fishbuster

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About fishbuster

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  1. <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:RelyOnVML/> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> Tuesday, 11/20, I fished inshore in Estero Bay with Al Tooley and his thirteen-year-old son, Aiden. The guys caught a 20-inch, keeper redfish, along with five keeper sheepshead to 15 inches, all on shrimp. They released seven smaller sheepshead and two stingrays. Wednesday morning, I again fished central Estero Bay, using live shrimp, this time with Tim Fox, his son, Eli, and his father-in-law, Alan Zeilinger. The sheepshead were abundant and biting well, and the trio caught fifteen of those in all, including nine nice keepers to 16 inches. We had one sheepie boat-side that was about 20 inches, but it snapped the line at the last minute. The guys also released three crevalle jacks, all about 5 pounds, along with four stingrays and two puffer-fish. Ron & Janet Farqueherson fished a catch-and-release trip with me Saturday morning in Estero Bay, using live shrimp. The couple caught and released a brace of 17 ½ inch redfish, along with two keeper-sized sheepshead to 16 inches, five keeper-sized mangrove snapper, a brace of 16-inch black drum, and two puffer-fish. Monday, 11/26, I headed out to fish with Todd Flemmin and Eddie Alfonso, 28 to 35 miles west of New Pass. We had live shrimp and squid, and used both with good success. The guys caught three keeper red grouper at 21 ½ inches, 22 ½ inches and 23 inches. They released about twenty shorter ones. They also caught nineteen beautiful mangrove snapper, all of which were in the 15-inch to 16-inch range, as well as three nice yellowtail snapper that were 13 inches each. The whitebone porgies were large and plentiful, and the guys kept four 15-inch porgies, out of twenty they caught. They also caught nine large grunts, and kept four of those that were 16 inches. They released two gag grouper that were 21 inches each. All in all it was a very productive and beautiful day on the water. Long time customers, Erwin and Millie Metusiak, fished with me Tuesday morning, about 18 miles west of New Pass, using live shrimp. The couple caught three keeper mangrove snapper to 12 ½ inches, and kept six whitebone porgies to 18 inches, out of about twenty caught. They also caught a keeper hogfish at 15 inches. They released three 21-inch gag grouper, ten red grouper shorts, a 15 ½ inch scamp grouper, six triggerfish to 13 ½ inches, and blue runners. Saturday morning, I fished central Estero Bay with Rich and Nancy Hensa, using live shrimp. The sheepshead bite was hot, and the couple caught fifteen nice ones to 19 ½ inches. They only wanted enough for a meal, so they kept the biggest one and released the rest. They also released five keeper-sized mangrove snapper to 11 inches and two puffer-fish. The photo shown is of angler, Eddie Alfonso, with a 23-inch red grouper, one of three red grouper keepers caught on shrimp on an offshore trip 11/26/12. 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  2. <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:RelyOnVML/> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> Monday, 11/5, I fished about 22 miles west of New Pass with Mark Cavanaugh and friends. The four guys used live shrimp to land five gag grouper, three of which would have been keeper-size, to 23 inches, except for the fact that season closed for those five days ago. So we released all of those, along with a dozen red grouper to 17 ½ inches, a mess of yellowtail snapper shorts and two undersized triggerfish. The guys kept fifteen nice lane snapper, two nice porkfish, a mess of large grunts and a white margate. They caught one keeper mangrove snapper at 13 ½ inches, but the dolphin showed up on that spot right afterwards and put an end to the mangrove snapper fishing! Tuesday evening, a mild cold front moved through the area, with increased winds and seas affecting the gulf. Wednesday morning, 11/7, I fished inshore in central Estero Bay, with Dave Mercer, Tom Butler and his daughter, Molly Butler, and Rob Knudson. The group used live shrimp for bait, and they caught two keeper redfish, one 19 ½ inches and one 24 ½ inches. They also caught an 18-inch sea-trout and two keeper mangrove snapper. They released twenty-five sheepshead shorts to just under 12 inches, along with two sailcats at 17 and 18-inches, and five stingrays to two pounds. Anglers, Kari Vilamaa, George Dyer and Terry Keever had planned on fishing offshore Thursday, but small craft advisories due to high winds and seas put a crimp on that plan. So the guys decided to fish inshore in Estero Bay, where they used live shrimp to catch a keeper redfish at 19 inches, a 15-inch black drum, and one 13-inch keeper sheepshead, out of twenty sheepshead caught. They also released an 18-inch crevalle jack. We fished the lower part of the bay, out of the wind as much as possible. Winds and seas remained high on Friday, causing my offshore trip to cancel for that day. Saturday, seas were still three-to-five feet offshore, so Bob and Stephanie Rose decided to fish inshore in Estero Bay with me. The couple caught two keeper black drum, one 15 inches and one 18 ½ inches, along with a 14-inch keeper sheepshead and a 12-inch keeper mangrove snapper. They released about twenty short sheepshead, and caught everything on live shrimp. Monday morning, 11/12, I fished in central Estero Bay, in wind-sheltered spots, with Jeannine Lamb and Kathy Kunce. The ladies used live shrimp to catch five black drum, three of which were keepers to 18 inches. They also caught three keeper sheepshead to 13 ½ inches, and released twenty-five shorter ones. They caught a keeper permit and a keeper mangrove snapper also, so they were well fixed for a few fish dinners. They released an 18-inch, four-pound crevalle jack and two puffer-fish. Mike Lischer and girlfriend, Bethany Wilczynski, joined by Mike’s brother and sister-in-law, John and Holly Lischer, their sixteen-year-old son, Cruise, and family friend Jeff Heimlich, fished 28 miles west of New Pass with me on Tuesday. Using live shrimp, the group did very well with red grouper, catching about twenty-five in all, including four keepers, one at 21 inches, two at 22 inches and one at 25 inches. They caught two nice hogfish at 15 inches and 17 inches, and also caught a mess of large grunts, and released all but five of those, and thirty porgies, of which they kept ten. They also released yellowtail and mangrove snapper short and gag grouper to 20 inches. John and Toni Heinrich fished inshore with me Wednesday, in Estero Bay, using live shrimp. The couple caught a 15-inch black drum, five keeper sheepshead ranging 13-to-15 inches, two keeper mangrove snapper at 12 inches and 13 1/2 inches, and a sand bream. They released about twenty smaller sheepshead. Thursday morning, I headed out with brothers, Terry and Mike Mooney, and friend, Paul Dalton, to fish 19 miles west of New Pass. The guys caught a keeper red grouper at 20 ½ inches, a 15-inch triggerfish, two 12-inch lane snapper, and fifteen whitebone porgies to 16 inches, of which they chose to keep five. They also released two out-of-season gag grouper to 22 inches, smaller lane and mangrove snapper, along with a 4-foot bull shark. Having seen a big king mackerel jump out of the water, I rigged up a pole with a blue runner to try to catch him, but ended up with the bull shark on the line. The guys took turns fighting him for a while, then released him boat-side. Friday morning, I fished in Estero Bay on a catch-and-release trip with Mike Lischer and Jeff Heimlich, who had fished offshore with me on Tuesday. This time, Jeff brought his wife, Beth, and young daughter, Maddie. The group had fun catching and releasing twenty sheepshead to 13 ½ inches and four mangrove snapper, all on live shrimp. Saturday was windy, and seas were not the one-to-three feet that were predicted. So I stayed near-shore at the reefs off Bonita Beach, where I fished with Tom Zensen, John Hamilton, and Greg Bauer. It was kind of a slow bite, but the guys caught a couple of keeper sheepshead and a few grunts, on live shrimp. They released shorter sheepies and small mangrove snapper. The photo shown is of angler, Holly Lischer, with a 17-inch hogfish, one of two keeper hogs caught on shrimp, on a recent offshore trip. 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  3. <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:RelyOnVML/> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> Saturday, 10/20, I fished with long-time customer Marshall Swain, along with his family and friends. We used live shrimp, about 22 miles west of New Pass, and the group caught twenty-five keeper lane snapper to 12 inches, along with one keeper mangrove snapper at 13 inches. They released a half dozen smaller mangs, along with fifteen undersized red grouper to 19 7/8 inches (so close but not close enough!) They also released five yellowtail snapper shorts, grunts, porgies and a brace of 18-inch lesser amberjacks. We had some wild winds and some rain preceding Hurricane Sandy, and we deferred the trip we had scheduled for Friday, 10/26 to Monday, which was the final day of Jalissa Reever’s and Steve Spitzer’s visit. Monday, winds and seas were still way to strong to venture offshore, but there was no rain, and we were able to fish inshore in Estero Bay, where we used live shrimp, along the edges toward Wiggins Pass. The couple released nine sheepshead shorts and three snook that were 16 inches, 18 inches and 19 inches. They caught a keeper permit at 13 ½ inches and a keeper redfish at 18 ½ inches. After Hurricane Sandy left the coastline, it took until Thursday for seas to be calm enough to tolerate offshore. I fished that day, 11/1, with Bert Van Kooten, Ron Dallimore, Norman Grieve and John Rankin. We fished 17 miles west of New Pass, using live shrimp, and the guys caught a good variety of fish. Catches included twenty keeper lane snapper to 12 inches, fifteen decent-sized grunts, and ten porgies to 12 inches. They released fifteen yellowtail snapper shorts, five red grouper shorts, and a 30-inch bonnet-head shark. Friday morning I fished several spots in central Estero Bay and down toward Wiggins Pass with Greg Sills and Phil Jicklititer. The guys used live shrimp to catch a 19 ½-inch redfish and three keeper sheepshead, two at 15 inches and one at 13 inches. They released ten shorter sheepshead, two crevalle jacks and a stingray. The photo shown is of angler, John Rankin, with a 30-inch Bonnethead-shark, caught on shrimp and released on a recent offshore trip. 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  4. :glasses13:<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:RelyOnVML/> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> After some rainy days, one no-show customer (that makes twice within a month, and is oh-so annoying), and a few seasonally slow days, I finally got out fishing again on Tuesday, 10/9, when I fished 22 miles west of New Pass with Scott Severaid, Gregg Hass, Todd Vershaw, Jason White and Mike Wernsman. We used pinfish for our big-game fishing and shrimp for table-fare. The guys caught and released an 80-pound goliath grouper (photo shown). Red grouper were abundant, though we didn’t land any keepers. We released about fifty of those, to 19 ¾ inches, just shy of keeper-size. The group also released twenty mangrove snapper shorts. They caught about twenty lane snapper, a dozen of which were keepers, along with a keeper porkfish and a mess of grunts. Thursday, 10/11, I headed out 22 miles from New Pass in some rough morning seas, which calmed somewhat later in the day. I fished with Dave Carey, Steve Wanner, John Faletto and George Siamuanes. We used live shrimp for everything but the groupers, which preferred pinfish. The guys caught about forty lane snapper, twenty of which were keepers at 11-12 inches. They also caught a half dozen 11-inch, keeper porkfish, a keeper mangrove snapper, a mess of grunts and a few nice whitebone porgies. They released twenty red grouper to 19 ½ inches, along with ladyfish, two dozen yellowtail snapper shorts and a couple dozen mangrove shorts. 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  5. :glasses13:<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:RelyOnVML/> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> Labor Day Monday, 9/3, I fished at the near-shore reefs with Brian Lucas and his two young sons, Grady and Grant, along with Cadrin Cojanu and his two young children, Ben and Emily. The group used live shrimp to catch four Spanish mackerel to 23 inches, five pompano, all around 14 inches, a keeper mangrove snapper and a keeper lane snapper. They released a 24-inch cobia, along with blue runners and ladyfish. After a couple of weeks off the water, due to lots of rain, wind, and our typical late-summer scarcity of bookings, I fished a catch-and-release trip in the backwaters of Estero Bay on Wednesday, 9/19, with Chris Romey and his wife, Kaylyn. The couple used live shrimp to catch and release ten mangrove snapper, two sheepshead, a 17-inch snook, and a crevalle jack. Thursday, 9/20, I fished Estero Bay with Erinn Hanson and Liz Sherer, of Minnesota. The girls used live shrimp to catch four sheepshead, one of which was a keeper at 13 inches. They also caught a 14-inch permit and a 14-inch flounder. They released a stingray and fifteen small mangrove snapper. Friday, we awoke to some unexpected rain showers, so I delayed my near-shore trip for a while, until the rains passed through. I headed to the near-shore reefs off Bonita Beach with Bob Wickham, his son, John Wickham, and friend, Stephen Schoepfer. The guys used live shrimp to catch and release thirty mangrove snapper shorts, gag grouper shorts to 20 inches, and a few whitebone porgies. Keepers included six lane snapper to 12 inches, a 16-inch flounder. a 15-inch sea-trout and a silver porgy. Saturday morning also began with rain, but it was light and sporadic, so I figured I could dodge it, and I headed out about 19 miles west of New Pass with Drs. Meir and Rie Daller, their young sons, Brenden and Julian, and friends Alejandro Miranda-Sausa and his teen-aged son, Gabriel.The group used live shrimp to catch twenty keeper lane snapper, all around 11 inches, a keeper yellowtail snapper, three keeper whitebone porgies, two Spanish mackerel keepers to 25 inches, and a 16-inch keeper scamp-grouper. They released two red grouper to 18 inches, ten yellowtail-shorts, and a mess of blue runners. One angler hooked a big shark, but it cut the line before we could identify what kind it was. The photo shown is of angler, Stuart Wisely, with a 29-inch gag grouper, caught on a pinfish, on a recent offshore trip. 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  6. Monday, 8/20, I fished with Steve Spitzer and Jalissa Reever again. They had fished with me the previous Wednesday and caught a couple of keeper gag grouper. But, Monday, conditions were different. Despite forecasts for one-to-two foot seas and 5-10 knot winds, we encountered steady 15-18 knot winds and two-to-three foot seas. We fished the near-shore reefs with live shrimp, and the couple caught six mangrove snapper, three of which were keepers, one 14 1/2-inch flounder, and a half-dozen Atlantic croakers, all 13 to 14 inches. They also released a small silver trout, a small whiting, and ladyfish. Tuesday, we awoke to rain along the coast, coming in from the gulf, with clearing later in the day. On Wednesday morning, 8/22, I headed to the near-shore reefs with cousins Michael and Doug Cook. Seas were pretty sloppy early on, calming slightly by late morning. The guys used live shrimp to catch nine croakers, an 11-inch keeper lane snapper, and a few keeper mangrove snapper to 13 inches. They released about twenty mangrove shorts, along with pinfish, small sheepshead, ladyfish and crevalle jacks. Thursday, 8/23, was the last day to fish offshore for a while, as soon-to-be Hurricane Isaac makes it's way toward Florida, kicking up winds and seas. I fished with Greg Bauer and Ryan Link, about twelve miles west of New Pass. We used pinfish for the big guys and live shrimp for the table-fare, and we did well on both counts: The guys caught a 29-inch, 13-pound gag grouper, and they released a 100-pound goliath grouper and a four-foot nurse-shark. They also caught a few keeper lane snapper, and released twenty-five mangrove snapper shorts, a red grouper short, some blue runners, twenty ladyfish and some crevalle jacks. So, we' battened down the hatches and hoped for the best. We were fortunate that Isaac took a westerly turn, and produced only some rain and gusty winds...it definitely made it too rough to fish for a few days but that is minimal compared with what might have happened, so we are thankful. I had planned to fish inshore, in Estero Bay on Thursday, 8/30, but, as happens only a couple times per year (fortunately) I was stood up by the party who had booked the trip just a couple days before. Most customers understand that a captain arises early in the morning to ready his boat, and is likely to purchase near $50.00 worth of live bait for a scheduled fishing trip, so a no-show can cause a guide to be near $100.00 in the hole, not to mention losing the day’s income and denying another customer the chance to fish that day. Saturday, the first day of September, I fished with Dustin Duba, brothers Stuart and Kyle Wiseley, Justin Rupert and Nate May. We fished at a few different spots between 18 and 28 miles west of New Pass, and the guys did well with a nice smorgasboard of catches. The catch-of-the-day was a 29-inch gag grouper that Stuart reeled in on a pinfish. A pinfish was also the bait of choice for a 5-foot nurse-shark that Kyle caught and released. The group also caught fifteen yellowtail snapper, but only two of those were keepers at 13 inches. They also caught fifteen keeper lane snapper and six nice mangrove snapper to 15 inches. At one point, we had a 19-inch mangrove snapper on the line, but a 5-foot long barracuda decided to grab that one before we could get it reeled in. The guys also caught a half-dozen keeper whitebone porgies to 15 inches. They released lots of gag grouper to 21 1/2 inches and red grouper shorts to 18 1/2 inches. The photo shown is of angler, Greg Bauer with a 29-inch, 13-pound gag grouper, caught on a pinfish, on a recent offshore trip. You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link: fishing videos
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5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> Monday, 8/6, I headed out to 35 feet to fish with Brian Woeste, Adam Bodkin and Tim Powers. The guys wanted to experience the thrill of big game, but also wanted some food fish. We started out catching blue runners and Spanish mackerel for goliath grouper bait. The guys caught and released a 70-pound goliath grouper, which bit a blue runner. They lost a bigger one that broke the line before they could reel him to the surface. Next, we set about catching dinner-fish, using live shrimp for bait. The guys caught seven keeper lane snapper to 11 inches, a half-dozen whitebone porgies to 14 inches, and a half-dozen Spanish mackerel to 24 inches. They released undersized yellowtail and mangrove snappers, blue runners, grunts, and red grouper shorts to 18 inches. Seas were predicted to be calm, at one-to two feet, but we had some sloppy conditions and two-to-three foot seas, even relatively close-in, ahead of some rain showers that followed us back to shore. Wednesday, 8/8, I fished in 45 feet, west of New Pass, with father-and-son team, Tim Miller and Tim Miller, Jr. We caught some blue runners and Spanish mackerels to use as bait for big-game, and the guys caught and released three goliath grouper, 50 pounds, 70 pounds, and 80 pounds. After some rest and recovery (those goliaths exhaust every muscle in an angler's body ;-) we baited with shrimp to catch a few dinner-fish, which included six keeper lane snapper and a few whitebone porgies. The guys also released a 40-inch sandbar shark and a two-foot cobia. At one point, there were five cobia schooling by the boat, but we only got the one to bite. I had planned to fish on Saturday, 8/11, but we awoke to thunderstorms, and it was still raining by 11AM, so we bagged the trip. It rained most of the day Sunday also but, by Monday morning, 8/13, we were back in a more typical afternoon rain pattern, which allowed me to fish the morning with Mike Wethington, his son, Mike Jr., and friend, Rob. We fished in 38 feet, first going after some goliath-grouper fun and, second, going after some fish for dinner. We used blue runners and crevalle jacks for goliath bait, and the guys battled a 70-pound goliath and a 90-pound goliath to the surface for pics before releasing them. They agonized over the mammoth that broke the line just five feet below the boat! They also released a 40-inch sandbar shark, caught on live shrimp, along with some undersized yellowtail snapper, a couple of gag grouper shorts, and a moonfish. They caught plenty to eat, including eight keeper mangrove snapper (out of about twenty-five caught), three Spanish mackerel (out of fifteen caught) and a half-dozen keeper lane snapper. Tuesday, I fished a catch-and-release trip in Estero Bay with Robert & Roberta Dulberg and their children, Daniel and Rebecca. We used live shrimp to catch and release a 17 3/4-inch redfish, a 16-inch snook, two crevalle jacks, two stingray and seven mangrove snapper. Wednesday, I fished the near-shore reefs with frequent customers Steve Spitzer and Jalissa Reever. We caught some pinfish to use for grouper bait, and the couple landed two keeper gag grouper, 22 inches and 25 1/2 inches. They also used live shrimp to catch three Spanish mackerel to 22 inches and a half-dozen keeper mangrove snapper to 13 inches. They released small kingfish to 22 inches, ladyfish, and crevalle jacks. Kal and Rachelle Johnson fished in Estero Bay with me on Thursday, where they used live shrimp to catch an 18-inch keeper redfish and some mangrove snapper. They also released a puffer fish. Friday morning, I fished with Calvin and Heather Horst. Calvin wanted to catch something big and, since he and his wife were returning home from their stay in Bonita the next day, they weren't interested in keeping any food-fish. So we caught some ladyfish, crevalle jacks and Spanish mackerel to use as bait for goliath grouper. Calvin battled an 85-pound goliath to the surface for a few pics, before releasing the monster. It bit a blue runner and Spanish mackerel combo-bait. The couple also released about fifteen would-be-keeper mangrove snapper, along with some Spanish mackerel to 23 inches, and a few small lane snapper. I had planned to fish offshore on Saturday, 8/18, but it was raining by about 8AM, with lots of moisture still rolling in from the gulf, so we had to cancel that trip. The photo shown is of angler, Jalissa Reever, with a 25½-inch gag grouper, caught on a pinfish, on a recent offshore trip. You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link: fishing videos http://www.fishbustercharters.com/fishing%20videos.htm
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5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> After several weeks off the water because of a family reunion trip, followed by lots of rainy days unsuitable for fishing, I finally got offshore on Friday, 7/20/12 with John Hamilton and friends. We fished 36 miles west of New Pass, where we got into some red grouper. We didn't get a keeper, though, out of the 100+ reds we caught and released. All were between 16 and 19 1/2 inches. The guys did catch some food-fish, however: Six large grunts, six big whitebone porgies, and six yellowtail snapper to 14 inches. They also released a 38-inch sharp-nose shark and a 70-pound goliath grouper. I had an offshore trip scheduled for Monday, 7/23, but the rains of the weekend threatened to persist into Monday, so I postponed that trip to Tuesday morning. I headed out about 18 miles on Tuesday with Ron Sticha and his twelve-year-old son, Noah. We used live shrimp to catch a variety of fish, including a 17-inch keeper hogfish, four keeper mangrove snapper to 14 inches, two keeper lane snapper, three keeper porkfish, three Spanish mackerel to 26 inches, grunts, and eight whitebone porgy keepers to 14 inches. We released fifteen additional mangrove snapper that were shorts, a few yellowtail snapper to 11 1/2 inches, a half dozen gag grouper to 20 inches, six red grouper to 18 1/2 inches, a triggerfish-short, and some blue runners. Friday morning, 7/27, I headed offshore to about 18 miles west of New Pass with Joel Anderson, his nine-year-old son, Samuel, Joel's brother Chris, Chris' daughter and son-in-law, Ashley and Jonathan Metcalf, and Chris' other daughter, Amber Anderson. We used live shrimp and caught a good variety of fish, including three hogfish, one of which was a keeper at 14 inches, eight keeper lane snapper, four porkfish keepers, and five whitebone porgies, all around 14 inches. The group also released yellowtail and mangrove snapper shorts to 11 inches, a small Spanish mackerel, and gag and red grouper shorts to 18 inches. Saturday, I headed out about twelve miles to fish in 35 feet with Dr. Meir Daller, wife Mie, and their two sons, Julian, age eight, and Brenden, age four. It's nice that gag grouper season recently re-opened because Meir got to keep the 23 1/2 inch gag he caught on a bait-fish. The family also used live shrimp to catch a 17-inch keeper hogfish, a couple of keeper porkfish, three keeper mangrove snapper, grunts and whitebone porgies. They released some shorter mangrove snapper, along with most of the fifteen Spanish mackerel they caught, keeping only four of those to 24 inches. Monday, 7/30, I fished with Paul Fenwick, his two young children, Emma and Spencer, along with John Purdy and daughter, Jordan, and friend, Susan Carlisle. We fished with live shrimp in 38-40 feet, targeting anything that the kids would enjoy catching. The group caught four keeper Spanish mackerel all 20-22 inches, ten keeper lane snapper, two keeper porkfish and some grunts. They released about twenty red grouper shorts, measuring all the way to 19 7/8, just missing the 20-inch legal size. They also released a triggerfish–short, and had a ton of fun! Thursday, 8/2, I fished inshore in Estero Bay with David Rosati, son Tanner, and Tanner's friend, Kyle. We used live shrimp to catch three redfish, two of which were keepers at 18 inches. The group also caught fifteen mangrove snapper, seven of which were keepers at 11 inches, one 14-inch black drum, and a 12-inch sheepshead. They released one small stingray and one 16-inch snook. Friday, I headed out to fish in 30 feet with Mark and Nina Dulberg and their three children, Jessica, Jason and Max. We caught twenty-five Spanish mackerel to 24 inches, and the group kept a dozen of those. They released mangrove snapper shorts and small grunts. At one point, we had a very big hogfish hooked, but a goliath grouper decided he deserved that dinner more than the Dulbergs did! The photo shown is of angler, Dr. Meir Daller, with a 23 1/2-inch gag grouper caught on shrimp, on a recent offshore trip. You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link: fishing videos http://www.fishbustercharters.com/fishing%20videos.htm
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5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> We have had a lot of rain recently and, prior to that, I was off the water for a couple of weeks, due to a family reunion. So there isn’t a whole lot to report, but I did do a couple of trips inshore and near-shore. Last Monday morning, I headed to the near-shore reefs with Steve and Lori Greiner and their two young sons, Derek and Jared. Winds had picked up over the weekend, and it was beginning to get a little sloppy in the gulf, despite NOAA’s forecast for two-foot seas. We used live shrimp to catch three Spanish mackerel to 23 inches and five keeper trout, three spotted sea-trout to 18 inches and a 16-inch silver trout. We released a smaller silver trout, some croakers, ladyfish, small sheepshead and mangrove snapper. Tuesday brought high winds and a small-craft-caution. My offshore trip deferred to Friday, hoping for calmer seas by then. My next trip was inshore, by necessity, on Thursday morning, when Steve Spritzer and Jalissa Reever gave up their offshore plans and fished with me in Estero Bay. Luckily, we beat the rain back to shore by a few minutes. The couple caught and released a 17-inch redfish and two stingray to 7 pounds. They also caught a 15-inch sheepshead and two 11-inch mangrove snapper, all on shrimp. The photo shown is of angler, Patrick Dreyer, with an eleven-pound, 28-inch gag grouper caught on a bait-fish and released, due to closed season, on a recent offshore trip. You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link: fishing videos http://www.fishbustercharters.com/fishing%20videos.htm
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5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> Tuesday, 5/29, I spent the day fishing in 47 feet, using live shrimp, with Robert Pierce, Brian Clark, and Julie Meng. The trio hoped to catch some good table-fare, along with doing some sport-fishing for bigger fish. I had hoped to put them on some goliath grouper for the latter, but the goliaths were nowhere to be found on this particular day. Just a few days ago, they were so abundant that it was difficult to reel up any catches without them attacking, but today, they were in hiding. We did hook and release a 40-inch sharp-nose shark, though, and then we set about finding some food-fish. The group caught a dozen nice, keeper mangrove snapper to 16 inches, two keeper hogfish at 12 ½ and 17 inches, five keeper yellowtail snapper to 14 ½ inches, and five whitebone porgies to 14 inches. They released seven smaller mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel to 20 inches, crevalle jacks, blue runners, grunts to 14 inches, and gag and red grouper shorts. After about a week of being land-locked, with unsettled weather, I got back out fishing on Saturday, 6/9. NOAA's forecast was for one-foot seas out to twenty miles, but I knew that would not be the case, after a hellacious thunderstorm rolled through our area during the wee hours of Saturday morning. Gary and Gina Freels and their eleven-year-old son, Cole, were hoping to fish the gulf this time, since they fished bayside last time they went with me. So, we headed to the reefs, about five miles offshore, and conditions there told us not to venture any further. We did well there, using live shrimp to catch three keeper Spanish mackerel to 24 inches, five keeper mangrove snapper to 13 inches, and three keeper flounder at 14, 15 and 17 inches. We released fifteen croakers to 15 inches, gag grouper shorts, ladyfish, crevalle jacks, and two snook at 18 inches and 26 inches. Monday morning, 6/11, I headed out to about 44 feet, where I fished with Terry and Linda Hedrick and their two daughters, Sarah and Natasha. We did well with red grouper, using pinfish as bait, and catching about thirty of them in all, four of which were keepers ranging from 20 ½ inches to 22 inches. Using shrimp, we caught and released mangrove snapper shorts, yellowtail snapper shorts, lane snapper shorts, one short hogfish, and a 40-inch sharp-nose shark. We also caught a keeper porgy and a 23-inch Spanish mackerel on shrimp. Tuesday morning I again headed out to fish in depths of 45-50 feet, this time with Scott Coon, John and Diana Finney, and Rich Reber. We used pinfish and live shrimp to catch about twenty-five red grouper, all of which were released, except for the 22-inch keeper that Rich landed. The group also caught a half-dozen nice lane snapper to 15 inches, and Diana caught a 12 ½ inch hogfish, all on shrimp. We released two 35-inch sharp-nose sharks and also had a big barracuda harass our catches for a while. Wednesday, I fished with Dr. Mark Dreyer and his son, Patrick. We began in about 50 feet, where we caught some Spanish mackerel in the 23 to 26 inch range, to use for goliath-bait. We caught and released two goliaths, one 65 pounds and the other 150 pounds. We continued out 37 miles to about 71 feet, where we fished with live shrimp. The father-son team caught and released a 12-pound bonito and two sharp-nose sharks. Tears were nearly shed when we landed a 28-inch, eleven pound gag grouper that had to be released, due to closed season! We also released about fifty red grouper shorts. We caught fifteen nice yellowtail snapper, all in the 14-15-inch range, along with a couple of big lane snapper at 15 inches, and two keeper mangrove snapper. We also caught five nice whitebone porgies, all around 15 inches, and five large grunts. We released eight smaller mangroves, five smaller yellowtails, and nine smaller lanes, since the guys wanted only enough fish for a couple of meals, and they planned to fish with me again the next day. Thursday, Mark and Patrick Dreyer fished offshore with me again. Patrick was in awe of the goliaths he caught yesterday, and wanted to battle another one. So we fished a couple of ledges and wrecks, out to about 30 miles and 65 feet. The first goliath we hooked was about 40 pounds and, although it put up a darn good fight, it paled in comparison to what Patrick hooked next: a six foot long goliath, estimated at about 450 pounds! Patrick managed to get it to the surface for some video, before releasing it. It had been chasing the 40-pounder as we reeled the smaller fish in, so we immediately dropped another line and got the big boy! The Dreyers also caught a 39-inch cobia, for which we used a jig and a plastic tail, along with about thirty mangrove snapper and thirty lane snapper. They kept seven of each snapper species, and released the rest, since they had caught more than enough to eat already. They also released fifteen crevalle jacks, some whitebone porgies, three king mackerel just short of keeper-size at 23 1/2 inches, and two sandbar sharks. We sighted about thirty sandbar sharks on one of the wrecks. We also sighted about sixty permit, but they appeared during the cobia frenzy and quickly left the area, before we could drop a crab over the side for them. Friday morning, I headed to the near-shore reefs with Jeremy Havrilla and his nine-year-old son, Josh. We used live shrimp to catch and release a few triggerfish, along with red and gag grouper shorts. The guys also caught some dinner fish, including grunts, mangrove snapper, porkfish and Spanish mackerel. The photo shown is of angler and well known local outdoorsman, Trapper Rudd, with a 23-inch red grouper, caught on a bait-fish, on a recent offshore trip. You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link: fishing videos http://www.fishbustercharters.com/fishing%20videos.htm
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5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> Monday, 5/7, I fished at the near-shore reefs with Joe and Donna Corso. The couple used live shrimp to catch a 14-inch keeper-pompano, two keeper flounders at 14 and 18 inches, a keeper mangrove snapper, a keeper sea trout at 20 inches, a half dozen Spanish mackerels in the 22-23-inch range, and three grunts. They released five southern croakers, a whiting, and a few crevalle jacks. Tuesday, 5/8, I headed out 38 miles west of New Pass for a full day of fishing with Phil Griffo, his son, Chris Griffo, and Phil's nephew, Jeff Miller. We had a great day of fishing, using live shrimp and bait-fish. The guys caught about 75 groupers in all, including a 25-inch red grouper keeper. We released a couple more red groupers that were just at 20 inches, but allowing for shrinkage made give those up. We also caught what would be a keeper-sized gag grouper, if gags were back in season, which they are not. So we released that 23 inch gag, along with all the rest of the groupers, except for the keeper red, which weighed 7 1/2 pounds. The guys also caught a dozen keeper mangrove snapper to 14 inches, a dozen keeper lane snapper, a bunch of white-bone porgies, of which they kept six, along with a half-dozen big grunts. We also got to experience a few cool sightings, including several big sharks and sea turtles. And, the best sighting of all was a whale--I have no idea what kind--it had a blunt nose, was about twenty feet long, and came up right by the boat, so I got some video of that, and I'm eager to see how visible it is in the video clips. With a seasonal slack-off in trips, coupled with some rainy weather, I was off the water until Thursday, 5/17, when I fished the backwaters with frequent customer Steve Spitzer and his son, Jeremy. We fished various spots in Estero Bay, using live shrimp. The guys caught a keeper 15-inch trout and a keeper 14-inch flounder. They released two undersized sheepshead, an undersized trout, ladyfish, and a redfish-short. Friday, I headed out in pursuit of catch-and-release big game with Casey Miller, Bob Fejfer, and Jake Annonson. We fished in 56 feet, using shrimp at first, and saving some Spanish mackerel we caught for big-fish bait. The guys caught three cobia on shrimp, all 32 inches, just an inch short of keeper-size, so we released those. We hooked two of them simultaneously, which was a neat trick and photo-op! We also released a 14-inch pompano, Spanish mackerels to 21 inches, and crevalle jacks. We used some Spanish macks to lure a few goliath grouper, and the guys got to battle an 80-pound goliath and a 150-pound goliath to the surface. A third goliath we hooked was a monster that snagged on the rocky bottom and eventually broke the line. Monday morning, 5/21, I fished Estero Bay with Jim Dean, who was planning to fish a couple of backwater trips on Monday and Tuesday with me. But, the fishing was very tough and slow in the bay Monday, so we decided we'd fish offshore on Tuesday. There was an abundance of glass minnows and a variety of live baits in the bay, so the fish weren't real interested in our baits. They scaled a few of our pinfish, mostly holding bait but not eating it; that is, all but the ever-present catfish!" Tuesday, Jim Dean fished offshore with me, in depths between 35 and 42 feet, west of New Pass. Offshore fishing sure beat the slow fishing we'd experienced in the backwaters the day before. We used live shrimp to catch and release fifteen gag grouper to 23 inches, two of which would have been keeper-size, if it were not for closed harvest. We also caught two 22-inch Spanish mackerel, a 14-inch keeper pompano, seven keeper mangrove snapper to 12 inches, a keeper porkfish at 13 inches, a few grunts, and a keeper hogfish at 17 inches. We released blue runners and crevalle jacks. Next, we used a mackerel and a jack on a big-rig, and caught and released a 100-pound goliath grouper. Jim got to feel a monster goliath too, which eventually broke the 275-pound steel cable, and got away, sparing us the sore muscles that we'd have had if we had wrestled him to the surface. Wednesday, I fished all day with Terry Novak, his sons, Ryan and Kyle, and family friend, Trapper Rudd. We headed out about 36 miles from New Pass, with about 250 live shrimp in the bait well, and we used every last one of them! The guys caught sixteen keeper mangrove snapper—nice ones to 15 inches—along with a couple of 13-inch yellowtails, and twenty-five keeper-sized lane snapper. We released all but three of the biggest lanes, since we had an abundance of fish. The group also caught and released over thirty red grouper to 19 inches, and landed one keeper red grouper at 21 inches. They caught and released fifteen gag grouper to 21 inches. They also caught two pompano, including a 15-inch keeper, along with a couple of 24-inch Spanish mackerel. They caught a total of twenty-five white-bone porgies to 15 inches and kept four of those, along with a few big grunts at 15 inches. They released about ten additional grunts and two small, 22-inch kingfish. We switched to bait-fish after a while to lure some bigger fish our way, and got more than we asked for, with Kyle battling and releasing a 250-pound goliath, and also releasing a 45-inch sharp-nose shark. At one point, the goliath grouper were so abundant, they caused ten break-offs as we were reeling in other fish. Thursday, I fished in 40 feet with Bob Ganger, using live shrimp. Seas were sloppier than predicted, but we did pretty well. We caught and released two 32-inch, 15-pound cobia, a 15-inch scamp-grouper, red and gag grouper shorts, mangrove snapper shorts, a 15-inch bluefish, and ten Spanish mackerel to 22 inches. We had something big hit a couple of times: one that ate a crab and broke the hook, and one that broke 30-pound braided line. Dick Bromby and Paul Gilbert fished offshore with me all day Friday, about 37 miles west of New Pass. We did well with snapper, using live shrimp—the guys caught ten yellowtail snapper to 16 inches and four mangrove snapper to 16 inches. They also caught a dozen white-bone porgies to 15 inches, and we used three of those for goliath grouper bait, which worked well—we caught and released three goliaths, at 60 pounds, 80 pounds and 175 pounds. We also released ten gag grouper to 21 inches and about fifty red grouper to 19 7/8 inches, just short of keeper size. We released a triggerfish short and a 3-foot long remora. Saturday morning, I fished in Estero Bay on a catch-and-release trip with Bill and Alyce Geronimo and their daughter, Tori. The family has recently relocated to our area, and wanted to see Estero bay and catch a few fish. We used live shrimp to catch and release fifteen mangrove snapper, two stingray, and a sheepshead. Sunday and Monday of the long Memorial-Day weekend was reserved for family events, but I’ll be fishing again on Tuesday. The photo shown is of angler, Casey Miller, with a 32-inch cobia, caught on shrimp, on a recent offshore trip. You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link: fishing videos http://www.fishbustercharters.com/fishing%20videos.htm
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5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> After about six days off the water, due to high winds and seas offshore and shallow, muddy conditions in the bay, I finally got offshore with Ron Musick, Eddie Alfonse, Dick Arnett, Bob Mayer, and Matt Watson on Thursday, 4/26. We headed out of New Pass to 36 miles, where we fished with live shrimp and pinfish. The group caught a keeper, 21-inch red grouper on a pinfish, and used live shrimp to catch two 14-inch yellowtail snapper, three mangrove snapper in the 13-14-inch range, fifteen keeper whitebone porgies, a 14-inch porkfish, nine keeper lane snapper, and a 14-inch triggerfish. They released red grouper shorts to 19 ¾ inches and gag grouper to 18 ½ inches. We also had a nine-foot sandbar shark eat a big gag grouper as we reeled it in, leaving us only the head. Friday morning, Nick Siska and his dad, Fran, fished with me, 22 miles west of New Pass. We used live shrimp, which landed Nick a 22-inch red grouper. We released twenty-five red grouper shorts to 19 ½ inches. The guys also caught eight keeper lane snapper to 12 inches and released king mackerel shorts and blue runners. I was off the water Saturday, due to a family event and, by Sunday, weather had again deteriorated, with a rainy, windy front that had reversed direction from the beginning of the week, and returned to us as a warm-front. Winds and rough seas persisted into the beginning of the next week, cancelling a planned offshore trip on Tuesday, 5/1. Our fishing schedule is also lighter, now that seasonal residents and tourists have mostly returned north for summer. It was Saturday, 5/5, before I got back to fishing. I fished 22 miles west of New Pass, in 44 feet, with Nick Blanchard and his two sons, Mike and Brandon. The guys used live shrimp to catch keeper mangrove snapper to 18 inches, a few keeper lanes, a half dozen keeper porgies and a few grunts. They released lots of red and gag grouper shorts to 19 inches. The photo shown is of angler, Brandon Blanchard, with an 18-inch mangrove snapper, caught on shrimp, on an offshore trip, Saturday, 5/5/12. You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link: fishing videos http://www.fishbustercharters.com/fishing%20videos.htm
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5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> Monday, 4/9, seas had calmed at last, and I headed out to fish in spots between 22 and 28 miles west of New Pass with Bill Conklin, his son, Eric Conklin, and friend, Rick Weigand. Bill caught a keeper red grouper at 21 inches, and we released lots of red grouper just short of keeper size. The group also caught fourteen keeper lane snapper. They released gag grouper and mangrove snapper shorts, along with two sandbar sharks, one at 38 inches and the other at 40 inches. We used live shrimp for all but the grouper, which ate bait-fish. Tuesday morning, I headed out 21 miles from New Pass with Larry Baumgartner, his son, Chris, Larry's granddaughter, Hannah Stanfield, and Chris's daughter, Maddie, who was celebrating her birthday. We did great with lane snapper, catching thirty-four nice keepers to 14 inches, on shrimp. The group also caught a 23-inch Spanish mackerel, and released a 23-inch kingfish, along with some red grouper shorts. Arno Trinkl and his girlfriend, Katherine, both from Austria, had been planning to fish with me this Wednesday, ever since early December, when they began planning their trip to the U.S. Arno really wanted the experience of catching something big, especially after watching a few of our goliath action videos. So, we headed out in search of bait to use for big fish. We caught some Spanish mackerel to 23 inches, about four whitebone porgies to 16 inches, some blue runners, some gag grouper shorts, and some crevalle jacks. We’d intended to use the blue runners for bait, but along came a goliath grouper as we reeled in a 16-inch porgy. The goliath ate the porgy, and Arno had a 200-pound goliath battle on his hands! We shot some video of that, released the goliath and all our other catches, and sent Arno home with a sore arms and a big story to tell! Thursday, frequent anglers, Ron Musick, Eddie Alfonse, Dick Arnett and Tom Collins, fished with me about 28 miles west of New Pass. The group caught a dozen keeper lane snapper to 12 inches, fifteen whitebone porgy-keepers to 18 inches, four grunts to 12 inches, four keeper mangrove snapper to 13 inches, and a Spanish mackerel. They had fun with a 4-foot sandbar shark and a 200-pound nurse shark, before releasing them, along with twenty-five red grouper to 19 7/8 inches and a half-dozen gag grouper to 19 inches. Friday morning, I headed out of New Pass about 21 miles with Karai Vilamaa and Bernie Kirsh. The guys used live shrimp to catch two keeper red grouper at 20 ¼ inch and 20 1/8 inch, both just over the legal size limit. They also caught fourteen keeper lane snapper, a few large grunts, and a 23-inch Spanish mackerel. They released about twenty-five short red groupers, along with two gag grouper shorts and some short triggerfish. The high winds and seas that had been promised earlier in the week finally made it into Saturday’s weather. Tom Monoghan and his dad, Brian, had planned to fish offshore with me, but the small craft advisories in the gulf forced us to change plans and fish the backwaters. The guys used live shrimp to catch two keeper sheepshead, 12 to 13 inches, a keeper mangrove snapper at 12 inches, and a 14-inch flounder. They released a five-pound stingray and crevalle jacks. Monday morning, 4/16, NOAA had predicted two-to-three-foot seas, out to twenty miles. But, when I fished just six miles off the beach with Terry Hopkins and his daughter, Kelly, we had three-to-five footers, with winds blowing 20-25 knots. We used live shrimp to catch ten Spanish mackerel, a keeper mangrove snapper, and grunts. We released blue runners, red grouper shorts, and five of the mackerel that weren’t needed for dinner. Tuesday, I had planned a full-day, offshore trip but, after the seas I faced on Monday, I advised my customer to reschedule that trip for Thursday, to allow seas to calm down additionally. Now that seasonal rush is slowing down, there are sometimes opportunities to reschedule for better conditions. Wednesday's forecast was for calming seas of two-to-three feet out to 60 miles offshore, but the trip I had scheduled that day had little faith that would be the case, given the persistent winds, and they canceled their day. Thursday, I headed offshore with Ron Musick, Eddie Alfonse and Bob Mayer, on a trip we had rescheduled from Tuesday, due to rough seas. NOAA and local weather stations all predicted two-foot seas for Thursday, and we thought that all we’d have to worry about was a possible scattered shower or two. But, five miles off the beach, we had steady three-to-fours, with occasional five-footers—very rough. We toughed it out and caught nine whitebone porgies and four grunts. We released a gag grouper short and two red grouper shorts, all caught on shrimp. By Friday, I’d had about enough of the week’s incorrect marine forecasts so, despite predictions for calm seas offshore, I advised frequent customers Steve Spitzer and Jalissa Reever to fish in the backwaters. Fishing was a little slow, but it beat getting tossed around in the waves. The couple caught two redfish, one of which was a 20-inch keeper, along with a 15-inch flounder. They released a 16-inch redfish, two short black drum, and a mangrove snapper short. Saturday brought more gusty winds, along with some much needed rain. That pattern was predicted to persist throughout the weekend, so I remained in port. Monday was still too rough offshore and, though I could have fished inshore, I did not recommend doing so until the muddy conditions in the bay subside. This week's weather pattern was one we fortunately avoided most of the winter season this year, but it definitely played havoc with April's fishing schedule. The photo shown is of angler, Rick Weigland, with a 15-inch hogfish, caught on shrimp, on a recent offshore trip. You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link: fishing videos http://www.fishbustercharters.com/fishing%20videos.htm
  14. Monday morning, 3/26, I fished over hard bottom in 35 feet, with Chris Ernberger, his dad, Jerry, and Chris's son, Carter. There was about a 3-foot roller left over from the windy Sunday that preceded our trip, so we didn't venture too far offshore. The guys used live-shrimp to catch six keeper mangrove snapper to 15 inches, a keeper lane snapper, a keeper triggerfish, and some whitebone porgies. They released additional mangrove snapper that were shorts, along with six additional triggerfish shorts, and gag and red groupers to 19 inches. Tuesday, I headed offshore to fish with live shrimp in 38 feet, about 15 miles west of New Pass, with frequent fishers Ron Musick, Eddie Alfonse and Dick Arnett. Dick’s family was visiting so his two sons, Josh and Nate, and Nate’s young son, Jack, went along this time. The guys caught five keeper mangrove snapper, a few keeper porkfish, a keeper triggerfish, a half-dozen 14-inch whitebone porgies, a mess of grunts, a 16-inch sheepshead, a 23-inch Spanish mackerel, and a 14-inch keeper hogfish. They released lots of grouper shorts—gags to 20 inches and reds to 18 inches. Young Alex Goodall, who has been fishing with me each year since he was a toddler, brought his dad Joe, and family friends, Dave, Tony, and Fred to fish the reefs Wednesday morning. Seas had kicked up quite a bit over night, with steady winds of 15-20 knots, so we spent most of our time at the Five-Mile Reef off Bonita Beach, fishing with live shrimp. The guys caught more than twenty sheepshead, but only two of those were keepers, which was unusual, since the reefs have been producing lots of big sheepies lately. They also caught a keeper mangrove snapper, a keeper lane snapper, a 14-inch flounder, and a half-dozen Spanish mackerel in the 20-22-inch range. They released gag grouper shorts. Stuart Norris, who has fished with me each March for years, headed out to 43 feet with me on Thursday morning. Predictions for calm seas were incorrect. We had a three foot swell with a one-to-two foot chop on top of it, and the winds blew strong all morning. We used live shrimp to catch a 15-inch keeper-sheepshead, a keeper mangrove snapper, two triggerfish, one of which was a keeper at 14 inches, and a 14-inch whitebone porgy. We released gag grouper to 21 ½ inches, as well as red grouper to 19 inches. We also released blue runners and grunts. There were some big fish eating our due catches, and I’m suspecting goliath grouper were the culprits. Friday, I was hoping to fish an incoming tide, albeit low, all day with Andy Haas and Tucker Dahl. But the tide was strange—It came in and went out again, and it made fishing a little tough in the backwaters. But the guys used live shrimp to catch four sheepshead, one of which was keeper-size,along with a keeper mangrove snapper. They released a 14-inch trout, three 17-inch redfish, two snook that were17 and 18 inches, and four big stingrays to 20 pounds. Saturday morning, rather than face another low tide in the backwaters, I headed to the near-shore reefs with Ed Oleksy and his twelve-year-old son, Nick. Seas were sloppy, even close-in, and by the time we headed in around noon, seas were hitting four feet. The guys caught and released a couple of gag grouper, one 20 inches and the other 23 ½ inches, a would-be-keeper, if it were not for closed gag season. They also caught two keeper sheepshead, a keeper lane snapper, a couple of grunts, and nine Spanish mackerel. They released all but one of the mackerels, along with lots of ladyfish and a few crevalle jacks. Everything bit shrimp. Monday morning, 4/2, seas were calmer than they’d been in several days. I headed offshore with Bill Conklin, Jan & Sara Range, their five-year-old daughter, Libby, and father-son duo Rick Weigand Sr. and Jr. We fished about 22 miles west of New Pass, in 45 feet. Being as red grouper season opened as of April 1st, we were hoping to find some of them. We did so, and got one keeper red grouper 23 inches long, and released lots of red grouper shorts. The keeper-grouper ate a spot-tail grunt. We used live shrimp for all our other catches, which included a dozen grunts, all about 12 inches long, a half-dozen whitebone porgies, five keeper lane snapper, and two hogfish, one of which was a keeper at 15 inches. The group also released lots of gag grouper shorts, along with short mangrove snapper, short lane snapper, and triggerfish. Tuesday, I headed offshore in pursuit of red grouper again, this time with frequent fishers Ron Musick, Dick Arnett, Eddie Alfonse, and Justin Baker. We had the full day, so we headed out to 70 feet, about 35 miles west of New Pass. The prize of the day was caught by Ron, who landed a 15-pound, 28-inch red grouper, which ate a bait fish. The guys caught two additional red grouper keepers on shrimp, measuring 21 inches and 22 inches. They caught about thirty red groupers in all, two additional that were probably keepers, but right at 20 inches, and we released those, along with all the other shorts. They also caught six nice whitebone porgies to 16 inches, a keeper yellowtail snapper, and fifteen keeper lane snapper. They released gag grouper shorts, and battled something big that eventually snapped the line. Wednesday, winds began picking up somewhat, but we had 2-3 foot seas, so we were still able to get out a way. I fished 22 miles west of New Pass with Dick Driscoll, his son Rich, Rich’s son Jack, Jack’s uncle, Steve Calhoun, and Steve’s daughters, Emma and Sadie. The red grouper bite was on, but keepers were hard to find. We had one that measured right at 20 inches, but fish tend to shrink once in the cooler, so I don’t keep borderline-sized fish. We released it, along with many other shorts. We did well with lane snapper, landing fourteen keepers, along with three keeper mangrove snapper, whitebone porgies and grunts. We had a big cobia on for a little while—it was about 4 ½ feet long—It bit a mangrove snapper that we were reeling in, but it was on a light pole, and we couldn’t get the cobia boated before he spit the hook. We tried to lure him back, but to no avail. Cobia can be finicky and opportunistic. Thursday, I headed out with Bob Sawyer and family, hoping to get one more good day offshore before winds and seas kicked up. According to the NOAA forecast, I was thinking correctly; but we needed only to get to the pass to see that waves were every bit of five feet, and I deemed it unsafe to proceed even to the near-shore reefs with my group of six. The wind was blowing so hard that it didn’t even seem very appealing or productive to fish the back-bay, or we would have gone back to the dock to trade boats. Instead, we decided to reluctantly bag the trip, and we headed back to shore. Friday, I tried fishing the backwaters with Larry and Jackie Wagner, Pat Cunningham, and friend, Dara. The wind was gusting to 25 mph. Once again, NOAA's forecast was behind the actual weather event's schedule. The rain that was predicted to hold off until afternoon began, sporadically, in the morning. Fishing was tough. We managed to catch and release a sheepshead and a couple of stingrays before spotting an especially ominous cloud overhead. We decided to cut our losses and come back to shore. Winds and seas are predicted to continue into Saturday, so I cancelled that trip also. The photo shown is of angler, Ron Musick, with a, 28-inch, 15-pound red grouper, caught on a bait-fish, on an offshore trip two days after red grouper season opened. You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link: fishing videos