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Fishbuster Dave
10/24/07 06:10 PM
SW FL-Bonita Beach: big kings, bonito, red grouper [Post#: 2496 ] Reply to this post

Saturday morning, 10/20, with the radar looking not too favorable, I warned the Kinsel family that it could be a wet morning in Estero Bay. But with two boys eleven and seven years old wanting to go fishing, we decided to brave it and headed out, Mark & Ellen and Sammy and Jack, with rain ponchos on. Most of the rain we encountered was just drizzle-strength and our efforts were rewarded with three keeper redfish, one at 18 ½ inches and two at 23 inches and a keeper mangrove snapper. We released one short redfish, several mangrove snapper shorts, small sheepshead and a baby goliath grouper. The boys got to catch plenty of fish and had a good time fishing with shrimp along the channel from Barefoot beach to Wiggins Pass.

Sunday, winds picked up and kicked seas up to about 3 feet. I fished in 36 feet off New Pass with Tom Connolly and friend, Jim. We caught and released keeper-sized Spanish mackerel to 25 inches, five nearly-keeper mutton snapper that were an inch or so short of the 16 inch legal limit, a 3 pound cravalle jack, gag grouper shorts to 18 inches, red grouper shorts to 15 inches, three 25 inch goliath grouper, blue runners and small yellowtail snapper. We also caught a few keeper mangrove snapper, whitebone porgies and a 13 inch triggerfish. One of the gag grouper we released ate a small yellowtail as we were reeling it in, and the guys got a good photo of the gag with the yellowtail hanging out of its mouth. Tom thought he had a big goliath on the line at one point, and he fought it for about 20 minutes in 3 foot seas only to find that his bait had gotten snagged on a 25 pound rock—Jim teased him for the rest of the morning about the killer “rockfish” he’d landed!

My long-time fishing clients and friends Chester Yanik and Jim Basara fished with me Monday and Tuesday. Monday, we headed out about 28 miles from New Pass to fish with live shrimp in 63 feet. We had a great day—got into some king mackerel and caught four of those to twenty pounds (see photo), which we released since the guys didn’t want to eat them. For table-fare, they preferred snapper, and we caught four nice yellowtail snapper about 16 inches each, and released lots of smaller ones. We also got three nice mangrove snapper to 19 inches and released lots of smaller mangs, along with triggerfish and grunts. After the nice kings, we were a little tired but we got ready to fight some more and caught and released three bonito, all about ten pounds and two goliath grouper (they bit blue runners) that were approximately 40 pounds each.

On Tuesday we dealt with rougher conditions. When we headed out in what was predicted to be two to four foot seas, it was fairly calm but by 11AM the winds picked up and the clouds that marked an approaching frontal system rained on us by noon. Seas got progressively rougher with some five and six foot waves. But the fishing was good, 38 miles out of New Pass where we caught a 21 ½ inch red grouper, a 16 inch mutton snapper, nine yellowtail snapper to 14 inches and big grunts and whitebone porgies. We released lots of short red grouper, triggerfish and a 3 foot sharpnose shark.

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