SW FL-Bonita Beach: Red grouper know it's safe to bite now!
<p>After several weeks off the water, with a week-long family reunion to attend, and some rainy weather once back home, I finally got offshore fishing on Friday, 11/6/15, when I headed out to fish twelve to twenty-two miles west of New Pass with Glen Harris, his girlfriend, Dawn Welch, his son, Tripp, and family friend, Lisa Booth. The group wanted a catch and release trip, and they used live shrimp to catch and release twenty-five keeper-sized lane snapper, six mangrove snapper shorts, a 13-inch triggerfish, a 12-inch tripletail, and ten porgies to 14 inches. They used bait-fish to catch and release fifteen out-of-season red grouper to 20 inches.
Monday morning, 11/9, I headed offshore to fish in various spots ranging from twelve to twenty-one miles west of New Pass, with Annabelle McCalister, her dad, Geoff, and her brother-in-law, Neil. The trio caught a nice variety of fish, using live shrimp. Catches included twenty-five keeper-sized lane snapper, of which fifteen were boxed, three red grouper to 22 inches, including two would-be-keepers, had it not been for closed season, twenty-four grunts, of which four were boxed, a 14-inch porgy, a 13-inch triggerfish released, and several yellowtail and mangrove snapper shorts released. About the time we were winding in our lines, the goliath grouper invaded, so it was good timing on the food-fish catches.
Tuesday morning, 11/10, the Glennon family—John and Dauma, Pat, Matt, and Jimmy—dodged a few scattered showers offshore with me, and did well fishing with live shrimp, eighteen miles west of New Pass. The family caught five nice porgies to 17 inches, a dozen grunts to 13 inches, seventeen keeper lane snapper to15 inches, a 23-inch red grouper, released due to closed season, along with six smaller red grouper.
Wednesday morning, 11/11, found me back offshore, where I fished twenty miles west of New Pass with long-time customer, Mike Connealy, and his brother, Pat. The guys used live shrimp to catch two red grouper, 20 inches and 21 inches, which had to be released due to closed season. But, they did box a pair of 14-inch grunts, out of a half dozen they caught, along with two nice porgies, a keeper lane snapper and a 20-inch Spanish mackerel. Pat had never experienced a monster-fish on his line, so we baited a pole with a blue runner and Pat hooked and fought a 100-plus-pound goliath grouper, which we photographed in the water and released.
The out-of-season red grouper bite was on again, about 23 miles west of New Pass, when I fished with Jim and Marilyn Casper on Thursday morning, 11/12. The couple released five of those, including several keeper-sized ones to 24 inches, all of which bit on baitfish. Lane snapper were abundant in various spots from twelve to twenty-three miles offshore, and the Caspers boxed a dozen of those to 12 inches, and released an equal amount of them, having no need for more than a dozen.
The photo shown is of angler Mark Daberkow, with a 40-inch bonnethead shark, caught on shrimp and released on a recent trip.
You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link.
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.