Fishing on one of the seven Outer Banks Piers is safe and enjoyable for the entire family. Most piers have ample parking, tackle supplies and food and beverage concessions. They will also rent you equipment and supply you with everything you need to fish.
There are four things I recommend you do after you arrive at the pier but before you start fishing. The four things are: “Homework”, “Observe”, “Ask” and “Try”.
“Homework” is researching the most recent fishing activity. Your findings will include, what has been caught recently and using what bait. Where is the best action? Do you have the proper gear and rigging? What are the tides and other weather conditions? There are many other considerations that both the pier staff and tackle shop professionals can help with.
“OBSERVE” is the next thing – once on the pier try to watch what other anglers are doing. Are they casting or just dropping the baits. What type of equipment or gear are they using? What type rig or bait are they using and are they successful with that method. Spending several minutes can save much time and help avoiding that learning curve.
“ASK” is the next thing I do. Ask the other anglers what they are catching. What type of bait or rig works best? Your best bet for success is to copy what the others are doing.
“TRY” is the final step. Try out the information you received. Work the pier is some type of order. I start on one side and typically close in. I work my way out to the deeper water. Each time I move, I watch the other anglers. I follow the end of the pier. I then will either switch over the other side or just move close in and begin my journey from close in to the end of the pier.
Keys to success on the pier is moving around to find fish. If you don’t catch something right away or after a short period – Move. I will move many times both out and back and switching sides occasionally.
There are many reasons you will not be successful on a fishing pier. But none is more damaging than using “DEAD BAIT”. What do I mean about using dead bait – its’ bait that is days old or allowed to sit in the sun and “cook”. Air dried and stale bait will turn off the fish quickly Keep your bait in the shade or better yet, in a cooler. Remember – Fresh bait has a natural scent and catches more fish.
When using fresh bait, always buy the best whether it’s shrimp, squid or blood worms.
Using the proper gear and equipment for the various seasons can mean the difference between success and failure. Medium to heavy gear in spring and fall and lighter gear in summer.
Sharp hooks and good rigging make for quick hook ups. A variety of sinkers will hold the bottom during different conditions.
Angler safety is also imperative. Dress for the conditions. Sun screen is needed year round. Bringing plenty of fluids and snacks make for an enjoyable day.
A cooler with plenty of ice will keep any fish you plan to harvest. Also, try to practice “CPR” – that is Catch, Photo and Release!!
So keep it simple and pier fishing will help create memories that last a lifetime.
Until Next Time – Tightlines – Capt. Tony