For two months, bottomfishing has been closed to boat based anglers here in Southern California. The primary species of bottomfish here are rockfish January and February are their primary spawning period for this popular family of fish. The closure is designed to allow them to breed unmolested in order to help ensure the long term viability of the species. I’m all for it. This weekend was supposed to be the opener. Only problem is that storms bringing wind, rain, and heavy swells have put a damper on the occasion. In response, I thought I’d spend a bit of time fishing from the shore… off the sand, jetties, or the pier.
Pier fishing isn’t just for the newly initiated. It can be fun even for seasoned anglers like myself. In this article from the Outdoors Guy, you’ll find great tips for pier success in South Florida.
If you’ve never fished off a pier, I suppose you don’t really know what you’re missing, so I’m here to tell you. Whether you choose to pier fish during the day under the hot Florida sun, or take advantage of a warm night on a pier in the north Atlantic, you never know what you may catch, which is part of the attraction. Unlike surf fishing, or casting your rod from the deck of a chartered boat, pier fishing allows you and possibly your family (kids love it) to spend time at your ‘camp’, dropping your lines (you’ll want to drop them, rather than cast when out on a pier since the fish prefer to stick close by), having some lunch, reading a book, enjoying your iPod, and reveling in what the other anglers around you are reeling in.
Most piers, or rather those intended/expected for fishing, have a small ledge for you to cut your bait on, the piers are usually equipped with a few benches scattered here and there (depending on the region you are in) and there is typically a wash station nearby as well. Because not all piers have benches, or if they do, chances are they will be full, plan on bringing a chair in addition to a cooler for your catch. Be prepared with plenty to drink; the last thing you want is to ruin a nice day of pier fishing with dehydration and you certainly don’t want to lose your spot along the rail to go off in search of a cold bottle of water or a snack. Chances are you’re going to be there a while, so plan for it. Even with the best intentions of only stepping out on the pier for a ‘few casts’ , once you start to see someone nearby bring up a snapper or a skate, you’re going to want to stick around to see what else is down there waiting to bite!
Photots: Hal Scott Photography (top); Outdoors Guy (above)