Jetty/Pier Or Wharf Fishing ( How To Catch More)

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Jetty/Pier Or Wharf FishingFor most people, this is where it all started. Jetty/Pier or Wharf Fishing is a past-time that is enjoyed by millions around the world. Most people’s first fish was probably caught from one of these locations.

Places such as these are easily assessable anywhere in the world. They are probably one of the safest places to first wet a line.

Best of all, you can use just about any type of fishing gear to fish from a Jetty/Pier or Wharf.

A jetty is where I started, all those years ago, catching small fish and squid. My grandfather was the one to first get me into fishing, and I was lucky to experience many types with him before he passed. I will always be grateful for that.

Where To Find A Fishing Spot?


This is the best part about fishing in these places, they are everywhere. Any port or harbor will have places you can fish from. Look for appropriate signage, as usually there will be no-fishing zones. If you don’t live near a port or harbor, you can still find many places that have jetties or piers. They don’t need to extend that far out, as you can catch fish in just a couple of feet of water.

I was lucky where I grew up that we had one of the longest jetties in the southern hemisphere. Back then, it was about 2 miles long. Unfortunately because of people doing the wrong thing, now it’s only 1.5 (still pretty long) With that kind of length, there was always a good chance to catch big fish.


What Can I Catch?


Another great thing about these places is that it’s possible to catch a wide variety of fish. If in a port or harbor, just about anything could grab your line. The uncertainty of not knowing what you could catch is one of the most exciting aspects of this type of fishing. I personally always make sure I have big and small gear on hand.

Coming back to jetties and piers, you gently have a good idea of what you could catch, though unexpected catches are still common. If you have a lot of weed in the area, there is a good chance of catching squid too. For this reason, you want to make sure to carry a couple of squid jigs with you.

You can check out a great selection of jigs at

How To Find Squid And Catch More


Before you head out, always do a bit of research on the area. This way to you will have an idea of what fish are around, helping you decide what to bring. At different times of the year, some species of fish are more common than others. This will change throughout the year, so keep researching.


Jetty/Pier Or Wharf Fishing

Is It Hard To Fish Off A Jetty/Pier or Wharf?


I think the hardest thing about this type of fishing is getting the fish from the water to where you’re standing. You have a couple of things to take into consideration. Firstly, more than likely, there will be pylons or similar in the water that the fish will try to wrap your line around.

The second thing to think about is how high off the water you are. This can help in keeping the fish from going around these poles but makes it hard to get the fish up and out of the water. You have a couple of options when it comes to this.

  1. You can look to fish from a place closer to the water.
  2. Fish near a ladder or similar.
  3. Use a heavier line.
  4. Invest in a rope gaff.

Each of these is a viable option, though comes with its own set of problems.

Fish closer to the water – This is not always possible. When it is, remember, it will become harder to fight the fish. It also becomes easier for it to take you around the pylons.

Fish near a ladder –  Can be a little dangerous going down to get fish. This option is best used if there is a second person available to hold the line tight as you climb down and to keep an eye on you.

Use thicker lines – A good option to keep you safe. Also, to help fight the fish, and keep away from pylons. The downside is that fewer fish are likely to take your hook if the line is more visible. (Always try to use the thinnest lines possible)

Use a rope gaff (cliff Gaff)- The best option if you don’t think your line will hold up. This will keep you safe, and stop line breaking, but not affect your chances of a fish taking your hook. These gaffs are great, as all you need to do is attach to your line, then it runs down to the fish, hooks onto them, and then you pull up the fish using the rope instead of your line.

Click this link to see my review on gaffs.


Jetty/Pier Or Wharf Fishing

What Gear Will I Need?


Depending on what you are targeting, you could use just about any you like. A lot of my fishing back in the early days from a jetty was done with a hand line. These days I go out a little more prepared, maybe over sometimes.

A good abrasive resistance line is quite important. Even the best fighting technique may still result in the fish taking you around a pylon or submerged object.



Fluorocarbon is my choice for fishing in these locations. The lines are more abrasive resistant, thinner so can use higher breaking strain, and don’t stretch as much as mono. Follow the link below to check out my review on Fluorocarbon line.

The Best Fluorocarbon Fishing Line


I would advise you to stay away from using braids as they have no stretch and aren’t as abrasive. Braid is great when fishing deep sea, and I know some people that only use this type of line now. I believe every line has its application,  but fluorocarbon is the best-around option.



You don’t need to use a rod, but it does help with the fight. Having said that, you can’t use any old rod. A much stiffer one is what you need, but not so stiff as a boat rod. Some flex when it comes to the fight is good, but too much will result in the fish taking you once again around a pylon. You will also need to keep the size down to medium.

A hybrid rod is excellent when fishing from a high position like these. Stiff enough to keep those fish off the bottom and around pylons, But still flexible enough to get a decent cast.



Your best choice for a reel when fishing these areas is a spin outfit. In these situations, retrieves should be kept to a minimum. This keeps the bait in the water longer, therefore increasing your chance of getting bites.

The water is usually too deep for cast and retrieves to be effective. The only exception would be fishing for squid. Even then, it’s still a slow retrieve, as you want the jig to stay near the bottom.



When it comes to the best hook to use, a lot depends on what you are targeting. Genuinely any hook will work around here. I always carry a selection of different types and sizes, to be able to switch between and find what is working best on the day.

If you are getting a lot of bites but not hooking up, try decreasing the size of your hook. On the other end of the scale, if you find they keep swallowing it right down, you may need to increase the size.



Something most people don’t think about when fishing off of a jetty/Pier or wharf is sinker size. When fishing with sinkers, I will always try to use the smallest one I can get away with. If the sinker is too light, it won’t hold the bottom. If too heavy, the fish will feel the weight and not take your hook.

Another option is fishing with no sinker at all. This will give the bait a more natural appearance. I generally don’t use floats for this type of fishing, as most fish found in these areas are going to be on the bottom.

If I do, it’s a very long leader (at least 5 feet) from float to hook. This is why unweighed works well, as you can fish the inside water column.



Although I like fishing with a landline, I know a lot of people don’t. Handlines give you a greater feeling of what the fish is doing. For this reason, they are great for the inexperienced. Most people will start with a hand line as their first bit of fishing equipment.


Jetty/Pier Or Wharf Fishing


What Rig Should I Use?


Most rigs will work when fishing off a jetty/pier or wharf. Feel free to try what works best for you and your target species. As this type of fishing is similar to fishing from a boat, a Paternoster rig or similar works well.

Click here to check out some great rigs.

I won’t use a running sinker down to the hook, as you’re fishing too high up for this to work. If you want to use a running sinker rig, I would recommend stopping the sinker a good foot from the hook.

That’s A Wrap


I hope you have enjoyed reading my post as much as I did writing it. Sharing my knowledge of fishing is a passion of mine. For other great tips, tricks, and techniques, check out my page at

I love to hear all your comments and questions, so if you do have anything you want to know about fishing, or comments about my post, feel free to leave them in the comment section below. I will endeavor to get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks for reading, and as always

Tight Lines

Tony, Creator of Get Reel Fishing


4 thoughts on “Jetty/Pier Or Wharf Fishing ( How To Catch More)”

  1. I want to find a good fishing spot along the wharf that is near my house. But you have answer my question about how to find a spot. This wharf has a ladder and that also happens to be the place where the water is higher so it will not be so difficult to get the fish out of the water. I am surprised with the variety of fishes locals say they catch on the wharf.

    1. Wharfs really are a great spot to catch a variety of fish. Truly, you don’t know what you are going to catch till it gets to the surface. Thank you for your message, and Tight Lines.

  2. Hey thanks for this article it’s a really useful guide especially if you are a beginner in the fishing business.

    I often take trips down to this large pond however that doesn’t hold much fish neither much good fishing opportunity. The areas too busy. There is a pier not too close but still reachable which I have heard is a great spot to relax so I’m guessing trying to fish there would be a better sport. I’m going to use this guide and see if I could catch something.

    1. Hi Sariyah

      Thank you for the great comment. I’m glad you found the article helpful. I have some other posts that are a great read dedicated to beginners. If you are interested, you can check them out at If you have any questions, feel free to message me anytime.

      Thank you and good luck

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