Pier fishing is an incredibly exciting experience, both for beginners and mature fishers. Every pier is different, and every area attracts other fish, so you can experiment a bit more to find what works out the best.
However, fishing piers can get really crowded during the daytime, which is why many anglers opt to go when nightfall, as there are fewer people, it’s quieter, and overall more comfortable to fish. The question is, is pier fishing at night any good, and should you do it?
Pier fishing at night can be even more successful than daytime fishing. It’s not a rule, but baitfish usually get attracted to the pier lights, and then bigger fish follow them to feed. The lack of movement and noise also makes fish come closer to the shore.
It’s obvious there are tons of advantages of pier fishing at night, but it’s also evident that some disadvantages are there, too. Fish are usually more active during the daytime, and the whole point of pier fishing is to see the water better.
You can’t see better at night, which is why it can be difficult for inexperienced fishers. But, play it right, and you’re set for the catch of a lifetime.
Is it good to do pier fishing at night?
Whether it’s good to do pier fishing at night or not is a matter of taste, but you can’t deny that there are perks to it.
If you ever went pier fishing in the daytime, you’ll know that it’s usually quite crowded, especially in the typical fishing times of day, such as dawn or dusk. That often leads to tangles, pushes, and guys getting mad for casting “in their spot.”
It just leads to awkward moments and temper tantrums, especially if you found a spot that works but can’t get there because somebody else is already casting there.
You have to ensure that everybody has enough room, which is particularly tricky if somebody gets a bit and the fish starts pulling them up and down the pier, so everybody has to move. It’s a hassle every time.
Also, piers tend to require a fee during working hours to fish on them. Most of them allow fishing overnight, and it’s free, so it’s just another reason why you should consider pier fishing at night. Just make sure to always have your license with you in case a warden shows up asking questions.
One crucial reason why pier fishing at night works is that fish tend to come closer to the shore at night. Shallow waters filled with rock formations or weeds provide a perfect hiding spot for baitfish, which leads to an ideal hunting spot for bigger predator fish.
Also, it’s easier to attract fish at night because there are far fewer distractions. There are no fifteen other baits, no boat engine noises, and nothing else that will take away focus from your bait. It’s obvious there are both pros and cons, so let’s take a look at both.
Pros and cons of pier fishing at night
As we mentioned earlier, the biggest pro for fishing at night is having less competition. During the day, people get competitive and start yelling and taking away from what you wanted: a nice, relaxing day on the water, enjoying the moment. At night, it’s just you and the water. No other hooks and lines that can “steal” your catch.
It’s clear to every fisher that light attracts fish, and what better time to draw fish with light than at night? If the pier has lights, it will naturally attract fish. If not, you can bring your own source of light.
Throw some bait in the water, around the edges of the illuminated area. Bigger fish come out closer to the shore to feed at night, so there’s your chance for a record catch.
The bait will attract them toward you, and the light will keep them there. Aim at the edges of the light for the most action. Don’t get us wrong, though.
Most fish are active at dawn or sundown, but due to most competition and distractions happening at that time, it evens out the playing field. Plus, if you’re going for a record catch, you have better chances overnight.
Avoiding sunburns is also a pro for pier fishing at night. Most piers don’t have shade, so you’ll be exposed to the mercy of the weather most time. Also, the winds are usually calmer at night, making it an even better choice.
Finally, the tides play a significant role in where the fish will be located when you go fishing. When the tides are higher, the fish will get closer to the shore, meaning you will have a higher chance of getting a nice catch when pier fishing at night. When the tides are lower, the fish go into deeper waters, so you should gravitate towards the end of the pier in that case.
Starting with the obvious – you can’t see anything when it’s night, which makes fishing from a pier far more complex. When fishing during the day (especially when the water is calm), you can see through the water better and notice where the fish is located. Standing on a pier makes it easier to cast further, too, so every centimeter you can see counts.
At night, you can only see what your light illuminates, which can lower your catch count dramatically. If you want to cast further, it’ll always be a “Hail Mary” thrown into the unknown, hoping it works.
You’ll also have trouble seeing your line. But, if you’re there for the record, catching twenty smaller fish means nothing if you can’t catch that one big deal.
When it’s daytime, you can see where the underwater formations are, such as corals, reefs, rocks, etc. That’s where most of the fish gravitate towards, so it’s easier to navigate yourself during the day. Then again, the light attracts the fish at night, so you can try to find the perfect spot while navigating the fish toward you.
The problem is, you don’t even have other indicators for fishing hotspots that you usually have during the day. Birds are less active at night, and you can use them extensively in the daytime to show you where there are fish. They’ll dive and float around the area where there’s fish, so it’s wise to cast where you see them gravitate.
Should you go pier fishing at night?
Now that you know the biggest pros and cons of pier fishing at night, you can decide if you should go or not yourself. You should, however, consider a few other factors before making the final decision.
First, check if the pier where you’re planning on fishing even allows nighttime fishing. Almost every pier does, but some have strict regulations and working hours, meaning you could get in trouble if you come fishing after hours or at night.
Second, check to see if the parking lot has a gate – and we are saying it from experience. Once we got to a pier that allowed night fishing and parked the car in their parking lot, planning to stay only for a few hours. They locked our vehicle inside the gate, and we had to stay fishing the whole night. It’s not like we didn’t enjoy it, but we were late for work the other day.
That’s also an essential factor to consider when going on late-night fishing trips. Check your schedule to work out if you can handle staying up all night fishing. If you can’t go to sleep right after you’re done fishing and have some other obligations to fulfill, it’s better to go another day.
In the end, you have to know yourself the best to see if it’s the right choice for you. If you’re a night person and enjoy being active late, this can be a very fulfilling experience.
On the other hand, if you don’t think you’re the type of person to pull off an “all-nighter,” try to find a more appropriate time for your biological clock that doesn’t coincide with your sleep or obligations.
What is the best time to fish off a pier?
What your preferences are is what determines what the best time for fishing off a pier is. Some people enjoy fishing during the day more even though it’s more crowded, while others prefer the more peaceful atmosphere of the night.
It also depends on what you want to accomplish. If you’re going for the count, it’s better to go during the day. But, if your motivation is to catch a bigger fish, preying on baitfish during the night, you know what to do.
Generally speaking, most fish are active either in the early morning when the sun comes out, but it still isn’t that hot, or at sundown, when it’s still visible, but the heat lowers.
If you are in a colder climate, the fish might be active when the sun is at its highest. Pick your spots, explore, learn from other anglers, and most importantly, enjoy every moment out on the water.