Beginner's Guide to Pier Fishing

Looking for a new outdoor activity that's simple, fun and easy on the wallet? Look no further than your local pier.

Whether your goal is relaxing with the family or catching your next meal, here are some useful pier fishing tips to help you get the most out of your pier fishing experience.

More: Fishing Tips for the Beginner

Pier Fishing Tip No. 1: The Right Equipment

The first and most important pier fishing tip is terminology. Sinkers, baits, hemostats, J-hooks: don't let it scare you off. With this handy checklist you'll have everything you need to hit the pier. You'll be catching fish in no time.

  • Fishing Rod/Pole: You'll want a basic conventional spinning rod that is 12 to 50-pound tested. (The pound testing number represents the resistance strength of the pole.) You won't be catching any marlins out there, so a fairly light pole will do the trick.
  • Weights/Sinkers: These keep your bait deeper in the water, where the fish dwell. One- or two-ounce weights are the norm.
  • Bait: Popular types of pier fishing bait include bloodworms, shrimp, squid, anchovies and sardines. These should all be available at your local pier or bait shop. Note: Live bait is ideal so try to find a shop that offers this option.
  • Hooks: J-hooks—shaped like the letter J—are the standard type of hook used in pier fishing.
  • Scissors: Anything strong enough to cut through fishing line.
  • Knife: For cutting your bait into the right size for the hook, and for filleting your catch. These can be found at your local fishing supply store.
  • Hemostat/Pliers: Perfect for removing the hooks out of your catch.
  • Tackle Box: A great investment for any first-timer to keep your fishing tools in one place.
  • Bucket: To put your catches in. (Of course.)
  • Picnic Chair: When the fish aren't biting, a chair is a great way to enjoy the scenery.

Key: Some items can be substituted for comparable items lying around the house. You should be able to get everything you need for under $40.

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