SW FL-Bonita beach: Red & Black Drum Inshore; Grouper & Snapper Offshore
<p>Monday morning, 8/3/15, I headed twenty-two miles offshore with Ron Sticha and his son, Noah. They had planned to go last Thursday, but that day was rained out, so we rescheduled, hoping to beat the PM showers predicted for Monday. Seas would have been calm, but some squalls kicked up in the late morning, making seas rougher, and prompting us to return to the dock a little bit earlier than planned. Still, the guys did well with snapper and grouper. They caught thirty lane snapper on shrimp, ten of which were keepers to 11 inches. They also caught thirteen red grouper, including one keeper at nearly 21 inches. We made it back in ahead of any big rains, but the winds and seas were definitely on the increase.
David and Melanie Yoder fished Estero Bay's backwaters with me on a catch-and-release trip Tuesday morning, 8/4, which yielded two mangrove snapper, a 17-inch snook, and a 3-pound stingray, caught in spots from Mound Key south to the Imperial River. The recent heavy rains have greatly reduced the salinity in the bay.
Thursday morning, 8/6, I fished the backwaters again, this time with Steve Lynch, on a catch-and-release trip, using live shrimp in lower Hickory Bay. Steve caught a would-be-keeper redfish at 21 inches, and lost one bigger red that pulled off on an oyster bar. He also released a 25-inch black drum, twenty mangrove snapper, including ten would-be-keepers, a 17-inch permit, and a 15-inch crevalle jack.
Mark Aldridge, his two sons, George and Alfie, and his business partner, John, fished 22 miles west of New Pass with me on Monday morning, 8/10. The group used live shrimp to catch a dozen keeper lane snapper and a few grunts, along with twenty-five throw-back red groupers to 18 ½ inches. They did catch one 22-inch keeper red grouper also, which bit a pinfish.
Wednesday morning, 8/12, I fished 22 miles offshore with Paul Fenwick, his young daughter, Emma, and friends, Susan Carlisle, John Priddy, John's daughter, Jordan Priddy, and her boyfriend, Zack. The group used live shrimp to catch twenty keeper lane snapper and four nice-sized grunts. They released twenty-five red grouper shorts to 18 inches.
An early rain pattern offshore began on Friday. Also, the dog days of summer have brought their usual slow-down in bookings, so I will likely be fishing a bit less frequently over the next month or two. But I will be sure to report on whatever trips I take. Tight lines, everyone!
The photo shown is of angler Steve Lynch, with a 25-inch black drum, caught on shrimp in Estero Bay on a recent inshore trip.
You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link:
25-inch black drum, on shrimp, in estero Bay, SW FL
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.