The Jacksonville Beach Pier
After five years of politics, tough decision making and construction delays, the new Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier finaly opened on December 30 2005. There was much hoopla with opening ceremonies being cunducted under a tent by new and old mayors, city council persons, and other important people telling each other what a great job they did! Hundreds turned out with fishing poles in hand waiting patiently on our civic leaders to open the gate! Yes, it's been a long hard journey through two hurricanes, and now it was time for the big payoff - the quest of the mighty whiting!
The Old Pier
About six or seven years ago, a hurricane named Floyd brushed our coast, and in the process rendered the old pier unsafe and useless. Shortly afterwards a mysterious fire broke out, rendering it even more useless, and putting the family that owned the pier pretty much out of business. As the old pier was located about six blocks south of Beach Blvd., a pier at this location didn't really fit in our city planners' plan anyway. Thus began the political discussions; rebuild the old pier or tear it down, leave it there or move it. Eventualy, our planners decided to build a new state of the art fishing pier closer to the town center, and a nice large parking lot to accomodate the day trippers visiting jax beach. Nicely enough, the city of Jacksonville Beach bought up the beachfront site of the old pier and turned it into a cute little park.
Originaly slated to open in the summer of 2004, construction delays and two hurricanes named Francis and Jeanne ended up delaying the project opening untill the end of the year. At one point, one of the peir workers drove a crane off the pier and into the water. The next day a barge with another crane along with a group of scuba divers were salvaging the sunken crane off the ocean floor.
The Hurricane Test
With winds up to 70 mph, hurricanes Francis and Jeanne were actually tropical storms when they hit us, but the new pier withstood a pretty good bashing from up to 15 foot waves (reportedly) and extremely high tides. Not to be intmidated, local surfers were out in force for most of the best waves. Some of the kids were jumping the gate and diving in at the end of the pier to avoid paddling out in the very rough shorebreak. Locals and townies alike were heading to the beach to experience the awesome force of mother nature first hand.
Now that the pier is open and ready for business, we are looking forward to many lazy days hanging out at the all u can eat whiting fest! Admission to the pier is $1 a day for spectators and $4 to fish. Discount passes for multiple visits are offered to Duval County residents. Bait, bathrooms, and pole rentals are also available at the new Jax Beach Pier.