Lanes,grouper,drum & sheepshead
Capt. Dave Hanson
January 27, 2017
Bonita Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report
A strong cold front came through our area the weekend of 1/7, bringing blustery winds, cold temps, and high seas. Dave Carr and his friend, John Kinkaid, had hoped to fish offshore Monday, 1/9, but seas were high and small craft advisories were in effect. The tide in the backwaters was far from optimal, but the guys decided to try some backwater fishing, rather than cancel. We fished with live shrimp in southern Estero Bay, where the guys caught six sheepshead, including two keepers at 13 inches and 15 inches. Along with the four short sheepshead, they also released a small flounder and a stingray.
Glenn Wright fished in southern Estero Bay's backwaters with me on Tuesday morning, 1/10, where he used live shrimp to catch six black drum to 22 inches, along with a half dozen sheepshead shorts. He kept one 15-inch drum for his dinner, and released all the rest.
Chad Moening took his daughter, Sydney Bonnell and her friend, Madeline Damico backwater fishing in south Estero Bay with me on Thursday, 1/12. The group used live shrimp to catch fourteen black drum, eight of which were keepers to 19 inches, along with eleven sheepshead, three of which were keepers at 16 to 17 inches each. They added to the fish box a nice 17-inch trout.
The photo shown below is of Madeline Damico with a 17-inch sheepshead, caught on shrimp in Estero Bay on a inshore recent trip.
Four brothers, Dan, Randy, Roman and Ryan Jahnke fished 36 miles offshore with me on Thursday, 1/19, where they caught nearly 60 red grouper, but only one of them was keeper size at 22 inches. They also released six nice, but out-of-season, triggerfish to 17 inches, along with one mangrove snapper short and an 8-foot sandbar shark that showed up for battle at the end of the day. In addition to the keeper grouper, the guys boxed fifteen grunts to 16 inches and a dozen porgies in the 13-14-inch range. Everything was caught on squid and cut-bait.
The Jahnke brothers, who had fished with me Thursday, had also reserved Friday, 1/20, initially to fish in the bay. But, after having such a good time fishing the gulf the day before, they decided to head offshore again. This time, we fished closer in, about 22 miles west of New Pass, hunting for lane snapper. We found them! The guys caught twenty-five keeper lanes, along with one keeper red grouper at 21 inches and a half-dozen grunts, all on cut-bait and squid.
The nasty weather that swept through the south over the weekend arrived here overnight Sunday into Monday, 1/23. Gusty winds and seas of 12-18 feet offshore were good reasons to remain in port. It was still too rough on Tuesday, 1/24, to get my scheduled offshore trip out.
By Thursday, 1/26, the day began with calmer seas, but they began to pick up pretty quickly, ahead of another weather front arriving. So I only went as far as 17 miles west of New Pass with frequent customers, Mike Connealy and his daughter, Paige. They had their sights set on a fish-fry, and they managed to catch the makings for that, with fifteen keeper lane snapper and a half dozen grunts, caught on squid. They released six red grouper shorts.
Joe Evans and three of his friends braved some rougher than ideal seas Friday morning, 1/27 to fish 17 miles west of New Pass with me. The group caught twenty-one keeper lane snapper, along with ta brace of 14-inch mangrove snapper and a half dozen grunts, all on squid. They released two shorter mangrove snapper, along with some red grouper shorts.
You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link:
The photo shown below is of John Rankin with a 17-inch lane snapper, caught on squid on a recent offshore trip.
Bonita Beach Fishing Forecast:
Another cold front is coming through our area today. Temps will be dropping, along with tides in the bay, and seas will be getting choppy for the next few days.
More Fishing Reports: