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Post Info TOPIC: SW FL-Bonita Beach:Grouper to 32 inches reluctantly released!

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SW FL-Bonita Beach:Grouper to 32 inches reluctantly released!


After two days of windy, rough, unusually cold weather, thanks to a strong cold-front, I finally got back out fishing on Wednesday morning, 1-4-12. It was still a chilly 35 degrees first thing that morning, and seas were residually rough offshore, so Andy Oliver and Pat O’Neil opted to leave later in the morning and to fish the bay, rather than the gulf. We fished Estero Bay, down toward Wiggins Pass, using live shrimp. The guys caught a 17-inch black drum and a 14 1/2-inch sheepshead, both of which they kept for dinner. They chose to release a 19 1/2-inch (keeper-sized) redfish, and they also released two 20-inch snook and a dozen smaller sheepshead.


Thursday, it was finally calm enough to head offshore, with two-to-three foot seas, so I headed out about fifteen miles with long time customer, Ron Musick and his usual crew of friends, Dick, Fred, Bill and Eddie. We fished with live shrimp in 38 feet off Naples. The guys caught two keeper mangrove snapper, fourteen keeper lane snapper, a half-dozen nice porgies, ten grunts, and two keeper sheepshead. They released lots of mangrove snapper shorts, smaller porgies, a porkfish, a small hogfish, and lots of red and gag grouper shorts.


Friday morning was still chilly, but it warmed up quickly, and soon it felt like SW FL again! Seas were calm, and I headed offshore about 19 ½ miles west of New Pass to fish with live shrimp in 43 feet. Tim Gustin, his son Chase, and friend, Clark McCloud, had been waiting since weather canceled their original plans to fish on Tuesday—It was worth the wait: The trio caught seventeen nice mangrove snapper to 17 ½ inches, four porkfish, a mess of porgies, and grunts. They released some yellowtail snapper shorts, and decided to release all their other catches except the mangrove snapper, as they had plenty of those. They reluctantly released a 23 ½ inch gag grouper, which ate a shrimp, as well as a beautiful 31 ½ inch gag that ate a porgy. Gag grouper are currently out-of season.


Saturday morning, I had an inshore trip with Sal Rodando and Bob Walker. We fished Estero Bay, using live shrimp. The tide was pretty slow so the fishing action wasn't stellar, but the guys managed to catch a couple keeper-sized sheepshead. They released a 17-inch redfish, lots of smaller sheepshead and snapper, and ladyfish.


My next day on the water was Tuesday, 1/10/12, when I fished with Ron Musick and friends, Dick, Fred and Eddie, all of whom had fished with me the previous Thursday. We headed out to 45 feet, about 21 miles west of New Pass to look for some of those big mangrove snapper I had been catching out there last Friday. We didn’t find any quite that big, but we did catch a half- dozen keepers to 14 inches, and released a whole lot of smaller mangs. We also caught seven keeper lane snapper, and released lots of lane shorts. We kept seven nice porgies out of a mess of those caught, and we released a few short triggerfish, along with about forty red grouper to 19 ½ inches. We used live shrimp for all our catches.


Wednesday brought rain and gusty winds, as another weather front approached. I remained in port. But Thursday, I fished Estero Bay with Robin Latham and Chris Welch. We baited with live shrimp, and caught five keeper sheepshead to 17 ½ inches—a 17 ½ inch, a 17-inch, a 15-inch and a pair of 14-inch sheepies. The guys also caught two redfish, one of which was a keeper at 20 inches, and the other one 17 inches and released. We also caught two keeper mangrove snapper at 11 inches each.


Seas got rough once again, with another cold front that reached the area Friday afternoon. I canceled my planned offshore charter for Saturday.

 31-5 inch gag grouper


The photo shown is of yours truly, Captain Dave, with a 31 ½ inch gag grouper, caught on a porgy and released ( due to closed season) on an offshore trip January 6th.

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