How To Fish From a Wharf or Pier

Fishing from a wharf, pier or jetty is a great way to relax and unwind. These structures act like a reef, giving fish a great habitat, protection and food. It's a great place to introduce kids to fishing and is much more accessible than fishing from a boat. 


In New Zealand we are lucky that we are never far from water and have plenty of shore-based fishing options. Head down to your local wharf - just make sure that fishing is permitted in the area. 

Rod and Reel

For fishing from wharves, piers and estuaries you will need an 8’ to 12’ rod with a matching spinning reel loaded with 10-15kg line. These longer rods allow you to cast your rig into channels if required. The other advantage of having a longer rod is that when playing a fish, you can keep the fish away from the piles and stop it breaking the line on barnacles and shellfish. A good entry level option is the Okuma Avenger 8000 Rock Rod/Reel Combo.


The Edge OctoFlash 5/0 pre-made rig is a great way to from a shore-based structure. These rigs catch a variety of fish such as snapper, gurnard, trevally and cod. They are a twin hook leader rig featuring hooks which are self-hooking and work best when a 5-7cm strip of bait it used.


Tie the mainline from your reel to the swivel on the rig using a Uni knot. Attach a 2-4oz sinker to the bottom of the rig with a rolling swivel and snap. This will allow you to quickly change the weight of sinker to suit the current and depth.

Use berley to entice fish to your area. Lower a berley bomb in a berley bag halfway into the water, so that any wave movements will help disperse the berley. Give it a good shake from time to time. Baitfish such as mackerel, piper and sprats will be attracted to the berley, which in turn will attract the bigger, predatory fish. Use a sabiki rig or a small baited hook to catch these fresh baits. (This is a great job for the kids!)

Top Tips

Tip 1: If you are fishing where strong tidal currents occur, use a break away sinker. This will hold your rig in place and will not be affected by the current.

Tip 2: If you are using softer baits such as pilchards, bonito or shellfish, use bait cotton to bind the bait to the hook. This will make the bait more robust for casting and stay longer on the hook.


For more information on Burnsco's range of fishing gear, phone us on 0800 102041, email us or Livechat with one of our staff via the website.



  1. Break Away Sinkers
    From $6.99
  2. Burnsco Sabiki Rigs
    From $2.99
  3. Edge OctoFlash Rigs
    From $13.99
  4. Berley Cage