The Pilot Pier is a good all-round venue though not often fished in the summer.
It is a good mark for junior anglers because it is sheltered in all but the heaviest seas and there is always something that can be caught. Disabled access is good because you can park your vehicle on the lower prom or drive onto the pier itself, although the interlocking blocks down the pier side might be a problem.
September to April will see codling, whiting, flounder and odd coalfish. Better bags of codling are taken during a heavy north-easterly to easterly sea. Most codling average around 2lb. Large numbers of whiting expected in winter. Summer produces mackerel, silver eels and good flounders.
Crabs will take codling from September to November, after which a black lug and rag cocktail tipped with white rag or razorfish will take plenty of fish until early April when crabs will be the best bait again.
If there are lots of whiting showing save your best bait and tip off a rag bait with mackerel or squid, or mackerel by itself. Float-fished sprat or mackerel strip will give mackerel. Bottom fishing with rag or crabs will take some good silver eels.
The bottom is rocky on the seaward side, but not too snaggy, so standard beachcasting tackle will be okay. You might want to use a rotton-bottom rig. Use a Pennell rig with a size 3/0 hook. The channel off the end to the left is heavy mud, but there are snags and you can often get caught up. If you can get off the left corner into the channel, you might get away with a two-hook rig for whiting.
Enter Hartlepool on either the A179 or A689, then take the A1049 to The Headland. You can park next to the war memorial gardens and then walk along the breakwater to the pier.
Anglers Services, 27 Park Rd, Hartlepool, tel: 01429 274844.
Friarage Tackle, North Gate, Hartlepool, tel: 01429 273145.
John F Gent Ltd, 161 York Rd, Hartlepool, tel: 01429 272585.
North East Tackle Supplies Ltd, Mainsforth Terrace, Hartlepool, tel: 01429 272581.
Directions : Enter Hartlepool on the A179 or A689, then the A1049 to The Headland. Park next to the war memorial gardens and walk along breakwater to the pier
Season : September to April for codling, whiting, flounder and odd coalfish, winter for whiting, summer for mackerel, silver eels and flounder