Most saltwater fishermen and women don't own a boat. That's a
simple fact that would seem to limit their ability to fish.
Most of the slick fishing magazines feature articles that
necessarily involve fishing from a boat, and not just any boat
mind you, but one that has all the bells and whistles. Some
fishermen feel relegated to only reading about great fishing
adventures, for in their world, a boat is financially out of
Who Pier Fishes?
But there are those shore bound souls who have chosen
another lot in life. They choose not to be left out of
the fishing scene, and as such they have developed a style and
following all their own. These are the pier fishermen
and women. Some are affectionately referred to as "Pier Rats."
They came in all sizes, all ages, and both sexes. They come
with a variety of tackle, some expensive, some worn and taped
But come they do, with a very special camaraderie.
Pier fishing is an art all its own. The fish, depending on
generally come in waves as a school pass through. And the
really good pier rats know how to get with the action while
the fish are there. Most are bottom fishing, usually with a
multi-hook rig weighted on the bottom Whiting and croaker are
caught two and three at a time. The pier rats have a way of
knowing just how long to wait to get more than one fish hooked
up before reeling in.
Some come for the bigger non-bottom feeding fish like
mackerel or king mackerel. These are the ones at the end of
the pier with all manner of contraptions to get a live bait
floating just under the surface as far off the end of the pier
as possible. I've seen kite rigs that would make
Leonardo daVinci proud. Mostly I've seen the two rod approach
where the fishing rod is set up with the bail open and the
bait is clipped to another lighter rod and cast out. Line
leaves the fishing rod and the bait is placed perfectly many
yards out from the pier. When a fish hits, the bait rod is
yanked free to allow the fisherman to use the big rod for
The Pier Tackle Box
Any manner of containers on wheels can be found on the
pier. After all, the tackle, gear, bait, and rods all
need to be toted. These pier
fishermen have fostered more innovation than people give them
credit for. Many commercial items tailored for the pier
fishermen where simply "stolen" designs put through a
marketing program. The well equipped pier rat can make one
trip from shore to the pier and have everything needed for a
lengthy fishing foray.
What's It Like?
And what about the fish these folks catch? You won't find a
lot of catch and release out here. They want dinner, not
pictures for the wall. They spend their time fishing,
socializing with the regulars, and helping out anyone near
them that appears to need help. The amateurs are easy to spot,
and after having fun watching them for a few minutes, the
regulars are more than willing to help out.
These are indeed a very special breed of fisherperson,
dwellers. They garner a big salute from me for having more
patience, more stamina, and more inventiveness than most any
other fishing group I can think of. Great going Pier Rats!
Keep those line tight!