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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First the gear questions. Was at the ov pier and some ppl caught some little croaker last weekend, I think my hooks were too big. So, what size hooks do you typically use and what rod and reel combo? I have a 7’ medium rod but seemed stiff for what was being caught and for lures(trying to learn how to use artificial, more questions to come). Do you guys typically bring lighter tackle? And for the pier, anyone fish James River pier? Is it brackish? We walked it and saw some flounder and spot and maybe a speckled trout come over the rail or in someone’s cooler. Never see a report on it so wasn’t sure if it’s a good place to fish. Might run up there next weekend. Anyway thx!
 

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I fish beach piers, and for spot/croaker/whiting typically use #6 hooks with long shanks on a standard double drop rig. The rig has just enough of a sinker not to move around and cross other lines. They're typically sold right there on the pier if it has a bait shop, or at tackle shops local to that area. But I think the key is more about keeping the bait in whatever spot you choose (next to the pier pilings for spot croaker, further out in holes and troughs for whiting) and checking it frequently because all kinds of bait stealers down there can leave your hooks shiny and clean and you may not know it.

As for the rod, having more spine than less isn't a bad idea when you're starting out, or any time really when you're around others. If you start to get double hookups and they're yellow bellies (big spot) then being able to horse them up is a must. And if fish are biting then it can get crowded and your rig needs to be able to handle what's down there without fouling everybody around you. Plus, you never know what's going to come by and decide to take a swipe at your bait so more ass to your rig than less is better. But for pier panfish I use a 6'-6" to 7'-6" medium with a fast or moderate fast tip, and also take an 8' medium-heavy with a fast tip for casting further out from the pier with bigger baits. I have at least 3 rods, so I can both bait fish and have lures rigged and ready to go in case a predator species moves in.

Typically, your panfish rig should be able to drop up to a 4-5 oz sinker depending on current, then handle that and a fish (or two) up to 3/4 of a lb each, with the caveat that you might run into a flounder, skate, trout, drum, and so on... and you want at least to be able to control those even if you don't choose to horse them up with it.

Finally, if you saw flounder, spots, and specs on the same pier at the same time then I would say that's a good pier as it seems to attract different fish. And I would say that the water was more than just brackish. But you may not want to fish it after a heavy rain upstream as it may sweeten the water for a couple of days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow thanks for the info! That’s about what I thought but wanted feedback from someone with a bit more experience. I just started watching some YouTube videos too. Hoping to get out there and put into practice!
 

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Wow thanks for the info! That’s about what I thought but wanted feedback from someone with a bit more experience. I just started watching some YouTube videos too. Hoping to get out there and put into practice!
If the little floating dock is still there behind the restaurant. That used to be the flounder hole.
 

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First the gear questions. Was at the ov pier and some ppl caught some little croaker last weekend, I think my hooks were too big. So, what size hooks do you typically use and what rod and reel combo? I have a 7’ medium rod but seemed stiff for what was being caught and for lures(trying to learn how to use artificial, more questions to come). Do you guys typically bring lighter tackle? And for the pier, anyone fish James River pier? Is it brackish? We walked it and saw some flounder and spot and maybe a speckled trout come over the rail or in someone’s cooler. Never see a report on it so wasn’t sure if it’s a good place to fish. Might run up there next weekend. Anyway thx!
I typically use #4 hooks on a "hi-low" rig. I also use 2.5 or 3oz pyramid sinker. I use a 6.5 or 7ft fast action light rod. 10lb mono line (hi-vis yellow). The yellow line is visible to others so they can tell where you are. Not everyone on a pier can cast straight in front of them. I have had good luck using cut squid for croaker. Cut shrimp will work for many species. Bloodworms are probably the best bait for spots, croakers, and roundheads. Bloodworms are running $14 a bag and the worms have been really small lately. Basically, I use a light set-up.
 

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I typically use #4 hooks on a "hi-low" rig. My wife uses #2 hooks. I also use 2.5 or 3oz pyramid sinker. I use a 6.5 or 7ft fast action light rod. 10lb mono line (hi-vis yellow). The yellow line is visible to others so they can tell where you are. Not everyone on a pier can cast straight in front of them. I have had good luck using cut squid for croaker. Cut shrimp will work for many species. Bloodworms are probably the best bait for spots, croakers, and roundheads. Bloodworms are running $14 a bag and the worms have been really small lately. Basically, I use a light set-up.
 

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Piers will generally have a two rod limit to avoid crowding and if the spot are really biting then two is all you can handle. If bait fishing in a crowd use yellow monofilament with a snap…this will help with the inevitable crossing of lines, Braid is fine for lures and if not crowded. One 7’ medium spinning rod with a 3000 size reel should be able to handle your lures and even up to 1 oz of lead for bottom fishing. A 7’ to 8’ medium heavy spinning rod with a 4000/5000 size reel will be needed for 2 to 3 oz. Use pyramid sinkers so your lines do not move. Owner Mutu Light circle hooks size 4. Tie all your hooks and rigs before you go and put them in ziploc bags. You can use the ready made wire hi lo rigs or tie your own. Bring a couple varieties of Fishbites…red bloodworm and orange clam is what I have...the pier staff may tell you what is working. Bloodworms are expensive but sometimes that is all they will bite…some bait shops are selling other types of worms that may work as well. As someone else mentioned fresh shrimp is good and not the deveined stuff. To answer your question I wouldn’t say the James River Pier waters are brackish but they do get a lot of blue catfish there in the spring.
 

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Yeah, I prefer #6 hooks because I feel that if I go larger, the bait robbers get a better chance of cleaning the hook. I also find that's a better size for typical whiting. Sure, if anything of consequence hits that then there's a chance of losing it, but on slower days or when they're finicky it can make a difference.
 
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