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Fishbuster Dave
1/13/07 05:59 PM
SW FL-Bonita Beach: bigger mangs, hog, amber jack, [Post#: 2349 ] Reply to this post

Saturday, 1/6, I fished in 38 feet out of New Pass with Dean Stanton and son, Dean, Jr. The bite was kind of slow, but we caught some keeper (14 inch) mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel, porgies and triggerfish. We released grouper shorts to 18 inches. The water temperature was 74.5, which is pretty warm for this time of year. Usually, the water is colder this time of year, and brings the larger sheepshead and snapper in closer. On our way in, we ran through thousands of dead mullet about ten miles off Naples—not sure what might have caused that large of a kill.

I fished Monday at a wreck about 28 miles west of New Pass with Jim McCormick, his daughter Marin, and friend Dan Gilbert. We caught a nice variety of fish, but the snapper bite didn’t really heat up until late in the afternoon, which is when we caught most of the nice mangrove snapper. We got eight of those to 18 1/2 inches, and also got a pretty nice hogfish at 15 inches. We caught triggerfish and porgies too, and released a 12 pound amber jack, red grouper to 19 inches and gag grouper to 21 inches. We had our lines broken five times by goliath grouper, and there were loads of blue runners everywhere.

Late Monday night, the winds began blowing hard in advance of a cold front, and small craft advisories were issued, with 4-6 foot seas through Wednesday. These El Nino seasons are tough on fishing weather, and the recent successive cold fronts that have kicked up seas are not helping much either. After I canceled trips for Tuesday and Wednesday, on Thursday, even though low tide made conditions less than optimal in the bay, Bill Kaufman followed through with plans for himself and his thirteen year old son, Chris, to go fishing. With my best efforts directed toward having Chris catch anything, we managed to hook up with some sheepshead and ladyfish, all tossed back in, of course. The fun of catching was the most important thing to Chris. He got to spot a few porpoise jumping in the bay too.

Friday and Saturday, with seas offshore still three to five feet, I again cancelled my offshore trips, setting my sites on Monday, when it looks like it might be calm enough to get back offshore.

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