Tampa Bay Fishing Report – November 2015

November 9th, 2015

Bait is moving out, and fish are in transition. In South St. Pete Beach, mackerel are gone, snapper are getting scarce, and flounder are starting to show. A couple good cold fronts will bring in more typical November patterns, but the unseasonably warm weather has left fishing in flux. A few highlights from the last couple weeks:


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St Pete Beach Fishing Report

October 5th, 2015

Fall is in the air. At Merry Pier in Pass-A-Grille, there is still plenty of bait around. The snapper bite has cooled off, but some decent fish are still around. Flounder are showing up early, and this may be a banner flounder season come November. Gag grouper are still scarce, but keepers are coming up every few days. Black drum (big) and redfish (small) are around, but not exactly thick. Plenty of snook around, but the ones that are biting are all under slot minimum size. A few recent pictures:

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Fall Approaches, and the Fishing is Great!

September 22nd, 2015

OK, no cobia. That’s the bad news. The good news – pretty much EVERYTHING else is biting! Big mangrove snapper, black drum, keeper grouper, snook, mackerel, flounder – you name it. Snapper have been the primary target at Merry Pier, and limits of 12″-15″ are common. Drum and redfish are hiding under the dock, along with the occasional snook. And flounder are showing up in the slips – mostly smaller, but a few nice ones mixed in. Grouper are scarce compared to previous years, but legal size fish have been landed the last couple weekends. All-in-all, a great time to get out and drop a line.

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Birthday Weekend Fishing – St. Pete Beach

August 31st, 2015

Had a great weekend fishing the Merry Pier in Pass-A-Grille. Saturday found tons of bait swarming the structure, and plenty of hungry fish around. Big mangrove snapper, macks,¬†small grouper – even an ‘almost legal’ 31″ cobia. Sunday was good, too, despite Saturday night’s heavy rains. More snapper, plus flounder, a 20″ gag grouper, a few big stingrays, and a 10″ lane snapper. My Birthday was Sunday, and it was a great time. Looking forward to the 3 day weekend coming up!

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Hot August Fishing Action

August 24th, 2015

The calendar says August, but the fishing seems more like October. Hot fish this weekend included redfish, flounder and black drum, along with the ever popular mangrove snapper. There are cobia and sharks cruising in the deeper channels, and a few short gag grouper are making an appearance.

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August Fishing at Merry Pier

August 17th, 2015

August can be brutally hot, especially on days with no cloud cover and no breeze. The best bet on those days is to get an early start – and an early finish! Fishing has been a little off this summer. We’ve had swarms of big mangrove snapper, legal grouper and occasion cobia over the last few summers, but this year the grouper are small and scarce, the cobia elusive, and the snapper are running a bit on the smaller side. Of course, the bait drives the fish, and the big greenbacks have been hanging offshore, while clouds of glass minnows have been hanging out at the dock.

Anyway, here are a few catches over the last month:

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Wow! July Already? Time for Grouper Fishing

July 6th, 2015

St. Pete Beach fishing has entered the typical summer patterns. Bait has shown up, and although plentiful, it mostly remains small. Flounder, redfish and black drum have virtually disappeared, while cobia have yet to show up. Snapper and Key West grunts are now the staple at Merry Pier, with mangrove snapper ranging from 7-14″, with an average length of 9.99999 inches.

Grouper have been spotty, and small. I have yet to see a legal size gag caught. Seems to me like a lot of the structure inshore that used to hold big grouper may have been gradually covered with drifting sand, so what was once a couple feet of relief is now mere inches. Or, maybe it’s something else – the water temp, the bait, who knows? I’ll keep trying, though. Some highlights from the last month:

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St. Pete Beach Fishing Continues to Improve

May 20th, 2015

OK, first the bad news. No sign of greenbacks yet (although the glass minnows are thick). No cobia. No big grouper. Snook season is over. Flounder are small, few and far between. Merry Pier is swarming with filefish, puffers, pinfish, sailor’s choice, and cowfish.

The good news – nice mangrove snapper are showing up, and black drum are cooperating. Sunday, my brother and I landed 4 black drum in the 7-10 pound range, with two bigger ones getting away. Throw in some 10″ to 14″ snapper, and you have the makings of a great fish dinner… or three…

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Snook Season Spring 2015 Comes to a Close

April 28th, 2015

Another snook season closes this week, and, while I managed to catch a few, they all remained shy of the slot minimum size. Oh, well…. At least there’s plenty of non-snook action firing up. I managed a nice 7 pound black drum Saturday at Merry Pier in St. Pete Beach. Also on the menu are the season’s first mangrove snapper – they are still spotty, but there are a few 10″ to 14″ fish along with the smaller specimens. Meanwhile, the redfish have completely disappeared. But, on a whim, I decided to see if the out-of-season gag grouper were around. And, yes, they are. My friend Juan got a 23″, and we pulled in a bunch of 15″ to 20″ gags using frozen sardines. Fishing remains steady, but not great. Still no sign of the bait schools that will soon be clouding the waters. Any day now…


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Wrapping Up – St Pete Beach Fishing March 2015

March 30th, 2015

While February and March were pretty slow months, things are looking up. No more cold fronts in the forecast, so the bait should make a strong showing soon. Some glass minnows are already hanging around structure in south St. Pete Beach. Reports have pompano at the jetty and the small beach in Pass-A-Grille, while snook are feeding and macks are starting to show. There are still a few small flounder in the shallows. Yesterday, my friend Tim nailed a beautiful slot snook at Merry Pier, and I landed a nice black drum.

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