fishbuster

SWFL-Bonita Beach:Nice Trout & Redfish Inshore and Good Table-fare Offshore Too

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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]--> “No oil—No spoil

Our Beaches are Clean—Our Waters Pristine”

Monday, 3/21, I fished central Estero Bay with long-time customers Joe Goodall and his son, Alex. Eleven-year-old Alex has been fishing with me every year since he was just over two years old. This time, the father-son team also brought a couple of other family members, Fred and Dave. We used live shrimp to catch and release whitings, sheeshead and crevalle jacks. But Alex showed the adults how to do it when he landed a nice 25-inch redfish--that one went home with them!

Tuesday, I captained Ron Musick's boat out to 65 feet, with his friends, Eddie Alfonse and Dick Arnett, along with Dick's son, Nate, and Nate's eight-year-old son, Jack. We caught eight nice keeper mangrove snapper to 16 inches, a few keeper lane snapper that were all about 12 inches, and some nice whitebone porgies, all on live shrimp. We released gag grouper to 22 inches and red grouper to 20 inches--We're hoping those reds will still be out there when season opens for them in April.

Wednesday, Chris Ernberger, his twelve-year-old son, Carter, and Carter's grandpa, Jerry, fished with me about 17 miles west of New Pass. We used live shrimp to catch three keeper sheepshead 17 to 18 inches in length, along with some grunts and porkfish keepers. We released smaller sheepshead and lots of groupers. Connor's most exciting moments were when he hooked two goliath grouper, one about 50 pounds and one about 80 pounds. He used blue runners for those, and he required only a little assistance to reel them to the surface. He was savoring his sore arms on the trip in!

Thursday, Sandy Hook and son, Rusty Hook (no kidding), who have fished with me a couple times per year for many years, brought Rusty’s young sons, Charlie and Jeremy along this time, as well as family friend, Sam Sales. We headed out to about 18 miles from New Pass. The boys had a ton of fun catching and releasing ladyfish, which were abundant. They also released lots of out-of-season grouper. For the family’s fish-fry, they brought home a mess of whitebone porgies, all about 14 inches, as well as some large grunts.

Chris Ernberger and his twelve-year-old son, Carter, who fished with me Wednesday, fished with me at the reefs off Bonita Beach on Friday morning. We kept seven sheepshead, all 18 to 19 inches, and released a bunch more of that size or less. We also caught a keeper mangrove snapper, as well as a two-pound grunt.

Saturday morning, the tide was kind of slow, when I fished in 40 feet with Rick McGrath, his wife, daughter, and daughter’s boyfriend. We tried to play with some goliaths, but we couldn’t lure them out, so we switched to fishing for food with live shrimp. The group caught three keeper mangrove snapper to 14 inches, two keeper sheepshead at 14 inches and 17 inches, and a mess of grunts. They released grouper shorts, triggerfish, small porgies, and a couple of king mackerel that were just short of their 24-inch keeper size.

Monday, 3/28, we awoke to a severe-weather-watch in force until noon, due to a rainy, windy, lightening storm. Although the rain cleared out by about 10AM, seas offshore were 3-5 foot, in the storm's wake. Additional heavy rains were forecast for later in the afternoon, as well. I cancelled my offshore trip.

Tuesday, there was still a good swell in the morning, but seas were a lot calmer. I captained Ron Musick's boat, along with his friends, Eddie Alfonse and Dick Arnett, Dick's son, Nate, and his young son, Jack, along with Ron Hobbs and Ron's young grandson, Josh Jacobs. We came in with about twenty-five fish, including three keeper mangrove snapper to 14 inches, nice-sized whitebone porgies and grunts, all caught on shrimp in 44 feet, west of New Pass. We released red grouper that would have been keepers, had they been in season, as well as gag grouper to 21 3/4 inches.

Wednesday morning, when I fished again with Sandy Hook, who fished with me last Thursday, his friend Matt Ball, and Matt's young sons, Nate and Emmett, seas got progressively rougher, even at the near-shore reefs off Bonita Beach. By the time we decided to head in a little early, there were some five-foot waves out there. The boys managed to catch two keeper flounder, though, 12 inches and 15 inches, a keeper Spanish mackerel, and two keeper sheepshead to 15 inches. They released smaller sheepshead and mangrove snapper.

Thursday, seas were five-foot offshore so long-time customer, Stuart Norris, along with his friend, Mike, traded offshore plans for a morning of fishing the backwaters of Estero Bay. The winds got progressively stronger all morning, and there were actually two-foot waves in some parts of the bay. Anchoring and casting were challenging, for sure, as was dodging the undesirables, such as catfish and stingray—we released our share of those, along with five redfish short of slot-size. But, Stuart did land a nice, 25-inch keeper redfish as the last catch of the day, caught on live shrimp.

Friday’s early morning hours began with thunderstorms, followed by more high winds and seas. I canceled my trip for that day. But, by Saturday morning, winds were a lot calmer. Seas were predicted to be 2-3 feet but, anticipating a residual swell offshore, long-time customer Ed Bock and I decided to fish in the backwaters. We did well in Estero Bay, using live shrimp. We caught a keeper, 23-inch redfish, two nice sea trout that were 16 inches and 20 inches, a 13-inch sheepshead, and an 18-inch Spanish mackerel.

The photo shown is of eleven-year-old angler, Alex Goodall with a 25-inch redfish, caught on shrimp, on a recent inshore trip.

resizedAlexGoodall-25in-red.jpg.d5a16ef1

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