SW FL-Bonita beach: Big Sheeps return; Grouper Action Good!
<p>Long-time customers, Erwin and Millie Metusiak fished the backwaters with me on Monday morning, 12/8/14. Using live shrimp, the couple caught and boxed two pompano at 14 inches and 15 inches, along with a 13-inch sheepshead. They released some smaller sheepshead, along with four crevalle jacks.
My next planned fishing trip was to be offshore on Wednesday, 12/10, but it was mighty cold that morning, in the mid-forties, and the winds were still blowing hard and causing some rough conditions offshore,. My anglers rescheduled their trip for the following week.
Friday morning, 12/12, I fished offshore, 18 miles west of New Pass, with long-time customer, Mike Connealy. NOAA had predicted calm winds and seas, but that wasn't what we encountered. The two foot seas predicted turned out to be four-footers, with a steady, chilly 15-knot wind blowing all morning. But, the fishing was good for snapper, porgies, and some big-fish battles. Mike boxed a dozen porgies to 16 inches, and released a few smaller ones. He also boxed two nice mangrove snapper at 15 inches and 16 inches, all caught on shrimp. He had fun battling and releasing a 100-pound goliath grouper that bit a on a 15-inch porgy, as did an 8-foot blacknose shark that provided a fun fight as well.
Monday morning, 12/15, I fished inshore with Frank Richards, his son Tony, Tony's grandfather, Largus Bruer, and family friend, Alvin Bodin. The guys used live shrimp to catch six nice sheepshead to 15 inches and two trout, one at 15 inches and one at 17 inches. They released some smaller sheepshead, a ladyfish, and a stingray.
Tuesday morning, 12/16, I fished again in lower Hickory bay, this time with sister and brother, Shirley and Dan Host. They used live shrimp on a catch-and-release trip, and released a 17-inch redfish, four sheepshead to 14 inches, a 22-inch ladyfish, two stingray, and two puffer-fish.
Wednesday, 12/17, seas were calm and conditions were great 19 miles west of New Pass, where I fished with Joe George and his son, Brad. We had steady grouper action, which was great, even though they all had to be released, due to closed season. The guys used live shrimp to catch and release fifteen red grouper, five of them keeper-sized at between 22 and 27 inches. They also released seven gag grouper, two of which were keeper-sized, along with an 18-inch hogfish. They boxed three 15 and 16-inch mangrove snapper, out of five mangs caught, and added twenty nice whitebone porgies to 16 inches to the fish box. They released a brace of 15-inch triggerfish, along with a porkfish, and they battled, photographed, and released an 8 1/2 –foot sandbar shark, which bit on a porgy. All in all, it was a great morning of fishing.
Paul Oleff and friends, Sandy and Howard, wanted to explore Estero Bay and check out various fishing spots with me on Friday morning, 12/18. They released sheepshead to 15 inches, and learned a good bit about the bay.
The photo shown is of angler, Joe George, with an 18-inch hogfish, caught on shrimp on a recent offshore trip.
You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link.
18-inch hogfish on shrimp
About The Author: Captain Dave Hanson
Company: Fish Buster Charters
Area Reporting: Bonita Beach
Bio: Captain Dave Hanson is a native of southwest Florida. He has been fishing local waters since childhood, and has been fishing professionally for over fifteen years. He is Coast Guard licensed, and is a member in good standing of the Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce. He has been featured in several national fishing magazines, and he also appears weekly in the fishing reports sections of the Bonita, Ft. Myers, Ft. Myers Beach, and Naples, FL newspapers.