Pier fishing is a great way to spend time outdoors. If you want to catch fish without having to get wet, pier fishing is a great way to do so but you’ll need some equipment and knowledge of the pier fishing etiquette. Learn the basics of pier fishing and the unwritten rules before heading out in this post.
Pier Fishing Zones
The best place to find information about pier fishing zones and regulations is with your local bait shop or tackle store. They can tell you what type of fish are in that area, how many pounds per day they allow for each species, and whether it’s legal to use live bait. You may also be able to talk to someone who has fished there recently.
If you’re not sure if you have permission to fish on a particular pier, ask first. It’s illegal to fish without proper permits.
How to Fish a Pier
Before you head out to fish, make sure you know the rules. Here are some things to keep in mind so you and your fellow angler will have a good time:
- Don’t touch any part of the pier that is off limits. This includes poles, lines, lures, and even bait of other anglers. This is a common courtesy that should be extended to you as well.
- Keep children away from the water. While kids can make great anglers they can also cause problems with nearby anglers.
- Never throw anything into the water. Don’t litter your own fishing spot. Some piers do allow throwing carcasses back into the water. You’ll need to check with your pier rules to be sure.
- Always follow all safety precautions when using a pier.
- Make sure you have enough food and drink to last the entire fishing trip. On many public fishing piers there may not be food and water available for purchase.
Pier Fishing Gear
If you are planning to go fishing at some point, then you should consider buying some pier fishing gear for the best pier fishing experience. This includes things like rods, reels, lures, hooks, sinkers, floats, etc. These items can be purchased online or at local stores. You’ll also need to make sure you have the correct fishing license or fishing permits for the pier you are fishing. Some piers will sell daily pier fishing permits at the start of the pier.
Keep in mind for many states you’ll need separate fresh water and saltwater fishing licenses. On some privately owned fishing piers you may not even need a license. Be sure to check with your local natural resources department to be sure.
Etiquette on the Pier
Whether you’re visiting the beach or the boardwalk, etiquette is something we all need to remember when enjoying ourselves. Here are some tips to follow so that everyone has a pleasant visit.
1. Be Respectful of Others’ Space
Be respectful of others’ space. Don’t block walkways or obstruct access to public facilities. When walking along the pier, stay out of the path of moving vehicles.
2. Watch Out for Children
Children love to run around and play, but watch out for little ones who may dart across the road unexpectedly. Always look before crossing the street.
3. No Smoking
Smoking is prohibited on most boardwalks and piers today. Even if it isn’t don’t be around others smoking.
4. Leave No Trace and Clean Up After Yourself
Leave only footprints behind. Packaging and trash left behind after a day at the beach or boardwalk can harm marine life and damage the environment.
5. Stay Safe at all Times
Always wear sunscreen and bring water. Never leave children unattended near the ocean.
6. Keep the Pier Etiquette but also Have Fun!
Have fun and enjoy yourself. Enjoying the beach or boardwalk doesn’t mean taking things too seriously. Relax and let go of stress.
Keep off the rails when cleaning bait or catches
Most piers have a cleaning station or two located on the pier or at the start of the pier. Many times these cleaning stations are free to use and have a water supply to help with cleaning your catch. Cutting up fish or bait on top of the railing should not be done. No one wants to lean over the railing only to find it’s covered in fish entrails.
Cast Carefully When on the Pier
As any seasoned fisherman knows, the key to a good catch is in the cast. When you’re out on the pier, casting your line into the water, you need to be careful of other around you. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a tangled mess – and no fish! So, when you’re casting your line from the pier, be sure to keep a clear space between your line and other people and their riggings. That way, you’ll have a better chance of making a clean cast – and landing a fish or two!
Get out of the way if someone has a large fish such as a King Mackerel
It’s not worth getting hit by the swinging fish or getting tangled in the line. Also, be careful of hooks that are being cast out. It’s easy to get hooked by accident. Many times larger fish will take longer to reel in and catch. This can mean the fish will swim up and down beside the pier making it more difficult to catch. If someone has a large fish hooked and reeling them in, pull up your lines and get out of their way.
Don’t Leave Your Gear Unattended
When you’re done fishing for the day or just want to stop and grab some lunch, make sure to pack up your gear and take it with you. Leaving your gear on the pier can be tempting, especially if you’re tired, but it’s not worth the risk. If you leave your gear unattended, it could be stolen or damaged by high winds or waves. So play it safe and take your gear with you when you go.
Respect the Regular Anglers
The regulars on the pier are usually the most experienced fishermen around. They know all the best spots and they have all the best gear. So, when you’re fishing on the pier, be sure to respect the regulars.
If you’re new to fishing, or if you’re just visiting the pier, be sure to ask the regulars for advice. They’ll be more than happy to help you out and give you some tips on how to catch fish.
But, above all else, remember to respect the regulars on the pier. They’ve earned their spot there, and they deserve your respect.
Biggest Pier Fishing Mistakes
1. Not Checking the Tide Tables
One of the biggest pier fishing mistakes is not checking the tide tables before heading out. This can ruin your entire day, as you could end up fishing during a time when the fish aren’t biting. Make sure to check the tide tables so you know when the best times to fish will be.
2. Not Wearing Sun Protection
Another mistake that people make when pier fishing is not wearing any sun protection. This can lead to getting sunburned, which will make your day even less enjoyable. Make sure to apply sunscreen and wear a hat or sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays.
3. Not Bringing Enough Food and Water for each Angler
If you’re planning on spending a full day pier fishing, then you need to make sure you bring enough food and water. Otherwise, you’ll end up getting hungry and thirsty, which will again ruin your day. Make sure to pack plenty of snacks and drinks so you can stay hydrated and fueled throughout the day.
4. Not Using the Right Baits for your fishing trip
One final mistake that people make when pier fishing is not using the right baits. If you’re not using bait that the fish are attracted to, then you’re not going to catch anything. Do some research beforehand so you know what kind of bait to use for the fish you’re hoping to catch.
Avoid making these mistakes and you’re sure to have a great time pier fishing!