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Why Pier Fishing Offers New Anglers an Exciting Challenge

For new sea anglers, the idea of fishing off a local pier might appear like a daunting challenge. However, across the UK with its plethora of piers along the coastline, each presents a unique opportunity. Because the shelter provided by these structures attracts smaller fish, larger predatory species are drawn in offering keen anglers a rewarding fishing experience. 

Fishing continues to gain new enthusiasts 

With fishing activities in the UK growing, new anglers are looking to piers as an exciting way to enjoy the sport. In recent years, sea angling has contributed around £1.5bn to the UK economy. Meanwhile, a new generation is taking up fishing with Millennials and Gen Z embracing urban fishing in freshwater locations. Around 1 million individual freshwater rod licences are issued each year. 

Britain’s adoration of fishing is highlighted by much-loved TV shows like the BBC’s Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing and ITV’s River Monsters achieving impressive viewing figures. Angling is also the central theme of the 5×3 Fishing Frenzy slot game in which players head beneath the waves to score their catch. Each of the game’s symbols is inspired by angling such as fishes, hooks, boats, and lifebuoys. 

What can you expect to catch? 

Anticipate a diverse array of fish throughout the year, with seasonal fluctuations dictating the type of catch one might expect. During the summer months, activity reaches its peak as mackerel, bass, pollack, and other species venture close to shore in pursuit of fry and sand eels. 

As the temperatures drop in winter, shoals of whiting, pout, and occasionally codling become more prevalent. However, certain species remain reliably present throughout the year, providing anglers with consistent opportunities for success. Among these are wrasse and various rockfish, offering steady catches regardless of the season.

Tactics and kit 

Today, most pier anglers favour all-round beachcasters, ideal for casting onto various terrains. Those confronting strong tides and snaggy ground opt for robust rough ground fishing rods paired with fast-retrieve multiplier reels. 

In summer, light gear is favoured, especially for spinning or lure fishing for mackerel. Utilising 7-8ft spinning rods adds excitement, contrasting with traditional 12ft beachcasters. Float fishing is also popular in the deep waters around piers. A drop net is crucial for landing larger catches, as hoisting them up pier walls strains rods and reels. Utilising a drop net ensures a successful landing, preserving both the catch and equipment. 

Movement is key to enticing fish near walls. Raising and lowering the rig intermittently, along with using marked lines or coloured leaders, aids in tracking depth and position. Species like pollack, mackerel, garfish, and scad favour moving baits. Freelining with a swan or SSG works well in light tides, especially for coalfish, mackerel, scad, and garfish, using fish strips or sand eel. Float fishing alongside the pier with a sliding float rig requires adjusting for tide movement while ground baiting, with a mixture of fish, bread, bran, sweetcorn, pellets, and pilchards, also attracts fish effectively. 

Piers provide excellent fishing opportunities, granting anglers access to deep waters and offshore fishing spots inaccessible by other means. With hundreds of piers scattered across the UK, along with numerous smaller jetties and breakwaters, anglers have a plethora of venues and fishing marks to explore and uncover.