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John Landis and Bud King had one day to fish before heading back north, and they had hoped for a day offshore. But, with the remnants of the weather stirred up by Tropical Storm Ida meeting an approaching cold-front, the Gulf was out of the question Thursday, 11/12, so they traded their offshore plans for some morning fishing in Estero Bay. Using live shrimp on that catch-and-release trip, we released ladyfish, mangrove snapper, snook and sheepshead.

Tuesday, 11/17, I fished Estero Bay with Bob and Rita Grant. Using shrimp, we caught keeper-sized sheepshead and mangrove snapper. We released smaller ones of both varieties, along with crevalle jacks.

Friday, 11/20, was a beautiful day, suitable for fishing inshore or offshore. John Aletta and Steve Russo decided on Estero Bay, where we fished with live shrimp, using popping corks for trout, and fishing for anything else that was biting, since trout season is closed and those had to be released. We released seven of them to 15 ½ inches. We also caught a keeper mangrove snapper, keeper sheepshead, a 15-inch flounder, and we released ladyfish and three redfish to 18 inches.

Monday morning, 11/23, I fished offshore in 47 feet out of New Pass with Kim & Colleen Anderson, their daughter, Kelly, and her husband, Kevin. The group hooked five nice grouper, but had a tough time boating those big ones before getting their lines cut in the rocks. They caught and released a few smaller grouper, and also caught keeper Spanish mackerel, whitebone porgies and grunts. We used shrimp and blue runners for bait.

Tuesday, I headed offshore about twenty miles from New Pass, with Mike and Tammi Hutson, their thirteen-year-old son, Ben, and Mike’s dad, Ray. We caught a 25-inch gag grouper and released lots of smaller gag and red grouper, including a red that was just ¼ inch shy of keeper-size. We also caught two nice king mackerel, one 28 inches and the other over 35 inches. Ben hooked the bigger king, and reeled it in with a little help. We also caught keeper lane snapper, and we released mangrove snapper, porgies, grunts and triggerfish. We caught everything on live shrimp, except the grouper, which bit pinfish.

I planned to fish offshore again on Wednesday, but Mother Nature had other plans: we awoke to rain that looked likely to last all day. Thursday was reserved for Thanksgiving. Forecasts are calling for a cold front over Thanksgiving night, with brisk winds on Friday.


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