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Fishbuster Dave
11/10/07 06:00 PM
SW FL-Bonita Beach: Inshore Reds, Offshore Grouper [Post#: 2505 ] Reply to this post

Monday, 11/5, was predicted to be calm offshore. I headed out with Mike & Lea Connealy, Mike’s dad, and friend, Karen, but as we got a way offshore conditions got pretty sloppy and a little tough on the ladies’ stomachs. We decided to head in closer top shore and fish MAY reef. There, we caught a couple of keeper Spanish mackerel, large triggerfish, and released grunts, ladyfish and grouper shorts, fishing with live shrimp.

Jim VanAuken and Joe Ricci fished Estero Bay with me on Tuesday morning, along the mangrove shoreline from Barefoot Beach to Wiggins Pass. The redfish liked our live shrimp and we caught four of them, two keepers at 21 inches and 26 inches and two around 18 inches that we released. We also released snook to 17 inches.

Another cold front approached on Wednesday with winds and seas predicted to pick up about mid-morning. I advised my anglers that the bay might be a better choice than the gulf, with the potential for rough seas offshore. Sure enough, the winds picked up about 10:30 AM but we were safely and calmly fishing Estero Bay, which turned out to be pretty productive. Bill & Christine Henry and Tom and Liz Morris ended up with a 22 inch redfish, a keeper flounder, one keeper-sized mangrove snapper out of about a dozen we caught, and a half dozen keeper sheepshead.

Thursday’s backwater anglers Albert & Joan Tr0utmann, son Patrick and his girlfriend, Elvira Ruetimann, enjoyed Estero Bay with me on Thursday. Elvira caught all the keeper-sized fish, her biggest brag being a 25 inch redfish, and her three other keepers were all sheepshead. We released three additional redfish, all 17 inches, and a half dozen smaller sheepshead, all caught on shrimp.

Hank Sherowski and friends decided to fish offshore with me on Friday. In 44 feet out of New Pass, seas were still a little sloppy until later in the day when they got calmer, especially closer in to shore. We fished with shrimp and expected to catch snapper but we only caught one keeper snapper. We caught a half dozen mutton snapper but they were all just about an inch short of keeper size so we released those along with lots of grouper shorts. We made up the difference in whitebone porgies—the group caught 40 good sized ones. The guys also fought a couple of goliath grouper until they broke the lines.

The Troutmann family, who fished in Estero Bay with me Thursday, fished offshore with me on Saturday. This time another son, Phillip, joined the family, and the five of them had a good time catching a variety of fish, using live shrimp in 35 feet out of New Pass. Phillip landed a nice 23 ½ inch gag grouper, Pat caught and released a 30 inch cobia (those must be 33 inches to the fork of the tail to be keepers), and Elvira caught a 15 inch hogfish. The group also kept one 13 inch mangrove snapper, two 15 inch Spanish mackerel and four of many whitebone porgies caught. They also released lots of grouper shorts to 21 inches and porkfish.

The photo shown is of angler Marshall Swain with a 28 inch redfish caught on shrimp and released on a recent inshore trip.

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