St. Petersburg Fishing – Memorial Day 2009


Summer patterns are in full swing in Tampa Bay and Boca Ciega Bay. Bait is becoming plentiful, water temps are on the rise, and the fish are getting active.

I managed to get in several hours of fishing Saturday, Sunday and Monday, starting at around 7:30 a.m at the Merry Pier in St. Pete Beach. Other that a few showers on Saturday, the weather was perfect, and the dock was pretty crowded. While there were plenty of snook and Spanish macs around, I was targeting grouper, using whole frozen sardines on the incoming tide.

Seems that the grouper were hanging underneath the pier, and also on the ledge just north of the pier. I was slammed several times under the dock by a presumed goliath grouper which has been hanging around. And I managed to pull in plenty of 15″ to 21″ gag grouper, while losing some REALLY big fish. Here’s a 23″ gag that didn’t get away:


Mike (from Michigan) and his brothers were slaying the macks- not big fish, but plenty of 10″ to 15″  ones- lots of fun on light tackle.  There was a school of snook hanging out under a bait school in the shallows, and several decent sheepshead nipped at the pilings.  There were reports of big sharks hooked, as well as some big flounder. All in all, a great weekend for getting outdoors!

7 Responses to “St. Petersburg Fishing – Memorial Day 2009”

  1. jayt Says:

    Don’t know if you remember me but we met last year on the pier. I’ll be down this year starting on july3rd through the next weekend. I will basically live at that pier for the week. I fish with Rich from the Miss Pass a Grille when he is not running charters. Save some fish for me!

  2. terry brown Says:

    Steve are the snapper biting around the pier? Just wondering, I’ll be down there next weekend and would’nt mind catching a few.

  3. torknorggren Says:

    Sounds like a great time!
    How are you rigging those sardines?

  4. Steve Says:

    JayT- c’mon down! And yes, Rich knows where the fish are!

    Terry – Yes the snapper are starting to show. Little weird, though- only a few, and most are over 12″. The last few years, seems like we had tons of little snapper in early June.

    Torknorgren- I generally use a 6/0 circle hook. I break off the sardine’s head, and run the hook through the base of the tail. It is essential to hit the spine. Then, I bring the point out, and rehook the sardine again through the spine. By double hooking the spine, I am able to cast much farther – specifically, to the ledge where the grouper hang out.

  5. rherrman Says:

    Steve, Great blog. I was wondering if the Getaway is still running. I tried to find their web site and couldn’t find it. Went with them last year, your writeup sent me that way, caught a lot and was looking at going out again this year. Do you have any suggestions for what to go after around mid July(19-25)? It will be during the new moon phase, oh yeah, not. How is shark fishing?

  6. terry brown Says:

    Steve, my son and I had a fabulous time at Merry Pier. Sun,Mon, and Tuesday we fished several hours on the pier with constant action. The Spanish Mac bite was out of control for hours and once we figured out how to catch the mangrove snapper we caught 40 or 50 8-9 inchers and 4 keepers. Those cowfish were a nightmare and so was the skipjack or what ever they’re called yellowtail spiny bastards. The catch of the week went on Tues when a 35” snook hit my 4” pinfish. What a battle! Luckily I was using 50#braid and 80# leader and the Captain and Mate from MissPassagrille helped me land her. Great vacation, see you next year.

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