It however does require a moderate to light wind to really work effectively as it is not that heavy and does have a bigger profile. King fish and Bonito love this jig worked fast skipping across the surface of the water.
When fish get finicky and on light wind clear water days a small buck tail or nylon hair jig will be the ticket! Little jigs in the 1/8oz-1/2oz range work well in light wind conditions and can be used for a variety of species from mackerel, king fish, bonito, jack, shook, lady fish, tarpon, bluefish and many more.
The reason being is that they must glide through the surface of the water and the higher angle of a pier, disrupts its function. I like to fish all my artificial lures with Bull buster braid as it allows you cut through the water and wind, feel more strikes and have the direct hook setting power needed to stick fish.
In this article I explain how to choose the right hook for shark fishing. I was inspired to write this article when one of my fans thought that the juvenile king fish I was catching were Spanish mackerel.
Berthing it, trailing it, maintaining it and, increasingly, paying the price of operating it are all prompting lots of people to question the wisdom of owning a boat. Many visitors don’t realize just how many species of fish move up and down the coastline and through our waterways within easy reach of a fisherman on shore or on a pier or bridge.
Additionally, there are hundreds of public docks around the state that offer freshwater fishing access to Florida ’s famed black bass and numerous pan fish. It’s just a matter of figuring out where there’s close access to the water and then fitting yourself out to do some laid back fishing.
While I’ve done my share of surf casting and still hit the beach occasionally when the pompano are running, I grew up as a wharf rat, spending many happy hours fishing from the old Jacksonville Beach pier. A college friend who knew I fished a lot once asked to go along on one of my pier expeditions.
Cold fronts in Florida generally aren’t a big deal, but standing on a windswept pier in 45 degrees with just a light windbreaker to fend off a steady drizzle isn’t anybody’s idea of fun. Most of the ocean piers around the state have a concession stand that will rent you a rig and sell you the terminal tackle and bait.
All you need do is show up and pay the fee, which usually includes the use of the pier’s commercial fishing license. If the kids get bored with fishing, they can wander up and down the pier seeing what other people are catching, or they can hit the beach to toss a Frisbee or grab some rays.
They’ve built or bought dock carts that allow them to haul multiple rods and reels, lots of gear and even live bait (not to mention drinks, lunch, a boom box and whatever else they feel they need for a day’s fishing) from the parking lot to the end of the pier. They use one big rod and reel to send a heavy sinker with prongs as far out into the ocean as possible.
The average pier fisherman using simple equipment and dead bait, like shrimp, will most likely connect with whiting and croaked. While hardly fighters of any repute, they make great table fare.
But be careful, because interspersed with the dinner fish will be the occasional catfish, whose spines can inflict a nasty injury (I know this from experience after getting a dorsal fin deep into my foot). Floridapierfishing is mostly a matter of stationing yourself in the path of fish swimming parallel to shore just beyond the breaking waves and waiting for them to find your bait or lure.
Lots of bridges spanning salt water inlets or waterways offer fishing opportunities. The old Sunshine Skyway bridge that spanned the entrance to Tampa Bay has been converted into two of the longest fishing piers in the world.
That means if an east wind has been blowing and the surf is up, you’re going to have a hard time getting your bait past the breaking waves. Fishing near jetties or inlets can be good, but what you really want is to find a stretch of beach protected by an offshore sandbar.
It takes a little experience to learn to read the water and the pattern of breaking waves to find the right spot. But if you wander a nearby beach early in the morning or late in the afternoon, chances are you’ll come across a group of fishermen.
Photos © Ken Schultz Saltwater spearfishing is a popular way for anglers to access coastal fish without being on a boat and can be productive even when high winds and big waves keep boaters in port. These are fish finder or high-lo rigs with some form of hooked natural bait (squid, clam, eel, fish chunk, etc.).
Sinkers keep bait on or near the bottom, and rods are propped against or tethered to pier rails or placed in secure holders. Many anglers, however, prefer mobility and more personal activity while saltwater fishing, opting to cast-and-retrieve fishing lures either exclusively or in conjunction with using a bait rig.
The best saltwater lures for spearfishing vary depending on species, season, and region, but include the following. Because they sink, such fishing lures are more prone to snagging on rocks and pilings, and a lot get broken off, but they’re inexpensive, versatile, and very effective for a multitude of species.
Thick-bodied casting spoons work well for covering a lot of territory as well as distance and can be retrieved at varying depths and speeds. Ken Schultz was a longtime staff writer for Field & Stream magazine and is the former Fishing Editor of ESPNoutdoors.com.
Pro Spearfishing Pointer | Sun Block | It might seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many anglers end up Sun-burned after a long day fishing on the pier, make sure you lather up good and often, also if you forget to bring any, most piers have shops with plenty of suns Block to purchase. 2 | Skyway FishingPier | Some spearfishing in all of Florida stems from one of The Sunshine States most heartbreaking days.
Pro Spearfishing Pointer | Large Cooler of ice | Make sure to bring a large cooler of ice if you plan on bringing any of your catch of the day home. Pier 60 not only offers world-class spearfishing, but also restaurants, covered pavilions, fishing equipment rentals, bait & tackle, and souvenir shops.
Depending on what type of fish are biting when you visit, the 1,080-foot fishing pier that is Pier 60, gives you the opportunity to reel in Spanish Mackerel, Spotted and Silver Trout, Shook, Redfish, Tarpon, Sleepyhead, Snapper, Flounder, Jacks, and more! Pro Spearfishing Pointer | Live Bait | Historically live bait works best when spearfishing, some popular types include blood worms, shrimp, squid, anchovies and sardines.
Pro Spearfishing Pointer | Fish where the bait is | Before running to the end of the pier and casting out as far as possible, scout out were the bait fish are swimming, a lot of times they are right by the pier pilings. The full-service Pier House features a friendly guest services team, snack bar, gift store as well as a variety of fishing tackle, including rental poles and bait.
Word to the wise though, the pier does not offer fresh water for cleaning your catch, so make sure to bring plenty or just enjoy a wonderful day of catch and release in picturesque Key West. Make sure you bring enough water in your cooler to help keep you properly hydrated on your spearfishing adventure.
At nearly a quarter mile long into the Atlantic, the Jacksonville Beach Pier and the sea have quite the love hate relationship, but it’s because of these lovers’ spat that pier anglers can fish highly active, deep waters. At roughly 22 feet deep at the end of the pier, anglers have access to a great variety of fish; you can wrestle with Pompano, Black Drum, Bluefish, Redfish, Flounder, Trout, Striped Bass, Sleepyhead, and due to the deep water, Kings, Barracuda, Tarpon, and Mali.
Pro Spearfishing Pointer | Bring an Umbrella | A good number of piers do not have any sort of coverage from the sun or the rain, so make sure to pack a large umbrella that can be anchored to the pier to keep you out of the elements. Managed by the city, the Deerfield Beach FishingPier offers great opportunities for those looking to learn the sport of spearfishing, hosting free workshops throughout the year at the pier ’s North Pavilion.
Known for King and Spanish Mackerel, Pompano, Snapper, Permit, Blue Runners, Bluefish, Barracuda, and Craters, the pier is lighted at night, so anglers can reel in some doozies during those coveted post sunset hours. 10 | Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier | At 1470 feet long, the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier gives rookie and seasoned anglers alike access to fantastic deep-sea fishing without being on a boat.
Located on beautiful Pensacola Beach, the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier gives you the opportunity, depending on the season, to reel in King and Spanish Mackerel, Cobra, Pompano, Mahi-mahi, Flounder, Whiting, Blue Fish, Tarpon, Bonito, Red Fish, and if you’re lucky, you might even get to face off against a raging Sailfish! With restaurants, gift shops, as well as bait and tackle, you’ll have everything you need for a successful spearfishing adventure while at Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier.
Pro Spearfishing Pointer | Bring a change of clothes | Nobody said spearfishing isn’t messy, so if you’re deciding to go out for dinner after fishing to somewhere maybe on the fancier side, I recommend bringing a clean change of clothes. Located between the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay in Fort De Soto State Park, offers anglers the opportunity to bring in both deeper water fish at the Gulf Pier, and fish that enjoy calm, shallower waters at the Bay Pier.
Pro Spearfishing Pointer | Ask what’s working | Most anglers are personable, so feel free to spark up a conversation and ask what types of things they have had success using that day to reel in the fish. Another great resource are the bait and tackle shops, they are usually in the know as to what is biting and what type of rig is reeling the fish in.