SW FL-Bonita Beach: Grouper, Hogfish & Snapper
<p>Tuesday, 10/28, I fished with repeat customers, Clement and Evelyn Wong, joined by their son, Aaron. After a windy weekend, seas were still a bit choppy twenty miles offshore, where we fished with live shrimp. The bulk of our catches were red grouper, which had to be released, due to closed season, but the family had fun catching six of those, to 23 inches, all of which would have been keepers if in season. The group also released a couple of triggerfish, which are also out of season, along with a few mangrove snapper shorts. They boxed three lane snapper keepers, all about 12 inches, some grunts, and a 14-inch whitebone porgy.
Dave and Judy Eckrich, daughter, Francine, and son-in-law, Joe, fished with me on Wednesday, 10/29, using live shrimp in spots located 22 miles and 25 ½ miles west of New Pass. Out-of-season red grouper were biting like crazy, and the family released about fifty of those to 25 inches. They boxed a half dozen keeper lane snapper, a couple of 13-inch mangrove snapper, a few 13-inch porgies of the fifteen they caught, and a few of the fifteen grunts they caught, to 14 ½ inches, along with a 24-inch Spanish mackerel. They sacrificed a couple of porgies to a greedy barracuda, which began terrorizing our catches at our final spot of the day.
Thursday, 10/30, long-time customer, Dave Carey, fished with me, along with his friends, George Siambanes, Scott Erhardt, and Steve Wanner. We used live shrimp for everything we caught, 36 miles west of New Pass, and the guys caught quite a variety. They boxed fifteen yellowtail snapper keepers to 14 ½ inches, a 13-inch hogfish, a brace of 13-inch mangrove snapper, twenty whitebone porgies to 15 inches, and a dozen grunts, all 14 to 14 ½ inches. Red groupers were biting big-time, and we released fifty of those, including many in the 20 to 25-inch range that would have been keepers if in season. The guys released four triggerfish to 15 inches, which are also currently out of season. George also caught an unusual fish, a yellow jack, at 21 inches.
The next time I headed offshore was on Saturday, 11/8, when I fished with Desiree Juarez and friend, Vince, twenty miles west of New Pass. They used live shrimp to catch and release about twenty red grouper to 19 inches, and they boxed a half dozen keeper lane snapper to 12 inches, a 13-inch mangrove snapper, three 14-inch porgies, and six large grunts, all around 14 inches. As we headed in and were about six miles off Naples Beach, we spotted a big algae bloom, and wondered if it is the red tide that has been reported in the area. From what I have read about this particular bloom, it is not expected to cause much trouble for anglers, so we'll keep our fingers crossed!
The photo shown is of angler Scott Erhardt, with a 25-inch red grouper, caught on shrimp 36 miles west of New Pass 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, on live shrimp, released 36 miles offshore 10-30-14
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.