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Post Info TOPIC: SW FL-Bonita Beach: Red grouper, Hogfish, Shark, Redfish & Sheepshead

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SW FL-Bonita Beach: Red grouper, Hogfish, Shark, Redfish & Sheepshead


Bob and Jo-Ellen Exby fished 18 miles offshore with me on Tuesday, 10/22, just ahead of a cool-front due in the next day. The day began calm, and seas of one-foot were predicted by NOAA, but we had two-to-three foot seas most of the morning, as winds picked up to 15 knots prematurely. The couple used live shrimp to catch a nice, 17-inch hogfish, a keeper 21 1/2-inch red grouper, a keeper yellowtail snapper, three keeper porkfish, and four keeper whitebone porgies. They released a half dozen mangrove snapper shorts and six porgy-shorts.


It was a good while before I fished again, given lots of wind and rough seas offshore, along with our typical lull in activity at the end of October, just prior to busy season’s commencing. I fished a very windy Monday morning in Estero Bay with Jack McGrath, wife Suzanne, and fourteen-year-old daughter, Haley, on 11/4/13. The family wanted to catch and release and just get some experience fishing in the backwaters. They used live shrimp to catch and release fifteen mangrove snapper, five of which were keeper-size, ten sheepshead, including two keeper-sized to 16 inches, a sand bream, two crevalle jacks and a stingray.


Sometimes it seems Mother Nature is out to get you, especially when windy weather fronts arrive right about the time my long-time seasonal customers and angling friends return to the area, eager to wet their lines. We lucked out on Thursday, 11/7, just ahead of a prediction for three-to-five-foot seas offshore for the next couple days to come. I fished with Ron Musick and Eddie Alfonso, and we went after red grouper, using pinfish, in spots from 22 to 29 miles west of New Pass. We caught five keeper red grouper, one measuring 20 ½ inches, two measuring 24 inches, one at 25 inches, and one at 28 inches. The guys released about fifty additional red grouper that were short of legal size, along with lane snapper and yellowtail snapper shorts, a half-dozen triggerfish shorts, two small amberjack, a four-foot sandbar shark, and a 7-foot nurse shark.


Friday, 11/8, was windy, as predicted, with seas predicted to be two-to-four feet within 20 miles, and three-to five feet beyond 20 miles. Long-time customer, Mike Connealy, usually changes plans to fish inshore when conditions are rough offshore. But, this time Mike had three friends with him, Mark Linhart, Bob and Terry, who wanted to fish in the gulf and were willing to deal with the rough seas to fish the close-in reefs. It was rough, for sure, which made fishing tougher. The guys released mangrove snapper, sheepshead, and flounder shorts, and Mark did catch one nice, keeper flounder at 17 ½ inches, on shrimp.


Saturday morning, with winds still blowing 20 knots, Bob and Stephanie Rose chose to fish inshore in Estero Bay. Right off the bat, we had a big redfish take a shrimp and break the line. Shortly after that, Bob caught a 23-inch redfish. Stephanie caught a nice sheepshead at 15 ½ inches, and a keeper mangrove snapper. The couple released several smaller sheepshead and a dozen mangrove snapper shorts, along with a crevalle jack.


The photo shown is of a 28-inch red grouper, one of five keepers caught on pinfish, fishing with angler Ron Musick, on a recent offshore trip.

 28-inch red grouper

You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link:

 fishing videos


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