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Inshore Fishing Tackle

Inshore Fishing Tackle and Gear

​If you are just starting out with inshore fishing then getting the right gear from the get go will make all the difference to your success and ultimately your enjoyment.

Inshore fishing tackle can vary greatly depending on how big a species you intend on targeting.

​For most anglers new to fishing inshore I would suggest sticking to species such as speckled trout, redfish, pompano and kingfish.

Your best bet when selecting the best tackle for inshore fishing is to keep it simple and choose a combination that will work best as an all rounder rather that a specialist ​combo that excels at one technique but not another. 

  • Rod - 7'6" in length, medium/heavy power rating with a fast action
  • Reel - saltwater spinning reel size 3000
  • ​Line - 12 lbs monofilament or 20 lbs braid with a 12 lbs fluorocarbon leader

​Inshore Fishing Tackle and Gear

1. Rod

For most anglers a spinning setup will be the preferred choice.

The best inshore spinning rods will be 7'6" in length, have a fast action and be rated for line in the 12 to 15 lbs range.

​Fishing over flats or any kind of sight fishing with lures will require you to keep your distances somewhat from any fish as they can spook quite easily in shallower waters.

A longer length allows you to make longer casts and keep your distance. Longer casts also allow you to cover a lot more water from the same fishing spot before you decide to move on.

A 6'6" length pole just won't cut and although they might be easier to use than a ​7 footer when skipping lures in and around docks you'll quickly find that a shorter one is limited.

Even upgrading from a 7' ​to a 7'6" will make that 7' feel limited and after a few weeks of use the difference between them will feel like night and day.

​2. Reel

​Investing in a good ​pole is a good idea, a high quality reel however is a must. Salt water spinning can wreck a cheap reel in no time even if you rinse it well after every outing.

The best inshore spinning reel will be a saltwater spinning reel in a size 3000 or maybe a 4000 if you are doing a lot of big lure work.  

You'll want to be able to spool on roughly 200 yards of 12 lbs monofilament or 20 lbs braided line.

​Saltwater reels need a high quality drag system and they also need to be as well sealed as possible to keep out any salt.

Salt can destroy the internal gears and drag components if it gets a chance to enter inside the reel housing.

​No matter how good a reel you buy always make sure to rinse it thoroughly in freshwater as soon as possible and get it service every one to two years.

​3. Line

For most lighter techniques your inshore fishing setup should be fine on 12 lbs mono or 20 lbs braid.

You can also run 12 lbs fluorocarbon especially if you are jigging.

If you are using braid as your main line then it is always a good idea to use a 6 to 8 foot fluorocarbon leader.

Braid is extremely visible and fluoro is pretty invisible, both lines have little stretch in them and pair well together.

Sometimes you want a little stretch in your line, personally when using a large lure that has multiple big treble hooks I like to use monofilament as the stretch acts as a bit of a shock absorber.  

​4. Lures

Paddle tail swimbaits, topwater plugs, bucktail jigs, jerkbaits and spoons are all solid producers in the right circumstances.

​Local knowledge is usually what trumps all, ever angler has their favorite lures but they won't work everywhere and finding out what works locally is the best path to success.

​5. Hooks

If you are using bait under a bobber or on the bottom with some sort of sinker rig then you need to buy the right hooks.

Circle hooks work really well when using bait. They also help in not gut hooking fish as more often than not a circle hook will hook a fish in the side of the mouth which is the best place to hook them.

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inshore fishing setup

Inshore Fishing Setup

​Most saltwater fishing can be divided out into three distinct types of fishing offshore, surf and inshore within each of those there are a huge number of different species to target.

​However, a heavy offshore rig would not make the best inshore fishing setup and getting your tackle correctly matched to the species you target and techniques you will be using is a crucial component to your success.

That, and a little luck!

When looking at choosing an inshore setup most anglers will opt to purchase an all rounder that can be used for various different locations and different types of lures.

Personally I think to get the very best from your inshore fishing two highly targeted setups are best, one light and one slightly heavier.

  • ​Light setup - 7 foot medium power rod with a fast action and 8 lbs line, suited to jigging, drop shotting and light close quarters casting for smaller sub 5 lbs specks or redfish.
  • ​Heavier setup - 7'6" medium/heavy power rod with a fast action and 10 to 12 lbs line for heavier lure work and longer casting when sight fishing on flats.

​If I had to choose one it would be the heavier setup as I do little small jig work and the longer rod will always have the better casting performance.

Inshore Fishing Setup

​1. Rod

A rod length of at least 7' is prefer ed if possible 7'6" when fishing inshore. 

As a general rule you when fishing grass flats for example the chances of you getting right up to school of redfish or speckled trout is quite rare and you will be casting from distance more often than not.

Longer rods cast longer distances and they will also allow you to pick up any slack line in your system when you go to set the hook.

​If you go with a shorter rod of about 6'6" in length and then switch to a longer rod of 7'6" the difference in usability will feel like night and day.

Longer rods are just better.

The only real exception is if you are skipping smaller lures around tight docks. Then a shorter inshore spinning rod makes a little more sense as they are a bit more accurate when fishing close up.

Power wise a medium/heavy power rod is usually the best power rating to go for.

These rods will be rated for line in the 10 to 20 lbs range. Whereas a medium power rated rod is suitable for lines in the 8 to 17 lbs range.

In my experience 8 lbs line is a little bit too light.

A fast action is always the correct choice. Fast action rods have better sensitivity and will allow you to set the hook quicker.

2. Reel

​Depending on whether you choose a spinning or casting setup your choice of reel should be suitable for the line that you will be using.

For monofilament line in the 10 to 12 pound range a size 3000 inshore spinning reel or size 30 baitcaster reel.

For heavier lines a size 4000 as it will have a larger spool and bigger line capacity.

Low profile baitcasters that are common in the freshwater bass fishing world are usually not suitable as they are not very well sealed.

Salt water can wreak havoc with a reel so it's need to have a very tightly sealed reel housing and drag system.

Suitable brands are Pen, Shimano and Abu Garcia, all of which make purpose built saltwater spinning reels.

​3. Line

Braid, fluorocarbon or monofilament? Every angler has their favorite.

When selecting a line for your inshore setup understanding the attributes of each type of line is important.

Mono has some built in stretch to it whereas braid and fluorocarbon does not stretch that much.

Braid ​is not very good at standing up to sharp objects whereas mono is quite abrasion resistant.

The best line weights for an inshore fishing setup is 10 lbs mono or 20 lbs braid.

As a general rule most inshore fishing tackle can be used with the above line setup.

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best pier net

Best Pier Nets for Landing that Catch

​If you have fished on any kind of pier that is a decent height above the water your probably aware that once hooked actually landing your fish can be a bit of a pain, especially for big fish.

The most obvious solution to this problem is a pier net.

​With smaller fish you can either hand line them or dead stick them on your rod with the reel locked down, but once you are hooked into anything substantial then a pier net is the best choice.

Most pier nets will be what is commonly known as a drop net.

Drop nets for pier fishing look a lot like a crab net.

The only issue with using a crab net is that they usually not designed to take a lot of weight and the rim of the net can bend or buckle with too much weight in it.

Gaffs can be used on a pier but they will pretty much kill any fish once hooked on them, some piers have banned the use of gaffs on them for this very reason.

Pro Tip: put knots in your rope every two feet to make hauling easier!!!

All good drop nets will have a heavy steel frame(usually round) and strong well stitched mesh.

​50 to 100 feet of rope should be enough for most piers and anything more can make the net a little bit harder to transport and really long ropes can be much easier to get knotted up.

​Best Pier Net

​The Frabill drop net has a big 36 inch mouth and a solid steel hoop frame that can handle some fairly decent sized fish.

It comes prerigged with 50 feet of rope so it's ready to go out of the box.

​The 1/1/2" mesh is quite solid and is 36" deep giving you a deccent volume even for some thing like a ray or small shark.


​The Promar Deluxe double hoop net has a large 36 inch upper hoop and a smaller 14 inch hoop.

The lower hoop helps the net to maintain it's shape and also to keep the mesh down once it hits the water.

It comes with 100 feet of poly rope and also has two plastic floats included one over the tie point to the et and the other at the opposite end.


​Not all nets for pier fishing need to be drop nets and if you are fishing a fairly low pier a telescopic conventional net with a heavy duty handle is just as good.

​The Ego S2 Slider net extends from 29 tp 60 inches and has a 19 inch hope. They are rated up to 20 lbs extended and 30 lbs retracted.


​Pier Net

​Pier nets take all of the guess work our of landing fish from a pier.

Lower it down, allow the fish to move over the mouth of the net and then haul them straight up.

They are the best option of you are looking to release your fish after catching them.

​A good drop net for pier fishing will have a strong rope attached to it and a solid metal frame. This gives them the ability to pull up some fairly heavy fish.

A long handled regular landing net for pier fishing can work too providing that your pier is not to high up from the water line.

Once you get to 10 feet or more then a drop net is the best option.

​How Do You Pull Up Fish from a Pier ? 

There are a number of methods that can be used to pull up fish from a pier:

  1. By hand on the line
  2. Hauled up with the rod
  3. Use a Gaff
  4. Use a pier net

​Clearly the simplest way to land a fish on a pier is to just pull it up with your pier rod. With the drag on the reel set tight you should haul it up.

Although this might work with very small fish it is a really easy way to damage our rod tip and it is not uncommon to see lighter especially graphite rods snap when doing this.

You can also pull the line by hand. However this mono or braid can do a lot of damage to your hands especially if a fish is thrashing around on the end of your line.

A gaff can be used to hook the fish but it will most definitely kill them so if you are planning on releasing them a gaff not a real option.

The pier net is without doubt the best method to land a fish from a pier!

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best inshore spinning reel

Best Inshore Spinning Reel 2020 – [Buyer’s Guide]

​Inshore fishing gives you access to a large variety of fish species and fishing styles whether that's using bait or working lures in and around structures or other aquatic features where fish are likely to be found.

Pairing the best inshore spinning reel with a suitable rod with the correct power rating and action will allow you to make pin point casts especially on lighter setups.

Whilst a baitcaster may excel at casting larger lures long distances a spinning reel will normally perform better for closer range work or if using lighter lures or bait rigs.

The best inshore spinning reel will be a size 3000 to 5000 from a high ​quality brand that is designed for saltwater fishing

​Inshore spinning reels need to be capable of standing up to the harsh environment that saltwater fishing imposes on your gear.

Salt is highly corrosive and can wreck the internal gears of a reel if it is allowed to penetrate the reel housing.

​Although you ​could use a freshwater reel unfortunately they do not have the same level of protection from salt water that a saltwater spinning reel is designed for.

​Best Inshore Spinning Reels

The Stradic C​i4+ is Shimano's preimium spinning reel and it is not only one of thesmoothest operating reels you will have use it is also one of the best sealed against the corrosive effects of salt water.

​Shimano pulled out all the stops when designing the Ci4+ and have built one of the best spinning reels ever.

With the Stradic, Shimano boasts that the reel casing is twenty percent lighter than the traditional graphite that they use thanks to their carbon infused(Ci) technology.

That weight saving does not come at the expense of strength as you get a reel casing that is also ​one and a half times stronger and more rigid than traditional graphite.

Internally the gears and are made with Shimano's Hagene cold forged steel process ​for increased strength over traditionally cut or machined gears.

​Both the reel housing and the internal gears rigidity reduce warp and make for one of the smoothest operating reels ever, even when put under a lot of pressure.

For saltwater spinning what really sets the Stradic apart from other reels is how well the drag housing has been sealed.

​This is traditionally a weak point in spinning reels that would allow salt water to penetrate the reel and damage all of the internal gears and the drag system.

​When Shimano originally released the Stradic they filmed working smoothly after being submerged in saltwater for over a minute caused a lot of ​talk in the fishing world at the time.

Just like any good reel always rinse it after use in fresh clean water, this plus regular servicing should see your Stradic last many, many seasons of hard use.

Not the cheapest reel around but a sound investment for any serious inshore angler. 

The best inshore spinning reel for the money hands down!


The Penn Clash is a smaller and more affordable version of the Spinfisher VI ​below even though it shares some of the technologies and build processes.

Yet it is definitely higher up the product line than the Penn Battle 2.

It's quite popular as an inshore fishing reel and runs particularly smooth in comparison to some of the other brands top offerings.

The Clash comes with no less than 8 sealed stainless steel bearings and one anti-reverse bearing.

Just like the Spinfisher it also benefits from the usage of Penn's HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers for a very strong drag system that remains constant through the full range of usage.  

It has a full metal body and all the internal gears are machined using a CNC which results in really tight tolerances and a very sturdy reel with little or no warp when under strain.

Reducing warp in a reel makes a massive difference to how it performs and allows for the maximum amount of power to be transferred from the handle through to the bail system.

The bail has a slow oscillating speed which means when it layes line(in perticular braid) onto the spool the line will lie in a more uniform manner which should result in a reduction of wind knots.


The Revo Inshore is the saltwater version of the popular Revo series of spinning reels from Abu Garcia.

It is a beefed up version of the Revo that is built with to better handle the corrosive nature of salt water fishing.

​Available in four sizes a 30, 35, 40 and a 60 with the smaller models up to the size 40 being suitable for inshore work and the 60 for more targeted work with larger species in mind.

​The Revo range of spinning reels are know to be really good casting reels and the Inshore version is no different.

You get a machined aluminum braid ready spool which combined with the Rocket Line Management system lays your line down evenly on the previous layers of line allowing for a big reduction in backlashes and much better casting performance.

On the smaller 30 and 35 size models Abu have used their Insert molded C6(IM-C6) body design to help reduce weight for better all day use.

On the larger 40 and 60 size they have used an all-aluminum body for better strength and reduced body flexing which is often the cast with bigger reels.

​A Carbon Matrix drag system ensures smooth operation even under very high loads when you are hooked into larger fish.

Machined aluminum internal gear and 6 corrosion resistant bearings make for a really smooth running reel even when under a lot of pressure from larger species.


The sixth model in the much loved Spinfisher series from Penn is easily the best inshore saltwater spinning reel that they have ever designed.

Penn are well known in the saltwater fishing world in particular their line of offshore reels like the stunning Penn International, they also have a big presence in the spinning reel market with the Spinfisher, Clash, Fierce and the massive Penn slammer which is used for really heavy spinning setups.

The Spinfisher is their high performance reel for smaller inshore spinning gear and it is one hell of a workhorse.

From beach casting to shorter pier or sight casting over flats the Spinfisher can handle just about anything you can throw at it.

Just like the Stradic above the main selling point of the Spinfisher is just how well it is sealed and the internals are protected from salt water.

The drag is also considerably beefy and Penn use a number of drag washers to almost double the maximum drag.

The line starts at a 2500 and tops out at a size 10500, for inshore work however a size 3500 is ideal or a 4500 if you are throwing heavier lures or beach casting long distances as the extra capacity on the spool will be necessary.


The Saltist line of spinning reels from Daiwa have gained massive popularity in the saltwater fishing world and now with the Back Bay LT they have adapted it for inshore use specifically.

The Lt stands for light and tough which is exactly what you need for all day casting when fishing inshore.

As of now there are only two models available a 3000 and a 4000

​​Both reels have a drag rating of 15 lbs and the 4000 model has a 30% or so larger line capacity than the smaller 3000, there is roughly about .7 of an ounce in weight difference between the two.

They have an all aluminum body, 6 + 1 bearings and a waterproof carbon fiber Magsealed drag system.

The Magseal does away with traditional washers or gaskets and instead uses a magnetized main shaft that is coated with MagOil Nanofluid which seals the reel extremely well but also makes it run really smooth.

Just like the Revo Inshore the Saltist LT has a machined aluminum spool that comes braid ready so no need for monofilament backing.

The 3000 will hold 170 yards of 20 lbs braid and the 4000 will hold 240 yards of 20 lbs braid.


Inshore Spinning Reels

​Your safest bet when choosing an inshore spinning reel is to always stick to the top brands and their saltwater spinning reel offerings.

Although you can get away with a substandard rod a low quality spinning reel for inshore fishing is not going to cut it and you may well end up regretting such a choice.  

Penn, Shimano, Daiwa and Abu Garcia all produce spinning reels that are designed specifically with saltwater usage in mind.

All your reels should be thoroughly rinsed in clean fresh water so that any dried in salt on the exterior of your reel can be washed away.

Over time this salt can become very corrosive and will lead to the operational life of your reel becoming much shorter.

It will also allow for your line to be rinsed free of salt and if you are using a high end line it really is best to keep ot as clean as possible.

What Size ​Reel for Inshore Fishing ?

​The best size reel for inshore fishing will be something in the range of a 3000 to a 4000.

If you are casting all day for speckled trout or redfish then chances are that a size 5000 spinning reel would be a little too heavy.

A heavy reel paired with a light weight rod setup would result in the rod becoming unbalanced and your casting performance would start to suffer.

The best inshore spinning rods will have a medium or medium/heavy power rating and pair well with a size 3000 or 4000 reel.

You will probably want to hold at least 200 yards of 10 or 15 lbs rated line.

​How Much Drag do you Need for Inshore Fishing ?

As a general rule the drag should be set to roughly 20% to 30% of the line that you are using. So if you are using 10 lbs mono for light inshore spinning then a drag setting of roughly 3 lbs would apply.

If doing some heavier inshore spinning then you may go up as high as 20 lbs at a maximum and this would need roughly 6 lbs of drag.

Most angers are surprised by how little the drag setting should be. When using light line in the 10 to 15 lb range you don't need that much.

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best Inshore Spinning Rod

Best Inshore Spinning Rod 2020 – [Buyer’s Guide]

​An inshore spinning rod once sized correctly can handle a lot of different setups and techniques.

Although there is a difference in the type of rod that you might ​use when doing some lightweight jigging for smaller speckled trout with and a heavier setup for bigger lures.

However, you can get away with an all rounder that can cover a lot of different scenario's.

As an all rounder the best inshore spinning rods will be 7'6" with a medium/heavy power rating and a fast action.

This type of rod can perform well with line in the 10 to 20 lbs range if is mono and 15 to 30 lbs range if using braid.

If you are targeting specks, snook and redfish then you really only need one rod as a general rod or if you are looking to really maximize your performance then a two rod setup as follows:

  • Jigging/lighter setup - 7 foot, medium power with a fast action
  • ​Longer distance lure work -  7'6", medium/heavy power rating with a fast action

​Given the choice between the two setups above I'd opt for the medium/heavy rated slightly longer rod as it is more versatile.

A medium power rod should be rated for mono in the 8 to 15 lbs range and lures in the 3/8 to 3/4 ounce range.

​A medium/heavy should be rated for mono in the 10 to 20 lbs range and lures in the 1/2 to 1-1/4 ounce range.

As a general rule if you are using braid you can double the numbers that are quoted for monofilament so a medium/heavy rod would equate to 20 to 40 pound braid.

​Best Inshore Spinning Rods

The St Croix Mojo Inshore is the best inshore spinning rod for the money hands down. You get high end rod performance at a mid-range price.

St Croix are known for building some of the best rod blanks available and they have built an enter series of rods for various techniques on their SCII graphite blank.

The Mojo Inshore fishing rods are designed with saltwater fishing in mind and have the specific hardware to handle it.

They come with Baston Forecast aluminum oxide guides and 316 stainless-steel frames which are considerably more corrosion resistant than more common 306 stainless-steel frames.

A high quality Fuji DPS reel seat and a really nice split grip cork handle plus a hook keeper round off the hardware.

Every rod is give two coats of Flex Coat slow-cure finish ​which gives the blanks a really nice looking nice high quality finish.

All rods are also backed by St Croix's 5 year warranty.

Across the range there are 8 different models to choose from 2 length, 4 power and the same action on all.

There are only two lengths available in the range a 7' and a 7'6" which are two of the best rod lengths for inshore fishing.

All rods have a fast action for quicker hook sets and great feedback or tip sensitivity.

​With four power ratings you can choose the exact weight rod for your target setup:

  • ML(medium/light): 6-14 lbs line and 1/8 - 1/2 ounces weights
  • M(medium): 8-17 lbs line and 3/8 - 3/4 ounces weights
  • MH(medium/heavy): 10-20 lbs line and 1/2 - 11/4 ounces weights
  • ​H(heavy): 15-30 lbs line and 3/4 - 2 ounces weights

The longer rod is better for casting larger weights or lures when sight fishing over longer distances whereas the 7' is great for close in work around piers or docks.


If you are looking for a rod that can double as a light surf casting rod and a medium to heavy inshore rod then the Coastal Salt Pro from Daiwa is the perfect middle ground rod for the two.

The range has much longer and heavier rods than what is available in the Mojo Inshore rods range so for inshore work the smallest of the Coastal rods is a ​great compromise.

​These rods are perfect for throwing big lures either into the surf or over a long distance when out on salt water flats targeting larger species.

The blanks are made from high modulus IM-7 graphite with a woven carbon mixed in for strength and added durability especially when flexing under casting.

They are finished with Fuji Alconite Low Rider guides, a Fuji DPS reel seat and an X-Tube grip design.

At 7' in length and with a medium power rating this rod is great for throwing heavier lures when working inshore.

The line rating is 10 - 20 lbs and it is rated for lures in the 1 to 4 ounce range so definitely not a rod for jigging light lures with.


G Loomis are known for building some very high end rods particularly in the salmon and steelhead world, one particular line of rods the E6X gives you access to their best technologies at a mid-range price point.

The E6X Inshore line as the name suggests is targeted at inshore saltwater fishing and the demands that it puts on both the rod and the hardware.

These rods are a definitely suited to more finesse inshore techniques like small jigs and plastics or throwing small bait rigs under bobbers.

​Like all E6X's the inshore fishing rod series is built on G. Loomis's multi-taper technology giving a very light yet crisp rod blank that is super sensitive.

If you are looking for a rod that has a lot of feedback through the tip then the E6X is a serious contender.

A medium power rod is rated for line in the 8 to 14 lbs range and lures weights of 3/4 to 1-1/2 ounces which is perfect for lighter close quarters work.


The Avid Inshore line of rods from St Croix are a step up in terms of sensitivity when compared to the Mojo Inshore.

The Mojo is undoubtedly the best all round inshore spinning rod that comes at a great price point but if you are looking to really up your game then the Avid line is where it is at.

American made they have a much more sensitive rod blank and the tip section is super sensitive.

The taper on the blank is what really makes it stand out as you get a really sensitive tip but quite a bit of power lower down in the blank which is not that easy to achieve.

This is down to St Croix's Poly Curve technology that gives a much more even taper to the rod blank when compared to the Mojo inshore rod.

The hardware is also u​prated from the Mojo and come with Kigan Master Zero Tangle guides that have aluminum oxide inserts with titanium frames with the guides having a more low profile than regular.

The rods are finished off with a Fuji DPS reel seat and full cork split drip handle.

The range runs from 6'6" to 8' in length and a range of rod powers and actions.


Hurricane aren't a brand of fishing rods that a lot of freshwater anglers would be familiar with but in the inshore saltwater world they have quite an underground following.

Built in ​the USA with inshore fishing in mind the Redbone is an excellent rod for the money.

They have two models for inshore fishing the 'Redbone' and the 'Calica Jack'. Both rods are built on an older style IM7 graphite rod blank.

They feel super light in the hand and have a really crisp tip action. They come with Fuji aliminum oxide guides, full cork handle and a Fuji reel seat.


Inshore Spinning Rods

​Most inshore spinning rods should be running 10 lbs mono or 20 lbs braid and if using braid then a 10 to 15 lbs leader of fluorocarbon.

​​Pair this with the best inshore spinning reel that you can afford and you will have one heck of a setup that if properly looked after should last many years of great fishing.

Let's take a brief look at the specifications in more detail below.

​Inshore Fishing Rod Length

As an all rounder the best inshore fishing rod length would be between 7 and 8 feet depending on the setup.

When talking about what length the best rod for inshore fishing is you really need to ask what type of fishing are you doing.

Generally speaking if you are doing some light jigging work then a shorter inshore rod is best.

A shorter rod will allow you to jig your rod with shorter snappy wrist movements. If will also allow you to cast lighter lures or jigs with greater accuracy.

If you are looking to cast bigger lures a long distance when sight fishing over saltwater flats then an inshore rod of at least 7'6" would be more suitable.

Longer rods all things being equal are best at casting long distances.

​Inshore Spinning Rod Power

Power is mostly influenced by the weight of your lures or bait rigs and how heavy a line you will be using.

As a guide for the majority of inshore fishing a 10 lbs mono or 20 lbs braid is the norm.

Rods are generally rated by what weight monofilament to pair them with.

For a spinning rod for inshore fishing 10 lbs mono should equate to a medium/heavy power rating.

For lighter jigging a medium power rating is a good option as the rod will have a bit more feel and sensitivity to it.

​Action

You want a fast action for most styles of inshore fishing the only exception would be casting big crankbaits as a more moderate action will suit them.

​Rod action means where on the rod blank that the natural bend will start to form.

A slow or moderate action rod will start to bend in the lower or middle section of the rod when pressure is applied to the tip.

A fast action rod will start to bend higher up in the top one third of the rod blank.

Fast action rods will have a quicker hook set and will have a lot more sensitivity transmitted down through the rod blank and into your hand.

​When working lures or jigs a fast action will also allow you to make snappier short casts with better acuracy that is why the best action for an inshore spinning rod will be fast.

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Pier Fishing Gear

Pier Fishing Gear and Tackle

​Fishing from a pier gives you access to a wide range of different species which means there is a lot of different pier fishing gear and tackle required if you want to target every type of fish in every type of water conditions.

If you are just starting out then I would strongly suggest sticking to using bait and targeting smaller species of fish.

This of course will depend on the exact pier you are fishing from and the time of year it is.

Spend a little time observing the locals or regulars at the pier they are usually the best sources of information about what king of pier fishing tackle you will need.

​Pier Fishing Gear and Tackle

​1. Rod 

A good pier fishing rod should be matched to the type of fishing you are doing and what species of fish you will be targeting the most often.

You have a few different options when it comes to choosing what kind of rod you will need for pier fishing:

  1. ​Light spinning rod for baitfish and light jigging work
  2. ​Medium sized spinning or conventional rod for heavier bait and lure casting
  3. Heavy conventional rod for bigger species and larger lures

​Once you've spent a bit of time at your local pier you'll notice that a lot of fishermen will use multiple rods at the same time.

They may use a light rod for bobber fishing or catching baitfish and a much heavier outfit for using live bait or casting longer distances out from the pier.

​2. Reel

Your reel will need to be matched to your rod and line. Either a spinning reel or a conventional reel.

Either option needs to be capable of handling heavy use in saltwater conditions.

Always remember to rinse your eels thoroughly will fresh water once you get home to help protect them from the corrosive effects of salt water.

​3. Line

The two most common types of line for use on a pier is either braid or monofilament. You would want to use 10 lb monofilament as a minimum and 20 lb braid.

Mono gives you a bit of extra stretch in the line when compared to braid. For lighter work I prefer mono especially on a smaller sized spinning reel.

​4. Sinkers

Sinkers are a crucial piece of pier fishing tackle for getting down to the sea floor when bottom fishing. That is not their only purpose though.

Sinkers also help keep your bait on the sea floor once you have cast out into the spot you have targeted.

There is a choice of either round or pyramid style sinkers.

Round sinkers are best on rocky bottom as there is less chance that they will get stuck in between the rocks when compared to pyramid shaped ones.

Pyramid style sinkers are great for working on sandy bottoms as their shape helps to anchor then in the sand and they are less likely to be moved around in the current or on coming tide.

​5. Hooks and Rigs

Circle and traditional J hooks are probably the most popular type of hooks used when fishing with bait but there are other options also and this will depend very strongly the method or kind of bait presentation that you are trying to use.

Premade rigs are a real time saver especially if you are using something like a sabiki rig. Just pull them straight out of the packer and you are ready to go, a real time saver.

​6. Rod Holder

​If you are using a short rod then a rod holder is quite a useful piece of pier fishing gear.

If you rest a short rod against the pier wall then it will only start to bend at the point where it touches the wall or railing.

With a rod holder you retain all of the action of the rod whilst it is securely fixed in place.

With longer rods this is usually not an issue and they are normally just left up against the railing. Just make sure that it is tied to the rail in some way as you can lose rods even heavy ones if a big fish strikes.

​7. Pliers

A good stainless steel pliers is a must when fishing in salt water. A lot of species have row after row of sharp teeth and you need something that protects your hands whilst removing the hooks.

Pliers are also useful for cutting line and sqeezing on tradional style sinkers onto your line.

​8. Fishing Cart

What pier would be complete without a few carts crammed full of pier fishing equipment.

Once you need to carry multiple rods, a tackle box and a drop net for pier fishing then investing in a decent fishing cart is a wise decision.

They take all of the pain out of carrying lots of awkard and bulky gear around with you.  

9. Tackle Box

When you have lots of sinkers hooks and rigs then a tackle box is a bit of a no brainer.

Once you start using lots of lures and jigs on top of the basic bait fishing tackle keeping then in a separate compartment is the only way to stop all your lures and bait rigs getting tangled.

​10. Net

​A good pier net makes life much easier once it comes time to land your catch. A regular long handled net may not be strong enough or long enough to handle a fish of any serious weight.

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pier fishing rod setup

Pier Fishing Rod Setup

​If you are just starting out fishing on your local pier then you may be a little confused as to all of the advice you will get online about what kind of pier fishing rod setup you should use.

The number one thing to remember is that you need to match you rod to what you will be fishing for and just how exactly you'll be doing it.

If your is to use small jigs then a big beefy rod is not going to give you the type of feedback that you will need.

And, conversely if you are targeting much bigger species that require and rod and reel setup with a lot of backbone then a lighter setup is virtually useless. 

If you can have a chat with the local fishermen that are already fishing there. Some of them may well be fishing on that same pier all their life and their advice will be thoroughly invaluable when it comes to what kind of tackle you will need.

For the most part you reduce down the number of different setups to just three:

  1. ​Light - for jigging, catching baitfish and other smaller species
  2. Medium - for bait work and light lure casting
  3. Heavy - for large species and large lure casting work

​However, if you are just starting out then I would recommend just one rod and reel as your first purchase.

The best pier fishing rod for a beginner roughly 7 feet in length and have a medium power rating. Paired with a spinning reel and 15 lb mono. 

​This is a fairly generic type of rod and reel that can over a lot of species and as ever with pier fishing it really does depend on your local pier and what type of fish you will target regularly.

​3 Pier Fishing Rod Setups 

​1. Light Setup for Jigging/Baitfish

For catching smaller species and baitfish then you are going to need to use some light tackle.

​When using light tackle I would always opt for a spinning rod and reel for pier fishing as they are better at handling lighter lines.

If you are doing a lot of finesse style jigging then you will need to have a lot of feedback from the jig back through the rod, you won't get this kind of sensitivity with a heavy rod.

Graphite is usually preferred over a fiberglass rod when doing lighter work as agin they will have much better tip sensitivity.

Aim for a 6'6" to 7' foot rod with a medium/light power rating and a fast action or a moderate/fast action.

​You'll need to pair a reel to that rod and a size 2000, 2500 or a 3000 depending on the rod and reel choice as each manufacturer is different.

You'll need 10 lb monofilament or 20 lb braid. Mono has a bit more stretch in it but is better suited to beginners. Braid on the other hand has very little stretch which is great for jigging but it can result in wind knots.

​2. Medium Setup for Bait/Lure work

A good medium setup could easily end up being your most used out of all three. When you are targeting fish in the 5 to 10lb range then a good choice is still a spinning rod.

Aim for between 7 and 8 feet in length and a medium/heavy power rating.

That extra length gives you both the ability to cast longer distances and also can help to steer fish away from the pylons beneath the pier which is usually their natural reaction once hooked.

Spinning reel of 3000 or 4000 and you can load that with 12 to 15 pound mono or up to 30 lb braid.

​3. Heavy Setup for Larger Species and Heavy Lure Work

Bigger species mean bigger stronger tackle especially if you are using large sinkers or casting bigger lures.

If you are not looking to cast any great distance then you can use a spinning rod with a heavy power rating or roughly 9 feet in length.

If you are targeting really big fish like sharks then a conventional rod and reel is the better choice.

​A conventional reel gives you a lot more cranking power.

They can also handle a lot more heavy braid than a spinning reel. Low profile baitcasters are rarely used as the casting distances are normally shorter than if you were doing a lot of heavy lure work looking to cover a lot of open water.

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best pier fishing rod

Best Pier Fishing Rod [Buyer’s Guide]

​Pier fishing can b​e one of the best ways to start out fishing in saltwater. There is a huge variety of fish that live in and around the submerged structures of the pier.

​Cobia, Spanish Mackerel, Pompano, Flounder, Tarpon, Redfish even Sailfish and sharks are all available to you throughout the year from a pier.

​Give that there is so many different species that range from smaller baitfish all that way up to sharks then it's pretty clear that the really is no one rod that can handle all of these species.

The best pier fishing rod is one that matches what kind and size of fish that you are targeting.

If I had to be pushed and could only choose one rod for per fishing then I probably go with some along the lines of the following:

  • Type - spinning
  • Length - 7 to 8 feet long
  • Power - medium or medium/heavy

Although not ideal when using a jig rig for smaller mackerel you can still get by with a rod like this and also be able to handle larger species and cast fairly heavy sinkers for bait fishing at the same time. 

You have a choice of either 12 to 15 lbs monofilament or 20 lb braid as your main line.

​What type of Fishing Rod is Best for Pier Fishing ?

​Ideally you would run up to three different types of rods for pier fishing a light and a medium/heavy spinning rods for jigging and bait fishing close in to the pier and a casting rod for throwing larger lures or bait at a distance.

  • ​Jigging/baitfish ​- spinning rod, 7 feet, medium/light power rating
  • Medium Bait/Lure​ - spinning rod 8 feet, medium/heavy power rating
  • Larger species - spinning rod or conventional, 9 feet, heavy power rating

​Materials wise your choice is between a fiberglass or a graphite rod blank.

Fiberglass is much tougher and pier fishing is particularly hard on rods. However, they are also slightly heavier and if you are doing a lot of casting or jigging then a lighter graphite rod is the way to go.

It you are just dropping bait down from the pier then fiberglass is the better choice. Graphite is pretty brittle/fragile and if you are leaning it against the hand rail of the pier it is much more prone to getting damaged.

​What is the Best Length/Size Rod for Pier Fishing ?

​A good length/size rod for an all round pier fishing is roughly seven to eight feet in length.

Longer rods are better casting but not that great up close, shorter rods will be better for jigging and dropping bait down vertically but make it harder to turn a fish if they decide to run under the legs of the pier.

The sweet spot in length allows you to turn a fish away from the pier pylons with out it being so long like a surf rod that it will become awkward and cumbersome to use on a busy pier.

The first three rods below are better suited for lighter work especially if you are a beginner.

​Best Pier Fishing Rod

​Our first pick is actually a pier fishing rod and reel combo, the Penn Battle II spinning combo is an excellent choice if you are just looking to try your hand at fishing from a pier for the first time.

For a beginner a combo is a a real no brainer and it takes out any of the guess work when it comes to making that all important choice.

​Penn are one of the most respected names in saltwater tackle and this pier combo is no exception when it comes to their legendary quality and reliability.

A combo like this gives you a perfectly matched rod and reel for pier fishing and also when bought as the one deal you'll also get a decent saving over buying a separate rod/reel.

The Battle II reel is the real star of the show and although you might out grow the rod, the reel if maintained correctly should still be working away in ten years time.

​For light work the 2500 size is great for jigging and targeting smaller species. The rod is a medium/light power rating and the rel can hold 140 yards of 10 lb mono or 160 yards of 20 lb braid.

For larger species and bigger baits you can go up to a 4000, which would cover you for a lot of different species and different rig setups.

​Specifications:

  • ​Penn Battle II high quality reel
  • Range of reel sizes, rod length and power/actions
  • Aluminum oxide guides

​Don't let the name fool you although not strictly what some anglers would consider a pie​r rod the Mojo inshore series from St Croix are excellent rods for jigging and light lure work around structures.

​If you are routinely throwing a lot of light lures and smaller jigs depending on your location. If that is the case then you will need a graphite rod that has a lot of sensitivity.

​A more sensitive rod with a fast action and responsive rod blank is a must when targeting smaller species on light tackle.

Fiberglass rods will not give you the kind of feedback that you need. Clear and crisp tip sensitivity can make or break your jigging.  

​All of the rods have a fast action and are available in a ice pread of power ratings.

​Specifications:

  • ​Aluminum oxide guides
  • SCII graphite
  • Fuji reel seat
  • Split grip cork handle
  • 5 year warranty

​The Shimano South East Teramar Spinning rods make great all rounders.

They come with very high spec hardware like Fuji reel seats, Hardloy guides and a premium cork handle.

​The 7 foot medium action rod will cast 1 ad 2 ounce lures or weights a mile so if you are looking to get out from the pier this is a solid choice.

​Specifications:

  • ​TC4 rod blanks
  • Fuji Hardloy guides
  • Fuji reel seat

​Pier Fishing Rods

​If you are just starting out pier fishing then I would strongly suggest that you should target smaller fish that are under five pounds and that you buy a pier fishing rod that is suitable for this type of fishing.

Learning how to rig a bait and cast smaller lures is the single best way to improve your knowledge and experience.

Why?

Because you will probably catch more fish than if you are to target larger species. It's all about practice and working your way up from the easier to catch smaller fish eventually to the large ones once you gain the skills and experience.

You can have a lot of fun catching strings of mackerel on a sabiki rig and with a light enough spinning rod you will not need anything like a dedicated sabiki rod that you will see on a lot of boats.

For this I would suggest a good inshore spinning rod as your first pier fishing pole. Spinning reels are more forgiving than a conventional or baitcaster.

Casting is much easier with a spinning setup. Casting should not be a bottle neck that stops you from catch especially when you are fishing right above the fish on a pier.

When you are using a bobber with bait or lure and jigs a good spinning rod can handle all with ease.

Ask around on the pier and look for guidance from the more experienced fishermen. They can point you in the right direction when it comes to what type of tackle and bait to use for that particular pier.

You can choose either a fiberglass or a graphite rod , but if it is your first time fishing then a fiberglass rod will be an excellent per rod for a beginner.

They are all lot tougher and can take a lot more abuse than a graphite rod blank.

When resting your rod up against a pier all day it can take a lot of abuse and a very light fragile graphite rod may not always be the best option, fiberglass however can take a lot of scrapes and knocks without losing any strength.

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flounder gigging lights for wading

Flounder Gigging Lights for Wading

If you don't have a flounder boat available to you or are just starting out in gigging then wading along the shoreline or sandy flats can be the best option. 

Along with the gigging pole the gigging lights for wading that you use are going to be one of the most crucial items of your flounder gigging equipment.

You can find some commercially available AA battery powered lights but they really are no match for an LED light run off of a 12v battery. 

A good battery should weigh anywhere from 5 to 8 pounds and if you have it in a backpack the load can be very easily spread across the shoulders. You'll probably be wearing a pack anyway to hold water and extra gear.

Flounder Gigging Lights for Wading

Below we have listed two ready made solutions both of which will run off of a 12v DC battery.

If you want to make your own custom built gigging light for wading then you will find a list of the materials that you will need lower down the page.

This purpose built flounder gigging light for wading is made in America by Boat Lights US.

It is 50 inches long and weights just a little over 2 pounds so it's quite light and is suitable for use by kids also.

It requires a separate 12v battery which is connected via either alligator clips or spade connectors.

The light head gives out 2200 lumens from 6 high powered LED light. The head is set an angle that's just right for wading in the shallows.

The six LED's are arranged in a flat side-by-side configuration. This gives the best spread of light. You do not want a narrow focused beam when flounder gigging. A large spread allows you to cover a lot of ground more quickly.

The main arm is made high quality PVC which is both stiff and light. Pair this with a small 12v battery in a backpack and you shouldn't real feel any weight even after hours of use.

Specifications:

  • 2200 lumens
  • 18 watt output
  • 6 foot battery cord
  • 50 inch long, weighs just over 2 lbs

The FlounderPro from AlumiGlo is another purpose built solution. It looks a bit more polished than the pole above but has a slight drawback in that the LED's are arranged in a circular pattern.

Ideally they would be flat to give as much light spread as possible. Saying that it is a high quality light with the added bonus of a shoulder strap.

Again you'll need to pair this with a 12v battery. It weighs in at 2.3 lbs which slightly heavier than the Boat Lights US model above but that little weight is hardly noticeable.

Specifications:

  • 2850 lumens
  • 50 inch handle with shoulder strap
  • High grade PVC pole with aluminum light head
  • 2.3 lns in weight

Almost any 12v portable battery will do as long as it runs about 7.5 Ah from a full charge.

The Powerstar unit listed weighs in around 6 pounds and features a well sealed battery housing and external cover.
Chargers sold separately.

Specifications:

  • 12v portable battery
  • 7.5 Ah
  • Battery life 3 to 5 years
  • comes with 2 year warranty

DIY Flounder Wading Lights

If you are looking to make your own LED wading lights then with a few items you can get a custom built wading stick mage up in no time.

A lot of people like to combine the light onto their gigging pole. So if you already have a pole it is something to consider.

Light choice will usually come down to how much power you want. Remember that a larger light spread is quite important but it still needs to be bright enough to be usable. 

Here's what you need to make a flounder light setup for wading:

  • PVC or aluminum tubing 3/4 inch
  • 1/4 inch u-bolt
  • Submersible LED light
  • Marine on/off switch plus cabling
  • 12v Battery

The light will be mounted onto the pole using the u-bolt. Depending on the LED that you get you may need to play around with how it is mounted.

The mounting position will be either at the end of the pole if you are using your gig separately or you can mount the light on your gigging pole about half way up.

You'll need to fix the switch to the LED and then to the battery side of the cable. Try to get a good maring switch as it should stand up to the salt water environment better.

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Best Sabiki Rod

Best Sabiki Rod and Reel for Baitfish

​If you are catching a lot of live bait like mackerel and threadfin herring then the best way to haul a tonne of them onboard quickly is using a sabiki rig. A good sabiki rod or two will make life a lot easier.

The biggest complaints you'll often here about using a sabiki rig is the tangled mess they can become on board when not in use.

That and the fact that you have 6-10 small hooks just waiting to get snagged in something can end up driving you crazy, fast!

​Enter the sabiki rod.

A sabiki rod is a purpose built rod blank that the line and rig run through the middle of the rod rather than through traditional eyes once pulled in. The aim here is to keep the rig and all it's little hooks enclosed in the rod blank so that once on board they can't cause any trouble.

​There are usually only two types of sabiki bait sticks available ones with a line guide before the line feeder and ones without.

The sabiki poles that have an added line guide before the line is threaded into the rod blank are suitable for use with both baitcaster/conventional type reels and spinning reels.

If the rod blank does not have a line guide then it usually best not to use a spinning reel with it.

On a boat I always favor the conventional reel than a spinning reel as you will be essentially vertically jigging the sabiki rig and casting is not an issue.

​Best Sabiki Rods

​The Ahi USA rod is suitable for use with both spinning reels and baitcast/conventional reels. 

So if you are on a pier and are casting opt to pair it with a spinning reel. But, if on a boat and vertically jigging them the conventional reel is the best choice.

​You have the option or either a 7 or an 8 feet model and to be honest the choice should be determined by how long your sabiki rig is going to be. 

Choose the 7 foot model and an 8 foot length of jig then you'll either have to contend with and extra hook hanging freely when all others are covered or just cut off the last one.

​If you are in a kayak the 7 footer may be easier to handle.

It breaks down into 3 small pieces so is easy enough to transport and this also make it easier to thread the line through it when you first set it up.

​Specifications:

  • ​8 foot in length
  • Suitable for both spinning and baitcast/conventional reels
  • Great build quality
  • Available in both 7 or 8 feet options
  • Canvas carry bag included

​This is a 7 foot option from EAT MY TACKLE which makes it more suitable to kayaks or smaller fishing boats.

​It is a two piece rod making transport and storage quite simple.

Unlike the AHI rod above it does not have a line guide before the opening for the line in the blank so it is suitable for baitcast/conventional reels only.

​Not really suitable for casting your sabiki rig any meaningful distance unless you have a fairly heavy weight on the end of the rig.

​Specifications:

  • ​2 piece, 7 foot rod
  • Baitcast or conventional reels only
  • Strong fiberglass construction
  • Lifetime warranty

​The Promar Sabiki Stick come in either a 7 or 8 foot option.

They can handle any kind of reel so a spinning reel is an option here if you do not want to use a baitcaster.

​It breaks down easily into three sections and also comes with a storage bag. These rods are very well built and can take quite a bit of abuse.

​Specifications:

  • ​Three piece
  • 7 or 8 foot models
  • 1 line feeder guide
  • Comes with a storage bag

Sabiki Rod and Reel Combo

Purchasing a sabiki rod and reel combo as an all in one deal is a great way to get serious value for your money.

You can also rely on the rod and reel being perfectly suited to each other.

The Eat My Tackle Combo below is the best of the bunch.

​The Eat My Tackle sabiki combo is the perfect solution to your bait fishing needs.

Just spool on some mono, attach your rig to the main line and you are good to go.

This is the eight foot rod  from Eat My Tackle as seen above.

​The reel is a light-weight conventional reel that can hold up to 120 yards of 10 lb mono and is perfectly matched to the rod.

It is a right hand retrieve, has a star drag and a one way clutch.

​Specifications:

  • ​8 foot rod
  • ​Gear ratio 5.0:1
  • Holds 120 yd of 10 lb mono

​Sabiki Reels

​Although you can use spinning reels with sabiki fishing rods my preferred setup when jigging from a boat is to use a small conventional reel.

​The best time to use a spinning setup is when you are casting from a pier. Sabiki rigs can be quite light and casting them any kind of distance from a pier using a conventional reel can be a little difficult.

But on a boat hands the conventional reel the way to go.

You don't need anything to fancy, a plain level wind with a line counter works great.

​Always make sure to rinse your reels in fresh water after use, it will improve their lifespan significantly.


​The Penn Rival level wind conventional reel is a no frills lightweight reel that won't break the bank.
Although it might be priced on the lower end it still comes with Penn's legendary build quality.

These are perfect a sabiki reels and will not break the bank.

​For such a small and light conventional reel the Rival is still built from some very high quality materials. Marine grade bronze alloy main gear and carbon fiber drag washers ensure a smooth operation.

The smaller model is best suited for bait fishing and can hold 475 yards oof 15 lb monofilament fishing line.

​Specifications:

  • ​HT-100 carbon fiber drag washers
  • 2 stainless steel ball bearings
  • Frame and sideplates from lightweight graphite
  • Line capacity rings

​Okuma line counter reels some of the most reliable available. They are use on large freshwater lakes and for trollig at sea for smaller sized sport fish.

The Magda Pro in the smaller sizes make a great little sabiki reel.

With the added bonus of a linecounter builtin you can always be sure of just how deep exactly your rig is.

​Specifications:

  • ​Carbon drag system
  • Built in linecounter
  • 2 stainless steel ball bearings
  • Self lubricating gear system
  • 1 year warranty

​Sabiki Rod

​Sabiki Rods are pretty are a great way to keep your Sabiki rig from becoming a tangles mess. A common complaint with using a conventional rod for a sabiki rig is that once you reel them in and attempt to store them the rig becomes a massive tangles mess.

Not only do the get tangled up on all the rod eyes and main line but usually some of the hooks will end up getting snagged on some thing on the deck of the boat.

For me it was always one of either two landing nets. Hooks just love to get caught in nets and they are a real pain to untangle especially when you could be doing something more fun like actually using your new bait ti catch some real fish.

​A Sabiki rod is essentially a rod that is hollow in which the main line runs through as opposed to conventional rod guides and eyes.

​The design of a sabiki fishing rod is that it is actually wider at the top. The tip of the rod has a large opening. The opening has smoothed sides that allow your rig to enter the tube without snagging. Once the rig is fully enlosed in the rod tube there is no chance of any kind of tangle happening. 

You can usually pair a sabiki baitfish rod with a simple and in-expensive level wind or conventional reel.

Personally I use whatever old reels I have. If a reel has been retired from active duty on my main fishing setup them I'll re-spool it with lighter line and then use it on my baitfish rods.

Most solid reels will last a long time when used as part of a sabiki rod and reel combo. Just remeber to rinse them out with fresh water after every trip whether you use them or not.

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