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Fishbuster Dave
(Unregistered)
2/16/08 03:11 PM
SW FL-Bonita Beach: hot grouper & snapper bite off [Post#: 2549 ] Reply to this post

Monday, 2/11, the winds were blowing in the early morning but without the strength they gathered late on in the day. Predictions were for 2-3 foot seas close-in, so I headed to the artificial reefs with Ed and Margie Bock. We were only five miles offshore and we had 4 foot seas most of the morning. The wind was howling and it was tough to even stay anchored up. We caught two nice sheepshead, each 18 inches, along with a 15 inch triggerfish. We released gag and red grouper shorts and small Spanish mackerel.

Tuesday, winds looked just slightly calmer on land but I knew what it would be like offshore with a weather front approaching from the gulf. Estero Bay’s water level was dead-low so that left few options for a day of successful fishing. I advised my anglers to cancel their trip. Sure enough, the rain moved in from offshore by late morning and winds gusted on and off. A small craft advisory was issued through late Wednesday, causing me to cancel my trip for Wednesday also.

Thursday, with seas offshore still trying to calm down, Herb Guaracio and friends decided to try their luck in Estero Bay. The tide was very low and it was a slow ride back to shore in shallow water. We caught a couple of trout on shrimp, but nothing else seemed to be biting.

Our luck was better in Estero Bay on Friday, where I fished with Leeds Hutchinson and Pete Solden, along the mangroves toward Wiggins Pass. We caught a dozen whitings and a keeper trout, lost another trout and released lady fish and small sheepshead.

Saturday, I headed to 43 feet out of New Pass with Gary Jacobson, son Chuck Jacobson, grandson Grayson and family friend, Tom Batcheller. We could have had a few nice gag grouper if the season for those in federal waters had not just closed. Sadly, we had to release three or four that would have been keepers to 23 inches. We also released some shorter gags and red grouper to 19 ¾ inches, along with porkfish, triggerfish, whitebone porgies and Spanish mackerel. Though it was disappointing to have to release the grouper, the snapper bite was also hot and pretty much made up for the grouper. We kept our limit of mangs, releasing thirty of fifty caught. Of those fifty, about half were keeper-size to 17 inches. We used shrimp for everything.

The photo shown is of sister-anglers, Erin and Emily Bowden, with a Spanish mackerel, a flounder and a mangrove snapper all caught on shrimp on a recent offshore trip.




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