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5/25/08 06:16 PM
SW FL-Bonita Beach: Reds Best Bet Inshore; Keeper [Post#: 2663 ] Reply to this post

Monday morning, 5/19, I fished with Casey Serumba and friends in Estero Bay. We caught a couple of keeper snapper and released smaller snapper, a sheepshead and a snook. Casey had one nice red hooked but his drag was too loose, and once the red ran under the trees he was gone.

Tuesday, I fished with Marc Miller and Dave Ihle at the artificial reefs off Bonita Beach. We had a good morning of fishing, despite rough seas, with a 24 inch gag grouper (photo below) Dave landed after it bit a live blue runner, seven keeper mangrove snapper, and two flounder 16 inches and 12 inches that Mark landed on shrimp. We released blue runners and gag shorts and a 25 inch goliath grouper.

Brothers Greg and Dave Bauer and their wives, Helen and Kathy, fished Estero Bay with me on Wednesday, along the channel from Barefoot Beach to Wiggins Pass. We had originally planned to fish offshore, but after seeing the conditions Tuesday and noting the winds to be even worse Wednesday, we decided to stay inshore. Greg caught a keeper 20 inch redfish and we also got a keeper snapper and released small sheepshead.

The backwater was where I fished again on Thursday, this time with Tom Tomasheski and seven-year-old son, Tom, Jr. They had already been offshore on a head-boat and wanted to experience some quieter, more personal fishing so we fished Estero Bay with live shrimp and caught and released mangrove snapper, cravalle jack and ladyfish.

Roy Bumstead and Jimmy Egan headed offshore with me to 53 feet out of New Pass on Friday. We caught ten nice yellowtail snapper to 17 inches, whitebone porgies to 16 inches—we kept six of those and threw back a bunch more—and a few keeper lane snapper. We released six sharpnose sharks, all about three feet long. We also released some gag grouper shorts and at least 150 red grouper shorts to 19 ¾ inches.

Mark Miller and ten-year-old son, Jake, along with Mark’s mother, Jackie, fished Estero Bay with me Saturday morning. Using shrimp along the tree lines from Wiggins Pass to Barefoot beach, we limited on slot reds, with three of those all around 20 inches. We also caught ten keeper-sized mangrove snapper, of which we kept five. The tide was incoming and the bite pretty steady.

Sunday morning, a family group in town for a weekend wedding fished a catch-and-release trip with me about 17 miles west of New Pass. Jim Christ, son Bill, Bill’s uncle, John, and father-and-son team Brent and Chad Robinson collectively released about 80 fish with good variety including mangrove snapper, gag grouper, red grouper, grunts and whitebone porgies, all caught on live shrimp.

The other photo shown is of a slot–red caught on shrimp on a recent inshore trip.

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