bottoms, and bowling pin-shaped bank sinkers are better for fishing around rocky structures.
Drop nets are needed to gather fish from the waters since hauling them up by rod is prohibited in most areas. Gaffs are also useful for this purpose but are only suitable when your catch is being kept and not released since it will severely injure the fish.
Either of these pieces of equipment will most likely be an absolute must when pier fishing. Of course, proper general fishing gear such as tackle bags, suitable baits, and compatible hooks will be necessary.
Tools such as filleting knives for on the spot cleaning, as well as pliers for hook removal and occasionally tangled lines are also useful, and there will be a definitive demand for a sturdy bucket.
Extra gear such as a comfy picnic chair and polarized sunglasses will add an extra comfort level to an already pleasant pier fishing day.