Not every saltwater angler owns a boat. Now, that would be seen by most people as an apparent limitation to their ability and opportunity for fishing. How would you go saltwater fishing without a boat? Adding to this misconception is the fact that most fishing magazines feature pictures and articles about fishing that usually involves having a boat. And not just any boat. Take a look at some of those articles and you’ll find expensive boats with all the bells and whistles. This has disheartened many a potential fisherman, making him feel like he can only share in the joys of these great fishing adventures by reading about them.
But if you’ve been keeping your eyes open, chances are you’ve also observed a growing community of shore-bound anglers that doesn’t let the lack of a boat stop them from enjoying the pleasures of fishing. They come in all sizes, ages, and gender. The lack of a boat has even led them to develop their own, unique, and effective style of fishing. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the pier fishermen.
They are seen in fishing piers everywhere, some with expensive tackle, some well-worn and taped together. Their tackle boxes also come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, as long as it can be carried or wheeled easily to the pier. Perhaps the lack of a boat has led them to develop an uncanny sense for creativity and innovation, because you’ll be amazed at the things you’ll find in most tackle boxes used by these pier anglers. In fact, lots of so-called “original” products that are marketed for pier fishermen were inspired by the original designs that are regularly used by these people everyday.
Before some non-believers begin to scoff at the skills of pier fishermen, let me say that pier fishing is an art all its own. Nobody can just plunk a chair down at a pier and start hauling in fish every minute, without the skills born by experience. Pier fishermen develop an innate sense about where the action is. Since most of the fish generally come in waves, it’s going to be very difficult getting even one bite if you don’t know where and when to cast. You can usually find them bottom fishing, hauling in two or three catches at a time. How they do that is beyond me. Pier rats just have a way of knowing when to reel in their line after hooking more than one fish.
And if you start thinking that bigger catch like mackerel and king mackerel are unreachable for pier fishermen, think again. Have you ever seen those people at the end of the pier using all sorts of weird-looking contraptions specially designed to float live bait just under the surface? They use kite rigs, too, so that they can fish as far off the pier as possible. I’ve seen perhaps a dozen contraptions that deserve a patent on the spot. Mostly these folks use a technique called the “two rod approach”. This is where they use a heavy fishing rod with the bail open and another lighter rod where the bait is attached to. They cast out, the line is placed several yards off the pier, and when a fish bites, the bait rod is pulled back, leaving the fisherman with the heavier one to fight the fish with.
However, don’t expect to see pier fishermen release their fish after catching them. Most of these folks go fishing for dinner, not for getting the big one to show off on a mantelpiece. They come to enjoy fishing, talk and socialize with each other, and even to help a few beginners that appear to need it. They are a special breed and possibly have more patience, inventiveness, and endurance than any other fishing group.