A lot of it depends on what you're after, weather, tide, baits used or lures. A lot of variances to your question. JRB, Fort Monroe, NOB, Buckroe (opens soon), Ocean View, Sandbridge, Seagul, etc.. It can even depend upon the time of day you want to start fishing as to where you might want to be fishing. Hope this list will help you a little.
All the Piers in this area have their appeal. Tides, weather, what type of fish you want, etc. will have a bearing on where you want to go. Some piers are open 24 hours, some close 11/midnight. Some have 24 hour bait and tackle, some you better find it before you go.
If you are looking for a Friendly, Family oriented establishment with clean restrooms, Lynnhaven Pier on Shore Drive boasts that in their ads and in my experience they are just that. The Bay fishing is generally good, especially after dark, or dusk and most people always catch something. Call them for a Fishing Report, they are pretty honest with their answers. Also crabbing is pretty good there usually so if the fish don't bite, crab. By the way, their business is mostly local so they don't have many tourists and most of the fishermen are willing to help anyone with questions. Pier, Bait, Tackle and convenience type store with sandwiches, hot dogs, etc. is open 24 hours, free parking in Pier lots and allowed to come and go as you please with a wrist band as long as you are back on by midnight. Paid Fisherman's families can stay on the beach if they don't want to pay to go on the pier and fish or crab or can do both.
Va Beach fishing Pier also is pretty good with Family folks. They do have lots of tourists and allow them to just visit for a fee. The Pier is not as long as Lynnhaven but then again it's the Ocean, but they charge to park. ($2 or $3 I think for fishermen.) Pier, bait and tackle are open 24 hours. Same type of setup as Lynnhaven with coming and going until midnight. They stamp their fisherman and families can also use the beach and fish or just the beach.:
Seagull on the Bridge tunnel does a nice job for big fish but you need to have a lot of line on your reel since it's way up from the water. You pay to enter the Ches.Bay Bridge Tunnel and fish at the first island for free. A lot of times I have found that it is so elbow to elbow at night or when the wind is Northeast you can't find a spot. Open 24 hours too. They don't sell bait at night however unless things have changed.
Little Island Pier (owned by the City of Va Beach) is in Sandbridge. You can catch some big fish there too but they aren't open 24 hours. Beach access there too.
The Croaker fishing is generally the best on the James River Pier but I have never actually been on it and I heard it was kind of dark. Not sure how many lights they have. I think they are open all night too.
The Ocean View pier has had good and bad reports for family fishing, what you are allowed to take on (food and drink, I think you have to buy it from them and I never tried to take a chair but someone told me you can't) and the pier is kind of narrow with signs telling you not to lean on or cut bait on the railing. I lean on every railing I fish in front of so the purpose of this I do not know unless it isn't sturdy enough for a pier full of fishermen to lean on. GEEZE if you stop pier fishermen from cutting bail on the railing guess what they'll cut the bait on? Ha The Benches. To be fair I only went twice, but too many stupid rules for me. Fishing here can be pretty good too.
This is all I know about the local piers. As you can tell I do most of my fishing on Lynnhaven, Va Beach, and Seagull so I know the most about them. You will find fish at all of them at some point in every day as a rule. The fish will not be the same and the action will be generally good at one or two at a time. Usually all of the piers will not be catching a ton of fish at the same time since most fish travel in schools. Wind is a big deal...Wind from the East, Fish bite the least ha the old saying goes. My experience, you have a North, Northeast, Northwest wind and let it blow for several hours you are likely to catch fish on most piers. Good Luck to you and your avid fisherman son. You are lucky he likes to do something so wholesome.
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