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Fishbuster Dave
1/27/07 06:44 PM
SW FL-Bonita Beach: Sheepshead bay & Gulf, Reds, S [Post#: 2356 ] Reply to this post

Saturday morning, 1/20, when I headed offshore with Chris & Yvette Worthington, their young sons Hunter and Peyton, and Yvette’s parents, there were rough seas offshore that had not yet calmed to the two foot predicted. We stayed in close for a while in about 30 feet, and caught some keeper mangrove snapper. When seas calmed and the snapper bite slowed near shore, we headed out to about 50 feet, where we continued to catch keeper mangrove snapper, bigger ones than we had earlier. We caught twenty of those in all, and also a couple dozen big whitebone porgies, all around three pounds. We also caught keeper Spanish mackerel to 22 inches and keeper sheepshead. We released at least fifty gag grouper that were 20-21 inches long, and a bunch of red grouper shorts. The group also got to see a loggerhead turtle that looked like he was about 125 pounds.

I fished Estero Bay, down toward Wiggins Pass on Monday with Leeds Hutchinson and Pete Sohldon. We used live shrimp to catch two keeper sheepshead at 14 inches and 16 inches, and three keeper mangrove snapper. We released smaller shepshead and a cravalle jack.

Fishing at the artificial reefs off Bonita Beach Tuesday with Jim Ozark and father-in-law, Jim Kincaid, we caught keeper sheepshead and mangrove snapper, and released gag grouper to 18 inches, grunts, and a nine pound goliath grouper. There was a pretty good swell even that close in, with another cold front approaching this week.

Wednesday morning, I headed to the reefs again, this time with Ed and Margie Bock. We caught a mess of nice snapper—lanes and mangrove, as well as keeper Spanish mackerel, using live shrimp. We started getting some light rain by about 11:30AM, so headed in a bit early to avoid the worst of it, as it was building in the Gulf.

Thursday, I awoke to rain, as expected, and was planning to cancel my fishing trip, but when I called my eager anglers, Mike Hughes, his son Luke, and Luke’s grandfather, Leon, they wanted to tough it out for an opportunity to catch fish. The Gulf was definitely out of the question, so we fished the bay, with our rain gear on, and the rain didn’t let up until just before 11AM. We caught sheepshead to 17 inches, ladyfish, and a two pound crevalle jack. We released all except for two sheepshead that were 14 inches and 17 inches.

Friday morning, with seas still high offshore, Bob Pumford and friend Larry opted to fish the backwaters. We caught a keeper redfish at 20 inches, and released a 16 inch red. We also caught two keeper sheepshead, and released several small sheepshead, along with a small snook.

Saturday, I headed offshore to about 40 feet with Norm Ayer and Pete Gonzales. Seas were predicted to be two feet, but we were in three and four foot seas most of the morning, until it calmed some. We were fishing for snapper, and caught three limits of those, all 15 to 17 inches. We released lots of smaller ones, along with whitebone porgies and porkfish.

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