How to Fish For Striped Bass From a Pier

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Pier fishing for striped bass is a distinct outdoor activity; piers provide a stable platform for anglers and eliminate the need to rent a boat, making it cheaper. However, you may share a fishing spot with another angler, so you must know how to fish striped bass from a pier more effectively.

How to Fish For Striped Bass From a Pier 

Striped bass, also known as striper or rock bass, are freshwater and saltwater fish species with a classic bass profile, brassy reflections, and eight to nine horizontal stripes on the side of their bodies. They are typically found in rocky or sandy shallow-water zones and can weigh up to 40 or 50 pounds.

An image of two person fishing during sunset in a pier

Stripers are anadromous, which means they move from freshwater seas and rivers to their natural saltwater home. They often spend the winter months in freshwater regions and seas, then move to saltwater rivers, creeks and bays in spring and spend the warmer months next to oceans before returning upstream in the fall.

Depending on what season you choose to go pier fishing for striped bass – for example, the Pacifica Pier and piers around the San Francisco Bay area are ideal for summer- you should also be precise about when to fish from the pier. Generally, the best time is either early in the morning or after dusk.

Fishing For Striped Bass From a Pier

Pier Fishing is relatively easy. However, it may become challenging mainly because other anglers are on the same pier to catch a fish. During the fall, for example, the Marin County Piers in California tend to be filled with a lot of people solely for pier fishing.

Therefore, with the right bait in hand, it’s important you utilize the best technique that will attract this species when pier fishing. Let’s begin with one of the easiest techniques:

Plastic Lure Method

For this method, you need a ¼-ounce jighead and a small plastic baitfish. I recommend the Truscend Pre-Rigged Jig Head, however, you don’t need to stick to a particular brand as long as you have a small bait fish.

  1. First, attach the jig head onto the bait fish by identifying where the hook needs to come out with your index finger. Then, press the hook through until it rests evenly and neatly on the jighead.
  2. Next, cast it from the pier, let it sink to the bottom, and work it back slowly by jigging it up and down. This way, the lure mimics the movement of an actual fish and entices this species to bite.
  3. You can also cast it, let it sink, and flip it back up. You can do this as many times as possible until it hooks a striper.

There are different ways to apply this technique, and you can get creative with all the ways. If the fish isn’t biting, switch to another way.

Live Bait Technique

For this method, you need live bait, a bead, a swivel, an egg sinker, and a size 2 hook.

  1. Tie a swivel onto the end of your leader line. Attach it to your main line by inserting your spool line through your egg sinker and putting a bead so it slides down the line to the egg sinker. Then attach the swivel to the end of the line.
  2. Cut 2-3 feet of leader line, either fluorocarbon or monofilament. Attach the leader line to the other end of the swivel. Then, tie your leader line onto your hook with a strong knot.
  3. Attach your live bait at the end of your hook either in its nose, top lip, back, or shoulder, and cast it from the pier. Wait patiently till a striped bass goes for the bait.
An image of a man fishing in a pier

This technique guarantees consistent returns because of the live bait being used. Don’t be surprised when your bait attracts other fish species aside from stripers. Simply return them to the water and wait patiently for your target fish to bite.

Basic Pier Fishing Gear for Striped Bass

Before you start fishing for striped bass, you’ll need the proper pier fishing materials. The majority of this necessary equipment and tackle may be leased or purchased at the nearby fishing station. You may wish to bring the following equipment and supplies:

Fishing Rod

You’ll need a saltwater rod that can handle both large and little striped bass, as well as other fish species. Choose a long, medium to heavy, soft tip rod. First, you’ll need a long rod since your set-up arrangement requires you to stay a good distance from the striper.

Second, you’ll need a medium to heavy rod since you’ll be capturing a medium-sized bass, which will require an 8 to 10 feet rod. Finally, a soft tip rod is recommended because if it is not soft enough, the striper will recognize it as bait and flee.

If you had to get a rod strictly for pier fishing for this species, I would recommend a size 8 to 10 feet, soft tip, medium to heavy power for pressure, moderately fast action, and graphite-produced rod.


It’s important to also know the right bait that striped bass finds irresistible. Fortunately, stripers can be lured with both live and artificial lures, irrespective of their location. However, choosing a live bait would attract a striper faster compared to an artificial bait; the dripping blood, scent, and wriggling movement are enough to entice the fish. Whereas an artificial lure could be expensive and limiting.

Bloodworms, eels, mackerel, shrimp, shad, and herring all work perfectly to catch a striper from a pier. Since most piers have a tackle shop, you are likely to find these baits, including artificial lures. Soft plastics, bucktail jigs, diamond jigs, and bunker spoons are some of the best artificial lures for fishing stripers from a pier.

An image of people fishing in the pier

Reel for Pier Fishing

Generally, there are four types of reel you can choose from:

  • Baitcasting
  • Spincast
  • Fly reels, and
  • Spinning reels.

For heavy stripers, you can go for a baitcasting reel. However, if you’re targeting medium-sized fish, you need a spincast reel. It’s easy for amateurs and the arrangement is unlikely to tangle your line.

Pier fishing newbies typically make mistakes mixing reels and rod types. Basically, your rod type and reel have to match. Therefore, if you have a baitcasting rod, you should use a baitcasting reel

Pier Fishing Line

There are three types of fishing lines available: braided, monofilament, and fluorocarbon. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to stick with mono or braid. The former is more prevalent, has a better stretch, and is more durable than braided. The latter, on the other hand, is less durable and stretches less.

Meanwhile, fluorocarbon is excellent for saltwater fishing because it is nearly invisible in water and has the stiffest composition of the three. You may also need pliers, a folding chair, an optional catch net, an additional fishing line, a cooler for your catch, water, and a sharp knife.

Related Question

Where Can You Find Striped Bass From a Pier?

This is typically contingent on the structure your pier is located on. They commonly gather close to the shore. However, the biggest of them are usually found at the deeper parts, which are at the end of the pier. Also, pay attention to underwater structures and rocks.


If you’re pier fishing for the first time, you may find the process overwhelming. However, it gets easier along the way. Ensure you purchase or rent the essentials before you hit the pier. You should also get enough live bait and artificial lures, so you don’t run out of them while fishing.