July Fishing Report

July fishing on Pier 60 was very good, with a great variety of species caught by anglers of all skill levels.

Keirsten from Seminole with a Spanish Mackerel

We saw Spanish Mackerel close-in almost every morning, and some in the middle of the day. Most of the Mackerel were taken on live shrimp or minnows, but lures also work well. Plugs like the GotCha are able to cast further and cover more water. Spoons also have this advantage, especially when rigged with a   1-ounce weight about 3 feet in front of the spoon.

We saw a brief run of immature King Mackerel here in July, and perhaps a few King Mackerel runs, but no big fish were landed.

Black Drum

Black Drum were schooling and parading around the pier this month. Several fish in the keeper slot were taken for food, but the majority were fish over the slot size of 15″-24″, and although each angler is allowed one fish over the slot, most were released. Curiously, many big Drum were hooked on small Sabiki rigs, so break-offs on these baits were the norm.

A couple of big Redfish were caught and released. Fish over the slot size of 18″-27″ constitute most of the Reds here, and are the breeders for future generations. Most anglers are happy to release these battlers, with great respect for their fighting prowess and tenacity.

Tarpon were schooling off the end of the pier a few days this July, with fish free-jumping and cavorting, but no anglers reported hook-ups.

Flounder continue to be caught daily, with some impressive flatties coming over the rail on all types of bait.

Mangrove Snapper were here with greater abundance than we have seen in awhile. Although most were small, we had a few keepers over 10″. We saw a few nice Pompano caught on the pier as well. Other catches include a 24″ Sheepshead, baby Barracuda, Jack Crevalle, Ladyfish, Grunt, and SailCats.

Spotted SeaTrout arrived after dark. Smaller fish usually get here first, with the bigger ones well into the night. Live shrimp, shrimp lures, and small sardines are all used. Spotted SeaTrout need to be 15″-20″ with a bag of 4, and one of those fish can be over 20″.

Harvey Tillman from Cocoa with a West-Coast Snook

Snook continue to make a strong showing on Clearwater Beach, with the fish usually arriving after dark to feed on schools of fish attracted to the lights. Most anglers get their hook-ups using live minnows brought up on a Sabiki rig. Others find success using live shrimp. Lures can be successful also. Most of the serious feeding occurs late at night, and all Snook must be released until Sept 2013.

Capt’n Tom

Pier 60 is open 24 hours until Oct. 1st. Your fishing day is 6 AM until 6 AM the following day.

Good Luck Fishing!

Spring Fishing Pictures

Night Fishing on Pier 60

Captn Tom Fishing Report

Capt'n Tom Fishing Report

Fishing on Pier 60 in September was full of fun! The weather in September is some of the hottest of the year, and this September it was sweltering in the middle of the day. We didn’t experience any tropical storms, and there were no torrential rains to break the heat wave. There were some late afternoon and evening showers, but little to mar or interfere with fishing on the Pier.
Snook season started off a little slow, with the fish parading about under the lights at night, but taking little notice of the baits offered. Then, usually late at night, the fish began to feed and get hooked. There have been many Snook keepers this season, slot-sized fish from 28 to 33 inches more common than oversize fish. In seasons past we have seen more oversize fish caught and released, but this year there have been plenty of fish taken home. Snook are still biting at night or in the early morning, usually on a greenback minnow or live medium-sized Ladyfish freelined just next to the Pier. Regulars have been very successful with this year’s Snook fishing.

Bill from Plymouth, Devon, UK, displays Spanish Mackerel

Bill from Plymouth, Devon, UK, displays Spanish Mackerel

Mackerel continue to feed first thing in the morning, taking a variety of lures or live natural baits. The Got-Cha lures have been very good for getting the toothy speedsters to bite. The best baits of all are still the little minnows brought up on a Sabiki lure, then presented under a float for the Spanish Mackerel. The largest fish usually show up early, but continue to feed throughout the day. Average size of the Mackerel has been about 15 inches, but plenty of fish over 20 inches have been taken as well.

A few big King Mackerel have been hooked and seen, usually taking half of a Spanish Mackerel as it is being reeled in. When the Kings have been hooked, it has been one-sided, with a screaming drag and broken line the usual outcome.

Tarpon are still in the area, and the “Silver King” has been a daily visitor at Pier 60. Most every day we get reports of Tarpon hooking up and jumping off here, and most of the bites involve 60 to 80 pound fish. A few Tarpon have been hooked and fought that would go well over 100 pounds, and there have been hooks straightened by fish that would weigh closer to 150 pounds. On a recent night, a big pod of large Tarpon chased a school of large Greenbacks under the pier, then proceeded to chase and gulp down most all of them, and also providing a thrilling but one-sided battle to fishermen just not equipped with heavy enough gear to turn the brutes.

Ryan with caught and released 24 lb. 38.5 inch Redfish.

Ryan with caught and released 24 lb. 38.5 inch Redfish.

Some big Redfish have been showing up recently, with fish of 38 to 40 inches caught and released. These fish are strong and fight all the way, giving a great battle to those prepared for it. Redfish will strain your gear and muscles to the limit, and will exploit any weakness to their advantage. Big smiles and shaking limbs from the battle are a sure sign that the Reds are here!

We have seen many Cobia this month, but all have been just shy of the 33-inch minimum. Still, they have provided lots of entertainment and activity during the heat of the day. The bigger keepers have just eluded the anglers, taking advantage of underwater obstacles to wrap around and break off.

Tony from Orlando and Flounder

Tony from Orlando and Flounder

Flounder have been a welcome and frequent catch this month, with flatties well over the legal minimum of 12 inches common. One big “Doormat” measured out at 20 inches. That’s a fish worth keeping!

We have seen a few Pompano this month, and also a few Bluefish. Undersize Groupers, both Gag and Red Grouper are not uncommon. A few Spadefish, and a few Sheepshead have also been landed.

Plenty of Jack Crevalle have been schooling about the Pier, and have provided lots of strong fight and shredded lines for excited fishermen.
Spotted Sea Trout have been schooling under the lights at night. They seem to be very particular on the bite, though. Most of the fish are keepers, over 15 inches, but the really big ones are waiting for the weather to cool a little bit. We should start to see “Gator” Trout to show up after the first real cold front moves through the area this month.
All in all, it has been great fishing on Pier 60, and it looks to be just as good in the weeks ahead. Remember, fishing hours have changed. As of October 1st, the Pier is open Sunday through Thursday 6:00 AM to 9:30 PM. Fridays and Saturdays we are still open all night for fishing.

Good Luck Fishing!

September Fishing Photos

September 2009 brought great fishing. Catches includeresulted these fine photos of visitors with Snook, Flounder, Spanish Mackerel, Redfish, and Snappers.

Great Fishing in July 09

Capt Tom

Capt' Tom

July 2009 Pier 60 Fishing Report

July has been a fabulous time to fish at Pier 60.

In the heat of summertime, the fishing starts early, with Spanish Mackerel showing up just after first light. The Mackerel like live shrimp, plugs, spoons, or best of all, a lively minnow brought up on a Sabiki rig. The largest Mackerel have been caught early in the day.

As the day heats up, the fishing generally slows, but the Mackerel show up again from time to time throughout the day.

A few large Bluefish have been taken early in the day with one going over 26 inches.

Schools of Jacks also arrive, often with a feeding frenzy that might last a few minutes. At these times, the Jack Crevalle will take almost any offering, but baits that mimic the local whitebait usually get the most attention. Not known a good table fare, the battling brutes are fun to catch, as they fight like a fish twice their size.

During daylight hours a great variety of fish have been landed, including small Barracuda, Whiting, Black Sea Bass, small Grouper, Key West Grunt, Spadefish, Mangrove Snapper and Sheepshead. More Hogfish were caught in July, a good indicator of the healthy reef system just off the pier.

There have been quite a few Flounder caught recently, including a 19-incher caught by Michael Knapp. Most Flounder go after live shrimp, but the larger ones have been enticed by a smallish lively sardine.

Tandem jigs tipped with a bit of fresh shrimp have also been very effective on the Flounder.

Cobia have been showing up consistently, but only about a third of the fish landed have been keepers of 33 inches or more. Many of the Cobia have been between 24 and 30 inches, and will be legal keepers soon after being released, as they are fast-growers.

Tarpon are still about, and can be seen rolling and gulping air off the ends of the pier in the calm of the morning. Many times the silver kings will bite during the afternoon, taking a live greenback or Pinfish suspended under a float. Most of the fish jump and shake the hook, and other times take off under the pier to wrap around a piling. But there have been some fish successfully caught and released in the 60-pound class.

Dark clouds of small baitfish surround the pier, and attract all the other predators to the area. Working the edges of the bait pods has been a successful technique for many.

Spotted Sea Trout fishing has been very good at night, with schools of Trout cruising around the lights closer to the bait house. Trout have also been caught before sunset, but the best fishing for them is after dark. Live baits work best, but a white grub tail tandem jig has produced many fish too.

Snook fishing has been great during July. The fish usually can be seen feeding or cruising around during the day, with quite a few fish caught and released in the mornings and late afternoon. But the linesiders bite best at night, taking a large Greenback minnow or small Ladyfish. At times, the Snook have even been taken on frozen shrimp on a steel ready-rig leader. It has not been unusual to have a dozen Snook caught during one night alone. Snook season is still closed throughout August, so all Snook must be released.

Please remember that there is a two-rod limit for each fisherman on Pier 60, and cast nets are not allowed to be on, or used here.

New fishing regulations have taken effect in August, with a shore-based permit required for Florida residents. However, when fishing at Pier 60, no license is required for anyone, as we have a blanket fishing permit for all fishermen, residents or not.

Good Luck Fishing!

Capt’ Tom