Gerald Granier of Round O closed out 2013 the right way by catching a speckled trout that’s the biggest ever taken off the Mount Pleasant Pier.
Granier, known to fellow pier fishermen as “Jigging’ Jerry,” caught the 24-inch fish, which weighed four pounds, nine ounces, on the afternoon of Dec. 31. The fish was a full pound larger than the previous record, caught last May 8 by John Goins.
Mount Pleasant Pier extends 1,250 feet into the CooperRiver at the foot of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. Built on pilings that supported the old bridge, it was opened in 2009 and is operated by the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission. Granier fishes the Mount Pleasant Pier regularly and volunteers to help with scheduled fishing clinics, sometimes giving impromptu instruction to pier newcomers.
Granier’s big trout ate a Saltwater Assassin grub in the Texas Roach color. He was not going to weigh the fish until someone told him they thought it was big enough to become the new record for the pier.
“I was fishing the rising tide, and it was about halfway in when the big speck hit,” Granier said. “I was casting into the current and twitching the grub as the current pushed it back towards the pier. The speck hit and ran away a little at first before turning with the current and trying to run under the pier.
“It was a little tense at that point, as the pier is built on the bed of the old bridge, and there are all sorts of things under there that can cut you off. Fortunately, I got enough pressure on it to hold it out and get the net down to it.
“It was a nice fish for sure, but I’ve caught a couple that were an inch or two longer and didn’t think about weighing them,” Granier said. “I guess I should have, but I’ll pay a little more attention to that now. The record is nice, but I just enjoy fishing on the pier. The fishing here can be really good and it’s different than most piers.
“Mount Pleasant Pier is a unique pier,” Granier said. “Most fishing piers are in the ocean, but this one is inside the inlet and where a couple of large rivers come together. The pier is on a large flat and is shallow, with only about 20 feet of water at the end.
“On this flat, the tide is key as it pushes bait across the flat and allows the shrimp and small fish to hide in the safety of the flooded grass near the bank at high tide,” Granier said. “Then they have to come back out of the grass as the tide falls and the fish know it is dinner time. Red drum, black drum and trout come in on the flat to feed on the shrimp and minnows. The pier pilings give them places to hide in pockets of slack water while they wait for their next meal to wash by in the tide.”