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Just ahead of another cold-front predicted to come through our area Monday evening, Bill Oswald and his eight-year-old daughter, Grace, fished Estero Bay with me Monday morning, 4/6. We had some gusts of wind but nothing like the winds expected on Tuesday, and it was a generally pleasant and productive morning in the backwaters. We kept two sheepshead and six mangrove snapper and we released about an equal number of smaller ones. Grace was keeping score on the number of fish caught and proudly proclaimed herself the winner, with a total of nine.

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Tuesday morning the winds that were promised became a reality. I had already cancelled an offshore trip for that day, given the predictions. I had tentatively scheduled a backwater trip, but with winds of 25-30 knots, fishing anywhere seemed more like an exercise in aggravation than anything pleasant, so I cancelled the backwater trip also and remained in port for the day.

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After the front moved through and the winds shifted direction, Wednesday brought some shallow conditions in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Estero</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Bay</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>. Grassy, muddy waters made for some tough fishing that morning with Kevin Mathies, his young sons, Tony and Louie, and the boys’ grandfather, Louis. We managed quite a bit of catching but not a lot of keeping. We released seven undersized snapper, five crevalle jacks, two snook and a few sheepshead, and we caught two keeper whitings at 15 inches each.

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Bill Oswald, who fished with his eight-year-old daughter in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Estero</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Bay</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> with me on Monday, fished the backwaters again with me on Thursday, this time with ten-year-old son, Will. We released mangrove snapper, cravalle jack, a 20 inch snook (see photo) and a big bat-ray, all on shrimp.

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Friday, David Posz and ten-year-old son, Jacob, wanted to catch some table-fare, and I wasn’t sure <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Estero</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Bay</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> would offer much of that—It had been tough fishing in the bay all week. Predictions of two-to-four foot seas close-in lured us to try the near-shore reefs. In reality, seas were four-to-five feet there, but we hung in there and caught five keeper mangrove snapper, an 18 inch bluefish and some grunts. We released ladyfish, red grouper shorts, two flounder that were just short of keeper size, and a moonfish.

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Saturday, winds calmed and seas laid down for the first time all week, allowing me to get out about nineteen miles with Joe & Sue McCollough, daughter, Cynthia Day, and twin grand-daughters, Amanda and Lauren. We used live shrimp and caught keeper mangrove snapper to 18 inches, a 16 inch keeper hogfish, a dozen nice whitebone porgies, all around 15 inches, and some big grunts. We released a smaller hogfish, Spanish mackerel and grouper shorts.

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The photos shown are of angler, Don Washa, with a porkfish, caught on shrimp on a recent offshore trip. (Porkfish are actually quite tasty and this one was pretty good-sized) and of young angler, Will Oswald with a 20 inch snook caught and released on inshore trip this week.



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