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Post Info TOPIC: SW FL-Bonita Beach: 8-lb. Red Grouper, Snapper & More

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SW FL-Bonita Beach: 8-lb. Red Grouper, Snapper & More


“No oil—No spoil

Our Beaches are Clean—Our Waters Pristine”


Monday, 4/18, I headed offshore with longtime customer, Peter Kenney, his son, David, and friends, Bernie and John. We fished about 22 miles west of New Pass with live shrimp. The catch of the morning was David’s 24 ½ inch, 8-pound red grouper. Once we had that lunker, the group saw no need to keep a lot of other fish, so they kept about ten of the thirty-some lane snapper we caught, to 14 ½ inches, and released the rest of them, along with about 35 red grouper shorts to 19 ½ inches.


Tuesday, I headed back out to the previous day's lucky spots, this time with Ron Musick, Dick Arnett, Bob Mayer, Larry Lodick and John Zahaby. The red grouper were abundant again, but no keepers were among them. We released lots of them to 19 inches. But we did catch thirty keeper lane snapper, and released a bunch more of those too. It was tougher fishing because the tide was ripping out and the wind was howling by early afternoon, with seas building. The guys were broken off four times by what was probably grouper that got down in the bottom and cut their lines.


Wednesday morning, I fished a catch-and-release trip with Richard Driscoll Jr. and Sr., along with Richard Jr.'s five-year-old son, Jack, and Jack's eight-year-old cousin, Sadie. The visiting family was heading back home to Virginia tomorrow, so the group had no interest in keeping fish. The kids just wanted to try their hands at catching a few. We used live shrimp, and we released mangrove snappers, sheepshead and snook.


Thursday, I headed out 22 miles and fished with Steve Spitzer and Jolissa Reever in 47 feet, using shrimp. We were fishing with light spinning tackle, which served us well for the twenty lane snappers we caught, to 13 inches, as well as seven whitebone porgies to 14 inches. But, when something big grabbed Steve’s pole as he was reeling in a lane snapper, we wished we’d had it on a heavier pole. It ended up being an approximate fifty-pound cobia, which we fought for forty-five minutes. It appeared to be tiring, not running so far from the boat, and nearly within our grasp but, at the end it wore through the leader and got off…sore arms are all we have as a reminder, as we couldn’t even get a photograph!


Friday morning, winds picked up to about twenty knots, and we encountered some four-foot seas, out about 23 miles, where I fished with Tom Wolfe, his son, Jordan, and Gary Johnston. We kept twenty nice lane snapper to 14 inches, out of thirty-two we caught on live shrimp. We released red grouper shorts to 18 inches, and also got hit hard once by something big that bit a free-lined shrimp.


Saturday morning was windier than Friday was, and I couldn’t get out as far as I did on Friday, due to rougher seas. Frank Partee and his son, Joe, fished the near-shore reefs and a few other close-in spots with me. We caught eight keeper lane snapper and a mess of grunts for the family’s dinner, and then we got to play with an 80-pound goliath grouper, on light tackle, which we got to the surface for photographs.


Monday, 4/25, I headed out about 22 miles with Bob Sawyer, family and friends. We caught thirty-five keeper lane snapper to 16 inches, and released lots of red grouper shorts to 18 inches, all on live shrimp. Seas were a little sloppy, with some wind and rain in the forecast for later that day, but it was comfortable enough out there to spend a little over half a day catching ‘em up.


Tuesday, seas were calm once again, and I headed out about 22 miles with Dick Hall, son-in-law, Clay Attebery, Clay's son, Jack, and family friend, Chuck Schmidt. We caught a brace of 21-inch red grouper keepers and released three others that were just borderline-20-inches. We also released about twenty additional red grouper shorts. We caught the grouper on pinfish and tomtates. We also kept thirty lane snapper of about fifty, all caught on live shrimp. Also on shrimp, we caught two 23-inch Spanish mackerel and a 13-inch keeper mangrove snapper. We released about fifteen smaller mangs.


Wednesday, I had planned a full-day trip offshore with long time customer, John Carmack, and his eight-year-old son, Jackson. It was to be Jackson's first offshore trip with me, and he was looking forward to some big fish. Unfortunately, winds were blowing hard, and seas were three-to-four feet, even at the near-shore reefs, so we didn't venture much further than those. We caught a keeper pompano, as well as keeper sheepshead and Spanish mackerel. But, Jackson did get his wish for a big fish when we hooked a 40-pound goliath grouper, which we photographed and released.


Thursday, I fished central Estero Bay on a catch-and-release trip with Jim Fares. We released eleven redfish to 19 ¾ inches, a small snook, a 13-inch sheepshead, and a 12-inch mangrove snapper, all on live shrimp.


John Carmack and his eight-year-old son, Jackson, returned to fish with me Friday, this time with family friend, Rick. Seas were even rougher offshore than they were on Wednesday, when John and Jackson fished the near-shore reefs with me, so we elected to fish in Estero Bay this time. We released three redfish to 16 inches, two of them caught by Jackson. We also caught three keeper mangrove snapper, and we released a couple of rays.


Saturday morning, I had planned to head offshore with a party of six but, with seas forecast to be three-to-five feet well offshore, I advised the group to wait for a day with better conditions, since the most productive fishing recently has been out beyond the reefs.


Sunday morning, 5/1, I fished a catch-and-release trip in Estero Bay with long-time customer, Jim Novy and his four children, Jaclyn, Jordan, Jimmy and Julia, ages twelve, nine, eight and six. The Novy family planned to return north the next day so there was no need to keep fish. We released mangrove snapper, sheepshead, crevalle jack, a 16-inch snook, and a 17-inch trout, all caught on live shrimp.


The photo shown is of angler, David Kenney with a 24 ½, 8 lb., red grouper, caught on shrimp, on a recent offshore trip.

8-pound red grouper

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