How to Pier Fish on Florida Beaches

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Many Florida anglers swear by fishing off the many piers in the state.
Many Florida anglers swear by fishing off the many piers in the state. (Image: pier image by Michael Wuelfrath from Fotolia.com)

Whatever your reasons for choosing pier fishing -- lack of a boat, seasickness or just a love of fishing near shore, you'll find many places to satisfy your desire in the state of Florida. The state has dozens of piers that allow anglers to cast in a line, or even two or three, and the natural and artificial reefs that surround the piers guarantee a wealth of pompano, whiting, mackerel, cobia and other types of fish to take home for dinner.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Fishing rod
  • Bait

Obtain a fishing license from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. You can purchase a saltwater license online with a debit or credit card. Prices for licenses vary depending on your Florida residency and the length of time you'd like to have a license.

Find a pier close to you. Most big cities, including St. Petersburg, Tampa, Clearwater, Redington and more have at least one pier, so check with the tourist association in the city you're living in or visiting to find the location. Another option is to search the Florida State Parks' "Fishing" page to find a host of state parks with piers and shore fishing areas.

Collect your fishing rods, tackle and bait. If you're just visiting the area, consider renting a rod from a bait and tackle shop near the pier. Since fishing is such a popular activity in Florida, fishing shops abound, and you should have no problem finding gear. When you visit the shop, inquire about the best locations and bait for fishing on the pier you're going to visit. Purchase the recommended bait. Pier fishing enthusiasts recommend using a rod that is 6 to 7 feet in length with a medium or light rod. If you're feeling adventurous, try using a second rod with a heavier reel to catch bigger fish.

Map out the locations of artificial or natural reefs along the pier -- where the fish like to congregate to eat -- by using an aerial mapping tool like Google maps. The zoomed-in satellite images will give you a good idea of where the reefs are, and where the best fishing is likely to be.

Pay for access to the pier, if applicable. Many of the larger piers, such as the Big 60 Pier in Clearwater Beach and the North Redington Pier charge $5 to $7 for access, so pay the fee and set up your rod.

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