Pier Fish: What's Biting and How to Catch Them with David Thornton
“What's that guy doing that I'm not?”
“I want to be that guy,” a friend of mine on the Gulf State Park Pier in Gulf Shores, Alabama, told me, He nodded towards an angler who was catching fish every time he cast. “What's that guy doing that I'm not?”
I'm often asked this question. About 95 percent of the time, the angler who's not catching fish isn't presenting the bait so fish will take it.
Most anglers fish with hooks and line so big that fish can see them attached to the baits. If I can pick one reason why most people don't catch fish on the pier, it's because they use the wrong size line, rods, reels, and hooks. Close to the beach, 4- to 10-pound test line is best. For fish with keen eyesight like speckled trout and pompano, use 4- to 6-pound test line. For ground mullet, 6- to 10-pound test works.
For king or Spanish mackerel and redfish at the end of the pier, 15- to 20-pound test will produce the most fish. I suggest 7- to 9-foot rods with medium-fast action to see the bite, and stop the fish's charge. Don't worry about your line breaking. Someone on the pier with a net will let it down and help you.