Most anglers would agree that some of the best fishing experiences you can get is from a fishing pier. Despite the fact that pier fishing seems like a relatively simple technique that anyone can do, pier fishing consists of more than just dropping a line and waiting for fish to bite it. However, the more knowledge you gain around the aspects of pier fishing, the more capable you will be at ensuring that you have a memorable experience. Let's take a look at some tricks and tips to consider when it comes to pier fishing for beginners.
Understand The Environment
Fishing piers are built in various sizes, colors, architectural features and shapes. But, the one thing they all have in common is that they attract a wide variety of different fish. Many people overlook the environmental aspect of the pier, yet it is the most critical aspect to become aware of. When you fish at a pier, you are at the mercy of it, in the sense that you can't just move down the beach or go to another location. The domain where you are able to fish, lies beneath and around the pier.
As a result of this, any beginner who strives to get a successful experience, should know as much about the pier itself in addition to the tackle, bait and techniques which are ideal for piers.As far as the pier's environment goes, most piers attract fish because their pilings get covered with sea spiders, muscles, barnacles, blood-worms and various other creatures that serve as food for small fish. When small fish gather around the pier's pilings to consume these tiny sea creatures, they end up attracting bigger fish. The main thing to remember about this, is that as a beginner, you should fish close to the pier, as opposed to operating like you're in a casting contest.
Another thing to consider in regards to the environment around the pier is the base that's under the pier. For instance, is the pier located over mud, rock or sand? Are there any artificial reefs around the pier? If the base consists of sand, are the rocks nearby or scattered under it? By answering these questions you will get a good idea of the type of fish you can catch.
When To Fish
Once you've gained enough knowledge about the pier you wish to fish from, the next thing you'll need to know is when to actually fish from a pier. When it's all said and done, all the equipment and skill in the world will mean nothing if the fish aren't even there. So the question that lies to be answered is when should you fish from the pier?
Most fishermen would agree that the best time for pier fishing is sundown or early in the morning. This is because, the moving tides which occur in the evening and morning, attract an abundance of bait fish to the pier, this in turn attracts bigger fish. However, it's also worth noting that there are a few exceptions to this rule. If you live in areas which experience frigid temperatures, fish will be more active during the day, than at dusk or dawn. And, in some warmer climates, you can get away with fishing after dark. In fact, certain species of fish in warmer climates are especially active after the sun sets
How To Choose Your Fishing Spot On The Pier
Just because the pier attracts fish, that doesn't mean the entire pier is an ideal spot to start fishing. Ideally, when it comes to choosing where to fish when you're on the pier, you should see if there are any drop offs, rock formations or any other type of underwater structure. This is because fish tend to feed or hide near underwater structures like rock formations. In addition to this, some predatory fish swim higher up in the water when they are chasing their prey. While we are not able to see this, birds are able to see it. So, if you notice that birds are circling a specific area, you can be rest assured that you will find some amazing catches by focusing on that same area.
Ideal Pier Fishing Bait
When it comes to bait, you may assume that buying the most expensive thing you can find would give you the best results. In all actuality, as mentioned above, you need to learn about the environment that lies beneath the pier. Once you have an idea of what critters are found at the pier, you can get bait that are similar to what's found at the pier. This would be ideal, as the fish will react to bait that is akin to what they consume on a regular basis. Fortunately, most piers feature their own bait and tackle shops. Being familiarized with the pier's environment they provide bait that is naturally found around the pier such as shrimp, squid, anchovies, sardines and blood-worms just to name a few. The key thing to remember with this is that bait and tackle shops located near piers, will definitely have inside scoops on the types of baits that other customers have had success with.
Upon going to the pier, you will come across several signs about the official rules of the pier. However, to ensure that you get the best experience possible, especially as a beginner, you need to be aware of 3 unwritten rules regarding angler etiquette. Some of those are:
Clean your spot once you're finished.
Don't leave your gear or catch on deck while you're away, such as to go to the bathroom.
Give other anglers an adequate amount of space to cast their rod.
Fishing Gear Some of the type of gear you should consider include:
Bucket - If you want to keep the fish you catch, you need a bucket.
Gaff or Drop Net - Most states have strict laws about how fishermen can haul their catch. In fact, most states prohibit you from hauling your catch to the deck with your rod. To bring your fish unto the deck, you need a gaff or drop net. However, bare in mind that gaffs can cause significant injury to the fish, so only use them if you plan on keeping your catch.
Filleting Knife - Virtually, every fishing pier has a station you can use to clean your catch. If you plan to consume your catch for dinner, it's highly recommended that you fillet and clean them right then and there.
Picnic Chair - For the moments where you receive little to no activity, you'll want to sit down comfortably.
Polarized Sunglasses - Even though it may not seem like it, a good pair of high quality polarized sunglasses can mean the difference between an empty bucket and an amazing experience. Polarized sunglasses block glare which emanates from the surface of the water. This will enable you to spot fish more easily.
As a beginner, pier fishing can prove to be a more affordable, convenient and fun way to get into the hobby of fishing in general in comparison to ice fishing, shoreline fishing and jon boat fishing. With an abundance of fish to catch, with like minded individuals to whom you can socialize with, fishing from a pier is an awesome way to get into fishing as a beginner.