April is one of the best months to fish on Pier 60. The weather is awesome, warm but not hot, and the fishing is excellent! Water temperatures varied from the mid-70’s to the low-80’s.
Morning fishermen were catching loads of Spanish Mackerel. Lures and live baits produce equally well, but lure fishermen are able to cover more water, cast further, and target their catch better. Sometimes the bait-stealing PinFish or small Jacks make it hard to keep bait on the hook long enough to catch the Spanish Mackerel; so give lures a try sometime, and you may be pleasantly surprised. Some of the Spanish Macks we saw this month were in excess of 20″.
Pompano were schooling off the ends of the pier this month, and successful fishermen were using small pieces of shrimp, or more commonly, the crazy jigs we carry in the tackle shop. The crazy jig is a hook that has molded, painted lead around it in a banana-shape. There is an extra teaser hook attached, with colored hair like a small bucktail. The lure is fished in a sweeping up-and-down motion. As the hook drops, it flutters, and that’s when the Pompano take it.
The larger Flounder showed up with regularity in April. Flatties will take a shrimp, small live fish, or lures. Don’t think that a Flounder won’t leave the bottom! He waits for his opportunity, and has no qualms about chasing a meal up into mid-water. Experienced anglers know the unique feel that the Flounder “take” gives you. It pays to be patient with setting the hook, and the Flounder waits until he is on the surface with his head up to try and shake the hook. That’s when many fishermen lose the battle.
SheepsHead were feeding around the pilings, and successful fishermen usually chum with fresh shrimp morsels before dropping a small offering down into the feeding station. If you wait to feel the bite, it’s usually too late. Watching the line twitch is the tell-tale that works for me.
Snook fishing was good this month, with quite a few fish landed and some slot-sized fish taken before the season ended May 1st. The Conga-Line mating dance was in full swing. Big breeder female fish swim leisurely about, with three or more eager, smaller males following nose-to-tail. Sometimes it appears to be one long, giant, eel-like apparition when first observed.
A few large Cobias were caught this April, along with many small undersize fish. Minimum size on the Cobia is 33 inches, and he is a powerful adversary that isn’t at all fussy about feeding. Cobia are tackle-busters that push the limits of gear and fishermen alike. Most are hooked on live baits fished under a float, but many here are caught on the bottom.
Pier 60 is open for fishing 24 hours a day. Your fishing day is from 6 AM to 6 AM the following day.
Good Luck Fishing!
March is a month of changes here on the Suncoast, and offers some of the prettiest weather we get to experience. “PostCard” beautiful days may be followed by winds and rains that cloud up the water, but soon things clear up, and better conditions prevail.
Silver Trout and ButterFish were caught in abundance this month. Anglers can use a multiple-hook rig to catch more than one fish at a time. Cut bait like squid, fish, or shrimp works well. Small but tasty, there is a following for these as fish-fry fare. Whiting are usually caught with regularity along with these other two, but anglers targeting Whiting fish more over sandy bottom areas where they congregate. Nothing beats the sweet taste of fresh-fried Whiting, in my opinion.
Spanish Mackerel were caught with regularity in March, and although we saw some nice specimens come over the rail exceeding 16″; we did not see a great number of them. Mackerel can usually be caught here using Got-Cha plugs, live baits, and cut bait. The big schools usually show up once water temperatures get well into the 70’s.
A few loner King Mackerel were seen swimming off the end of the Pier, and a few short-strikes were seen, but no big “Smoker” Kings were taken this month.
Flounder were seen here in March, with the flatties taken mostly on live shrimp. We did not see the big door-mat Flounders this month, just legal fish from the minimum 12″ up to about 15″.
Pompano made a showing in March, with some fish in excess of 14″. We have a few Pompano specialists here, and they use the crazy jig we sell in the Tackle Shop to get the Pompanos to bite.
SheepsHead were feeding around the pilings, and were able to be taken using small stout hooks, bits of fresh shrimp, and a deft technique.
Black SeaBass, Croakers, PufferFish, Blue Runners, LadyFish, and CatFish were also seen this month. The Cats seem to only show up when the winds have churned up the water, but they do hit hard and fight well. Beware the spines!
Sharks of several species were caught and released here in March. BonnetHead, BlackTip, and small great HammerHead Sharks were seen.
Spotted SeaTrout were abundant at night. The Trout feed after dark, and we start seeing them under the lights as they school and chase small frye. The larger Trout show up later, and by 2 AM are usually all over the surface feeding heavily. Live baits work well for them, but lures can be just as productive.
Several undersize RedFish were caught and released in March. Snook were milling about under the lights late at night; – the pre-spawn Conga-Line Dance has started.
Pier 60 is open for fishing 24 hours a day. Your fishing day goes from 6 AM to 6 AM the following day.
Good Luck Fishing!
This year (2015) we are celebrating the 100th birthday of Clearwater, Florida. Pier 60 has existed for many years as a fishing pier at the end of State Road 60 on
the beach. We are sharing some old photos of the pier and would love to see any photos or historical details our readers may have to share. » Submit a photo
February started out with air temps in the mid-60’s and water temps in the low-60’s. Soon unsettled weather with cold fronts brought us high winds, air temperatures in the 40’s, heavy surf, and cloudy water. Then after a couple of days, fishing improved greatly. Fish also seem to bite heavily in advance of bad weather, as the falling barometer triggers feeding. In-between the cold fronts, fishing improves as conditions become more comfortable for the fishermen.
ButterFish or Silver Perch are again our most common catch for wintertime fare. The little Silver Perch can be filleted or cooked bone-in, depending on your style of cooking. Once the schools are located, it’s not hard to catch a bunch with multiple-hook rigs and small pieces of bait. There’s no size or bag limit on these.
Silver Trout were biting fairly well in February. The Silvers stay more in the mid-water areas and are caught along with ButterFish, as schools of Silver Trout move around and vie for the small organisms that are food for these fish. Using a bit less weight, multiple small hooks or flies, and fresh-cut baits helps target this species.
Whiting are a wintertime staple here, but we’ve seen fewer this year than in recent years. The Whiting we have seen, however, have been larger. One key to finding them here is to move around the pier, finding the sandy troughs that these tastiest of small fish prefer. Once you find one, more are surely nearby. Try fresh-cut shrimp or clams to turn on the bite. Multiple-hook rigs can be used effectively, especially if you keep the first fish on for a few seconds before pulling him away from the other fish.
Spotted SeaTrout were seen mostly in the evenings, with a few fish taken in the mornings. Live bait – shrimp or minnows are most commonly used, but lures are effective also, and have several advantages. One advantage is that you can immediately fish once you tie on; nothing else is needed to have or be tended to, as in live-bait fishing. Secondly, you can cover way more water as you work lures past features and changing depths. Thirdly, you can target larger fish as you sight-fish near the lights, and spot that “Gator” Trout showing interest in the activity you have created with your lure. It’s a more challenging way to fish in some respects, but it has the added bonus of satisfaction in having fooled your quarry.
Lots of small Sharks and Rays of many varieties were seen this February. We saw BonnetHead Sharks, Southern StingRays, Skates, and GuitarFish. As a rule here, we want patrons to release Sharks unharmed.
We had a few Flounder this month. Keepers must be 12 inches. We also saw Sheepshead, Grunts, and even a flourish of Pompano on a few days.
March begins nine months of Pier 60 staying open for operations 24-7. Our fishing day begins at 6 AM and goes until 6 AM the following day.
Hours: March 1st – November 30th 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Good Luck Fishing!