SW FL-Bonita beach: Lanes, grouper, flounder, shark, goliaths & more

2016-08-22 11:16:43
Bonita Beach, Florida - Saltwater Fishing Report
Estero Bay flats and west of New Pass to 26 miles, gulf
Dave Hanson

Wednesday, 7/27, I fished offshore in spots from 20 to 27 miles west of New Pass with Mark Aldridge, kids, Alfie and George, their cousin, Nick, and family friend, Mark Lansarve. Using baitfish and squid, the group caught thirty-one red grouper, including one keeper at 22 inches, one 14-inch yellowtail snapper, and twenty-five keeper lane snapper. They released three sharpnose sharks, all about 3-foot long.

Friday morning, 7/29, Mike and Patty Tortrup fished with me, 23 miles west of New Pass, using squid for bait. They released twenty red grouper shorts to 19 inches, and boxed the largest ten of twenty-five keeper-sized lane snapper they caught, to 16 inches. They added five 14-inch grunts to the fish box.

Mike and Tracy Boehm, their fifteen-year-old son, Zak, and his friend, Zachary, fished a catch-and-release trip 23 miles west of New Pass with me Saturday morning. Baited with squid, the group caught and released twenty-five red grouper shorts to 19 inches along with twenty-six would-be keeper lane snapper.

Tuesday morning, 8/2, Scott Bury, Scott Lackey, Dean Moore, and Don Law headed offshore with me to 23 miles west of New Pass. They used squid to catch sixteen red grouper, including one 22-inch keeper and shorts to 19 inches. They also caught a half-dozen keeper lane snapper and a couple of grunts. They battled and released a nurse shark estimated at 200 pounds.

Dave Fawver and his young son, Cooper, fished at the near-shore reefs off Bonita Beach with me on Wednesday morning, 8/3. It was probably calm enough to head further offshore, but it was Cooper's first experience fishing in the gulf, and Dave thought it best to stay closer in and avoid the risk of sea-sickness. Goliath grouper were numerous at the reefs, which always makes it difficult to catch fish that are reeled in whole! But, using shrimp, the guys caught two keeper mangrove snapper, a keeper lane snapper, three grunts, and a 14-inch flounder. They also got to battle and release a 50-pound goliath grouper, which bit on a baitfish.

Tyler and Kaitlin Holsinger fished about 12 miles offshore with me on Thursday morning, 8/4, where they battled and released two goliath grouper, 60 pounds and 200 pounds, both of which bit on baitfish. Kaitlin also caught a keeper lane snapper at 15 inches, which bit a shrimp and which was one of the few keepers that were able to escape the predator-goliaths and get to the boat!

Shawn Christiansen and friend, John, fished a backwaters catch-and-release trip with me on Thursday morning, 8/11. The guys used live shrimp in various spots from Intrepid Waters, south to Wiggins Pass. They released three stingray, two sheepshead, five mangrove snapper, and one crevalle jack.

It is slow time in SW FL now, with family vacations over, kids back to school, and our seasonal residents still at their northern homes. We also have had a good amount of rain and lots of heat, which tends to keep locals in port. So fishing trips have been few and far between, as is typical for this time of year. I did get out offshore again on Saturday morning, 8/20/16, with Billy and Chelita Sabinson, their young son, Bryce, and family friend, Brian Osterhout. We used squid and cut-bait 22 miles west of New Pass, where the group caught and released twenty-five red grouper to 19 7/8 inches. They also had one big red grouper hooked, but it snapped the line. They kept ten nice lane snapper and seven grunts for a couple of tasty meals.

The photo shown is of angler Tyler Holsinger releasing a 200-pound goliath grouper, which ate a bait-fish 12 miles west of New Pass on a recent offshore trip.

You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link:

http://fishbustercharters.com/fishingvideos.html

Fish Species: grouper, snapper, flounder, shark, sheepshead
Bait Used: live shrimp, squid & bait-fish
Tackle Used: spinning
Method Used: flats fishing and bottom fishing
Water Depth: 1-3 ft. bayside; to 50 ft, gulf
Water Temperature: 90
Wind Direction: variable
Wind Speed: variable
Tyler Holsinger releases 200-lb. golith grouper
Tyler Holsinger releases 200-lb. golith grouper

another pic of the goliath
another pic of the goliath

Dave Hanson

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.

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