Memorial Causeway Postcard

Clearwater’s 100th Birthday

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 Fishing Report

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!

January Fishing Report

January is usually one of the coldest months of the year here. Even so, fishermen were able to come out and catch a good variety of fish between bouts of bad windy weather.
We saw loads of Silver Perch, or Butterfish caught this month. Although a small catch, they are a a schooling fish with no size or bag limit. Most fishermen fillet them, but us old-timers simply gut them, scale them, and pan-fry in bacon grease to eat with your morning grits. Thus; ButterFish n’ Grits for breakfast.
We also saw a flurry of Silver Trout this month. Again, there’s no bag or size limit to these. Silver Trout are a little larger than the ButterFish, and can make a good meal when filleted and fried up.
Whiting is another species we catch predominately in the wintertime here. This is another species that has no bag or size limit, so fish of any size can be kept. Whiting is the sweetest-eating fish we have in our waters, in my opinion.

Once any of these fish are located, their schooling nature allows the fisherman to catch two or more on many casts. Rigging with a weight on the end of the line and two or more hooks spaced about a foot apart, the fish will usually bite on more than one hook at a time.

Spotted Sea Trout usually show up after dark here on Pier 60. This month we saw some Sea Trout activity, but churned-up waters and windy conditions kept many fishermen indoors.

Other species caught this month included LadyFish, Mangrove Snapper, Flounder, small Redfish, and Pompano. Black SeaBass, Eels, PufferFish and a few Mackerel were caught as well. We even sighted several Snook milling about near the end of the pier at night.

Many small Sharks of several species were caught and released here this month. We ask that all Sharks be released unharmed on Pier 60.

Good Luck Fishing!

Rachel of Saint Joseph, MI was thrilled to catch this good size sand shark on Pier 60.

2015 Fishing Photos

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The latest photos submitted by Pier 60 visitors:

December Fishing Report

December was a great time to fish on Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach. Water temperatures and air temperatures stayed in the high to mid 60s most all month. We saw many varieties of fish caught and the quantities were good as well.

Whiting were caught with regularity this month, and many of the fish were of good size; up to 18 inches, and that’s about as large as we ever see them here. Along with the Whiting we saw good numbers of Silver Trout, Butterfish, and Croakers. The preferred bait has been live shrimp or bits of fresh-dead shrimp. Large Sabiki Rigs also work well here for these fish when they are in schools, when it is possible to catch multiple fish at one time. All these species are unregulated, with only a limit of 100 lbs each type per fisherman per day.
There were quite a few Sheepshead feeding around the base of the pilings that support the pier. Careful observation will show you where these “feeding stations” are. Minimum size on the Sheepshead is 12 inches, with a bag limit of 15 fish per day per fisherman.
Spotted SeaTrout were caught primarily in the evening hours. Spotted Trout seem to prefer a live shrimp over anything else; however, they are quick to bite a grub tail lure that is tipped with a bit of fresh shrimp. Minimum size on the Spotted SeaTrout is 15 inches with a bag limit of four fish -one of the four fish per day may be over 20 inches.
Of course we saw a lot of small Sharks caught this month on Pier 60 as usual. BonnetHead Sharks and small Sand Sharks were the most prevalent species seen. Our policy on Sharks is to let them go without harming them here on Pier 60. As we say, we don’t bite the sharks, and they don’t bite us.

One surprise this month was that there were a number of large Snook at the end of the Pier following small fish upwards into the lights as they were being caught.  Richard Ruzzo, from the Chicago area, had a large Snook inhale a free-lined Silver Perch but he was unable to get a good hookset and the fish got away! None of us expected to see this number of Snook this late in the year and so we were all a bit surprised.
Another story related to me by Richard from Chicago was that several fishermen were all standing around at the end of the pier with their rods lined up against the rails when all of a sudden, without any warning at all, one fisherman’s’ rod went flying through the air at least 20 yards, landed in the water, and just kept going! After a few moments of disbelief the fishermen looked at each other and then everyone burst out laughing! Sometimes being over-awed by nature is a good thing.

Fishing hours for December, January and February are 6AM- 9:30PM. Fridays and Saturdays we are still open 24 hours. This schedule will remain until March 1st when we go back to 24 hour a day fishing seven days a week.
Good Luck Fishing!