Everything You Need to Know about Pier Fishing

Each pier, like every river, lake, and ocean, attracts a variety of species.

Atlantic Ocean piers will attract striped bass, flounder, and black sea bass. Bay or sound docks will be visited by croakers, weakfish, and striped bass. River piers attract bass, perch, and catfish.

These fish are attracted to the piers because crabs, sand eels, shrimp, and other small baitfish are attracted to the food particles under or near the pier.

The best time to fish is either in the early morning or at sundown because moving tides attract a lot of baitfish to the pier area at that time.

People who regularly pier fish claim the biggest biters are at the end of the pier. However, fish can also be found in drop-off areas, rock formations, or near underwater structures.

But getting your catch from the water to your bucket requires planning and execution that is different from boat fishing.

Here’s what you need to know.

Start with Your Equipment Checklist


You will need:

  • Basic rod and reel outfit with medium action spinning
  • 20-30 pound line
  • A cooler for food and beverages
  • A Fish Cooler
  • Tackle Box
  • Rags
  • Bucket
  • Bait Board
  • Knife
  • Pliers
  • Tape Measure
  • Appropriate clothing, including a hat and sunglasses

All of this can be transported from your car to the pier with a wagon or fishing cart.


Rigs and Lures


The Carolina Rig works well for pier fishing because it has a streamlined setup, and the bait exhibits natural movement.

The Sabiki rig is sometimes used, depending on the pier conditions. They can be jigged as is or tipped with tiny pieces of bait.

A modified paternoster works well when the tide is not running.

For pier fishing, basic lures work well, including bucktail jigs, metal jigs, and surface poppers.




Most piers have a bait and tackle shop where you can find a variety of options. Before buying anything, ask the proprietor what baits have been working lately.

However, if your pier doesn’t have a shop near or on it, crab, mussel, or worm bait usually will attract the fish you want to catch.




If you have never tried pier fishing before, give it a shot! We recommend visiting a famous fishing pier such as the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park in St. Petersburg, Florida, the Ocean City Fishing Pier in Ocean City, Maryland, or the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California. It’s a great way to be near the water and even have fun with your kids!


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