In typical May style, the Merry Pier in St. Peterburg is loaded with grouper and mangrove snapper. And they’re highly cooperative. Fishing on Saturday, I managed a limit of snapper, and threw back over a dozen. Gag grouper, ranging from a foot up to 19″, were mixed in. They were hitting live, tail hooked shrimp, small pinfish and mud minnows.
Sunday was more of the same, and I stopped counting after 30 fish. I got slammed a couple of times, but the big grouper made short work of my 20 pound test spiderwire. Interesting, for the third week in a row, I caught ‘the’ tagged grouper again. Same spot, same time, same bait, same technique- and the same fish. I also saw a tagged snapper caught- but the tag was half missing. Poor thing had probably been mobbed by the rest of the school, and they chewed the tag off.
There was a giant sheepshead prowling the pilings, but I couldn’t tempt him into biting. Tarpon continue to roll in the mornings, and there are lots of jacks around- but surprisingly few macks, for some reason. I landed a couple of huge filefish- maybe next time I’ll remember to snap a picture.
Sunday evening’s fish fry consisted of beer battered grouper fillets, and blackeded redfish. I’m cleaning out the freezer, now that the snapper are back in force!