Scott Shinke, friends, and family fished with me on Fridaymorning, 7/6/18, 22 miles west of New Pass, using cut-bait and squid. Theyboxed fifteen lane snapper to 13 inches, along with two Spanish mackerel 22inches and 23 inches. They released twenty-five red grouper shorts, and alsobattled and released a nine-foot nurse-shark. They cited a good-sized sandbarshark also, but that one did not take the bait.

GregCarlson and Brent Bixby fished with me on Monday, 7/9, in 70 feet, 36 mileswest of New Pass. There were plenty of red grouper to catch, but nokeepers--keepers have been very scarce lately and, even in 70 feet, that didnot change. We also caught and released an 18-inch gag grouper. The guysbattled a shark that was either a blacktip or a spinner, most likely aspinner--it finally wrapped the line and got off, after four runs and fivejumps. Greg also caught and released a 35-inch blacknose shark. Another releasewas a six-pound crevalle jack. As for food -fish, the guys boxed a dozen keeperlane snapper, two yellowtail snapper at 14 inches and 15 inches, a 13-inchmangrove snapper, and a porgy.

Mondaymorning, 7/16, I fished a near-shore catch-and-release trip with DanielBlaiser, Karin Junc, and Sven Junc. The group just wanted to catch and releaseany kind of fish, so we used squid and cut-bait to fish for whatever was bitingabout twelve miles west of New Pass. We released twenty-three red groupershorts to 18 inches, a dozen lane snapper to 11 inches, and two dozen grunts.Sven hooked a large Mantis shrimp, which was an interesting catch! Those aredangerous to handle, and are commonly called “thumb splitters.”

Wednesdaymorning, 7/18/18, I fished 22 miles west of New Pass on a catch-and-releasetrip with Christopher Worley, his teenage son, Sam, and his teenage daughter,Izzy. The family used squid and cut-bait to catch and release twentykeeper-sized lane snapper to 14 inches and two dozen red grouper shorts to 18inches.

Matthewand Julie Stanford, along with their son, Luke, and Luke’s grandparents,Cornelia and Dan Vellenga, fished 25 miles offshore with me on Friday morning,7/27, using cut-bait and squid. The family boxed twenty keeper lane snapper to14 inches, and released twenty-five red grouper shorts, one of which was justan eighth of an inch short of keeper size.

NateBinder and his friend, Mr. Mernacki, fished offshore with me Monday morning,7/30. There was a light drizzle when we headed out, and weather predictionswere for that light rain to be mostly along the coast, and to move through thearea quickly—wrong! We had rain most of the morning, and had to delay headingout to our farthest spot for a bit, since we encountered a few storms thatcontained lightening. We eventually got out to 25 miles, though the ride wasn’tsmooth, in sometimes four-foot seas. But the guys had a good time using squidand cut-bait to box fifteen keeper lane snappers and a Spanish mackerel. Theyreleased two yellowtail shorts, six mangrove shorts, and thirty red groupershorts to 18 inches.

Seaswere far rougher than predicted on Thursday morning, 8/2, when I headedoffshore with Chris Heil and his son, Mike. NOAA’s prediction was for two footseas, but we had steady four-footers, with a few waves even topping that. Itwas tough fishing 18 miles west of New Pass, but the guys caught and releasedred grouper shorts and grunts, which bit on squid and cut-bait.

ChrisHeil fished with me again on Saturday morning, 8/4. Seas were a little calmerthan Thursday’s were, but far from smooth. We used cut-bait and squid to boxsix grunts to 14 inches, five keeper porgies, and a half dozen keeper lanesnapper. We released ten red grouper shorts to 17 inches, 19 miles west of NewPass.

Mondaymorning, 8/6, I fished 19 miles west of New Pass with John King, his son,Chris, and several other family members. Seas were a little choppy heading out,but calmed down and were the calmest they have been over the past several days.John and family used squid to box six keeper lane snapper to 14 inches, a13-inch yellowtail snapper, and a dozen grunts in the 13-to14-inch range. Theyreleased twenty-five red grouper shorts.

Wednesdaymorning, John King fished with me again, this time with a couple of otherfamily members, Jack Coffman and Kelley. Using squid and cut-bait 22 miles westof New Pass, the group boxed fifteen nice sized grunts all between 12 and 14inches, along with a keeper lane snapper. They released at least fifty redgrouper shorts to19 ½ inches, along with a half dozen mangrove snapper shortsand a half dozen yellowtail shorts.

Fridaymorning, 8/10, I headed offshore to fish with Scott Fata, Daniel Austin, andtheir friend, Tom. The wind had changed direction and was blowing some of thered tide and dead fish our way, from Sanibel, so we headed out a few milesfurther to get out of that. Fishing 22 to 24 miles from New Pass, the guys usedsquid and cut-bait to box six nice lane snapper keepers to 15 inches, alongwith a few grunts and an 18-inch Spanish mackerel. But the exciting catch ofthe day was a 50-inch barracuda, which Daniel reeled in on one of his firstcasts. It was too dangerous to handle the big ‘cuda for a photo in hand, so wephotographed him on a gaffe, and immediately released him.
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