Pier Fishing Tips & Tricks – How to Catch Fish off a Pier

Pier Fishing Tips

Welcome to our tutorial on Pier Fishing Tips & Tricks. If you are a beginner, we hope this tutorial can help you get started with Pier Fishing. Even if you have some experience, fishing from a pier, we hope this tutorial can help you learn How to Catch Fish off a Pier Like a Pro.

In this tutorial, we will share these Pier Fishing Tips & Tricks:

  • What is Pier Fishing?
  • What is Saltwater Pier Fishing?
  • Pier Fishing Gear
  • Pier Fishing Rod, Reel, and Bait
  • Other Pier Fishing Equipment & Tackle
  • Pier Fishing Tips & Tricks
  • How to Catch Fish off a Pier
  • What is the Best Time to Fish off a Pier

Pier fishing is a sport or an activity that is enjoyed by young and old alike. You can have an enjoyable day out with the family. It is not a rigorous activity that would require strength and stamina. That is why older people can enjoy it as well.

But do not think that you will be only sitting and waiting to catch fish off a pier. It requires expertise and the right techniques to be able to catch the fish. You can make it a regular weekend or holiday activity to enjoy a fun relationship with your family.

So let us get started with our Pier Fishing Tips tutorial.

What is Pier Fishing

Pier fishing is a very popular form of saltwater fishing. It is a fun-filled family activity where you can enjoy knowing and meeting new people. You do not need to own a boat for this kind of fishing. Even expensive fishing equipment is not necessary. You can get started with an affordable yet Best Saltwater Spinning Reel Under 100 and a 9-feet fishing rod to get started.

A pier is a structure supported by pillars, projecting from the shore into the sea or lake. The pillars are built into the bottom of the water to support the platform over water. It is usually made of concrete but in some lakes, wooden piers are also made.

The houses or estates alongside the lake have their own personalized wooden piers where boats are anchored. But public piers are usually made of concrete and steel to support more weight. Normally the pier is incorporated with entertainment for the visitors, like arcades and small places to eat.

However, the most common activity enjoyed by people on the pier is fishing. Pier offers a good and peaceful spot to cast your line and enjoy fishing. The fish will gather near the pillars for food and you can lure them to your bait.

Although freshwater and lakes can have piers as well generally saltwater fishing is considered pier fishing.

What is Saltwater Fishing

The most common and desired pier fishing is done in saltwater. You can also do pier fishing off a pier in lakes but the most common and enjoyed form is saltwater. Pier fishing is more relaxing than lake fishing or any other kind of fishing because it is a combined activity that can be enjoyed by the masses.

You do not need to own a boat or even hire one for pier fishing. If you want to go fishing in lakes and streams, you will require a boat to get to the good spots for fishing. But in pier fishing, the fish gathers near the pier for food and becomes easily accessible.

Pier fishing is enjoyed by the whole family; you can make it a picnic. You can pack food and games and take your whole family along, even young kids. While waiting for the fish to bite your bait, your kids can take a stroll and look at other people catching fish and can learn by observing.

Although it is far easier to fish from a pier, you will need some guidance to get started. You can invest in a pier fishing coach or can ask an experienced friend. It is always wise to learn all the pros and cons before starting any new activity.

Pier Fishing Gear

Typically, if you look at it, you will require all the basic equipment that you need for fishing anywhere. But the variety you require of each item will be more as you will be fishing for more than one type of fish.

Rod and Reel

You will need a good saltwater fishing rod for pier fishing. It is better if you select a sturdy and heavy rod. The length of the rod should be between 6-9 feet, to catch fish near the pier. If you need a recommendation then you can check out the Best Surf Fishing Rods reviews.

There are many options in reels to select from. But saltwater baitcasting reels are most suitable for fishing from the pier. Such reels ensure that fish are not able to jerk away from you after biting your bait. It is good for catching larger-sized fish and allows you to relax and leave your rod till the time fish bites your bait.

Pier Fishing Rigs

Using the right kind of rig is very important for pier fishing. You will have to change the rig according to the fish you want to catch. You can use spinners or a heavy rig with pre-tied hooks. These are some popular rigs for pier fishing.


Sinkers are an important part of fishing equipment. For pier fishing, the preferred sinker is between the sizes of 2oz – 4oz. But for weather problems, you should use a 5-oz. sinker.

The heavier sinkers are not just for the weather but they serve another purpose as well. When you are fishing in a spot where other people are also fishing, it is very important that your lines do not get tangled with each other. Heavier sinkers prevent that from happening.


There is a large variety of fish that you can catch from fishing on the pier. First, you need to know which species of fish are available to catch. This will impact not only your choice of bait but fishing gear as well. E.g. if the fishing area has an abundance of striped bass, then you can buy the Best Spinning Reel for Striper Fishing to improve your odds of catching fish. You can get that information from experienced anglers that frequently fish there. You can ask them about the type of bait you will need to catch your target fish.

Another valuable resource of information is the local bait stores. They can guide you correctly about the bait you would need. Because they would want you to become their regular client, so they would give you reliable information. You can choose artificial bait and live bait depending on the fish you are after.

The selection of bait is a crucial aspect of fishing anywhere, especially pier. For small fish, you can choose from grass shrimp, peeler crabs, bloodworms, etc. and for large fish, you can choose from mud minnows to squids, bunkers, and other cut baits. You will need some extra tackle and a 5-gallon bucket for your bait.

How to Catch Fish off a Pier

For fishing from the pier, you do not need to cast the line far off. The tide and vegetation around the pier gather fish searching for food. So, you do not need to cast your line, just drop it near the pier and you will surely catch fish.

To find a good spot for fishing, observe the seagulls. They know how and where to find the fish. They also know when the fish moves for food and what time is best to catch fish. So just observe them and find out where and when you want to set up your line.

You will be told many times that using live bait is ideal for pier fishing. It is true as live bait can be a good lure for fish but in my experience, artificial bait works best for a variety of fish in pier fishing. If you want to use live bait then do take advice from local bait providers or seasoned anglers. Although any live bait will work fine but to use the best bait according to the fish available near the pier, you should talk around the pier.

Also, look closely for cloudy water which is the spot where clean water meets unclean one. You will find more fish in that area and hopefully will be more successful.

What is the Best Time to Fish off a Pier

The two most popular times are dawn and dusk for pier fishing. Each time has its own advantages. Experienced anglers prefer dawn but dawn means early morning before the break of dawn. You need to cast before the dawn breaks to get the best results. One of the reasons for this is that at that time you will not have much competition as the pier will have less crowded.

The other popular tie is dusk, which is right before sundown. You should arrive at the pier almost half an hour before sundown. Sundown is a popular time slot for fishing, so if you get late you might not get the desired spot especially when the fishing season is at its peak.

Another suitable time is when the tide is getting from low to high. You can ask an experienced angler and he will tell you the same. The reason is probably that the changing tide gives your bait the required movement to lure the fish.

Now coming to the place, the best place for fishing is undoubtedly the place where the fish come to find food. Position yourself where sandbars and breakages are because fish moves around these areas to search for food.

Safety Tips for Fishing from a Pier

Anyone 16 years and above will require a fishing license to fish anywhere. But there are some free public piers where you do not need a permit or a license to fish. They are open to all but you need to follow the basic rules about safety and the timings of the fishing season. Even on public piers, you cannot fish for commercial purposes.

You need to follow all the required safety rules and regulations. They are usually posted on the pier, make sure you read and follow all of them. You should never jump into the water as it can dangerous and you can get seriously injured. Do not try to cross the fence or wiring or any hindrance that is installed there to protect people from falling into the water.

If you are with your family which includes small children, make sure they are never left unattended. If you have older children with you, make sure you read all the regulations for them and ask them to follow them.

Another important thing you need to protect your face and skin is sunscreen lotion or cream. You should know which strength you require so it works best for you. You should also carry a fishing rain jacket so that you can continue fishing even if it rains all day.


Select the right gear, bait, time, and spot for fishing from the pier. baitcasting rods and reels are most suited for pier fishing. But if you are keen on using a spinning rod and reel, then you can check out the Best Saltwater Spinning Reel Under 200  that we recommend.

There are no strict specifications about what equipment you need. After finding a good spot and suitable time, bait your line and cast. You do not have to cast far from the pier. Just drop your line and wait for the fish to bite.

When the fish bites and you feel the pull, steady your pole, and try to keep it stable. Now smoothly and quickly reel your line in. Keep the pole straight so that the fish will not hit the pier wall or railing.

The fish will try to get away from you, so you need to be quick to respond and make sure you hold the fishing pole strongly. Pier fishing is not just a hobby or an activity that you enjoy; it is about getting a break from your tedious life and work. It is about getting a day off to enjoy yourself with your children and family or friends.

Pier fishing also gives you an opportunity to meet new people and socialize. You can even get some great pier fishing tips from seasoned anglers fishing at the pier.

We hope you found this article informative and helpful. If you want to share your pier fishing tips and tricks, then use the comments section.

Last Updated on December 9, 2023 by Victor Mays

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