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Fishbuster Dave
2/2/08 05:56 PM
SW FL-Bonita Beach: grouper, snapper, hogs & sheep [Post#: 2542 ] Reply to this post

Monday, 1/28, the seas calmed enough to get offshore, although we stayed fairly close in 30 feet out of New Pass. I fished with Leonard White, Butch White, Bill Banish and Ted Ressler. Butch caught a nice gag grouper—30 inches—using a small sheepshead as bait on a heavy pole. Bill followed up with a 23 inch gag, caught on shrimp. The group also caught a half dozen keeper mangrove snapper, all 13 and 14 inches, two keeper sheepshead at 14 inches and 15 inches, grunts and porgies. We also released a small hogfish. It was pretty chilly on the water in the early morning, but the fish sure didn’t seem to mind!

Earl Meturfman, Joey Kennedy, Pete Watrous and Tony Grasso fished with me on Tuesday in 33 feet out of New Pass. The wind shifted direction and picked up a bit, causing seas to be a little higher than they were on Monday. We did well with live shrimp and caught a 15 inch hogfish, a mess of sheepshead to 16 inches, of which we kept eight, and 8 keeper mangrove snapper, along with grunts, porkfish and triggerfish. We released gag shorts to 21 inches and red grouper to 16 inches.

Wednesday, conditions changed and fishing was tougher offshore in 37 feet out of New Pass. The winds were S-SE and increased throughout the morning. The winds and waves were going in opposite directions and the current was slow. The water was crystal clear, but the bite wasn’t as strong as it had been the earlier part of the week. Lee Wampler, Chris Corrie, his son, Jason, and six-year-old granddaughter, Celestra, still fared pretty well, though, landing two 14 inch hogfish and a half dozen keeper mangrove snapper and some porgies, all on shrimp.

Seas were a little sloppy on Thursday when I headed out to 42 feet from New Pass with John Bileau. We caught eight keeper mangrove snapper and a mess of 12-15 inch porgies, and released lots of gag and red groper shorts, several gags just an inch or so shy of keepers.

Friday, with strong winds out of the south-southwest, seas continued to build offshore. I stayed close in at the reefs with Peder Engebretson, Mike Higgins, Sr. and Mike Higgins, Jr. we used shrimp to catch mostly sheepshead and caught about thirty of those ranging from 12 ½ to 19 inches. The guys kept four of those and released the rest, along with grunts and gag shorts to 21 ½ inches.

Saturday morning I fished the reefs with Jim Madsen, Brian Distesano, Frank Troy, Carl McDonald and Matt Keenan. We caught 15 nice sheepshead to 19 ½ inches and released seven of those, along with lots of gag grouper shorts. We also hooked a monster goliath grouper that was 6 ½ feet long—he bit an 18 inch sheepshead on 150 lb. test and gave us a fun fight before release.

The photo shown is of angler Blake Dargis with a 15 inch hogfish caught on shrimp on a recent offshore trip.

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