Spring has officially sprung, which means that it’s time to head outside and enjoy everything nature has to offer. While group activities may be off-limits for now, there are still plenty of activities you can enjoy on your or with your immediate family. Consider pier fishing, which has many benefits, and is a great way to participate in saltwater fishing specifically.

If you’re debating between pier fishing and heading out on the boat, consider that fishing from the pier is often the more affordable option, especially if you don’t own a boat. In South Carolina, for example, the piers built specifically for fishing charge a lower fee than other kinds of saltwater fishing. In other states, you may even find piers that are free to fish from. Plus, fishers can avoid having to purchase a saltwater fishing license from a registered pier.

Don’t get me wrong, on average you will not catch nearly as many fish from a pier then from a boat which can move to where the fish are on any given day. That said, from the right pier and using the right techniques you do have an opportunity to catch most species of saltwater fish you would otherwise target from a boat. 

Although a great opportunity to fish, pier fishing differs from boat fishing or even fishing from land. For example, fish such as tautog and sheepshead, tend to congregate around supports and other structures that become encrusted with organisms. In addition to this, the tide impacts whether you want to fish close to a structure. Flounder are among the fish that stay away from supports when the tide is strong but come nearer with a weak tide.

Many fishers opt for bait rigs over lure fishing to catch the fish that are close to the supports. The closer you can get the rig to the structure, the better. You must be prepared to act quickly as soon as you get a bite.

If you’re not getting any bites, try casting around 25 feet up-current from where you expect the fish to be. You can then work the lure closer to the fish. You can also move to the left or right to cast your line up and across at a 45-degree angle before working your lure where the fish can see it.

Consider a lighter lead-head jig that will be moved by the current, which you’ll want to use to your advantage when pier fishing. A soft tail and the right motion give the impression of a baitfish and can increase the chances that your pier fishing excursion is successful.