October: Mostly back-bay-Reds, Sheepshead, Black Drum
Capt. Dave Hanson
October 29, 2016
Bonita Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report
Hannah Merter, her parents, John and Tammy, and her boyfriend, Lance, fished near-shore with me on Thursday morning, 9/29. We dodged rainstorms most of the morning, running about fifteen miles to various close-in spots. The group used squid to catch fourteen keeper lane snapper and a half-dozen grunts. They released ten smaller grunts, along with two bonnethead sharks, one 30 inches and one 40 inches.
Jamie Fishbeck spent a morning fishing the backwaters with me on Friday, 9/30, with live shrimp for bait. He landed two keeper redfish, one at 20 inches and one especially nice one at nearly 27 inches. He released five sheepshead shorts, one just-keeper mangrove snapper, a pair of two-pound stingrays, and a 2 ˝-pound crevalle jack.
Doug Duncan and friends, Eric and Randy, would have liked to battle some goliath grouper on Monday, 10/3. Usually, goliaths are fairly easy to locate, but there were no bites at any of my favorite goliath spots. We finally gave up on goliaths, and fished for snapper, and the guys caught four keeper lanes, along with a few grunts, which all bit on squid. It was a tough day on the water, with lots of wind and waves, and with lots of small dead fish on the surface about six to seven miles offshore. Fortunately, the wind direction is such that any red tide would be blowing out to sea. There had been an outbreak of red tide to our north, around Englewood, and it was thought to be moving toward us.
Kim Fischer took her mother, Shirley Tyson, on an inshore, catch-and-release fishing trip with me on Tuesday, 10/11. Kim and Shirley had originally planned to fish offshore on Monday, but seas were too rough, and I was available Tuesday, so we awaited a possible calming then. That calming never came, however, so we decided to fish inshore on Tuesday. Baited with live shrimp, we fished the south end of Estero Bay, where the ladies caught a 21-inch redfish, three sheepshead to 17 inches, two mangrove snapper, and four stingray that were all about two pounds.
Tony Stinson and friends, Brad and Jackie had planned to fish offshore with me on Wednesday, 10/12, but with winds still howling and small-craft advisories in effect offshore, they traded those plans for some inshore fishing at the south end of Estero Bay. The group used live shrimp to attract an active sheepshead bite. They caught seven keeper sheepshead to 15 inches, and released a half-dozen shorts.
Friday morning, 10/14, Darwin Brown took his young grandson, Trey, fishing in south Estero Bay with me, where live shrimp yielded seven sheepshead including a keeper, along with a keeper mangrove snapper, two short snook, a spadefish, and one short redfish. Something big bit at one point—most likely a black drum—but it cut the knot right at the hook, and got away.
Friday, 10/21, I spent the morning fishing the backwaters of south Estero Bay with Keith Foreman and his friends, Ken and Kirsten Bailey. Using live shrimp, the group caught four keeper sheepshead ranging 13 to 16 inches, a 13-inch sand bream, and a 22-inch Spanish mackerel. Spanish mackerel are not typically caught in the bay, but this one must have wandered in. The group also released lots of short mangrove snapper—there was a school of about 150 of those under a tree on one of the mangrove islands. They released three crevalle jacks, all of which were about two pounds, along with a couple of 3-pound stingray.
My planned offshore trip for Saturday was blown out by small craft advisories and four-to-six-foot seas
Tuesday morning, 10/25, Jeff and Nicole Krajewski fished south Estero Bay's backwaters with me, using live shrimp. The couple caught seven keeper sheepshead to 15 inches, and release five shorts. They also caught a keeper mangrove snapper at 12 inches, along with a 16-inch black drum.
I spent a windy Wednesday morning, 10/26, fishing Estero Bay with Marie and Bill McSkimming, and their family members, Rose and Michael. Using live shrimp, the group caught four keeper sheepshead to 14 inches, and released five sheepshead shorts, a 17-inch redfish, and two two-pound stingray.
A steady 25-knot wind blew across Estero Bay Thursday morning, 10/27, when I fished the southern end of the bay in as many wind-sheltered spots as I could find, with Doug Strempek and Katherine Braun. The couple caught eighteen sheepshead in all, including eight would-be-keepers to 16 inches, though we released all of them, along with a couple of crevalle jacks. Katherine bragged that she out-fished Doug, but it was a tight contest!
I fished another catch-and-release trip in Estero Bay on Friday morning, 10/28. Mike Henson released five sheepshead to 13 inches and a sand bream, all of which bit on shrimp.
You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link:
Bonita Beach Fishing Forecast:
Winds have been relentless, ever since before Hurricane Matthew. Offshore, seas have been rough. Winds are predicted to calm toward the end of this week, with seas decreasing to 2-4 feet. Backwater fishing is good, especially on an incoming tide.
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