Mackenzie & Madison with a colorful CowFish

June Fishing Hot!

Fishing was Hot on Pier 60 in June. That’s when we get into our summer stride. With some early-June days offering squalls and cooler temperatures, which kept water temperatures in the mid-80’s for much of the month. As temperatures climb beyond 87 or so, it hurts the fishing.

Bryon Perry, Grand Ledge MI with Snook

Bryon Perry, Grand Ledge MI with Snook

We had plenty of Snook action this month, with the line-siders fought, caught, and released both mornings, evening, and late-nite. Snook were biting live shrimp, small minnows, LadyFish, and even cut baits. We should see the bite stay hot as the fish are post-spawn, and hungry to replenish and renew their reserves. Snook season is slated to open Sept. 1st.

Spanish Mackerel were seen daily here, and were biting both live baits fished under a float, or lures with a bit of flash- as in Got-Cha plugs or Gator spoons. Many Mackerel are taken on some of the larger Sabiki rigs we have in the tackle shop.

Crazy Jigs are weighted hooks with a teaser hook attached. You fish it by letting it flutter towards the bottom, then pulling it up sharply and allowing it to flutter down again. Something about it drives Pompano into striking it, as well as many other species, like Jack Crevalle, LadyFish, BlueFish, and even Flounder. Fishermen who tried this lure had good success here this month.

Cobia were seen with regularity, but all of the fish were undersized, and had to be released. With a 33″ to the fork minimum size, a keeper is a strong adversary, and may have been responsible for the several rods that were yanked over the side this month.

Flounder from keeper-sized 12″ up to 17″ or so were a regular catch here in June. Flounder will strike both lures and live baits, and even fresh cut fish like finger mullet or cut sardines.

Mackenzie & Madison with a colorful CowFish

Mackenzie & Madison with a colorful CowFish

White Grunt, Black SeaBass, SquirrelFish, CowFish, Scrawled FileFish, Spiny Porcupine Puffers, Atlantic SpadeFish, LadyFish, Whiting, and TriggerFish were all caught here this month.

Sheepshead were available this month, as they feed on the barnacle-encrusted pilings that support the pier. A small strong hook tipped with a piece of fresh shrimp or a small crab is key. Chum the fish into feeding, and then present your offering with as little weight as possible. The tell-tale movement of the line will be your cue to set the hook. The minimum size on Sheepshead is 12″ with a bag of 15, but we saw some whoppers over 18″ caught here in June.

Mangrove Snapper, or Mangos as they are locally known, made a good showing here in June. The Mango will feed on shrimp or cut bait, and will take a lure like the tandem grubtails, especially if tipped with a bit of fresh bait. The minimum size on the Mangrove Snapper is 10 inches, with a bag of 5. We have seen a fair number of Lane Snapper here as of late. Their habits are similar to the other snapper species. The size limit on Lane Snapper is 8″.

Fishing Aide Tom K. with Spotted SeaTrout

Fishing Aide Tom K. with Spotted SeaTrout

Spotted SeaTrout fishing was decent here, with most of the fish caught well after dark. There were daily exceptions to this, with a few keepers caught mid-morning or before sunset.

As we get further on into summer, the waters may get warm enough to curtail much of the bite during the middle of the day. We recommend fishing early in the morning and late at night. The middle of the day can get mighty hot, and the sun can toast you in a short time. Before sunset there’s usually a good feed going on, and then more so later at night, especially just before and after the tide changes. Peak water flows occur around the full moon and new moon periods. During those times fishing seems to be especially active, up to a few days either side of the full and new moon.

Capt’n Tom

Capt’n Tom

Pier 60 is open 24 hours all summer long. Your fishing day begins at 6 AM and goes until 6AM the following day. You can come and go, and no license is required.

Good Luck Fishing!

May Fishing Report

May was a great month to fish on Pier 60. Temperatures were moderate for both air and water, not scorching hot as it gets later on in the late summer. We saw water temps range from the mid-70’s to the mid-80’s which provided ideal conditions for a variety of fish to be caught.

Spanish Mackerel were around most days, biting both early in the morning, and again in the late afternoon. The fish were thick on some days, and low on others, but some fishermen scored most every day. Successful anglers use flashy lures to cover more water, and to reach out further into deeper water. Others found success using live shrimp or small minnows brought up on a Sabiki rig.

We saw a good number of Pompano taken this month. Most of the Pompano were caught early in the morning, using live shrimp for bait, or the favorite Crazy Jig with teaser that we carry in the shop. Other fish attracted to the favorite Pompano lure include, Jack Crevalle, LadyFish, Flounder, and Blue Runner. Anglers also caught and released a surprising number of reef species, like the CowFish, Scrawled FileFish, Spiny Box Puffers, and PufferFish, or BlowFish.

BlueFish, Sheepshead, Flounder, and plenty of undersize Cobia kept fishermen busy this month. Perhaps a few of the big hits that fishermen failed to connect with were large Cobia, a powerful and large omnivorous predator. We had several rods go over the rail this month, and other rods snapped in half.

Spotted SeaTrout fishing was good in May, with most big SeaTrout taken late at night on small live baits like shrimp or minnows. A few Spotted Trout were seen during the daytime, but the vast majority of fish show up under the lights late at night. Don’t let the lack of live shrimp keep you from Trout success. Many lures are very effective, work as soon as the lure hits the water, and allows the angler to cover more water in less time. In addition, using lures takes a bit of skill to develop but brings benefits to both the table and ego.

Snook fishing was in full swing this May for catch-and-release. In the mornings the fish were near the shoreline, in the non-fishing swim zone. At night, these fish move out towards the end of the pier, following one another in their mating “dance”. Although the fish are preoccupied with each other, they still feed at some point in the evening. Snook like a big free-lined Shrimp, a live fish, or a lure. Many successful Snook fishermen here use a live LadyFish for a killer bait. A large, clean and lively LadyFish nose-hooked with a sharp, strong hook tied to leader materiel is all that’s needed to entice a big Snook into hitting. Be prepared, for many Snook strike this kind of bait soon after it hits the water. It’s important to give the fish time to turn the bait head-first before setting the hook, yet be vigilant to keep the Snook from wrapping around the pilings. Please be careful to release the fish properly back into the landing net, and to avoid holding the fish vertically so as to damage its internal organs. Most all the large Snook caught here are the big “Breeder” females, and we want these fish to continue to live and produce more fish into the biomass.

Good Luck Fishing!

Summer 2015 Photos

April 2015 Pier 60 Fishing Report

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 2015 Fishing Report

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!