Best fishing line for saltwater pier fishing

Gazing at a pier wondering the best fishing line for saltwater pier fishing
A small pier in a small saltwater harbour – porgies underneath!

I really enjoy fishing from piers, jetties and harbors. I’ve caught many fish to be proud of from piers all around the world.

Piers can be fantastic environments to target big fish predating on smaller bait fish that hug structures, but there lies the problem!

Structure easily damages line and break-offs are more likely to happen around piers – so what is the best fishing line for saltwater pier fishing?

This article will take you through how to choose the right line for pier fishing, as well as make your pier fishing trip successful and safe.

Let’s get into it…

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What pound test line should I use for pier fishing?

When it comes to choosing the pound test line for pier fishing, it depends on the type of fish you’re targeting and the conditions you’ll be facing.

As a general guideline, I typically use a line in the range of 10-20 pounds should work well for most pier fishing situations.

  • If I’m going for smaller fish like panfish or smaller species, I might choose an even lighter line around 10-12 pounds should suffice. It allows for better sensitivity and ensures that you can feel the bites more easily.
  • But.. if you’re targeting larger species such as striped bass, snook, or redfish, it’s better to opt for a slightly heavier line in the 15-20 pound range. This provides the strength needed to handle their powerful runs and reduces the chances of the line breaking. We all know how depressing losing a big fish can be!

Remember, the line test is not the only factor to consider. You should also match it with an appropriate rod and reel combo suitable for pier fishing. And, of course, it’s always a good idea to adjust your line choice based on the specific conditions and the size of the fish you expect to encounter.

One of our recommended fishing lines for saltwater

1. Berkley Trilene XT (Extra Tough) Mono line

What color line for pier fishing?

I’ve pondered on the answer to this question for years. But when it comes to the color of fishing line for pier fishing, I’ve not found that there is necessarily a one-size-fits-all answer. The color you choose should really depend on different factors such as water clarity, lighting conditions, and the behavior of the fish you’re targeting on the session you’re out for. However, here are a few guidelines I often consider:

  1. Clear or Transparent Line: Clear or transparent lines are a popular choice because they are less visible in the water. They work well in situations where the water is clear and there isn’t much underwater vegetation or structure to worry about. If you’re targeting skittish or line-shy fish, a clear line can be a good option. For example, I recently wanted to target some porgy and sheepshead hiding out under a small pier and found that anything except a transparent line scared them off from striking.
  2. Low-Visibility Colors: Some anglers prefer using low-visibility colors like light green, light blue, or smoke gray. These colors can blend in with the surrounding water, making the line less noticeable to fish. They work best in slightly stained or murky waters. I find this is great option when there is silt and mud flowing in the water, and when the light penetration is a little darker.
  3. High-Visibility Colors: In certain situations, using a high-visibility line can be advantageous. Bright colors like fluorescent yellow, orange, or hi-vis green are easier to see above the water, which helps you detect subtle line movements or bites. This can be beneficial when fishing in low-light conditions or when you need to keep a close eye on your line.
Looking at Fish under a pier wondering what is the Best line for saltwater pier fishing

I typically use high-vis colours if using fast lures or if I want to know exactly where my line is going – to help me know which way to strike when I have a fish on. This is particularly important around pier structures that can damage your line and cause broken lines.

Ultimately, the color of the fishing line is a personal preference, and you may need to experiment to find what works best for you.

It’s also a good idea to observe the conditions at the pier and talk to local anglers who have experience in the area – sometimes you can see straight away what type of line they are using without even asking.

One of our recommended High-Vis fishing lines for saltwater

1. Sufix Superior Yellow Mono line

Is braid vs mono or fluoro better for saltwater fishing?

The choice between braided line, monofilament (mono), or fluorocarbon (fluoro) for saltwater fishing depends on a bunch of different use cases and and personal preferences. Each type of line has its advantages and applications so I find it useful to have all three available to use in the right ways. Let’s take a closer look at each:

  1. Braided Line: Braided lines, made of woven synthetic fibers offer several benefits have a high strength-to-diameter ratio, meaning they are thinner yet stronger compared to mono or fluoro lines of the same pound test. This thinness allows for increased casting distance and sensitivity, which is beneficial when fishing from piers.

Braided lines also have minimal stretch, allowing for better hook sets and improved sensitivity to detect subtle bites. They are highly visible, which can be helpful when monitoring line movements or fishing in low-light conditions.

However, braided lines can be more visible in clear water due to their high visibility colors, and they may be prone to wind knots and tangling if not spooled tightly and managed properly. I found this to be the case when trying to hook up those oversized porgies sat under that pier!

It’s also worth noting that braid doesn’t have much inherent abrasion resistance… don’t just fish with braid around piers!

You’ll just get broken off time and again because the fish will drag you into the cover of the structure. This is often covered in barnacles and shellfish which is razor sharp at times and slices through braid.

So, I HIGHLY recommend using a fluorocarbon or mono leader to prevent the line from getting damaged by rough structures or toothy fish.

  1. Monofilament (Mono) Line: Mono lines are made from a single strand of nylon, offering good versatility and affordability. They have some stretch, which can act as a shock absorber, reducing the chances of the line breaking when fighting fish or dealing with sudden surges of power. Mono lines also tend to have better knot strength, making them reliable for tying knots.

Mono lines are less visible in the water compared to braided lines – whish is why they are often a go-to for me at piers. It means any line-shy fish in clearer water conditions are less likely to get spooked.

The top thing I prefer about moo for fishing around piers is it also handles abrasion relatively well as a mainline, but it’s still a good idea to use a slightly heavier leader jus as a plan B back-up to ensure you’re able to actually land something on the day.

  1. Fluorocarbon (Fluoro) Line: Fluorocarbon lines share many similarities with mono lines, but they have a few distinct advantages. Fluoro lines are more invisible underwater due to their refractive index, making them a good choice for finicky or easily spooked fish. They are also denser than water, allowing them to sink faster.

Fluorocarbon lines have low stretch, similar to braided lines, providing excellent sensitivity and solid hook sets. They also have good abrasion resistance, making them more resistant to damage from structures or toothy fish.

Fluorocarbon lines are often used as leaders in combination with braided or mono mainlines, providing stealthiness near the bait or lure.

However, I find fluorocarbon lines tend to be more expensive compared to mono, and they can be stiffer, affecting casting distance and manageability. So I tend to just use fluro for leader line, for strength, stealth and sensitivity all in one. It’s cheaper that way too!

So to cap-off…

  • Braided lines are great for strength, sensitivity, and long casting, but they may require a leader for added stealth and abrasion resistance.
  • Mono lines offer versatility and affordability
  • Fluorocarbon lines excel in invisibility and abrasion resistance.

Choosing the right line depends on your fishing style, target species, and the specific conditions you’ll encounter while saltwater fishing from piers.

It’s also a good idea to observe the conditions at the pier and talk to local anglers who have experience in the area – sometimes you can see straight away what type of line they are using without even asking.

One of our recommended Braided fishing lines for saltwater

1. Daiwa J-Braid Grand 8

What size leader for pier fishing?

When selecting a leader size for pier fishing, it depends on the target species you’re pursuing, the fishing conditions, and the type of mainline you’re using. Here are some general guidelines to help you choose an appropriate leader size:

  1. Matching the Leader to Mainline: Ideally, you want the leader to be of similar or slightly heavier pound test compared to your mainline. This ensures that if a fish strikes your bait or lure and makes a strong run, the leader can handle the pressure without breaking. For example, if you’re using a 20-pound test mainline, you could consider using a 20-25 pound test leader.
  2. Adjusting for Fish Species: The leader size can also vary based on the size and behavior of the fish species you’re targeting. If you’re going after smaller fish like panfish or small snapper, a leader in the 10-15 pound test range should be sufficient. However, if you’re targeting larger and more powerful fish like striped bass or snook, you may want to use a leader in the 20-30 pound test range.
  3. Considering the Fishing Conditions: The conditions at the pier can influence your leader choice as well. If there are rough structures like barnacles or rocks that the fish might try to wrap your line around, using a slightly heavier leader can provide more abrasion resistance. Additionally, if you’re fishing in clear and calm water, using a fluorocarbon leader can enhance stealthiness.
  4. Balancing with Lure or Bait: Another factor to consider is the size and weight of your lure or bait. If you’re using a lightweight presentation, a lighter leader can provide better action and presentation. On the other hand, if you’re using larger and heavier lures, a slightly heavier leader can handle the added strain and prevent break-offs.

One of our recommended FLurocarbon Leaders for saltwater

1. Daiwa J-Fluoro Fluorocarbon Leader

Remember, these are general guidelines, and specific scenarios may require adjustments. It’s also helpful to consider local fishing regulations, as some areas may have restrictions on leader materials or lengths. Ultimately, it’s a good idea to experiment and fine-tune your leader size based on the specific pier, target species, and conditions you encounter during your fishing trips.

Berkley Trilene Big Game

20-30 pound test monofilament or braided line

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We are reader-funded and objective. To keep afloat, sometimes we earn a small commission when you click a link. Castandkayak.com is also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on Amazon.com. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.