July fishing on Pier 60 was very good, with a great variety of species caught by anglers of all skill levels.
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 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″.
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.
Pier 60 is open 24 hours until Oct. 1st. Your fishing day is 6 AM until 6 AM the following day.
Good Luck Fishing!