Pier Pressure

Pier Pressure

Andy Dear | Sunday, 8 September 2019

One of the more vivid memories of my younger days fishing in saltwater is fishing off of a lighted pier at night for Speckled Trout. Back in those days, we used live shrimp, and occasionally a gold or silver Johnson Sprite spoon. When I started fly fishing in the early 1990's I realized very quickly that one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a summer evening is with a 5wt. rod and a size 4 Clouser Minnow on a lighted pier. When the tide is right, and the bait is around, the action can be really fast and furious, and to put it mildly, it's a TON of fun.

  Recently Jackson and I found a cabin on Matagorda Bay that offers access to a lighted pier. The plan this weekend is to leave the Kayaks at the house in the Hill Country and spend Friday and Saturday fishing the lights at night. Experiences like this bring back really fond memories of my childhood in the 1970s.  Because we couldn't afford a boat, my family and I spent a lot of time on the private pier at the Balboa Courts Motel in Rockport Texas. Back in those days, the Redfish population had been decimated by commercial fisherman and their gill nets, so most of the action consisted of school sized Speckled Trout and the occasional Flounder. Most of the Trout weren't big, but what they lacked in size they more than made up for in quantity.
 
  As I learned from the old salts, there are some secrets to successful pier fishing. Most of the really successful pier fishermen I knew would sleep until 2 or 3 am, then get up and fish til dawn. Additionally, they always focused their efforts on the outer perimeter of the lights, rather than the center beam closer in. It wasn't uncommon to see some of these old-timers pull in 26" or betters specks, off of these piers. And more often than not, it wasn't in the deeper water, way out towards the end like one might expect
 
  One of my fondest memories of pier fishing happened in 1999. I had just purchased my first Kayak, and on the maiden voyage took it out to Port Bay just west of Rockport. Back then the only lighted pier for several miles in any direction belonged to a private hunting and fishing club, adjacent to what was then a pretty remote and primitive launching site. I eased the boat in well before sunrise, and as I paddled past the end of the pier, the water was boiling with 22"-24"Redfish. I proceeded to anchor up well outside of the outer edge of the light and pick off these Reds with a 6wt. and a red/white Seaducer until the sun came up and they disappeared.
 
  By the time y'all have read this, I'll be on my way back from Matagorda....hopefully with some new experiences to share. Whatever the outcome, I know that spending time on a pier will always bring back memories of the experiences that solidified my love of this great sport so long ago.
 
Hope you all have a great week,
 
Andy