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SW FL-Bonita Beach: Slow season, but fishing is good

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  • SW FL-Bonita Beach: Slow season, but fishing is good

    Wind, wind, wind, and more wind! That describes our weatherpattern lately. Monday, 4/22, was predicted to be calm, after a couple weeksprior of mostly strong winds and rough seas. But long-time customer Roy Mittmanand his son, Zack, who headed offshore with me Monday quickly decided that 18miles would be far enough, since seas were choppy even that close-in. The guysused squid to box a half-dozen grunts and four 11-inch lane snapper. Theyreleased two short lanes, along with six red grouper shorts, two ladyfish, andthree crevalle jacks that were all around two pounds.

    Ann Heck, accompanied by her two young grandsons, Carter andJackson, and by daughter’s boyfriend, Dane, fished 19 miles west of New Passwith me on Tuesday morning, 4/23. Using squid, the family boxed six keepergrunts and two keeper lane snapper. They released lots more grunts, along witha 19-inch goliath grouper, five short lane snapper, and five crevalle jacksthat were all around two pounds. Lines were cut twice by sharks, but we didn’tget to see what kind they were.

    Wednesday morning, 4/24, I fished a catch-and-release trip insouthern Estero Bay with LeAnn Russell, her son, Aubrey, and Aubrey’sgirlfriend, Lindsey. The group used live shrimp to catch and release threesheepshead to 12 inches, three sailcats all about 18 inches, and eight shortmangrove snapper. Lindsey had a redfish on, but jerked the line a little toohard, and lost it. Water conditions weren’t ideal, muddied by the nearby dredgingand a lot of floating grass.

    Thursday, 4/25, was not at all what was predicted, and wasnot a stellar day of fishing. In advance of a weather front approaching thearea Friday, NOAA had forecast two-foot seas, but I encountered three-to-fourfooters, fishing between 19n and 28 miles west of New Pass with frequentcustomer, Ron Musick and several of his friends and family. Fishing wasextremely slow—I am not sure what was going on, but we released close to ahundred squirrel fish, and only caught one 20-inch Spanish mackerel, a keeperlane snapper and some grunts.

    At the end of April, nearly all our winter-time residentsheaded back to their northern homes, and there was little demand for fishingtrips. That will likely change for the better as families with childrenout-of-school for summer begin to head to our beach areas for vacation.

    Wednesday, 5/15, was the next time I got out on the water. Ifished southern Estero Bay with repeat customer, Gary Hourselt, and hisbrother, Pete. They used live shrimp to catch three keeper black drum to 17inches, two keeper mangrove snapper both in the 11-to12-inch range, and akeeper, 13-inch sheepshead. They released a few mangrove snapper shorts and afew sheepshead shorts.

    My next excursion was on Wednesday, 5/22, when I headedoffshore to 35 miles west of New Pass with Mike Wething, his sons, Mike Jr. andDave, and friend, Nick Hugher. With squid, cut-bait, and shiners for bait, theguys caught a nice variety of keeper fish. They caught five keeper vermillionsnappers, all 11-to-12 inches long, six keeper mangrove snapper to 14 inches,six keeper yellowtail snapper, five keeper lane snapper, a dozen keeper gruntsto 15 inches, and a dozen keeper porgies. They released two 17-inch red groupershorts, nine yellowtail shorts, and eight mangrove snapper shorts.

    The photo shown is of Meir Daller with a 16-inch mangrove snapper,caughton squid 33 miles west of New Pass on a recent offshore trip.
    Click image for larger version

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    You can view our fishing action videos at
    Captain Dave Hanson
    Fishbuster Charters, Inc.
    Bonita Beach, FL
    239 947-1688
    [email protected]