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Fishbuster Dave
1/5/08 06:05 PM
SW FL-Bonita Beach: Bonito, Hogfish, Sheepshead... [Post#: 2531 ] Reply to this post

Monday, 12/31/07, I headed back out to federal waters, where two days earlier I had encountered a hot kingfish bite. On Monday, though, we didn’t get any kings. But I still had a good morning of fishing with Dan Brady, Peter Strazz, Andrew and Jim Bramlett and Tom Giordano. We released a 10 pound bonito, Spanish mackerel, red and gag grouper shorts, and some mangrove snapper that would have been keepers in state waters, but were a bit too short for federal waters. We also caught a 13 inch hogfish, whitebone porgies and grunts, fishing with shrimp in 39 feet out of New Pass.

New Years’ Day brought rain preceding a cold-front, which in turn brought high, gusty winds and very rough seas. As often happens during this time of year in cold-front conditions, the tides in Estero Bay were so low that it prevented any expectation of decent fishing bayside. I cancelled my trip for Wednesday. Those conditions persisted through Friday, so I ended up canceling my Thursday and Friday trips also.

By Saturday, the winds had calmed quite a bit, NOAA predicted seas of two to three feet and there was enough water back in the river and bay to float the boat. I headed offshore with Bill and Wendy Baumgartner, daughters Jenn and Melissa, and Melissa’s boyfriend, Brendon. We fished the reefs with live shrimp and caught 5 nice sheepshead ranging 16 to 20 inches, the largest caught by Melissa. We released a few bluefish to 15 inches, gag grouper shorts to 18 inches and red grouper to 14 inches, along with some small mangrove snapper. We had a goliath try to eat one of the short gags as we reeled in.

The photo shown is of angler Leon Mead with a 29 inch, 14 pound red grouper caught on shrimp on a recent offshore trip.

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