Pier Fishing Rigs: Four Options to Improve Your Odds

Pier Fishing Rigs

The tradition of pier fishing is well-known among anglers all over the country. It provides a low-cost and easy way to reach everything, from deep water to the surf.

Every fisherman who has a little salt in their veins can recall fond memories of fishing on a pier.

Yes, I do. The croakers I caught as a boy on my High/Low Rigs are still some of my most memorable catches.

We have all the information you need to rig a boat for catching big bluefish or other hard-running species.

Continue reading!

For Pier Fishing, Rods and Reels

Because they are more wind-friendly than other options, spinning reels are very common in pier fishing.

Depending on the species, technique and length of the rod, you can see everything, from long surf casting rods to shorter stiff rods that are used to fight monsters.

Both extremes can be justified. You might need to cast extremely long to overcome the fishing pressure, even if you have a pier with great access to the surf beyond. In deep water, where big fish hunt the pilings to catch prey, I have seen incredible fighters land rods using a combination skill and heavy tackle.

However, most people chase flounder, fluke, croaker and other inshore species that do not require specialized tackle.

A medium-power, fast action, inshore spinning rod of around 7 1/2 feet is recommended. A long, comfortable handle is essential, as well as good guides and enough sensitivity to detect light strikes.

The St. Croix Mojo Inshore is one of my favorite rods. It’s a dream to cast with this blank. You can make a combination of it and a Daiwa BG spinning reel inshore that will outperform any other wind-busting rod.

Get Ready to Fish: The Complete List of Supplies

Irwin ViseGrip Long Nose Pliers

A serious wire-working tool is essential if you plan to work with wire leaders, crimping, and cutting your rig. While saltwater fishing pliers are capable of doing the job, they are not made to handle heavy wire leader material.

You’ll be glad that you went for the real deal.

Rio Powerflex Wire Bite Tippet 40Lb

Nothing beats strong nylon-coated tieable metal for toothy fish like the blues.

Rio’s Powerflex is an amazing tool for creating almost indestructible leaders. This is why I reach for it when I fish for species with sharp teeth.

Malin Wire Leader

Ultra-tough wire leader is recommended for larger, more powerful fish such as sharks. Malin is a trusted name, and their leader material can withstand anything a shark can throw at it.

Although it is tempting to choose a pre-tied leader with clip and swivel, many brands fail to deliver the performance promised.

Tie your own leaders made of superior material to ensure that the shark, wahoo or king mackerel you tie in will be on the beach.

American Fishing Wire Single Barrel Cramp Sleeves are recommended. Choose the right size for the wire. I prefer sleeves that have an interior diameter slightly larger than my line diameter.

If you have #15 wire diameter of.036″, then choose a sleeve that is close to (but larger than).072. In such cases, I would choose the larger size:.082.

Malin Wire Leader| King Mackerel Wahoo Shark Rigging (#10 (131lb) 163' roll)

Gamakatsu Circle Hooks

A circle hook is the best choice for surf casting where long linens will result in weak hooksets. They are self-setting and can be rigged correctly.

Gamakatsu hooks can be strong, sharp, and extremely reliable. They come in sizes ranging from 8/0 to 8/0. You can find the right size for whatever you are looking for in the surf.

Gamakatsu Octopus Circle Hooks Offset-Point (25-Pack), Black, Size 2

Eagle Claw 8 mm beads

Surf-casting rigs often include beads. They can be placed between a sliding sinker or a barrel swivel to protect your line from the pounding caused by all that lead.

Eagle Claw A8BEAD20R Plastic Beads, 8 mm, Red, 20 Piece

Ice Sea Sinker Slides

A slide is essential when you need to be able to slide easily with a large sinker. The clip makes it easy to adjust sinker weights according to changing conditions.

ICE SEA 25-50pcs Fishing Line Sinker Slide with Duo-Lock Snap Blue High-Strength Sinker Slider Stainless Steel Snap Kit (Light Blue, 25pcs)

Bullet Weights Pyramid Sinkers

A pyramid sinker, an old-fashioned design, allows for long castings and holds well. It will keep your surf casting equipment where it needs to be. It is able to hold onto the water by laying on its side. The points and flat at the top grip protect it from current and tide.

Bullet Weight’s sinkers come in a variety of weights from 1 to 6 ounces making them an excellent choice for any situation.

Dr. Fish Cigar Float

Pesky crabs can destroy live bait. A cigar float can help keep your hook afloat and keep you in the game for longer.

Dr.Fish 30 Pack Fishing Rig Floats Cork Float Pompano Floats Walleye Rig Lure Making Accessories Surf Fishing Foam Bobbers Snell Float Pencil Float

Riptail Barrel Swivels

Barrel swivels, which are also essential for rigging, are needed to cast surf. Riptail has swivels that can be used for anything from fluke to sharks, and specks to specks.

Riptail Barrel Fishing Swivels - Steel with Corrosion-Resistant Finish, Size #8 (45lb) - 100 Pack

Thundermist Lure Company 3-Way Swivel

Some anglers prefer to tie their double-hooked rods. However, a three-way swivel works better at preventing tangles. It also allows live bait to swim more freely, which attracts more bites.

T-Turn Thundermist Black Nickel, Medium

Breakaway Super Sinker

Breakaway Super Sinkers come in standard surf casting weights and offer better grip for anglers who have to deal with rocky bottoms.

Breakaway Super Sinker 4oz

Fishing lure float balls

These float balls are the best for Fireball Rigs. They are available in sizes 12 and 18 mm, which is just the right size to keep a hook off the bottom.

Fishing Lure Float Balls,100Pcs EPS Foam Buoyancy Ball Fishing Float Bobbers Drift Ball Strike Indicator Fishing Tackle Foam Indicator

The Best Pier Rigs

The Fish Finder Rig (A Modified Carolina Rig).

The Fish Finder is the most popular rig among surf casters. The Fish Finder is essentially a Carolina Rig, but with a modified cast length and tide-bucking grip. Every angler should be able to assemble it.

The only time the Fish Finder Rig can fail you is when confronted with an angry horde crabs. They’ll grab your hook, steal your meal, and, depending on which live bait option you choose, will be able to access it as fast as you can rig it.

These steps will help you assemble a Fish Finder Rig.

  1. Attach a sinker sleeves to your main line.
  2. You can stop the bead by following it. This will protect your barrel from the sinker.
  3. Attach a barrel swivel to a Uni Knot.
  4. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the end of your tag.
  5. You can trim the leader to 18-25 inches. Use wire to support species with aggressive teeth.
  6. Attach a Palomar knot to one end.
  7. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the end of your tag.
  8. Attach the other end of the leader to the barrel swivel using a Uni Knot
  9. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the end of your tag.

For sharks and other large fish that have razor-sharp teeth:

  1. Attach a sinker sleeves to your main line.
  2. Continue the process with a bead stop.
  3. Attach a Uni Knot to attach the a Size 4 or 5.barrel swivel.
  4. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the end of your tag. It’s easier to tie a tie if you have heavy mono.
  5. You can cut 18-25 inches of heavy wire leader.
  6. The wire should be run through the hook’s eye, then slide on one barrel connector. Finally, crimp the wire with pliers.
  7. The wire leader should be crimped to the barrel swivel.

The High/Low Rig

The High/Low Rig ranks among my favorites. I have caught coolers filled with croaker and specks on this versatile rig.

It is ideal for running multiple live baits or jigs. This will help you to pinpoint what triggers bites and give you another chance at attracting a strike.

This rig can also be used with one hook. It’s deadly and has very little chance of getting tangled.

Fishing in areas with snags is a problem? Run a Breakaway Super Sinker, or make a dropper mono line that allows you to remove your sinker.

Some anglers only use one main line with Dropper Loops or leaders running along it. Although T-swivels don’t need to be used for this type of rigging I have found that tangling can cause problems.

These steps will help you to assemble a High/Low rig.

  1. Take 10-18 inches off the leader.
  2. Use a Uni Knot to tie your leader to the bottom end of a T-swivel.
  3. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the end of your tag.
  4. Take 18 inches off the leader.
  5. Use a Uni Knot to tie the leader to your T-swivel.
  6. Use a Uni Knot to tie the other end of the T-swivel to the bottom.
  7. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the end of your tag.
  8. Another 18 inches of leader can be cut.
  9. Tie a Uni Knot to the top end of the second T.swivel.
  10. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Trim the end of the tag.
  11. Attach the leader’s free end to a barrel swivel using a Uni Knot
  12. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Trim the end of the tag.
  13. Attach the sinker to the lower leader using a Surgeon’s Loop.
  14. The High T-swivel To attach approximately 10-12 inches of leader, you can use a Uni Knot.
  15. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Trim the end of the tag.
  16. Attach a Palomar loop to the end of your short leader.
  17. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Trim the end of the tag.
  18. The Low T-swivelUse a Uni Knot for attaching approximately 18-24 inches of leader.
  19. Attach a Palomar loop to the end of your short leader.
  20. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Trim the end of the tag.

You can skip the complicated process by purchasing a high-quality High/Low Rig made from 30 pound mono leader from Tide Rite. Tide Rite has loops at their hooks so that they can be easily removed if you don’t need the Mustad bait holders.

Bluefish can also be caught in a high/low rig that you can use to make leaders out of wire.

Jasmine offers a pre-tied wire rig in both one-arm and two-arm versions.

The Fireball Rig

Fireball rigs are very popular.

This clever rig features two hooks that can be used as live bait. A ball float is placed near each hook to buoy your bait off the bottom. This rig is used to fish for reds, pompano and speck species.

These rigs can be purchased pre-tied at Topsail Tackle. They are equipped with heavy mono leaders and 3/0 circular hooks.pre-tied Fireball Rig

These steps will help you assemble a Fireball rig.

  1. Take 10-18 inches off the leader.
  2. Use a Uni Knot to tie your leader to the bottom end of a T-swivel.
  3. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the end of your tag.
  4. Take 18 inches off the leader.
  5. Use a Uni Knot to tie the leader to your T-swivel.
  6. Use a Uni Knot to tie the other end of the T-swivel to the bottom.
  7. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the end of your tag.
  8. Another 18 inches of leader can be cut.
  9. Tie a Uni Knot to the top end of the second T-swivel.
  10. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Trim the end of the tag.
  11. Attach the leader’s free end to a barrel swivel using a Uni Knot
  12. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Trim the end of the tag.
  13. Attach the sinker to the lower leader using a Surgeon’s Loop.
  14. Use a Uni Knot at the T-swivel to attach approximately 10-12 inches of leader.Use mono leader of 30-pound+ or wire if you are fishing for blues.
  15. Place a floatball on your leader, and then add a bead to it.
  16. Attach a Palomar loop to the end of the short leader. If using wire, crimp it in place.

Use a Uni Knot at the T-swivel to attach approximately 10-12 inches of leader. Use mono leader of 30-pound+ or wire if you are fishing for blues.

Place a floatball on your leader, and then add a bead to it.

Attach a Palomar loop to the end of the short leader. If using wire, crimp it in place.

Last Thoughts

These pier fishing gears have been tested and proven to work. These rigs can be used wherever you fish and for whatever species you are after. We’re happy to assist fellow anglers.

We hope that this article helped you improve your pier fishing techniques. As always, we would love to hear from anyone who has.

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Lewis
Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.