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Fishbuster Dave
3/31/07 05:08 PM
SW FL-Bonita Beach: 2 little kings-waiting for big [Post#: 2400 ] Reply to this post

I fished a catch and release trip in Estero Bay Monday, 3/26, with Leeds Hutchinson, son Bill, and grandsons Joe and Tim. We fished a slow incoming tide along the channel by New Pass, with live shrimp. We caught a keeper-sized redfish at 19 inches, two small snook, a few keeper-sized sheepshead and lots of smaller sheepshead, lady fish, and cravalle jacks.

Fishing Tuesday at the reefs off Sanibel with Tom Batchellor and friends Becky, Chris and jean, we had to battle the goliath grouper for the sheepshead. We got some keepers to 14 inches, but the goliaths stole every one of the larger ones. We also caught Spanish mackerel to 24 inches, so there was plenty to fill the dinner bag. We released gag grouper shorts.

I fished Wednesday a little further out Wednesday in 40 feet off Sanibel, since the winds and seas were calmer than they have been in awhile. Fishing with Christine Elzinga, Ron Sparks, and Ron’s uncle, Joe Grimsley, we used live shrimp to catch keeper mangrove and lane snapper to 15 inches, triggerfish, grunts, and Spanish mackerel to 22 inches. We released gag and red grouper shorts to 18 ½ inches, along with two small 20 inch kingfish. I was happy to see some kings at last, and I am hoping the bigger ones are moving in now.

Fishing Thursday in 35 feet off Sanibel with Stewart Norris and friends Richie and Bob Riehner, we were hoping for some of those kingfish. There were certainly a lot of blue runners around, which are pretty typical in kingfish territory, but the only mackerel around were of the Spanish variety—we caught those to 22 inches, along with keeper mangrove snapper, and released lots of gag and red grouper shorts again.

A windy front began coming through the area on Friday, and it got progressively rougher offshore, fishing with Lee Larsen, Bud Glanzer and friends, Tom and Steve. We caught keeper Spanish mackerel, triggerfish, and mangrove snapper, but had to release all the gag grouper, because the largest of those was only 21 inches.

Saturday morning, the winds were still gusting, but the Boyd Bowden party decided to give it a go, since weather had foiled their fishing plans several times previously this season. We headed out to the 5-mile reef off Bonita Beach with live shrimp, and began catching sheepshead. But, we only got to boat one of those, since the goliath grouper were feeling greedy that morning. We had pretty steady 3-4 foot seas, even just five miles out, so we decided to let the goliaths have the rest of the sheepshead, and we moved a little closer toward shore to the MAY reef. We caught lots of Spanish mackerel to 24 inches, kept fifteen of them for dinner, and released the rest.

The photo shown is of angler Marin McCormick, with a 15 ½ inch hogfish, caught on shrimp offshore from Bonita Beach.

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