Thanksgiving Fishing Marathon


Wow! Got to fish 5 consecutive days over the Thanksgiving weekend. I kicked things off on Thanksgiving day at the Merry Pier in St. Pete Beach. Fishing started a little slow, but soon changed- a school of Bonita came through. Havoc! Everybody up and down the Pier was hooking up- and each hookup was followed by the sound of screaming drags as these hefty, powerful fish peeled off a hundred yards of line (or 200…). People were running madly up and down the Pier, trying to keep from getting spooled. The result:


Now, a lot of peple will tell you that bonita are inedible, and only good for shark bait. They’ll say the meat is too bloody and oily, and that you shouldn’t even try to consume Bonita. Well, I beg to differ. When properly prepared, Bonita can be quite delicious. It takes some time, some imagination, and a great recipe, but a well prepared Bonita can become an excellent meal. Here’s how it turns out when properly prepared:


So, Friday I made the mistake of going out on Miss Pass-A-Grille. The predicted 1-2 foot waves were more like 4-5 feet, and a cold north wind was up at 20+ knots the entire time. Not exactly ideal conditions. I managed 3 short gag grouper, along with a small grey snapper, and, of all things, another Bonita. The entire boat, around 25 people, ended up with a single keeper grouper. Certainly not the fault of the Captain or crew- sometimes Nature conspires against fisherman. It was just one of those days.

The next couple of days were devoted to morning/ early afternoon fishing on Merry Pier, aptly named now that it’s decked out in Christmas lights. I had the distinct pleasure of fishing with Daniel from Denver on Monday afternoon- he landed a very nice Spanish Mackeral, his first:


So, for the long weekend the tally included:

  • Bonita (four of ’em!)
  • Spanish Mackeral
  • Grouper
  • Grey Snapper
  • Flounder
  • Bluefish
  • Lane Snapper
  • Pinfish
  • Grunts
  • Pufferfish
  • Lizardfish
  • Squirrelfish
  • Filefish

A quick note- the baitshop at the Merry Pier has live shrimp, frozen baits, tackle, lures, sandwiches, smokes, cold beer, soft drinks, hats, candy, t-shirts, ice cream, gifts, and a whole lot more. Check it out!

2 Responses to “Thanksgiving Fishing Marathon”

  1. RWS Says:

    Here in Punta Gorda we prefer our Bonita with cranberry sauce and stuffing!

    Your post was WAY TOO FUNNY !

    Sorry about your rough ride on the Miss PG but the best laid plans…

    Personally I’d like to see a dock light investment for winter fishing in the Punta Gorda canals. No mosquitoes and a comfortable evening out on the dock in a comfy chair with a couple of rods set and some liquid refreshment.

    Keeping the cooler on the dock eliminates the walk to the house and there’s a head on the boat.

    Any interest???


  2. Steve Says:


    Interest? Sure! Especially the liquid refreshment aspect, as I suspect we’ll have lots of catfish to deal with between snook…