August was an outstanding month at Merry Pier – EVERYTHING was biting. A few highlights:
-Snook season opened 91/1/16, and there are plenty around. Finding a slot sized keeper is the key, as most of the snook tend to be undersized. And, there are a few over-the-slot females around, too. Live baits, including jumbo shrimp and large greenbacks are your best bet.
-Snapper continue to bite well on small greenbacks and live shrimp. There don’t seem to be as many fish around now, but they are bigger – many 12” to 16”. If you catch one, remember that there are probably others nearby, as mangrove snapper tend to run in schools.
-Black Drum are starting to show up under the pier. Fish a large live shrimp or a crab during periods of high tide flows. So far, these drum are on the small side, most 14” to 20”, but, if properly cleaned they are as good eating as redfish!
-Grouper have finally moved in, and several legal (over 24”) fish have been taken on frozen sardines and live pinfish and grunts. Bring heavy tackle – these fish are STRONG, and they know how to use the structure when hooked.
In addition, some big cobia have been hooked during high tides. Legal redfish have occasionally been mixed in with the black drum. Sheepshead are around, although it will still be a couple months before the pier is loaded with them. Some fisherman targeting sharks, cobia and tarpon, have ended up hooked into giant stingrays. They’re not good for much, but they can provide a spectacular fight, especially on lighter tackle.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Hermine affected the Gulf coast of Florida in early September. Merry Pier sustained a little damage, with some boards washed away by the high winds, high tides and epic rains. But, we’re open for business – c’mon down!