SW FL-Bonita Beach: Great Grouper & Snapper Fishing!

2015-12-17 13:41:48
Bonita Beach, Florida - Saltwater Fishing Report
Estero Bay flats and west of New Pass to 20 miles, gulf

After a rainy Monday that caused us to cancel their trip that day, Erwin and Millie Metusiak, who have fished with me yearly for many years, fished Estero Bay's backwaters with me Tuesday, 12/8/15. Winds were strong, so we fished around the islands, close to New Pass, wherever we could stay somewhat sheltered and the fish were biting. The couple caught four sheepshead to 13 ˝ inches and an 11-inch mangrove snapper. They released short sheepshead, a pair of two-pound stingrays, and three small crevalle jacks.

Wednesday morning, 12/9, seas were still a little sloppy heading out, but winds and seas calmed throughout the morning, and long-time customer and hardy angler, Mike Connealy, along with friends, Jeff Jones and Sherri Scharff, fished 19 miles west of New Pass with me, using live shrimp. The group caught three keeper lane snapper, the largest at 16 inches, along with five whitebone porgies to 17 ˝ inches, three keeper porkfish to 12 inches, and a mess of grunts—they kept a dozen of those to 12 inches, and released the rest. They also released a 20-inch gag grouper, a dozen red grouper to 19 inches, and a few yellowtail shorts.

Bay fishing was kind of slow Thursday, 12/10, when John Jelinek fished with me, down towards Wiggins Pass. John released four sheepshead, an 18-inch sailcat, and a stingray. He had a few bait-stealers hooked several times, but never got to see the culprits!

Greg Haas and his dad, John Haas, fished near-shore with me on Monday, 12/14. There were some residual seas offshore, left over from a windy weekend, and winds were still blowing moderately hard Monday morning. But, even just 12 miles offshore, the guys did well with red grouper, all of which had to be released, due to closed season. Three of the four red grouper they caught bit on blue runners, and they were all would-be keeper-size, the largest at 25 inches. The guys also released a pair of 18-inch gag grouper and eight mangrove snapper shorts. They boxed a brace of 13-inch mangrove snapper shorts and two keeper lane snapper to 16 inches, all of which bit on shrimp.

Another near-shore trip went well on Tuesday, when I fished 14 miles west of New Pass with Brent Jones, Aaron Mead, John Rieckenberg, and Joe Miner. The group caught and released twenty red grouper, including six ranging from 20 inches to 24 inches. They boxed fifteen lane snapper to 13 inches and nine grunts to 12 inches. They released an 18-inch gag grouper, a 13-inch triggerfish and a 12-inch tripletail. The grouper bit on pinfish, and everything else ate live shrimp.

The photo shown is of angler, Greg Haas with a 25-inch red grouper, the largest of four he and his dad caught on pinfish and released on a recent offshore trip.

You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link:


Fish Species: grouper, snapper, redfish, tripletail, porgy, mackerel, shark
Bait Used: live shrimp & bait-fish
Tackle Used: spinning
Method Used: flats fishing and bottom fishing
Water Depth: 1-3 ft. bayside; to 50 ft, gulf
Water Temperature: 81
Wind Direction: variable
Wind Speed: variable
25-inch red grouper, released
25-inch red grouper, released

Dave Hanson

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.

Click Here For Past Fishing Reports by Captain Dave Hanson