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Fishbuster Dave
12/30/06 04:51 PM
SW Fl-Bonita Beach: gags bigger this week, snapper [Post#: 2342 ] Reply to this post

Tuesday after Christmas brought rain and high seas, and I had to cancel my offshore trip for that day. Wednesday was still rough offshore, but it was dry, and my anglers changed plans to fish in Estero Bay instead of the Gulf. Robert, Justin and Jeffrey Hooper fished with me around New Pass, where we caught a couple of keeper sheepshead to 15 ½ inches, and released smaller sheepshead, a 19 inch snook, and ladyfish. As often happens right after a cold front, the fishing was a bit slow, but we were fortunate to get some bites and to catch a couple of keepers.

Thursday, I headed offshore about eleven miles from New Pass and fished in 35 feet, with Craig Royal, son Dan, and two of Dan’s friends, Eric and Jeff. We caught keeper mangrove and lane snapper, porgies, grunts and triggerfish, and released short gag grouper.

Friday morning seas were a bit rough at first, although they calmed down pretty quickly. With a six year old angler on board, I decided the near-shore reefs and other near-shore spots would be the safest, best option. I fished in 35 feet with Harry Stephenson, son-in-law, mark Smith, and grandson Harry Smith. We used live shrimp to catch three limits of keeper mangrove snapper, all 13 to 15 ½ inches. We released a bunch more keeper size mangs. We also got keeper sheepshead and porgies, and we released gag grouper to 21 inches and red groupers to 18 inches. I think there might have been a few bigger ones out there, because lines were broken twice by something larger in the rougher waters early in the morning.

My trip on Saturday was a sight-seeing venture. Although it was strange not to wet a line, it might have been a good choice, with winds and seas on the increase most of the day. It was a perfect day for sight-seeing, and they enjoyed that, along with lunch at a waterfront restaurant.

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