Gear for Beginner Pier Fishermen

pierPiers are a great hot spot for a variety of fish species. When I lived in Indiana, it was actually one of the most popular hangouts for anglers from the area. Salmon, smallmouth, perch—all were plentiful off the piers around Lake Michigan. Today we’ll take a look at some of the key pieces of gear you’ll need if you’re thinking of heading to a pier in your neck of the woods.

With plenty of tackle to keep on hand—not to mention the sheer length of your average pier—perhaps the most helpful piece of pier gear is a reliable fishing cart to get your gear from the parking lot all the way to the end of the pier. Available at outdoor retailers and local bait shops alike, these carts are typically equipped with wheels, a handle, built-in rod holders, and storage space for a cooler so you can hold food, drinks, bait, or even use as a seat.

If you wish to forego a fishing cart, I’d bring along a comfortable chair to make the time in between strikes a little easier on your body. Lightweight, foldable chairs are great for this, as ar camping chairs, which are designed to be compact and sturdy. Also, without the fish cart, you can use PVC rod holders to place rods wherever you choose.

With a considerable distance between the pier and the water below, a long handled landing net is a must-have for lifting big fish from the water. You don’t want to risk losing the fish by trying to swing it upwards of ten feet or more, so a long net helps immensely. I find telescoping models to be best, due to how much easier they are to store and carry.

As any experienced angler will tell you, live bait is always a guaranteed strike attractor. On the pier, live bait will help you get an edge on anglers using lures from the pier. For this reason, a bait bucket with an aerator is key. This will keep your bait alive all day long on the pier. It’s smart to keep a small bait net with you, as well, so you can easily scoop bait for rigging

I’d also bring a hand towel to clean your hand when they get fishy, and warm clothes to stand up against the wind exposure you’ll face on the pier. Lastly, be sure to bring a little respect and courtesy towards your fellow anglers. Piers need to be shared, so respect someone’s fishing spot and move along even if you’re favorite location is taken. A little kindness goes a long way.