by Jack Payne
Fishing the piers and connecting waters is a lot of fun. Over the next few months, anglers will enjoy a wide range of species. Currently smallmouth bass, walleye, catfish, carp and Sheephead are being caught. In a few weeks king salmon and trout will move in and the whitefish will follow up last. Perch can be caught but often this is a hit and miss deal. Whenever you hear that the perch are in close to shore this will be your best chance to land them off of the pier.
Perch anglers should use some type of perch spreader rig. Good examples are the No Tangle Rig and the Perch Fly rigs from Stopper lures. Tip your hook/fly with a spike or a minnow.
Walleye and catfish offer good sport and good table fare. One great rig is the Ultra Violet Crawler Rig from Stopper lures. The ultra violet spinner blades throw much more light than a standard blade.
The big Colorado blade throws off plenty of vibration and makes it easier for a hungry walleye to home in. Blade sizes range from a size three up to a size 6. Suspended fish that are running in packs really like the larger blades. Bottom hugging fish prefer the smaller blades.
Whenever you casting from a boat or the pier it is a good idea to add a Cast a Weight. This unique weight is added a foot or two above your spinner. You can change weights easily and is adaptable for suspended fish or bottom hugging fish. Add a fat juicy crawler and you are in business.
On the suspended fish try counting it down to five Mississippi. After a few casts let it sink a few seconds longer before starting your retrieve. Under most conditions the suspended fish will be down five to ten feet, or a count between 5-10 Mississippi.
I like using two rods when on the pier or when drifting in front of or in the channel. My second rod often is used for bottom hugging fish. Catfish are always a favorite target and we use a lot of Catfish Tubes or Catfish Bait Balls from Stopper lures. Dip these rigs into a catfish dip or paste and replenish every fifteen minutes.
Another nice option for the second rod would be a slip float. We use a lot of the Big Top Current Floats from Carlisle. They stand tall, are very visible and work great in the current. Under the float you can run spawn egg, a leech, a wax worm or a piece of a crawler. Smallmouth bass, cats and walleye will hit this rig. Don’t be surprised if a huge sheephead or carp gobbles up the offering.
Cast this rig up current and let it drift on the outside of the rocks. The Holland pier, like many others, has sections where huge limestone rocks are piled up. These locations funnel feeding bass, walleye and other species close to the pier. The slip float keeps your offering just above the rocks and snags.
When the fish are out further set your float so that it just glides over the bottom or maybe a few inches above the bottom. Trout and salmon will hit single eggs and spawn sacs. Walleye and bass love a leech that drifts across the bottom.
I like throwing Husky Jerks, Mepps Spinners, Thundersticks and Little Cleo’s on the other rod. Add some glow paint or witchcraft tape to enhance the appeal to a hungry salmon. It’s a lot of fun casting one rod anticipating a jarring strike while keeping an eye peeled on the other rods.
Following Murphy ’s Law, action can come quick and both rods could go off. Nice problem to have. This is common on trout and salmon. Small schools or pods of fish move in and instant action. Then it quiets down for a bit and starts all over.
Our best action is under low light conditions. Getting out an hour before daylight or staying an hour after many times produces the best walleye and salmon action. The piers and connecting waters offer great fishing with minimal expense.