Goliath Battles, Shark Attacks & Red Grouper Action
Capt. Dave Hanson
April 28, 2014
Bonita Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report
Monday morning, 4/14, I fished a catch-and-release trip about 12 miles west of New Pass with Carol Harris, her daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and Jeff, and their teen-aged sons, Bradley and Alex. The group used live shrimp to catch four Spanish mackerel to 22 inches, six ladyfish to 20 inches, twenty red grouper to 19 7/8 inches, twenty-five lane snapper, six mangrove snapper shorts and two dozen grunts.
Tuesday, 4/15 and Wednesday, 4/16, were both windy days. Seas were rough and small craft advisories were in effect. Unfortunately both my scheduled trips for those days were with die-hard offshore men, with no interest fishing in the backwaters. I had to cancel both trips.
Thursday, 4/17, it was still pretty sloppy in the gulf early on, but it calmed down nicely. I headed out twelve miles from New Pass with Mile Lorenz and friend, Brian, for a little big-game action, followed by a few food-fish for the cooler. The guys caught and released two goliath grouper, both about 80 pounds. I could see that they had been caught before on lighter line and broken off, because one of them had three hooks in its mouth and the other had two. I did them both a favor and removed the hooks from them before releasing them, and I am guessing they are much more comfortable now! Both of those bit bait-fish. The guys used live shrimp to catch everything else, which included ten red grouper shorts to 19 7/8 inches, just short of keeper size, fifteen keeper lane snapper, a brace of 20-inch Spanish mackerel, seven grunts all 12 to 13 inches, and eight bluefish, all around 14 inches. We released the red grouper shorts and bluefish, and boxed the lanes, mackerel, and grunts. We spotted the big white underbelly of some kind of shark while we were out there, and one of the guys thought he spotted a sailfish fin, which would have been unusual and only the second time ever one of those was spotted from my boat.
Weather was a little iffy again on Friday morning, 4/18, when I headed offshore with Brody Thompson and friends, Al and John. We only got out about 12 miles from New Pass, with seas of three-to-four feet that close in. By the time we left our fishing hole, it was getting rougher, a wave breaking over the bow just before we pulled anchor to head in. But the fishing was good, and the guys caught twenty-four keeper lane snapper and a mess of grunts, a 22-inch Spanish mackerel, and the catch-of-the-day: A nice, 38-inch king mackerel. They released fifteen red grouper shorts.
Clement Wong and family fished lower Hickory Bay with me Saturday morning, 4/19. They had planned to fish for grouper offshore, but seas were four-to six feet, so we settled on fishing inshore. The group caught a 22-inch black drum, a 14-inch keeper sheepshead and an 11-inch keeper mangrove snapper. They released smaller sheepshead, five stingrays, a couple of sail-cats, and a 19-inch snook, all caught on live shrimp.
Monday morning, 4/21, I fished in lower Hickory Bay with Tom Deter and his two sons, Nick and Kyle, along with his father-in-law, Thomas. Live shrimp landed the group a keeper 19-inch black drum, a keeper 15-inch sheepshead, and two keeper mangrove snapper.
Three generations of the Enlund family fished with me Tuesday morning, 4/22/14. Lee, his son Matt, and grandson Tanner fished 12 miles west of New Pass with live shrimp, where they caught and released lane snapper shorts and three red grouper shorts, before catching a keeper 22-inch red grouper, which bit a small lane snapper as it was being reeled in. They added a few good-sized grunts to the fish box before calling it a morning.
Tom Rylander and family fished with me Wednesday morning, 4/23. With a couple of family members sensitive to seas, we stayed near-shore, about 8 miles west of New Pass, where the group fished with live shrimp. They caught three Spanish mackerel, all around 22 inches long, three keeper mangrove snapper, a couple of keeper lane snapper and some grunts. They released a half-dozen red grouper shorts.
Thursday, 4/24, frequent fishers Ron Musick and Eddie Alfonso fished 28 to 35 miles west of New Pass with me. We were using shrimp and pinfish for bait, and would have had a few nice red grouper, had it not been for shark attacks. We had the same experience at a couple different spots—the sharks ate just about everything we were reeling in. We did manage to box ten whitebone porgies to 15 inches, large grunts and a 14-inch yellowtail snapper. And, we released one red grouper that was so very close to 20 inches, but not quite to the mark. A bunch of other groupers that we were reeling in fed three sandbar sharks, all about 8-foot long, which we battled and released. We did likewise with an 8-foot nurse shark.
Friday morning, 4/25, Pam Getner, Kym James, Craig and Carter Dunaway, and Keaton Frohn fished 23 miles west of New Pass with me on a beautiful day with calm seas. We used pinfish for grouper and the group caught five keeper red grouper, including a pair of 24-inch and three that were between 20 and 21 inches. Using live shrimp for snapper yielded ten 14-inch yellowtails, along with some nice whitebone porgies and some grunts. We released additional red grouper shorts.
The photo shown is of angler Kym James, with a 24-inch red grouper, one of five nice red grouper keepers she and her group caught on a offshore recent trip.
You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link.
Bonita Beach Fishing Forecast:
Winds and seas should be fairly calm this week, though not quite as flat as last week was. Fishing conditions should be good inshore and offshore. Time to pack lots of water--temps are nearing 90 degrees.
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