Seaside piers have long been the favourite fishing stations for elderly, comfortloving sea anglers, small boys and beginners who initially require the moral support and companionship of other fishermen as they make their first unsure casts.
One great advantage for young anglers fishing from abovewater structures is that they can learn to operate their tackle by lowering it rather than casting. This eliminates the ‘crackoffs’ and tangles associated with multiplier reels.
Pier rods should be powerful enough to cope with the conditions—such as the strength and height of the tide—as well as being strong enough to land the fish when caught. When float fishing for bass, for example, on the lower deck of a pier, it would be inadvisable to fish with ‘openwater’ tackle—a light spinning rod, a fixedspool reel and 5 or 6 lb line. The first good bass hooked would immediately dive for cover among the old barnaclecovered iron girders and smash such tackle. For such a snaggy angling condition, a stout beachcasting rod, a powerful multiplier or centrepin reel and 15—20 lb b.s. Line is effective.
Winter fishing from piers, harbour walls, groynes and jetties may necessitate the use of stout rods and strong line to combat rough weather as well as the energies of the fish. In the warmer spring, summer and autumn months, however, a great deal of fine sport can be had by employing light, fine tackle and the appropriate techniques.
To avoid accidents and loss of life it is important that all shore anglers, particularly those fishing from angling stations above deep water, observe certain safety rules. Always respect the rules of the pier or harbour wall as far as overhead casting, line strength and sinker weights are concerned. In rough weather, when waves are apt to break over the fishing station, leave the place well alone. On some piers, Tilley lamps and lanterns are banned because they constitute a navigational hazard when shone seawards.
Be careful when using a dropnet from piers or harbour walls with no guard rails and when climbing down perpendicular iron ladders or negotiating steep, weedcovered stone steps.