SW FL-Bonita beach: Nice redfish inshore; red grouper offshore
<p>Labor Day, 9/7/15, I had a morning backwater trip scheduled with Dave Schwanke, his daughter Kaline, and Kaline''s boyfriend, Tommy. But, when I awoke to get ready for that trip, I heard thunder rolling in the distance. Radar confirmed a mess of thunderstorms rolling in from the gulf. So we postponed our planned 8AM departure to about 10:30AM, which is when the storms finally moved far enough inland to allow us to enjoy a safe and comfortable, catch-and-release fishing trip in Estero Bay. We fished with live shrimp and pinfish, along the mangrove islands and rocks in various spots along the east wall of the bay. The group caught and released three would-be-keeper redfish, two sheepshead to 14 inches and a two-foot bonnethead shark.
Leo Castro fished Estero Bay's backwaters on a catch-and-release trip with me Saturday morning, 9/12. We fished along the east wall of the bay, as well on the inside of the channel north of New Pass. We released seven keeper-sized mangrove snapper, a 19-inch crevalle jack, a stingray, a 23-inch sailcat, two 22-inch snook, and an over-slot redfish at 27 1/2 inches. The jack and the redfish bit pinfish, while the rest of the catches bit live shrimp.
Joe Watton, his daughter, Elizabeth, and friend, Loren Raap, fished the west side of Estero Bay with me, between New Pass and Big Hickory Pass, on Tuesday morning, 9/15, just ahead of the rain that arrived around 1PM. They caught a keeper redfish at 21 inches, along with a keeper mangrove snapper, and released a couple of stingray, all on live shrimp.
Saturday morning, 9/19, the first dry day we had in a good while, Connor and Hannah Beverly and friends, Kayla and Kevin Reilly, headed 22 miles offshore with me, where they fished with live shrimp and pinfish. A pinfish yielded the bigger of two keeper red grouper, a 24-inch, which bit on Hannah's line. Kayla caught a 21-inch keeper red grouper on live shrimp. The group also caught a dozen keeper lane snapper, along with a 13-inch, keeper mangrove snapper, and a brace of 14-inch triggerfish, all on shrimp. They released a few mangrove snapper shorts, along with twenty-five red grouper shorts to 19 ½ inches.
The photo shown is of angler Leo Castro, with a 27 ½-inch bull redfish, caught on a pinfish and released in Estero Bay on an inshore trip this month.
You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link.
27 1/2-inch bull red on pinfish, 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.