It looks to be a banner year for mangrove snapper fishing in the south Pinellas area. The have taken up residence at every structure – bridges, jetty’s, docks, piers, rockpiles – you name, there’s snapper on it. And they are running pretty big, considering it’s only mid- June. By late fall, there may be some monsters (well, inshore ‘monsters’, anyway).
My brother Allen and I hit the Merry Pier in Pass-A-Grille on Sunday morning. The tide was running pretty strong, and outgoing. We tossed live shrimp up under the dock in the first three finger slips, using 30 lb fluorocarbon leaders, 1/4 oz slip sinkers and size 2 circle hooks. Action was fast and furious – as soon as the shrimp hit the bottom (and sometimes sooner), the fish were on it. Most were in the 8 to 10 inch range, but when we got one a foot or longer, into the cooler it went. When the tide began to slow, we moved to the end of the pier – and so did the snapper. They sure like fast moving water. We ended up going through about 15 dozen shrimp, caught at least 70-80 snapper, and kept our two person limit. Good eating!
Other reports include occasional flounder; trout and snook at Blind Pass (including a 38″ brute caught Thursday); stray redfish here and there; lots of macks and ladyfish anywhere the bait is thick and the water is clear; and a few sheepshead, although nobody’s really targeting them.
Offshore, fishing is on fire! Miss Pass-A-Grille has been coming back loaded every trip. My friend Neal had a great adventure on the 39 hour trip out of John’s Pass, and he brought back a cooler full, including this beautiful American Red Snapper: