SW FL-Bonita beach: Some Big Game this week
<p>I was off the water for a few days, with busy season winding down, and fishing trips not scheduled every day of the week, as they have been for the past several months. On Wednesday, 5/11, I fished inshore in lower Hickory Bay with Nat Drourr and his son, Josh. Using live shrimp, the guys caught and released a 22-inch snook, along with eight mangrove snapper, two of which were keepers.
After another lull in trips, which happened to fall during a period of no rain and calm seas, my next trip out was on Tuesday, 5/17, when rain hung over the gulf, and winds and seas picked up, causing some pretty rough conditions. But long-time customer, Jim Dean, along with his son, Jeremy, headed out 22 miles with me anyway, where they used pinfish to catch a 21-inch keeper red grouper, and released ten smaller ones. They used live shrimp to add a 14-inch porgy and two keeper lane snapper to the fish box, and they released eight lane shorts.
Jim Dean fished with me again on Wednesday, 5/18, following a full over-night of thunderstorms. By early morning, there remained only some residual scattered rains over the gulf, and seas had calmed, compared with their levels the day before. Jim decided to risk getting wet in order to go after some big fish to fight. It never did rain in the spots we fished, mostly about 20 miles west of New Pass. And, Jim definitely got the battles and adrenaline surges he was seeking. He battled a tiger shark that was over ten feet long for about an hour, after it bit on a crevalle jack. Of course, my Go-Pro camera malfunctioned, or I'd have had some great video of that. But Jim was wearing a Go-Pro the entire time, and we are hoping he got some good video that he can send my way. Jim also released three goliath grouper, with estimated weights of 50 pounds, 100 pounds, and 400 pounds. Those also bit on crevalle jacks. Jim is likely to feel those catches on his arm muscles for a few days!
Friday, 5/20, I headed offshore to 25 miles west of New Pass with Mark and Liz Venturin, their son Bob, and uncle, Mike Sturgeon. We fished for grouper with baitfish, and the group caught 26 red grouper, though we had to release all but one keeper at 21 inches. Twelve of the shorts were between 19 and 19 ¾ inches, just shy of keeper size. We hooked and fought a big king mackerel that eventually broke the line, as did a big shark, both of which bit on baitfish and offered some good arm-breaking battles! Using live shrimp, we caught two dozen keeper lane snapper and a dozen grunts to add to the fish box, and that, along with the keeper red grouper, provided plenty of food fish for the family.
You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link:
400 lb goliath, released while submerged
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.