St. Pete Beach Florida Fishing Report

So, I head down to the Merry Pier in St. Pete Beach bright and early Saturday morning, and to my surprise, I’m greeted by my colleague Mike. He’s already caught a nice snook with a DOA shrimp on the 7th Avenue Pier. We bought several dozen handpicked shrimp, and got to work.

I was quickly broken off by a big snook by the Shell Key Shuttle, then promptly landed a 29″ linesider. Next came a nice Jack Cravelle, which was followed up by a few hundred of his buddies. Time to target the Mango snapper that haunt the dock.

Over the next few hours, Miike and I managed dozens of snapper, topping out at about 14″; grouper to 18″; another snook which was hanging out by the seawall, and various jacks, sand perch, Atlantic Spadefish, pinfish, and other assorted fish. Mike got the award for the weird catch of the day when a green lipped mussel clamped down on his line. I finished with a nice limit of Mangos for the ensuing fishfry. By the way, Mike, I’ve still got your fishing knife…

Sunday, the bait shop at the Merry Pier was out of shrimp by the time I arrived, but since St. Pete Beach is loaded with schools of small greenbacks, I threw a few dozen in the bait bucket, and proceeded to nail mangos to 15″ from the rocks that range from 20 to 50 feet in front of the Merr Pier. A few freelined greenbacks resulted in Spanish Macks up to 20″, along with a few Leather Jacks. If you’re not familiar with the leatherjack, it’s a purely evil fish. They have spines behind the dorsal and caudal fins. If you tocuh them, they’ll sting at first, but over the next few hours, the pain will intensify, and there’s really nothing you can do about it. I’d prefer a bee sting myself. I handle with care, so it’s been a few years since I’ve been nailed. You’ve been warned- watch out.

St. Pete Beach fishing is outstanding right now, with the strong new moon tides and the influx of bait. Get ‘yer gear and give it a shot!

3 Responses to “St. Pete Beach Florida Fishing Report”

  1. Mike Says:


    It was a blast. You should see my “garbage man tan”. I was going to come down Sunday, and see if you were hanging around, but I ended up sleeping from 4 PM on Saturday night until 9 AM on Saturday, and after that, there was no way Sarah was going to let me out of the house!

    Shoot me an e-mail with your cell number, so I can throw it in my phone. I’m looking forward to this weekend, and this time, bait and beer is on me. I’ll even bring my own tackle! (Holy hell flourocarbon is expensive!) Anyway, if I don’t speak to you beforehand, I will most likely see you Saturday!

    – Mike

  2. JoeFab Says:

    Sorry we did not have a chance to meet up last week. I got to spend about 6 hours on the pier fishing. It was a great experience. I caught at least 7 different types of fish including Mangroves, small grouper, tilefish, grunts, pinfish, something that looked like an Angelfish, Mackeral and a couple of others that I have no clue what they were. I hooked into a couple of big fish right under the docks (Snook?), but both broke me off rather quickly. Just an FYI, the rental tackle from the bait shop is not the best…:)

    All in all it was a great time. I even got to see a pod of Tarpon come swimming by as well as a big ole Manatee (hey us Northerners get excited by that kind of stuff).

    The highlight of the day i must say was watching some guy out on a boat hook and fight two massive Tarpon. To see those big beautiful fish leave the water time and again was a sight to behold! Of course it made me a bit jealous, until I looked at my tackle and realized the fight would have been very short lived…

    I also got to have dinner with the family at The Hurricane and watch a sunset. St. Pete Beach is a great vacation spot, and I am looking forward to my next chance to come down. Next time I will have to make sure i have more time to fish!!!

    Thanks for all of the info and tips!!!

  3. Steve Says:

    Mike- You’ve got mail. See you Saturday.

    JoeFab- Sorry I missed you. Sounds like you enjoyed a typical Merry Pier day. There’s always something **amazing** to see, and it’s never the same thing twice. A good tarpon fight fits the bill. Glad you enjoyed your St. Pete Beach fishing vacation- now you see why I moved here!