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Fishbuster Dave
3/3/07 04:50 PM
SW FL-Bonita Beach: winter sheepshead bite strong [Post#: 2384 ] Reply to this post

Large sheepshead were definitely the catch du jour on Monday when I fished with Leon Dargis and Bob Rose, in 30 feet off Sanibel. We caught a total of twenty five, and kept the biggest five, which ranged from 17 to 21 inches. We had fun with those until the goliath grouper moved in to eat all the fish. Heading back in, we had heavy for with zero visibility—glad I have radar!

The fog was still thick Tuesday morning, when I set out after more sheepshead for Mike & Lee Connealy and friend, Dick. We fished hard bottom in 40 feet off Sanibel with live shrimp, and caught a total of twenty sheepshead, releasing all but seven of the largest, to 22 inches. We also released mangrove shorts and a four foot goliath grouper we had fun wrestling for a while. The water was so clear, we could spot the goliath on the bottom, so we decided to throw a bait out for him, and he obliged.

The sheepshead bite was strong again on Wednesday, fishing in 38 feet off Sanibel with Brad Clemons and his girlfriend, Amanda McCrackin. We again caught a total of about twenty-five, and kept seven of the largest, which ranged from 18 to 22 inches. Amanda caught the 22 incher, which was her first fish ever! We released red grouper shorts, mangrove snapper and triggerfish.

Thursday, seas started off pretty calm, when I fished in 35 feet off Sanibel with Ron Musick and friends Alan, Dick and Hank. By noon, it started getting pretty sloppy out there, with winds picking up to 20 knots and seas building to above three feet, so we headed in about 12:30. By that time, we had had plenty of fun catching and a keeper snapper and twenty six sheepshead to 18 inches. We released half of them, along with triggerfish.

The seas that started building on Thursday continued to increase into Friday morning, and with small craft advisories issued for Friday, I cancelled my offshore trip. Conditions were less than favorable in the bay, with low tide and gusty winds, so we decided against backwater fishing too.

Saturday was another one of those days between two weather fronts. The morning might have been calm enough to fish the reefs, but my anglers were a bit squeamish, with 2-4 foot seas predicted and fears of sea-sickness, so they decided to pass.

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