Author Topic: What if I catch a huge fish off a pier with light tackle?  (Read 1434 times)


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What if I catch a huge fish off a pier with light tackle?
« on: May 04, 2013, 08:15:44 PM »
We're going to be vacationing in the Tampa Bay area this July.  I don't have the budget for a charter boat or even a party boat more than once.  Most of my gear is lighter freshwater tackle (30 and 40-size spinning, compact baitcasting reels, medium and med-heavy rods), but I have two reels that are made for saltwater: a Cabela's Salt Striker SS-50 spinning reel and an Abu 6600C4.  It's pretty clear that I should only use the heavy tackle if I go on a party boat, right?

If I fish off piers and bridges in Tampa Bay and the Gulf, should I only use the bigger gear?  I mean, what if I catch a 40# fish on a Quantum Kinetic 30-size reel and a medium rod?  What do I do then?
Should I use 30 to 80# braid and presume that I might catch something huge?  Is it all about the size of the hook you use?  Frankly, I wouldn't even know what lures to use (I'd prefer not to use live bait).  All my lures are smaller freshwater ones.

I have absolutely no saltwater fishing experience, so I don't even know what I'm likely to catch.  Can you point me to a good book?



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Re: What if I catch a huge fish off a pier with light tackle?
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2013, 01:15:05 PM »
Korz, I would work the internet over, searching for tips on pier fishing.

Here are some good search results for you. Check them out. They have a lot of info to look over. Good luck! Get us some pics if possible!


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Re: What if I catch a huge fish off a pier with light tackle?
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2013, 10:11:56 PM »
Thanks indiancreek1.  I will look there.   I have already done some searching and found some sites that advertise pier fishing in the Tampa Bay area.  Sunshine Bridge Park is one.  Alas, I've yet to figure out how to deal with catching something "too big."

One website was very specific and even mentioned specific piers and how they fish, but for the life of me I couldn't understand what they were saying.

Here's the site:

I think most of it is that I don't understand some of the terms the author uses, but on the assembly of the Straw Dogs, I can't figure out where "double the line through itself" means:

"You will need to go to McDonald’s or your favorite fast food joint, buy a malt and collect some straws. I find, McDonald’s straws last the longest and have the perfect sized hole for the bubble trail. Fifty pound test whatever, I use Andre' as it is most pliable and absorbs many a strike from the toothy critters called mackerel. Cutting of a piece at about three or four feet long, slide two cut pieces of the straw at around two inches long or the length of the shank of the hook onto the line, through its hole and now tie the EagleClaw, long shank number 1 hook to both ends. Double the line through itself, in forming a knotted loop around six inches from the top hook. Your strawdogs are done, now you need a method of delivery; too which they range many. If using a fly rod, its ready to tie on and you are ready to go, remembering the strike generally occurs on the pause between strips; but not always as Mackerels sometimes enjoy a run for their money and will hook it up two at a time on the stripping itself!"

"Stripping" is a fly fishing term, right?  Doesn't it mean pulling line off the spool?

Thanks again.



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Re: What if I catch a huge fish off a pier with light tackle?
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2014, 09:55:42 AM »
Fishing piers is one of my favorite tings to do in life!  I lived in the Jacksonville area for several years and loved to go to the Jacksonville pier.  The best part was that I always came home with more money than I left with as the bait shop at the pier would buy your catch for bait and after I sold my catch, I always made more than it cost for admission, bait and snacks!  In my opinion, one of the best past times in the world!

I always used heavy tackle - 100 to 130 lb. braided line, pool cue stiff rods and big casting style reels (never, never spinning). I always used heavy wire tandem rigs and small, but good stout stainless steel hooks (about a size 2-0 or say a hook with a 1/2" gap).

I have never found saltwater fish to be anywhere near as sensitive to heavy tackle as freshwater fish, except as to hook size.  Too big a hook and too big a bait will usually result in small fish nibbling your bait away very quickly before a fish large enough to take the whole thing comes along.

There always seemed to be someone on the pier (usually one of the guys that seemed to live at the deep end of the pier) that had a long stout rope with a weighted treble gaff on the end that would let you snag a big fish and pull him up with the rope.  However, most of the bigger fish caught were fish no one wanted - like sharks.  If you hook a big shark, the sooner you cut him off the sooner you can get back to fishing.
42 years of tournament bass fishing