Different types of fishing seem to exist in an entirely separate world from each other. While they all fall within the realm of the sport, each style requires its own distinct technique, mindset, and gear. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, (unless you enjoy them all, which may be a little hard on your wallet). In fact, it does a lot to establish communities within the fishing world of enthusiasts who share an interest in a specific style of fishing. This is especially true of pier fishing, which demands a lot from its anglers. Pier fishermen have the sport down to a science, and if you’re interested in giving this style a try, then keep reading to learn what tackle you’ll need to put together your own set of gear for the pier.
If you’ve ever visited a beach with a pier, then you’ve undoubtedly noticed fishermen there pulling carts adorned with rods, nets, coolers, and/or buckets. Perhaps the most useful element in a pier fisherman’s gear is the cart, which comes in handy on long piers, where carrying all the necessary tackle would be incredibly cumbersome. Tackle shops or outdoor retailers near big water, where piers are prevalent, will carry these carts. Bass Pro Shops, for instance, offers three different sizes of such a cart.
When pier fishing, coolers can be multifunctional blessings. Not only can they be used to keep your lunch cold, but they work well to preserve bait and any fish you catch throughout the day. Soft coolers with a strap are convenient for those anglers without the use of a pier cart because of their ability to be stored in places otherwise inaccessible to hard coolers. If you have willing fishing buddies, however, a hard cooler works just fine, and can also double as a chair if need be.
There are instances when the distance between you and the water makes it difficult to land fish without a little help. This is where a long-handled net, or even a gaff, come in handy. Trying to lift a fish even a few feet can be damaging to your tackle, not to mention the fish, and a quality net or gaff that spans such a distance and helps you contain your catch is a priceless companion. Speaking of nets, if you’re fishing a pier where baitfish tend to school within reach, then a bait net might not be a bad idea. Not only will it save you money, but it will also ensure that you’re using the natural bait that the local fish feed on.
The specific tackle—rod, reel, lures, etc.—will of course vary depending on where you fish and what you’re fishing for, but to start off on the right foot, the aforementioned items are the foundation of a good pier setup. I’d also suggest bringing along two rod and reel combos, as many pier anglers float two at a time and pull in fish as they get bites. Most importantly, be safe and keep a constant eye on the weather. Piers are notorious for being overwhelmed by rogue waves during storms and many anglers have lost their lives while fishing. As fun as it may be, hold off on a trip to the pier if bad weather’s on the way. The fish will still be there tomorrow.