Merry Pier Fishing Report – June 2016
What a month it’s been! During June, we saw the transition of spring to summer patterns. Bait has returned to Merry Pier, and by late June was abundant – and, along with the bait, may species of fish have returned for the summer. Snook are lined up under the Pier during the outgoing tides – please remember that it’s catch and release only for snook now. Mangrove snapper are on fire – using live shrimp or whitebait, you can catch literally dozens of these tasty fish within a few hours. The limit for mangrove snapper is 5 per person per day, and they must be at least 10” in length. Here’s a tip to catch more snapper – downsize! A small hook (size 2-6), and a light fluorocarbon leader (12-20 lb. test) will increase your catch ratio. Use just enough weight to keep the bait on the bottom. The amount needed will depend on the speed of the current. A few pogies have also been caught by snapper fisherman.
In addition to snapper, Spanish mackerel can be seen busting the bait schools hovering around the Pier. Best bet is a freelined whitebait; or, a small flashy lure, using a rapid retrieve. Be prepared for a few cut-offs – mackerel have sharp teeth! There have been a few grouper landed, all below the minimum legal size (20” for red grouper and 24” for gag grouper). A few sheepshead and flounder (including some really big ones) have been lingering around, along with the occasional black drum. There should be some cobia, sharks and pompano in front of the Pier, although few people have been targeting them.
Finally, the ‘pesky’ fish are here, too – puffers, cowfish, spadefish, pinfish and filefish, to name a few. These incidental catches are most common for anglers using squid or shrimp. And, as the weather heats up, please remember to stay hydrated. The shop offers a great variety of cold beverages, along with plenty of bottled water.
New report thanks to Steve Schwalb