SW FL-Bonita Beach: Fighting Fish...and Weather!
<p>Monday morning, 11/24/14, was windy, as had been the case for several days, and I fished inshore in Estero Bay's flats with Jim Fares and his father-in-law, Doug, on a catch-and-release trip that yielded five sheepshead and a crevalle jack.
Tuesday, 11/25, I had an offshore trip scheduled, and I was glad to see the weather front approaching the area would be delayed until evening, allowing us to get the half-day trip in. Unfortunately, after confirming the trip the evening before, that party canceled at the last minute Tuesday morning, making it too late to call anyone on the waiting list for this busy holiday week.
On Wednesday, 11/26, the front had moved through in the wee hours, with rain lingering until nearly 9AM, so I delayed my inshore fishing trip with Luke Pringle until 9AM that morning. We hid from the high winds as much as possible, while fishing with live shrimp in lower Hickory Bay. Luke caught a keeper redfish at 21 inches and two keeper sheepshead at 13 inches and 18 inches. He released a 22-inch sail-cat, a few smaller cats, and a puffer-fish.
Thanksgiving was a day off the water, spent with family, as yet another cold front moved across, with temperatures hitting the mid-forties by early Friday morning, 11/28. Phil Beuth and two of his friends fished a catch-and-release, inshore trip with me on that chilly Friday morning. We made the most of what tide there was in the backwaters, but it was pretty low, especially toward the end of the morning. The guys released fifteen sheepshead to 14 inches, a small snook, and a crevalle jack, all caught on live shrimp.
Saturday, 11/29, I had an offshore trip scheduled, but the predictions for residual two-to-four foot seas, as well as the morning temperature of 46, scared off my anglers.
By Monday, 12/1, temperatures had warmed considerably, and morning lows were pleasant in the low sixties, reaching the low eighties by afternoon. Winds had calmed somewhat too, and with their easterly direction, seas were fairly calm twenty miles west of New Pass, where I fished with Mike and Bethany Lischer, Bethany's sister, Allison, and the ladies' dad, Donald. The group used live shrimp to catch thirty-four whitebone porgies, all measuring around 14 inches. They boxed ten of those and released the rest. They also caught fifteen 13-inch grunts, kept five of those, and released the rest. We also released twenty out-of-season red grouper to 25 inches, mostly caught on shrimp, except for the largest, which bit a blue runner.
Winds blew hard most of the week, and Friday brought some rain to the area. The next time I fished was Saturday morning, 12/6, in lower Hickory bay, on an inshore trip with Bob Eckle and friend, Ken. The guys used live shrimp to catch two keeper sheepshead, a 13-inch and a 16-inch. They released three sheepshead just under 12 inches, along with a redfish pup.
The photo shown is of angler Mike Lischer, with a 25-inch red grouper, caught on a blue runner and released on a recent offshore trip.
You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link.
25-inch red grouper, caught on a blue runner, and released
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.