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Fishing with Lynn and Margie Harned and friends Dave and Jeannie Jenkins on Monday, 3/16, we had a productive morning in 45 feet out of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">New</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Pass</st1:placetype></st1:place>, using live shrimp. We caught six keeper mangrove snapper between 15 and 17 inches, a dozen whitebone porgies to 15 inches and a 14 inch sheepshead. We released lots of smaller snapper, gag grouper shorts and a small hogfish, along with one unusual catch that Margie hooked—a “rock beauty,” which is a beautiful, ornamental fish that takes its name from its habitat in the rocks.

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The Christensen family fish wit me a few times each year and they picked a good, calm morning to head offshore on Tuesday. We headed out to 45 feet, from <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">New</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Pass</st1:placetype></st1:place>, with a bait tank full of shrimp and put them to good use. We caught keeper mangrove snapper to 18 inches, whitebone porgies to 18 ½ inches, a few grunts and a 15 inch hogfish. We released Spanish mackerel and king mackerel to 30 inches, along with grouper, snapper and triggerfish shorts.

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I had planned to fish offshore Wednesday, 3/18, but the 20 knot winds, 3-5 foot seas and small craft advisories issued that morning nipped those plans in the bud. We had experienced a couple weeks of calm seas up until then, and it looked almost as if we might completely avoid the high winds that often affect our March fishing, but no such luck. This front was weak and short-lived, though, and I managed to get back offshore Thursday, when I fished in 45 feet, nineteen miles west of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">New</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Pass</st1:placetype></st1:place>, with frequent anglers Ron Musick, Richard Arnett and Eddie Alfonso. We caught fourteen keeper porgies, a keeper yellowtail snapper, four keeper mangrove snapper and three king mackerels, ranging 24 inches to 32 inches. We released lost of grouper and triggerfish shorts.

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Friday, I fished 37 miles out of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">New</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Pass</st1:placetype></st1:place> with Harold Matthews and his son-in-law, John Winchester. We caught five nice mangrove snapper the 17-18 inch range, some big grunts and porgies for table-fare. We released a 25 pound goliath grouper, a 36 inch king mackerel, a 17 inch bluefish, and grouper shorts to 19 inches, all on live shrimp.

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Saturday morning brought three-to-five foot seas offshore, the result of another weak cold-front that increased winds. Dean Weaver and Scott MacIsaac traded their offshore plans for a morning of catch-and-release in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Estero</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Bay</st1:placetype></st1:place>. Catches included fifteen sheepshead, a dozen of them keeper-size, a 13 inch pompano and a 15 inch trout, all on live shrimp.

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The photo shown is of angler, Mike Conneally with a 20 inch mangrove snapper, caught on shrimp on a recent offshore trip. The mangs have been good-sized for several consecutive weeks.

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Sounds like you all had a productive week! Thanks for the report. :icon_thumleft:

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