SW FL-Bonita Beach: Great variety offshore & nice reds inshore
<p>Evan Hamilton, Arly Smart, and Arly's son, Justice, fished 22 miles west of New Pass with me in calm seas on Monday morning, 6/22/15. The guys used live shrimp to catch a 24-inch keeper red grouper, along with twenty keeper lane snapper, a keeper mangrove snapper, and three 13-inch porgies. They released a dozen red grouper shorts, four mangrove snapper shorts, and a few yellowtail shorts.
Tuesday, 6/23, Long-time customer Russ Maavich and his three sons, Alex, Brett and Ryan fished in spots from 28 to 35 miles west of New Pass. They used pinfish to land three keeper red grouper, two at 20 ˝ inches and one at 21 1/2 inches. Using live shrimp, they added six yellowtail snapper to 15 inches, a 14-inch mangrove snapper, fifteen keeper lane snapper 11-13 inches, and three porgies to the fish box. They released two dozen red grouper shorts to 18 inches, two dozen lane snapper shorts, a dozen yellowtail shorts, and five sharpnose sharks between 35 and 38 inches.
Mike and Carol Lee fished 20 miles offshore with me on Thursday morning, 6/25. They had no interest in keeping fish—only in catching them--so it was a catch-and-release trip. Catches included two red grouper at 22 inches and 22 ˝ inches, along with two dozen red grouper shorts. The larger of the two legal sized red grouper bit a pinfish, while the other bit on shrimp. Also caught on shrimp were thirty would-be-keeper lane snapper to 12 inches, yellowtail and mangrove snapper shorts, grunts, and a 35-inch sharpnose shark.
Saturday morning, 6/27, I dodged a few rain showers offshore, 20 to 22 miles west of New Pass, with Karen Droke, her 12-year-old granddaughter, Riley, and friend, Joe Simeone. They caught two keeper red grouper at 22 ˝ inches and 23 inches, which bit on pinfish. Using live shrimp, the group caught thirty keeper-sized lane snapper, but chose to keep only the largest two of those, at 14 inches. They also released a 15-inch triggerfish, a 20-inch Spanish mackerel, some mangrove snapper shorts, and lots of red grouper shorts.
Bob Schaefer and son Nick with friends, John Lunden and son, Michael fished with live shrimp 20 to 28 miles offshore with me on Monday, 6/29. The guys did well with lane snapper, catching twenty-eight keepers to 15 inches. They also caught two keeper 13-inch mangrove snapper, grunts and porgies. They released four mangrove snapper shorts, lots of red grouper shorts to just under legal size, and four sharks--four sharpnose and one bonnethead--all around 40 inches.
Bud Baker and three friends fished Estero Bay's backwaters with me, along the east wall, south of Mound Key, on Tuesday morning, 6/30. The guys caught two redfish, including one keeper at 21 inches and one 17 1/2 inches, which we released. They also caught five keeper mangrove snapper to 11 1/2 inches, all on live shrimp.
Rich Mohr took three young anglers on a catch-and-release backwater trip with me on Wednesday morning, 7/1/15. The boys had fun catching and releasing two 14-inch permit, a sand bream, a small snook, and 40 undersized mangrove snapper, all on live shrimp in central Estero Bay.
J. Weigle and son, J. Weigle, Jr., fished the west wall of Estero Bay with me, south of New Pass, on Thursday morning, 7/2. Using live shrimp, they caught a 25-inch redfish, four keeper mangrove snapper to 12 inches, and a 15-inch sheepshead. They released two four-pound stingrays and fifteen mangrove snapper shorts.
Friday morning, 7/3, Jim & Dawn Jenkins and their two daughters fished near-shore with me, nine miles west of New Pass over hard bottom. They used live shrimp to catch five keeper lane snapper to 12 inches and some grunts. They released thirty lane shorts, along with fifteen red grouper shorts to 19 3/4 inches, just short of keeper size.
The photo shown is of angler Betty Bergland, with a 35-inch blacknose shark, caught on shrimp and released on a recent offshore trip.
You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link.
35-inch blacknose on shrimp, 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.