Tampa Summer Fishing

Summer’s here, and dock days are getting hot- both the weather and the fishing. I had the pleasure of meeting Big Mike on the Merry Pier in St. Pete Beach on Saturday. By the time I arrived, Big Mike had already caught and released dozens of mangrove snapper- mostly small, but still fun to catch. And remember- the 8-11 inch snapper of June will be the 13-17 inch snapper of September!

Figured since Big Mike had travelled alll the way from Ohio for a little fishing, I should show off a bit. So… first cast, first shrimp, I promptly nailed a 32″ snook. It was a fun fight, and it was a battle to keep the fish out of the pilings. I thought this would be the start of a great day of snooking, but, alas, that was the only one of the day. I did end up catching about 3 dozen Snaps, keeping 4 foot longs. By 2 p.m., the sun was blazing, the current was slack, and the bar was calling.

On Sunday, I returned to the Merry Pier, joined by my friend Cletus from Tampa. We tore the snapper up, keeping 8 out of… who knows? 100? Most ran small, but there were plenty of 10-12″ fish mixed in. We picked up a nice 20″ redfish on the dock, and I caught a 16″ filefish, of all things. That was a first for me. We wrapped up midday. Sunday evening, we had a crowd over for blackened redfish, snapper & sausage, and grouper nuggest (from the offshore trip last week). There were no leftovers.


4 Responses to “Tampa Summer Fishing”

  1. JoeFab Says:

    Quick question. Looks like I will be doing a half day on the Miss-Pass. Any suggestions on what to bring? Does it make sense to bring my own bait (live shrimp). Do you also know if they offer light tackle on board as it seems the fish tend to be on the small side… Thanks!

  2. Steve Says:


    I’ll check this weekend on how the Miss Pass-A-Grill is doing on the half days, and I’ll try to get you a report. They provide squid on board, which is fine for the grunts and triggerfish. I generally take a few dozen live shrimp (the bigger, the better) aboard, and it seems to outfish both squid and sardines.

    The offer standard ‘boat gear’, which is to say beat up bottom fishing tackle. It’s adequate, but certainly not ‘light tackle’. I bring my own when I go. Makes for more hook ups and better fights.

    By the way, I just spoke to a friend of mine who’s on Merry Pier at this moment. He’s with 2 kids, and they’re slaying the little snapper. Just a few keepers, so far. And… a sheepshead!

  3. JoeFab Says:

    Great! Thanks for the insight! Very much appreciated. I may end up just hitting the pier instead…

  4. Steve Says:


    When Miss Pass-A-Grill arrived Saturday afternoon, it looked like they had 1 grouper and a handful of grunts. Nothing spectacular.