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Fishbuster Dave
4/6/08 02:28 PM
SW FL-Bonita Beach: Kingfish Finally!Shark,Grouper [Post#: 2639 ] Reply to this post

Monday morning, 3/31, the old familiar wind was back after a relatively calm weekend. With easterly winds it was still calm enough to fish near-shore at the artificial reefs. I did that with Brian and Marcia Wilson, daughters Nicole, ten, and Allison, 13, and Marcia’s dad, Bob. Brian caught a 15 inch hogfish, which is kind of unusual at the reefs. The group also caught five Spanish mackerel three of which were keepers, a keeper mangrove snapper and a couple of large grunts, all on shrimp. We released grouper shorts and blue runners and attracted a shark and a goliath with those blue runners as we reeled them in. We were broken off once by something large, most likely a goliath grouper.

Tuesday, my anglers, Jerry, Jill & Denise DeMars, Yvette-Gaff-Kleven, nine-year-old Jake Arnett, and sixteen-year-old Sarah Hobbe had planned to fish all day, but about noon, the light winds turned to 15-20 knot winds and the 2-3 foot seas turned into 3-4 footers out in 43 feet west of New Pass. We didn’t mind much because by that time we had caught plenty of nice fish and seen plenty of good action. As it turned out, the skies broke loose about an hour after we got in so missing the rain was another good reason for our early dockage. We caught two nice king mackerel, each between twenty and twenty-five pounds, using blue runners for bait. We weren’t fishing for kings initially, but when I released a blue runner behind the boat a big king skyrocketed out of the water to eat it, so I quickly rigged up some king poles and we caught the two nice ones. We also released a big king but he didn’t end up getting much of a reprieve because a ten-foot hammerhead shark got him as soon as we let him go—that was quite a sight to see! Young Jake also caught a keeper red grouper at 21 ½ inches and six pounds, and Sarah caught a nice 16 inch hogfish. The group also released lots of grouper shorts, small snapper, grunts, triggerfish, and porkfish. They kept a few large jolthead porgies, silver porgies and whitebone porgies. All but the kings were caught on live shrimp.

I headed back out to about 40 feet on Wednesday with Herb Guarascio and family. The action was a lot slower than it was the day before, but we did get one more kingfish about twenty pounds, caught on a blue runner. That fish tried to get back at me by flipping just the right way as I tried to remove the hook and hitting me in the chin...not sure who bled more, me or him! We also released gag and red grouper shorts and blue runners.

Thirty-five miles out of New Pass Thursday I had a pretty exciting and productive day of fishing with Bob Ericson and friends, Eric and Kent. We released a nine-foot bull shark and a seven-foot sandbar shark. We had sharks attack our catches numerous times and also were bitten off several times by big king mackerel. We also caught a couple of kingfish that were about 30 inches and released those. As for table-fare, we kept eight mangrove snapper to 16 inches, six yellowtail snapper to 17 inches and four large whitebone porgies to four pounds. We released lots more porgies. We caught everything on shrimp except for the kings and shark, which bit blue runners…well, the sharks bit whatever they wanted to!

Friday, that old familiar wind was back in our forecast and, though seas were forecast to be two to three feet near-shore, we had three to four foot seas at the close-in Bonita reefs, where I fished with Brookes Fishing Club friends, Jim Reed, Jack Kelly, Rich Cowen and Bill. Jim caught and released two goliath grouper, one about 15 pounds and one about 25 pounds. We also caught a 14 inch hogfish and a 14 inch flounder on shrimp. We released lots of gag and red grouper shorts, small snapper and Spanish mackerel. We were also bitten off by a big barracuda.

Unfortunately, I had a last-minute cancellation from my Saturday anglers so I was unable to take advantage of the relatively calm winds we had Saturday morning.

The photo shown is of a 25 pound king mackerel, caught on a porgie on an offshore trip this past Tuesday.

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