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Post Info TOPIC: SWFL-BonitaBeach:Snapper fill the grouper void;Trout Inshore

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SWFL-BonitaBeach:Snapper fill the grouper void;Trout Inshore


“No oil—No spoil

Our Beaches are Clean—Our Waters Pristine”

Monday, 1/24, seas were calmer and I took advantage of those conditions to head out to two spots, one 28 miles west of New Pass and one 36 miles out, to fish in about 65 feet with long-time customer Barry Pflueger and his friends, Glen Ray, brothers Gary and Barry Search, Jack Roberts, and Joe Cithonski. We got into the snapper in a big way, and caught about 150 mangroves in all, releasing all but thirty-two of those that measured to 19 inches (see photo). We also caught a 13-inch, keeper yellowtail snapper and a 14-inch, keeper lane snapper. We caught twenty whitebone porgies to 14 inches, and the group kept four of those. Barry and friends have another trip planned this coming Thursday, but weather might foil that one, so they were glad for the catch they got Monday.

19-inch mangrove snapper

Tuesday, seas were rough again, in advance of yet another weather front, expected to bring rain late Tuesday into Wednesday morning, cooler temps, and higher winds and seas. Seas were only minimally calmer on Thursday, and I canceled my trips and I remained in port until Friday morning.

Friday, 1/28 finally brought calmer seas of 2-3 feet, and I headed out to depths of 43 feet with John Pound, Dan Dow and Troy Bouchard. The snapper were biting our shrimp well, and we caught a total of about fifty mangs and kept seven of those, to 17 inches.We also caught a keeper porkfish, and we released lots of undersized gag and red grouper, as well as triggerfish.

Saturday, I fished the backwaters with Tim Cobb and Ted Shy. Using live shrimp, we caught a 15-inch keeper sheepshead, and released a lot of smaller sheepshead. We also released a 17-inch redfish and three trout that were just short of 15 inches, along with some ladyfish.

Monday morning, 1/31, Iheaded into Estero Bay with Bob Meyer and his brother, Ken. The guys mostly wanted to learn about fishing in the bay but, in the course of doing that, we caught a few fish, of course! We released two 17-inch redfish, a 20-inch snook, and small mangrove snapper and sheepshead. We also caught one 15-inch sheepshead, which the guys kept to eat.

Tuesday, I had a deep-sea trip scheduled, but that was foiled by small craft advisories and seas of three-to-five feet offshore. We rescheduled for Friday, in hopes that conditions will be better then.

Leo Walsh and friends had planned to fish offshore with me on Wednesday morning, but the rough seas made that impossible, and the group decided they’d fish the backwaters instead. We fished central Estero Bay with live shrimp, and caught four silver trout and three whitings. We caught eight sea trout also, but those were all just short of their 15-inch keeper-size and had to be released.

Thursday might have been a window of opportunity to get offshore, but conditions were “iffy” and forecasts have been unreliable. NOAA predicted two-t-four foot seas out to twenty miles, and three-to-fives beyond twenty miles. That forecast was sandwiched between two days with reports of three-to-five and four-to-six foot seas. I advised my offshore clients of the conditions, and told them I sure couldn’t guarantee comfortable conditions. They deferred their trip to Monday, 2/7, when we hoped for calmer seas…that didn’t happen either, as it turns out.

Seas were calmer on Friday morning and I headed offshore with Ron Musick and Eddie Alfonse. We started out at the reefs, fishing with shrimp, then moved further offshore out to 35 miles. We caught about 60 fish in all, but only a dozen were keepers, including mangrove snapper, grunts and porgies. We released lots of triggerfish shorts, as well as gag and red grouper.

Blair Austin and Roy Sculfort headed out to 43 feet to fish with me Saturday morning. Seas were unexpectedly calm in the early morning, but they got a little sloppy by the time we headed back in. By that time, the guys had caught two keeper hogfish, a few keeper mangrove snapper, and some grunts. They released undersized triggerfish, gag grouper and red grouper.

Monday morning, wind gusts and 3-5 foot seas nixed our hopes of heading offshore on the trip we’d rescheduled from last Thursday…looks like rough conditions will persist, at least through mid-week.

Captain Dave Hanson Marti Hanson, Manager Fishbuster Charters, Inc. 239 947-1688 www.fishbustercharters.com fishbuster@comcast.net
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