Shore bound anglers can add a little adventure to their next fishing trip by visiting an east coast fishing pier. Anglers may pay a small fee to fish but it is usually reasonable and other conveniences like the availability of restrooms, bait, and tackle make it well worthwhile.
From Jacksonville to Fort Lauderdale fishing piers are a great place to catch snook, tarpon, cobia, blue fish, Spanish mackerel, whiting, pompano, flounder, trout, kingfish, and more. Even sailfish have been reported caught from piers.
The Fishing Pier on Jacksonville Beach stretches for about a quarter of a mile into the Atlantic Ocean. It is a family friendly pier and wheel chair accessible. Facilities include a concession and bait shop.
The Cocoa Beach Pier includes four bars and three restaurants to keep anglers and tourists comfortable while fishing or watching a rocket launch. Rods and reels can be rented on the pier.
There are plenty more piers, all with various sorts of amenities, for anglers to try. Click here for more locations.
Although many avid pier fishermen do have special equipment for pier fishing, don’t think you have to have special equipment to have a good day on a pier. According to Joe Dionne of the Jacksonville Beach Pier Dot Com, “Plenty of fish can be caught from a pier using a 7 foot rod and a matching spinning reel.”
Joe advises anglers to spool the reel with 12 to 20 pound test line, add a leader, and then 12 to 16 inches of shock leader. Add a sinker to hold the bait in the current and add 1/0 to 2/0 circle hooks. Since you are fishing in the surf your terminal tackle should fit the existing current and wind conditions. If wind and current are mild rig up with a 2 ounce pyramid sinker. For rougher conditions use a 4 ounce sinker.
Joe likes to use a plastic slider attached to the mainline for the sinker. Joe says, “You want the sinker to freely slide up and down the line.” This technique allows a fish to pick up the bait and swim away without much resistance. The fish is less likely to drop the bait and the angler is more likely to hookup.
Joe also has a little secret to spice up the rig. He adds a small bead to the 12 to 16 inch leader before tying on the circle hook. The bead will rest above the eyelet of the hook. He says, “The bead is suppose to resemble fish eggs and its purpose is to attract the fish to the bait. Green and orange beads seem to work best.”
Favorite pier baits include cut mullet or other cut bait, frozen, and live shrimp. Just remember, you are using circle hooks so don’t set the hook. When you get a bite, just start reeling.
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Angler Alert: Don’t forget to log you catch online at the Angler Action Program.