Pier Fishing Tips

This page was put together to help anglers become more skilled at fishing from a pier. Here you will learn everything you the need to know about pier fishing. Along with the educational information you’ll also get to read some of the best pier fishing tips that will help you become a better fisherman. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been pier fishing for years or are just starting out, the information below will be useful to you.


Pier Fishing Basics

Pier FishingPier fishing is the fishing technique of fishing off a pier. A pier is best describe as a raised structure over water that is supported by spread piles or pillars. Depending on the type of pier, water might be able to flow right through it or it may act as a breakwater. You can fish from a pier in both saltwater and freshwater in virtually any type of body of water. One of the biggest benefits of pier fishing is that you have the ability to reach certain depths of a body of water that can’t be reached via shore. Fish find piers useful for finding food or avoiding predators.

Fishing on a PierSome piers are famous for their quality of fishing, such as the horseshoe pier in Chicago which is known for its perch fishing. There are a few different types of piers built today, such as working piers, pleasure piers and fishing piers. A downside to fishing off of a pier is the effects of pollution. Piers can have water that has higher levels of pollution around them. You should always follow your local or state department’s recommendation on the amount of fish that should be eaten in the area you are fishing in. At peak fishing times and seasons fishing piers can be packed with fishermen shoulder to shoulder.

Pier Fishing Tips, Tricks and Tactics

We can all use a few good tips to improve our fishing skills and the below tips can help out any fisherman. Our tips aren’t specific to any species of fish but are rather an overall strategy to improve your chances of catching a fish from a pier.

  • Watch the Birds – Seagulls and other types of birds that hang around the pier are a great way to see where fish might be. They tend to know local fish movements and patterns at specific times of the day. Who ever thought a seagull could be so useful?
  • You Don’t Need to Cast – One of the best parts about pier fishing is that you don’t need to cast out far to find fish. They usually like to hang around the pier, so try dropping your line right by the pier and work your way out until you find some fish.
  • Locate or Create Underwater Structures – Submerged structures near or along a pier can be a great hiding place for fish. Where applicable some anglers will actually sink stuff along a pier and come back weeks later to fish it. Before you try this method, you should first make sure that it’s legal to do it. Secondly, never use anything that can poison or pollute the water. That real Christmas tree might have some use after all.
  • Artificial Bait Works – Many people will tell you that artificial bait doesn’t work for this style of fishing, but these people just haven’t found the right lure. The Gotcha lure is a type that works exceptionally well.
  • The Right Live Bait – Choosing the right bait is a vital part to being successful when fishing on a pier. While some standard baits will always work, you’ll want to ask some locals or the local tackle and bait shop what works best on the pier you plan on fishing from. Never introduce live bait that isn’t allowed by law and never dump live bait into the water after you’re done.
  • Polarized Sunglasses – A good pair of polarized sunglasses will give you a big advantage. It will allow you to see through the water and locate fish.
  • Look for Cloudy Water – You can usually find fish hanging out where cloudy water meets clear water.

Pier Fishing Tackle and Equipment

Pier fishing requires some special tackle and equipment. Below is just a basic equipment list to use. This is not a complete list and standard fishing tackle is left out to keep your eye on the important pier related gear.

Note: The links below are Amazon affiliate links. If you make a purchase, then I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Pier Fishing Tackle» Fishing rod between 6′ and 9′
» Saltwater spinning reel (make sure it’s corrosion resistant)
» 10 to 15 lbs of monofilament fishing line
» Circle Hook Rig
» Pyramid weights or egg sinker weights
» Bridge Net
» Fishing cart with front wheels


Pier Fishing Safety

When fishing from a pier you’ll want to follow the simple safety precautions to make sure that you’ll have a good experience. First and foremost, always follow all posted rules and regulations for the pier you’re fishing on. Never try to cross or hang over fencing, wire or structures used to prevent access to the water. Never jump into the water near a pier as the waves can bash you into the side and it may be hard to climb back up. Make sure there isn’t any time or date limits that can prevent you from fishing on the pier. Lastly, never leave young children you’re fishing with unattended on the pier.