10 May Fishing from piers is easy
Fishing from piers is easy…and if you follow a few simple guidelines you can catch a shed full of fish.
Pier fishing isn’t my favorite method of fishing because it can be pretty crowded at times…but it lets you get out into some deep water that can hold just about anything!
The more you fish your local or favourite pier the more you know how to tackle up, what fish are around and what baits to use…
I was on a pier at Port Douglas, Queensland, when anglers began arriving in the late afternoon…I didn’t know the area and had no idea why they all came at the same time… until the chaos started and fish were being caught everywhere.
These seasoned anglers knew exactly what conditions, in that spot, would bring on the fish and they were there to fill their buckets with everything that swam.
I never had a favourite pier but I learned how to fish them….and after I taught my youngest son how to fish piers we used to have a bit of a laugh when we went…
…it was funny to see a 9 year old kid pulling in more than the adults around him…
…one time a bus load of Japanese tourists shuffled onto the pier and filmed him in action as he proudly lifted his catch for a photo!
The great thing about piers is their structure and depth.
You don’t need a boat to get to the deeper water and the pier is a man-made hiding place for fish.
Piers can also bring in some seriously big fish at certain times.
Big predators sometimes visit after dark and I know one game fisherman who targets sharks during big storms and high winds…and sometimes catches them!
He drags a chair, game rod holder and a stack of gear to the end of the pier, sometimes in the middle of the night, in the hope of bringing in monsters…and it gets pretty exciting when he hooks into the big ones. His list of catches includes very big gummy sharks, Seven Gill sharks and one real unhappy Bronze Whaler!
OK… that’s kind of “extreme fishing” you probably won’t do on your first pier visit so we’ll look at something a bit simpler.
You can use a few methods on piers depending on the fish you target:
-You can fish the bottom and this will catch everything ranging from whiting and parrot fish to leather jackets and bream.
-You can use a float which will pull in garfish and the occasional small mullet.
-You can use a squid jig to pull in these superb tasting fish…
…then there are the big specimens that cruise by when the conditions are right….salmon, snapper, gummy shark, .. the list goes on.
Just about every fish that lives in, or visits, the bay will swim past a pier at some point.
So….what you catch depends on a number of different things – tide, time of day, rig, bait, depth of water, weather and some more technical stuff like barometric pressure, moon phase and fish habits….
… this all gets a bit SILLY so you can ignore most of that and go with the basics….
Target fish, rig, bait and tide!
The thing to know about piers is there’s usually a group of fish that live there full time. Parrot fish, leather jackets, mullet and others can make it their home and not normally move too far away at any time….then there are the visitors which is all the others and they will visit when conditions suit them…a rising tide is one of those conditions.
So if you want to “get amongst the fish” you have to do a few things right…
To get the best from a pier do a bit of research on the best fishing times and the types of fish you can catch.
If you just visit a pier as part of a holiday and don’t know much about it then talk to the locals and the tackle store about the best fishing.
With your gear…don’t go too heavy! Most fish caught will be reasonably small…anything over 2kgs is a surprise catch so gear up with this in mind.
The next thing you need to be prepared for is “smart fish”!
…yes, pier fish can be pretty smart….experience has taught them to run from anything that doesn’t look right…’cos it usually has a hook in it…
…any fish that’s been around for a while will be harder to catch and since sooooo many people fish from piers the fish get pretty “shy” when they see bait…and hooks!
To get past shy fish just do a few simple things;
Use a light outfit. All you need is a light to medium rod, 2 to 2.2 m long (you don’t want something too long that hits the people walking on the pier) and reel fitted with 2 to 5kg line- going lighter than 2kg might help hook more fish but you have to lift them out of the water and this can cause your line to break…
…also pier pylons with muscles and other stuff on them will cut very light line.
Use small hooks. Some fish, especially leather jackets have small mouths. You want hooks they can easily get in their mouths. I usually start with size 10 and move smaller or larger depending on what bites.
…yes, I know I say that in every blog but it really “gets them fish in!”
You’ll improve your chances if you use it. Make up some from breadcrumbs, add some tuna oil and a bit of cut up bait and you’ll get them feeding.
If the tide is really moving through then use a berley cage or berley “bomb” lowered to the bottom near your bait.
Carry a variety of baits. I usually take about 4 different types. Pippie, prawns, sandworm or silver fish, bread or dough are a good selection…you just have to work out what the fish want.
Finally…the pier is structure….use it!
Fish love to hide and feed in structure so they’ll be close to it…so don’t cast away from it.
Drop your bait straight down. This will get you close to where the fish will be hiding or visiting….
… and if you’ve done a bit or research, know what the likely fish are, work the incoming tide, know what baits to use and have light gear…
…you could be on a “blinder” of a fishing day.