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Fishbuster Dave
2/23/08 06:10 PM
SW FL-Bonita Beach: hogfish,grouper, snapper, shee [Post#: 2551 ] Reply to this post

I fished on a windy morning in Estero Bay Monday, 2/18, with Chuck and Steve Nebes. We worked our live shrimp along the channel from Wiggins Pass to Barefoot Beach on a catch-and-release trip that yielded two snook 20 and 22 inches, six keeper-sized mangrove snapper and sixteen sheepshead, ten of which were keeper-sized.

Tuesday there was a small craft advisory in effect until 9AM and seas were predicted to be choppy. My anglers included a few prone to seasickness, so they decided to cancel their plans to fish.

Wednesday I fished close in at the reefs off Bonita Beach, where it was still very sloppy for the first two hours of the morning, with seas of 3-4 feet. It calmed some by mid-morning and we ended up with five nice sheepshead, three Spanish mackerel a keeper mangrove snapper and grunts. We lost a couple of big sheepshead to the goliath grouper and actually saw a goliath eat one of those right under the boat.

Andy Unger, son David Unger, Tony Pastori, Jim Sistek and Bob Wilson headed out with me Thursday to fish in 39 to 45 feet of water out of New Pass. We had a good day of fishing, with a final tally of fourteen nice mangrove snapper to 17 inches, sheepshead to 18 inches, five hogfish including two keepers at 15 inches, Spanish mackerel to 24 inches, triggerfish and whitebone porgies. We caught and released a pair of 24 inch gag grouper and one 20 ½ inch red grouper, all of which are out of season in federal waters currently. I missed out on photos because of a dead camera battery, but I am hoping one of my anglers will send a few.

In 35 feet out of New Pass Friday, Emily Bowden, Bill Koscher, son Gary Koscher and Gary’s children, Katie and Kevin, caught a nice variety of fish on shrimp, that is, when we weren’t running from the dolphin. Every time we started getting lots of bites the dolphin showed up to spoil the fishing, but the kids enjoyed seeing the dolphin anyway. We ended up with a 15 inch hogfish, a few keeper mangrove snapper, a few keeper lane snapper, a 13 ½ inch triggerfish, porkfish and grunts. We released lots of gag and red grouper shorts.

Saturday morning I headed out to about 25 feet, staying a little closer to shore because of the winds and higher seas offshore. I fished with Brad Clemons, Amanda McCrackin, Amanda’s parents John and Debbie McCrackin, and friends Kevin and Carrie Kelly. We released accumulative total of nearly 700 pounds of goliath grouper—one weighed close to 400 pounds and the other about 275 pounds, according to my estimates. Both bit large blue runners. For table-fare, we caught seven nice sheepshead, all 15 and 16 inches, on live shrimp. We released gag grouper shorts.

The photo shown is of angler Bob Carter with a pair of hogfish caught on shrimp on a recent offshore trip.

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