Fishing Offshore Excellent & 1st Gag of the Season
Capt. Dave Hanson
July 14, 2014
Bonita Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report
Monday, 6/30/14, Matt Siebert and friends Matthew, Jim and Steve, had planned to fish a full-day with me offshore. The dead calm seas of the several preceding days had picked up somewhat, but the NOAA forecast was for two-to-three foot sees out to sixty miles. As soon as we got out to New Pass, we knew that wasn't the case, with seas as high as 5 feet close-in, as the winds picked up throughout the morning. So, we decided to stay near-shore, and fish for sharks and goliaths. The guys caught and released two goliath grouper at 80 pounds and 120 pounds, along with two 40-inch sandbar sharks. Two other good-sized sharks were hooked, but cut the line. The group also released crevalle jacks and a 14-inch mangrove snapper. We headed in at the half-day mark, everyone having had enough heat, rough seas and goliath-grouper-induced muscle soreness for the day!
Tuesday morning, 7/1, I fished between 8 and 12 miles west of New Pass with Chris Morrow and his son, Alec Bayer, Fred Morando and his son, Freddy, and Mike Conrod and his son, Vinny. The father son teams used live shrimp and pinfish to catch a variety of fish, including a 20 ½-inch keeper red grouper, a 13 ½-inch triggerfish, and a 13-inch lane snapper. The group released lots of red grouper shorts to 19 inches, a couple of gag grouper shorts, lane snapper shorts, grunts, a 25-inch cobia, and an 8 ½-foot nurse shark.
John Liebenow and Nick McAllister fished about 18 miles west of New Pass with me on Wednesday, 7/2, where they used live shrimp to catch nine nice mangrove snapper to 16 inches. They released smaller mangs, yellowtail shorts, and red grouper shorts. Two big groupers, one gag and one red, snapped the circle hooks on our snapper rigs and got away before they could be boated.
Winds and seas began picking up Wednesday afternoon, as the soon-to-be-hurricane, Arthur, hugged the FL coast for a bit before veering into the Atlantic and northward. I advised Dennis McGorry, his wife, Marnie, and their two young sons, Nate and Josh, that seas would be too rough in the gulf, so the family opted to fish the backwaters with me Thursday morning, 7/3. The group did well, fishing with live shrimp in lower Hickory Bay, where they caught a keeper 21 ½-inch redfish and eight keeper mangrove snapper to 12 inches. They released lots of mang-shorts, along with three sheepshead to 11 7/8 inches and a couple of crevalle jacks.
I was off the water on Friday July 4th. Saturday, a rainy pattern began, which persisted through Monday, 7/7. I remained in port.
Tuesday morning, 7/8, I fished in spots ranging 10 to 18 miles offshore with Bob O'Hara and his grandson, Kevin. The pair wrestled and released a 75-pound goliath grouper, which bit on a grunt. We got a couple of pics of that battle. We switched to live shrimp to lure some food-fish, and the guys boxed three keeper mangrove snapper to 14 inches, three keeper whitebone porgies all about 14 inches, and seven lane snapper to 11 inches. They released fifteen short porgies and twenty lane snapper shorts.
Bill Jones and daughters Krista and Kelsey fished ten miles west of New Pass with me on Thursday morning, 7/10. The trio used live shrimp to catch twenty-five lane snapper, fifteen of which were keepers to 17 inches. They added a few grunts to the box, and they released lots of red grouper shorts to 19 ½ inches, a couple of short gag grouper, and a 35-inch sandbar shark.
My scheduled trip for Friday had an emergency back home, and had to leave Florida a day earlier than expected, so I was off the water Friday. Saturday morning, Drs. Meir and Rie Daller, young sons Julian and Brenden, and family friend, Mr. Long, fished offshore with me in spots between 12 and 17 miles west of New Pass. The group caught a nice 17-inch hogfish and a keeper gag grouper at 23 inches. They added to the fish box eight mangrove snapper keepers that all measured about 15 inches and four keeper lane snapper to 14 ½ inches. They threw in a few 12-inch grunts and a couple of 14-inch whitebone porgies. They released ten extra porgies, along with some lane snapper shorts and some red grouper shorts to 19 ½ inches. Everything bit on shrimp, except for the keeper gag grouper, which bit a pinfish. Seas were a little sloppy heading out, but calmer coming in, after the wind shifted. As is typical these days, we just beat the beginnings of afternoon thunderstorms, returning to the dock as the first claps of thunder could be heard in the distance.
The photo shown is of young angler, Brenden Daller ,with a 23-inch gag grouper, the first one since season opened July 1st, caught on a pinfish on an offshore trip 7/12/14.
You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link.
Bonita Beach Fishing Forecast:
Thunder and rainstorms over the gulf this morning, as have been frequent recently. Most days last week, they held off until after 1PM. The rain chance is about 60% all week, but at varied times and scattered. Seas are calm, so grab your rain ponchos and catch 'em up--but with a wary eye to the skies. Stay safe!
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