If you’re experienced at pier fishing, no one needs to tell you how awesome it is. If you’re reading this article because you’ve only just heard about pier fishing and you want to equip yourself with one of the best pier fishing rods, let me start off by assuring you… pier fishing is awesome!
Obviously, the isolation of shore or surf fishing is something that many anglers crave. If you’re that kind of person, there’s something energizing about angling as a solitary activity. Just you, your equipment, mother nature, and a (hopefully) whole bunch of delicious, fresh fish!
However, in keeping with our oceanic theme, the poet tells us that “no man is an island.” Even anglers who crave their own company could get to a point where they’d like to partake in their favorite activity with some other people around them.
Pier fishing offers the option of both. Depending on the pier you select, you could feel like one of the last people on earth as you drop your line into the water below. Or you could feel part of a thriving community of anglers, all congregating at their favorite spot to enjoy fishing as a slightly more social activity.
There are benefits to pier fishing that go beyond the “community” aspect. It’s WAY less expensive than chartering (or owning) a boat. You don’t have to cast your line a mile into the water to attract a wide variety of fish. I’ll delve into this topic a little deeper in the FAQ section below.
I was VERY new to fishing the first time I went out onto a pier to drop my line. In fact, my entire fishing background consisted of only a half dozen trips to a dam close to my hometown. These six expeditions resulted in the acquisition of exactly four fish – only one of them caught by me.
Let me tell you what this experience taught me. I don’t care what the fishing purists say. No matter how zen you are about fishing, no matter how hard you buy into the notion that fishing is about the journey, not the destination, fishing kinda sucks if you don’t catch any fish.
Pier fishing changed my perspective on angling. Not because it suddenly gave me access to a hitherto untapped resource of patience and endurance within myself. Not because I suddenly became comfortable with doing something without expecting a specific outcome.
No – pier fishing invigorated my enjoyment of angling because… get this… I ACTUALLY CAUGHT SOME FRIGGIN FISH!
And let me tell you, the thrill of hooking a decent-sized ocean dweller, having a nice tussle with it, and hauling it in as a bunch of other anglers look on in appreciation of your triumph, is WAY more fun than falling asleep in the sun as you wait for nothing to happen.
So yeah… it’s fair to say that pier fishing has me hooked(!). I don’t live close enough to the ocean to do it as frequently as I like, but that hasn’t stopped me from getting super interested in the equipment you need to be as successful at it as possible.
When I decided to find the best rod for pier fishing, I poured myself into the task. I researched everything I could find about what the web has to offer on the topic. I tested as many of these rods as my budget would allow.
I’m proud to present the fruits of my labor: the last article you need to read about the best rod for pier fishing.
The 7 Best Rods for Pier Fishing
For those of you new to the wonderful but complex world of fishing equipment, there are no such things as specialist pier fishing rods. You have rods and reels that are ideal for pier fishing, and you have rods and reels that you should avoid when you’re going to be fishing from a pier.
But that’s it. You won’t find an Amazon category called “pier fishing rods.”
We’ll get into the details of what makes a great pier fishing rod in our buyer’s guide at the end of the article, so be sure to read all the way to the end.
Let’s get to it! Here are the seven best pier fishing rods available to humanity.
- PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combos – BEST ROD FOR PIER FISHING
- KastKing Perigee II Fishing Rods – RUNNER UP BEST ROD FOR PIER FISHING
- Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Fishing Rod – BEST VALUE FOR MONEY PIER FISHING ROD
- Sougayilang Fishing Rod Combos – BEST PIER FISHING COMBO SET
- BERRYPRO Surf Spinning Fishing Rod – LONGEST PIER FISHING ROD
- Berkley Big Game Spinning Fishing Rod – MOST AFFORDABLE PIER FISHING ROD
- Quantum Reliance Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo – MOST DURABLE PIER FISHING ROD COMBO
A note before we delve into the details. Each of these rods comes in a variety of sizes and (sometimes) component sets. When clicking through to their product pages, make sure you’ve selected the one you’re interested in before completing your purchase.
1. PLUSINNO Fishing Rod and Reel Combos – BEST ROD FOR PIER FISHING
Rod size: 5.9 ft, 6.9 ft, 7.9 ft, 8.9 ft
Rod composition: Telescopic, carbon fiber, and fiberglass mix
Rod power: Medium
Set 1: 1 x rod, 1 x spinning reel
Set 2: 1 x rod, 1 x spinning reel, 1 x carrier bag, 1 x fishing line, 1 x pack of fishing lures & hooks
We kick our reviews off with a fishing rod and reel combo that is, justifiably, Amazon’s #1 best seller in its department.
The PLUSINNO rod offers a nice spectrum of lengths, with a minimal price difference between each length increment. The unique hybrid construction makes for a “best of both worlds” scenario. You get the lightweight sensitivity and flexibility of carbon fiber along with the affordability of a fiberglass rod.
The rod has a telescope design, making for an exceptionally easy setup. All set and ready to get fishing, simply extend the rod sections, and there you go. And don’t think that this design affects the rod’s performance in any way. The quality of the PLUSINNO design ensures you’ve got everything a traditional “sectioned” rod offers.
Medium power means that the rod offers nice versatility in terms of the fish you’ll be targeting and the lures you’ll be using. Medium power rods are also great for both serious and novice anglers, so regardless of your level of expertise, the PLUSINNO is a solid purchase.
The reel seat is made from stainless steel, so forget about saltwater damaging this vital part of the rod. The reel itself is saltwater-friendly, has a deep aluminum spool, and a gear ratio of 5.2:1 – ideal for pier fishing.
For such a high-quality combo product, the PLUSSINO is exceptionally affordable. Yeah, there are cheaper models on our list of reviewed products but none of them pack the punch this one does. A no-brainer for our “best rod for pier fishing” title.
- Telescoping rod construction means great portability and convenience.
- Boasts an excellent variety of components.
- Ideal starter kit.
- Grip may be a little short for some customers.
2. KastKing Perigee II Fishing Rods – RUNNER-UP BEST ROD FOR PIER FISHING
The KastKing Perigee II is for anglers who know EXACTLY what kind of rod they need – an angler with a very specific pier, very specific conditions, and very specific fish in mind. The product has no fewer than 38 size, power, and action combinations – so many that it’ll feel like you’re building your own custom rod.
What each of these fishing rods has in common is that the blanks are entirely composed of carbon fiber using the manufacturer’s proprietary KastFlex technology.
The reel seats are constructed from high-strength graphite and ergonomically designed for exceptional performance. Grips are made from a durable high-density EVA for super comfortable handling. The KastKing also uses Fuji O-rings for line guides, a popular choice for their quality and relatively low cost.
While we’re on it, affordability is an area where the KastKing really shines. Despite not including a reel, like the PLUSINNO model reviewed above, this rod is still exceptionally well-priced. Given the quality of its components and construction, you’re getting a very good deal here.
The Perigee is also an extremely popular product among anglers – consistently being one of Amazon’s best sellers and garnering some very positive reviews from the fishing community.
- Incredibly wide range of options for anglers who have very specific requirements,
- All components are made from excellent, high-quality materials.
- Excellent affordability, given the quality of the product.
- The number of rod options may be tough to understand for novice anglers.
3. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Fishing Rod – BEST VALUE FOR MONEY PIER FISHING ROD
It may not offer as wide a range of size and power combinations as the KastKing Perigee above, but the Shakespeare Ugly Stik still allows the angler to select a rod that suits their personal needs.
For years now, the Shakespeare Ugly Stik has been known for its remarkable versatility, durability, and low cost. The first model was released more than 40 years ago and has since built a solid reputation in the angling community. All over the web, it’s affectionately referred to as “the rod that simply doesn’t break.”
It’s dependable, highly durable and an absolute pleasure to fish with off a pier. The graphite and fiberglass composition means that you’re getting flexibility, durability, and sensitivity at an astonishingly low price.
Let’s linger on this last point because it was the cost that made the Shakespeare Ugly Stik’s inclusion in the top three pier fishing rods a super easy decision for me. At almost HALF the price of the KastKing, this awesome rod is undoubtedly the best value for money product on our list.
If you’re on a budget and you don’t want to compromise on quality, there simply isn’t a better choice than the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2.
- Unbelievable value for money.
- One of the most durable pier fishing rods on the market.
- Extremely lightweight.
- The two-piece models are known to sometimes come apart.
4. Sougayilang Fishing Rod Combos – BEST PIER FISHING COMBO SET
Rod size: 5.9 ft, 6.9 ft, 7.9 ft
Rod composition: Telescopic, carbon fiber
Rod power: Medium-light
Set 1: Rod only
Set 2: 1 x rod, 1 x spinning reel, 1 x carrier bag, 1 x 110-yard fishing line, 1 x spare spool, 3 x fishing lures, 12 x fishing accessories
Let me kick off this review by saying that the difference between the two Sougayilang sets is remarkable. The price of the rod-only option is one of the lowest on our list, while the full kit is one of the most expensive.
But what you get for the extra investment of the full kit is genuinely worth the price. This is the absolute ideal all-inclusive starter pack with tons of value and thoughtful touches.
Let’s discuss the main component first, though. The Sougayilang is a spinning rod that comes in three sizes, all three of them ideal for pier fishing. The medium-light power rating makes it a nicely versatile rod – ideal for catching a wide variety of fish.
The rod’s construction is mostly of high-density carbon fiber, with some traces of fiberglass. It’s a tough rod, but not a particularly heavy one.
If you opt for the full kit you’re getting a terrific little spinning reel that’s fully saltwater-friendly and operates at an impressive 5.5:1 ratio – a fraction more powerful than the one that ships with the PLUSINNO combo. The reel handle is fully interchangeable for left and right-handed anglers and constructed from corrosion-resistant aluminum.
As you can see from the set specifications above, you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck with the Sougayilang fishing rod combo. Everything you’ll need for an awesome day of fishing at the pier.
Lastly, I have to point out that the carrier bag is by far one of the most awesome parts of this kit. The interior is foam-cut to snugly and securely house the rod, reel, and tackle-box. I LOVED this attention to detail and it’s one of the main reasons why I’d recommend the full Sougayilang kit over the rod-only option.
- All you need for a fishing trip in one awesome carrier case.
- Rod-only option is extremely affordable.
- Lightweight and exceptionally portable.
- Full kit may be out of some customers’ price range.
5. BERRYPRO Surf Spinning Fishing Rod – BEST PIER FISHING ROD FOR LONG CASTING
If you know anything about pier fishing (or you jumped forward and read my pier fishing FAQ already), you’ll know that long casting isn’t something that’s necessary for an enjoyable pier fishing experience.
In most cases, a pier extends far enough into the sea for casting to be redundant. And in other cases, the pier authorities will ban casting because of the danger it poses to the people walking around behind you.
Having said that, if you’re after the real monsters of the deep and you have access to a pier that allows casting, then BERRYPRO Surf Spinning Rod is the beast you need.
As you may be able to tell from the name, this isn’t your standard pier fishing rod. It’s made for shore fishing, where a long cast is absolutely essential. But this doesn’t mean you can’t use it from a pier – especially if you’re after a megalodon.
Unlike most of the other rods I’ve reviewed here, the BERRYPRO Surf Spinning Rod has a pretty fast action; the “bend” happens mostly at the tip of the rod, making it ideal for snagging and battling larger fish.
The rod is also known for being exceptionally sensitive, sending the angler signals of even the most subtle of nibbles on the lure or bait. This means there’s way less of a chance that some lucky fish will toy with your bait without repercussions.
- Spinning Rod that’s ideal for a really long cast.
- Great for going after fish that don’t congregate right beneath the pier.
- Exceptional build quality and durability.
- Not the best rod for pier fishing when you just want to drop your line into the water.
6. Berkley Big Game Spinning Fishing Rod – MOST AFFORDABLE PIER FISHING ROD
Every list’s got to have an item for shoppers on a tight budget, and, like always, we’ve found one that doesn’t skimp on quality despite the low cost.
Constructed from E-glass fiberglass, the Berkley Big Game Spinning Rod is extreme durability at an incredible price. At 8 feet, the rod is, in my opinion, the ideal size for pier fishing. It’s long enough to keep your fish away from the pier structure and it’s short enough not to be cumbersome on a narrow pier.
Further adding to the Big Game’s manufacturing quality are the stainless steel guide frames treated with titanium oxide. Forget about corrosion. It’s not gonna happen with this rod.
For a “budget” rod, the Big Game is notching up some fantastic reviews, too. It’s one of the best-reviewed rods on our list with anglers praising its strength, incredible flexibility, and comfortable handling thanks to the EVA/TAC split-grip.
Paired with a high-quality spinning reel, this is a rod that’ll see you hauling in fish for many a year.
- Unbelievably low price for an excellent rod.
- Remarkable combination of flexibility and durability.
- Perfect size for a pier fishing rod.
- Some customers may find the rod a tad on the heavy side.
7. Quantum Reliance Spinning Reel and Fishing Rod Combo – MOST DURABLE PIER FISHING ROD COMBO
Sometimes you’re willing to pay a premium for a rod that can be passed down as a family heirloom – a rod that’s going to outlast a generation.
That rod is the Quantum Reliance and its accompanying spinning reel.
These two bad boys combine to give us not only the most elite product on this list but also the one most likely to still be around the day you can hardly hold a fishing rod anymore.
We’ve not featured many rods on this list. It’s a material sought after by anglers who plan on spending an entire day holding the rod waiting for a bite. Graphite rods are exceptionally light in weight, very sensitive to bites, and typically have a fast action.
The Quantum reliance is all of those things, and then some. The cork grip lends it a very pleasing appearance along with extremely comfortable handling.
We can’t discuss this rod without dedicating some time to its awesome reel. The Quantum Reliance reel is made predominantly from SCR aluminum and consists of six anti-corrosion bearings that are corrosion and rust-resistant under pretty much any reasonable conditions.
The reel also boasts a ceramic carbon drag-system which limits friction temperature and makes for extremely smooth, comfortable operation. It also plays a massive role in extending the life of the reel.
If you have the means to get your hands on this versatile, extremely reliable product, don’t think twice. It’s the rod you deserve!
- Unparalleled durability and construction quality.
- Fast action for snagging and hauling in large fish that put up a fight.
- Exceptionally lightweight.
- Very expensive when compared to the other pier fishing rods on our list.
Pier Fishing FAQs
One of the best ways to convince someone how great a particular activity is is to answer some of the most obvious questions they may have about it.
When I first got started with pier fishing about three years ago, there was no end to my queries. Here’s the outcome of my research and experience.
What Is Pier Fishing and Why Is It So Popular?
Pier fishing is when you drop your line directly into the seawater from a pier (or any structure that extends into the water like a jetty or a breakwater). When pier fishing, you typically won’t perform an overhead cast because you don’t need to (given how far a pier extends into the water) and because most piers prohibit this practice for safety reasons.
Piers are great to fish from because they attract fish. Look, I’m not saying they’re literally fish magnets. You’re still going to have some patience, okay?
In general, however, small fish who hang out close to the surface enjoy the shelter that piers provide. The water under a pier also tends to be calm and food is often dropped into the water from one of these structures. And where the small thrive, you’re likely to find larger, predatory fish at greater depths.
What Kinds of Fish Can You Catch While Pier Fishing?
The kinds of fish you can catch when pier fishing depends mostly on the country or region you’re in. But rest assured, regardless of your location, you can expect to catch a very wide variety of fish from a pier. This is one of the main reasons that pier fishing is such a popular activity.
If you’re in the United States, here’s a web page that lists the fish you’re most likely to encounter when fishing from a pier.
There are also TONS of pier fishing spots in the UK. Here’s a website listing the kinds of fish the Brits are likely to bag.
If you live elsewhere in the world, head on over to Google and check what’s on the menu.
What Equipment Do You Need to Go Pier Fishing?
Aside from the rod and reel (which we’ll be discussing in the buyer’s guide below), you’ll need your peripheral equipment to adhere to the following broad guidelines.
- Pyramid sinkers are best for pier fishing, especially if you intend to drop your line into the up-tide side of the pier and the seabed is mostly sand.
- Bait tanks are also super important. Live bait is ideal for pier fishing and you’re planning on spending an extended period of time on the pier, you need somewhere to store all these shrimp, squid, bloodworms sardines, and anchovies.
- Lines should be in the 20 lb to 40 lb (9 kg to 18 kg) range. This should let you comfortably deal with anything you’re likely to snag in the vicinity of a pier.
- A drop net or a gaff is going to be essential since hauling a heavy fish all the way up to the pier could cause your rod to snap.
- A rod rail holder or a pier rest is also a good piece of equipment to have with you. These bad boys prevent your rod from making direct contact with the pier rails and damaging the line.
Do You Need a License to Go Pier Fishing?
The short answer is “no.” Most US states allow you to fish from a public pier without a license, although there are some exceptions. It’s best to check with the local authorities before heading out.
Is Pier Fishing Good For Novice Anglers?
Pier fishing is great for people new to angling.
- There’s no need to perfect an overhead cast since you’re already so far into the water.
- The amount of equipment you need is minimal.
- You can catch a wide variety of fish with
- Pier fishing rods are relatively inexpensive.
- In most territories, you don’t need a license to go pier fishing so you can try it out legally without making a financial commitment.
Our Pier Fishing Rod Buyer’s Guide
What makes one pier fishing rod stand out from the competition? What are the things you should be looking at as you shop around for your ideal pier fishing rod?
These are excellent questions and don’t you worry, we’ve got you covered.
As you can imagine, fishing rods come with many moving parts. There are a ton of variables that set one rod apart from another. The days of tying a length of string to a five-foot stick are behind us; we’re not characters in a Mark Twain novel.
Here’s what you should be considering as you go hunting for your first (or next) pier fishing rod.
The Ideal Rod Type for Pier Fishing
When you head out onto the pier, you’ll want to take a spinning rod with you. These kinds of fishing rods are designed with the line guides at the bottom of the blank. This way, when you’re reeling in a fish, the pressure of the line pulls down on the guides.
Spinning rods are also made to accommodate spinning reels. We’ll get into more detail on these later. For now, suffice it to say that these reels are ideal for pier fishing. Spinning rods typically have a reel seat that’s designed for these reels.
The Best Rod Size for Pier Fishing
The size of the rod is simply its length, which is measured from the end of the grip/handle to the tip of the blank. There’s no right or wrong length, simply the size that works best for you. However, there are some guidelines in this area.
The typical pier fishing rod is between 6 ft and 9 ft. Longer rods are great if you want to cast from the pier (not always an option) to target larger species of fish, but they’re not that comfortable to use up close in an environment where there are other people and a pier-rail to deal with. Another benefit of a longer rod is that it’s somewhat easier for an experienced angler to keep a fighting fish from swimming underneath the pier itself.
Shorter rods are easier to control and more comfortable to use in a “tighter” space. They’re also ideal if you’re simply going to be dropping your line rather than casting it.
Find a rod size that allows you good freedom of movement while also having enough length to keep fish away from the pier structure.
The Ideal Rod Power Rating
Typically, pier anglers use a rod with a medium power rating. This allows them to target the majority of the wide variety of fish species that hang out around a pier.
However, if you’re targeting a specific type of fish, you can go ahead and choose a rod with a more appropriate power rating. As a rule, the bigger the fish you’re targeting, the more power you’re going to need.
Rod Material Composition
Most fishing rods nowadays are constructed from fiberglass, carbon fiber, graphite, or a combination of these three. While each of these materials have their individual benefits and drawbacks, there isn’t one particular material that’s better suited to pier fishing than another.
When weighing up your options, I’d advise you to take other properties of the rod, like the power and action, into consideration. The material plays a big role in these (and other) qualities, but there are no hard-and-fast rules here.
The Best Rod Action for Pier Fishing
Rods with a faster action are ideal for pier fishing. This is mainly because you’ll want the rod to retain the majority of its length as you fight with or reel a fish in. This way the fish can be kept away from the pier structure.
Some Fishing Terms Explained
Here’s a short list of terms I used in this piece that novice anglers may not be familiar with.
This is the main section of the fishing rod – the pole, if you will. When talking about the blank, anglers are not referring to any of the components that are part of it (like the reel seat) or attached to it (like the guides).
The section of the rod, usually just above the grip, where the reel is attached. It’s usually constructed from different material than the rest of the rod.
The ring-shaped eyelets placed along the rod through which the fishing line is threaded.
Rod Power Rating
Fishing rods are allocated one of the following power ratings:
A rod’s power is an indication of the amount of force it takes for it to bend. Another way of looking at it is the “stiffness.” The heavier the rod’s power, the more weight is required for the rod to bend.
Plainly speaking, a rod’s action is an indicator where the bend will occur. An “extra fast” action rod is one that bends very close to the rod’s tip, while a “slow” action bends at the middle of the rod.
In between these two actions, we’ve also got two other actions: “fast” and “moderate.” Each of these is an indication of more flexibility towards the middle of the rod.
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