Introduction to pier fishing for croaker (& spot)

When pier fishing targeting a specific species can be a challenge but spot and croaker can be plentiful and usually the easist to catch. They’ll usually start to show up when the water temperature gets to about 60 degrees. Typically from May until October are the best months for croaker with September and October being the best months for bigger croaker. Piers provide shade, shelter and food for croaker and spot.
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Along with spot they are great fish to target when introducing kids to fishing. A word of caution, watch the spines on the dorsal fins and gill plate, they can be sharp.

Rod Selection
Most anything will do. Something with a sensitive tip would be a good choice since croaker are generally smaller fish. I like a 5′ fibreglass spinning rod spooled with 10-20lb. test line and spinning reel.

Terminal Tackle
Since croaker are bottom feeders bottom rigs are the top choice for croaker. Use longshanked No. 1 or No. 2 hooks and a small 1/4″ wide strip of squid.

Take a squid from the package and just pull the head and tentacles out of the body and lay the body on your cutting board. Using your knife cut the squid body crossways about 1/4″ wide then split the piece longways into 2 pieces. 1 for the top hook and one for the bottom hook. Use the lightest weight possible. 1 to 2 ounces is the preferred weight but in heavier wind or tide 3-4 ounces will work it just adds a little more challenge to detecting the nibble or bite.
For a little more challenge try a small grub, spoon or bucktail on the bottom hook or slightly longer strips of squid.

Don’t be surprised if you catch some spot too since they usually school together. To target spot just change the bait from squid to bloodworm.

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