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Tuesday morning, 3/16, the trout bite was nothing like it had been the day before. I fished with Mark McCarthy, his father-in-law, Richie Jenkins, and friend Matt. Richie caught the only trout of the morning, measuring 15 inches. We released ladyfish and sheepshead.

Wednesday morning, light rain fell until after noon time, but that didn't deter Mark Loverude, son Ben, and friends Casey Miller and Chris Church from fishing Estero Bay with me. The group used live shrimp to catch five keeper sheepshead to 18 inches, a keeper flounder and two keeper trout, each 18 inches. We Brian VandenBossche and his son, Charles, fished Estero Bay with me Thursday morning and caught a keeper trout and three keeper sheepshead, on live shrimp. We released lots of smaller sheepshead. We also released a lot of ladyfish.

Mark Loverude and his sons, Ben and Brandon, along with friends Joe Goodall and son, Alex, fished Estero Bay with me Friday morning. The boys had fished the bay with me earlier in the week and we had considered heading offshore Friday but, with seas just calming down after three to five footers Thursday and three young children aboard, we decided to play it safe in the bay. We did well there, using shrimp, and caught six keeper sheepshead to 15 inches, two keeper whitings at 14 inches each and a 16-inch trout. We released lots of smaller sheepshead and sand perch.

Rick McGrath treated his daughter, Carrie McGrath, and her three friends, Jenn Conley, Nora Fload and Sidney Minnis, to a spring-break fishing trip offshore Saturday. We used live shrimp, and the girls did well with snapper and sheepshead. We caught a half dozen keeper mangrove snapper to 18 ½ inches, a 14 inch keeper hog snapper, a mess of sheepshead to 17 inches, and grunts and porgies. We released grouper shorts.

Monday, 3/22, began rainy. My scheduled full-day offshore trip was scaled down to a half-day bayside, due to rough seas offshore and a small craft advisory. After the rain tapered off a bit, I headed into Estero Bay with Kent Swedberg, his son-n-law, Bob Ericson, grandson Zack, and friend, Rob. We caught six keeper sheepshead ranging from 13 ½ to 15 inches and released ladyfish and crevalle jack.

Tuesday morning, Omar & Sheila Jama and their children, Ayden, six-years old and Fiona, three-years old, fished Estero Bay with me. We caught, on live shrimp, eleven keeper-sized sheepshead to 16 inches, and the family kept the five largest of those. We released the rest, along with eight smaller sheepshead.

Long time customer, Doug Grieble, drove from Tampa with his dad, John Grieble and friends, Bill Conklin and Skip King to fish offshore with me on Wednesday, 3/24. Seas were still a little sloppy early in the day, but a nice calming and warming trend was in place. We fished about twenty miles west of New Pass in 45 feet with live shrimp. We caught a dozen nice mangrove snapper to 18 inches and a mess of keeper-sized sheepshead to 20 inches—we kept five of the fattest of those and released the rest, along with red and gag grouper and triggerfish shorts. We also caught some porgies to 15 inches and a 15-inch hogfish. We had a 4-foot shark on the line at one point, but with no steel leader on, it broke the line and swam off before we could photograph it.

Another long time, annual customer, Stuart Norris, fished with me Thursday morning and brought his friend, Frank Cappellino, We fished in 45 feet again, out of New Pass, with live shrimp and caught a 14 inch hogfish, two keeper mangrove snapper to 16 inches, a 14-inch keeper triggerfish, three sheepshead to 15 inches, grunts and porgies. We released red and gag grouper, along with an 18 inch true black grouper. We were between weather fronts and had some sloppy seas, but most of the morning was fairly calm.

Mike Connealy and Tom Stover fished in Estero Bay with me on a rainy Friday morning. By about 10 AM, they had caught six keeper sheepshead to 18 inches and released ten smaller ones, along with a crevalle jack, and decided they had enough fish and enough rain, so we headed back to shore.

The folks I has scheduled for Saturday were dead-set of fishing offshore, but feared the predictions of two-four foot seas, so they cancelled their trip for that day, and I remained in port.

Monday, 3/29, brought rain and wind, once again, with unpleasant conditions inshore and unsafe conditions offshore. I cancelled another trip.

The photo shown is of angler, Ron Musick, with a 28-inch gag grouper, caught on shrimp and released on an offshore trip this month. As of April 1st, grouper season reopens and we’ll be able to keep a fish like this one…now, if we can only catch him again!

florida-grouper.JPG.4f805df8114d76f85b11

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