How to catch a fish at the Gulf Shores State Pier. (GSSP)
This is a brief, but detailed introductory to fishing the Gulf State Pier and others like it.
Step #1: Get there early 5:45 am at the latest.
Step #2: Park close, if you didn’t follow step #1 forget step #2 because there will be no close spots.
Step #3: travel light, travel right. If you don’t have a wagon or rolling cart to carry your items then limit your supplies to only what you need. (yourself, 2 spinning rods, some 2/0 treble hooks and ¾-1oz egg weights and some small swivels, some pliers and a knife, a bucket and a chair.) well after all that crap you may just need to bring a fold up wagon like the ones sold at walmart.
Step #4: The fishing licenses are sold on the pier in the bait house or at the local walmart that is next to the state park. Buy the NON resident pier license.
Step #5: Pay the fishing fee for the pier itself.
Step #6: You have a target species in your head, now it’s time to decide where you will need to fish and what bait to use.
Step #7: A basic Carolina rig is best for 99.9% of bottom fishing done here. Small circle hooks or khale hooks work well at the 5th light pole on the right baited with a 1/4th of a fresh dead shrimp that has been peeled(live shrimp work also). You may catch whiting, slot reds, pompano, trout, croaker, ladyfish, rays, hard tails, hard heads, and bluefish.
Step 8#: Catching bait for the bull reds, king mackerel, and jacks. Take a Sabiki rig with a 1oz weight on the bottom and slowly jig up and down the water column, then reel the bait fish up. Take care not to touch any spiny fins on Leather Jackets or Crazyfish as they can send you to the Er in pain. I like to use herring or scaled sardines for bait.
Step #9: Use a #2 treble to hook up the LY, if your after big bull reds fish the bottom along the right side of the pier just where the octi starts, if your after kings then drift the bait with no weights a little ways out and around the octi. Hook the bait behind the fin on its back.
Step #10: If you’re on the octagon then there are going to be some “sport fisherman” and “expert” fisherman that can be rude at times when tourists get lines crossed with them. Prevent this by being mindful of your line and bait. Bottom fishing is not allowed between the lines out front.
Step #11: If people are catching fish and you aren’t, try to mimic them, if the locals aren’t catching anything then pack up and go to the room for a while.
Tackle Box- Large Bag Style
Sabiki rigs- about 6 packs, 2 of each color/ style.
1oz pyramid weights
Small barrel swivels
40-50lb mono for leaders
32lb wire Tooth Proof coffee color for steel leaders
#1,2,4,6,8,10 treble hooks, and 2 packs of #2
2-3 dozen live shrimp from j& m or the pier house
Bull minnows work well also, but you can’t put them in the same bucket with your shrimp.
I must admit this list is a bit ‘scatter-brained’, but it will help a beginner to land some nice fish that happen to be excellent table fare.