Tampa Bay Grouper Fishing

Tampa Bay Snook - 2007

So, I decided to beat the heat this weekend by showing up at the Merry Pier in St. Pete Beach prior to sunrise. The snook were swarming under the lights, bait was thick, and the fish were biting. 

Using cut, frozen Spanish sardines, I caught and released about a dozen gag grouper on Saturday, with a couple in the 19″ range. I’m sure there are 22″+ keeps lurking near the pier, but I couldn’t entice them. I returned Sunday with my neighbor Rui, and we had a great time, catching grouper to 19″, a near limit of 11-12″ mangrove snapper, and about a million smaller snapper. The catch of the day, though, was a 35″ snook that grapped a Spanish sardine. Got a couple of great jumps out of her- Rui handled the netting flawlessly, and she was released unharmed.

3 Responses to “Tampa Bay Grouper Fishing”

  1. Mike Says:

    That is so disgusting! The one day I can’t get out of bed! Congrats on the great catch, and I’ll see you down there this weekend. Sigh…

    – Mike

  2. Steve Says:


    Earlier is better! After getting brutalized the last few weeks by the afternoon sun, getting there at 6 (or even earlier) is definately the way to go. The fish are more active early too, it seems.

  3. Mike Says:


    I went down to Merry Pier this AM from about 4:30 – 6:30. Caught a couple of 12-13″ snapper with some poorly rigger Spanish Sardines, and saw a ~28-30″ snook landed. I had one BIG hit, but it totally ran with my cheap reel’s drag, and cut me off on one of the boats. Can you recommend any really good line, that may reduce line cuts?