SW FL-Bonita Beach: Tricky Winds & Seas, but Fishing Good
<p>Sara Liegel had arranged an offshore fishing trip for herself, her husband Ryan, her parents, Wyon and Mary-Jo Wiegratz, and her brother, Nathan, for Tuesday, 11/17/15. But, the winds and seas began building over the preceding weekend and, by Tuesday morning, they were four-to-six feet offshore. We rescheduled the trip for Thursday, 11/19, when seas had calmed down considerably, though it was still a bit sloppy offshore. We fished near-shore, in spots eight to twelve miles west of new pass, using live shrimp. The family released ten red grouper to 20 inches. They boxed fifteen keeper lane snapper to 13 inches and a dozen grunts to 12 inches.
The trip I had planned for Monday, 11/23, followed another couple days of increasing winds and seas. Seas were four-to-six feet, with small craft advisories issued through at least Tuesday. The party scheduled for Monday deferred their trip to Wednesday, hoping seas might calm by then so they could fish offshore, which they preferred to backwater fishing.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, 11/24, I fished the backwaters of Estero Bay with Jeremy Gettell and his ten-year-old son, John. We tried to get the best of the tide, but it was still pretty low, as the winds howled across the bay. The boys caught and released three sheepshead, a crevalle jack, and two stingray, all on live shrimp.
Wednesday, 11/25, winds were still strong and seas still rough offshore. So, Stephen Sennett and his two young sons, Aiden and Zion, ended up fishing a catch-and-release trip in Estero Bay. We fished with live shrimp, alongside the channel and at the edge of the bay, where the boys had fun catching and releasing three stingray to 4 pounds, four mangrove snapper, and eight sheepshead.
Thursday was a day off the water for family Thanksgiving festivities. Winds and seas remained high throughout the holiday and into Friday. With small craft advisories still in effect Friday, 11/27, I had to cancel my planned offshore trip for that day.
Winds and seas were slightly calmer on Saturday, 11/28, and the small craft advisory was downgraded to a small craft caution. I managed to get offshore about ten miles with Max Mitchley, friend Kevin Labrecque and his sons, Randy and Andrew, along with the boys' grandfather, Ray Mansour. The group used live shrimp to catch twenty lane snapper, fifteen of which were keepers to a nice size of 14 inches. They also caught a dozen grunts, including four keepers, along with two Spanish mackerel at 22-inches and 23-inches. They released a few mangrove snapper shorts, five red grouper to 19 ½ inches, and a 42-inch blacknose shark.
The first photo shown is of angler Ray Mansour, with a 14-inch lane snapper, caught on shrimp today on a near-shore trip.
You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link.
The second photo shown is of angler John Weigle, with a 25-inch redfish caught on shrimp on a recent inshore trip.
14-inch lane snapper, on shrimp
25-inch redfish, on shrimp
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.