SW FL-Bonita Beach: Grouper & Yellowtail Bite Hot!
Capt. Dave Hanson
July 15, 2013
Bonita Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report
Paul McConnell and family had planned to fish offshore with me on both Tuesday, 7/2/13 and Friday 7/5. We nixed Tuesday's trip, as our weather was stormy for four consecutive days, Sunday, 6/30 through Wednesday morning, 7/3. After that, the continual rains quit, but with numerous lingering thunderstorms popping up Wednesday and Thursday, some containing dangerous lightening. Seas were also 3-5 feet offshore. By Friday, 7/5, seas close in were predicted at 2-3 feet, with 3-5 feet well offshore. The McConnells decided to brave a trip near-shore, and we headed out to fish about seven miles off Naples, using live shrimp. Seas were sloppy, and rougher than predicted, even close-in, but we managed to get nearly a half-day in before fleeing toward shore just ahead of a nasty looking squall that was approaching. The group caught two keeper mangrove snapper at 14 inches, two keeper porkfish, and three whitebone porgies to 15 inches. They released about twenty mangrove snapper shorts, an equal number of yellowtail snapper shorts to 11 ½ inches, fifteen crevalle jacks to 13 inches, numerous gag grouper shorts to 18 inches and red grouper shorts to 15 inches.
Saturday morning, 7/6, three of the group of five who had fished Friday with me returned to head offshore for a second time. Seas were still messy, with 3-4 footers, but this hardy group of three, including Paul McConnell, his son, Matt McConnell, and Matt's friend, George Frankel, headed out 19 miles from New Pass with me to fish with live shrimp. The guys caught and released about twenty yellowtail shorts, and got one keeper yellowtail at 12 1/2 inches. They also caught a nice, keeper hogfish at 17 inches, a 24-inch Spanish mackerel, and a dozen whitebone porgies, including an 18-incher. They released half the porgies and kept six of those at 13-14 inches, in addition to the 18-inch. They also caught four porkfish, including two keepers, and a mess of grunts. They released lots of grouper shorts--reds to 19 inches and gags to 18 1/2 inches.
Tuesday, 7/9, I fished 35 miles west of new Pass with John Hamilton and friends, Bob, Joe and Richard. The guys did great with yellowtail snapper on shrimp, and caught twenty-two yellowtail keepers to 14 inches. They added to the fish box a dozen nice whitebone porgies to 17 inches. They released fifteen additional porgies, along with lots of red and gag grouper shorts. We got chased by storms on the way in, and were glad to get back into shore before the worst of it.
Wednesday morning, 7/10, I managed to avoid some scattered rain showers fishing 19 to 22 miles west of New Pass with Greg Delano and his sixteen-year-old son, Dan. The guys used pinfish for grouper fishing and caught a 21 1/2-inch red grouper keeper. They released fourteen additional red grouper shorts. They used live shrimp for snapper fishing, and caught fifteen keeper lane snapper to 13 inches and one 12-inch keeper mangrove snapper. They released ten smaller lane snapper, as well as a 13-inch triggerfish.
Thursday morning, 7/11, I fished 20 miles west of New Pass with Darryl Metzger and his two sons, Barrett and Mitchell. We dodged numerous rain showers and even spotted a couple of water spouts throughout the morning. But fishing was good, and the guys caught two keeper red grouper at 25 inches and 21 inches. They released seven additional undersized grouper, all of which bit pinfish. They used live shrimp for snapper catching, and landed two dozen keeper lane snapper and one keeper yellowtail snapper. They released two undersized yellowtails, along with five whitebone porgies and some grunts.
Friday, I headed out 19 miles from New Pass with Bob O'Hara and his grandson, Kevin. They guys got to battle a 40-pound blacktip shark, bringing it to the surface for a photo before releasing it. It bit a blue runner filet, and was definitely good for some adrenaline rushes! As for food fish, caught on shrimp, the guys caught a 20 1/2-inch keeper red grouper, a 16-inch whitebone porgy, a 14-inch lane snapper, and a 12-inch yellowtail snapper. They released more than twenty red grouper shorts, six mangrove snapper shorts, seven yellowtail shorts, five lane snapper shorts, and some grunts.
Saturday morning, 7/13, was calm when I headed out 19 miles, but as the morning progressed winds and seas picked up and made conditions a little sloppy. I fished with Paul Fenwick, his young daughter Emma, and his son, Spencer. Their friends, Susan Carlisle, John Purdy, and John's daughter, Jordan, joined them. The group did not wish to keep any fish so we just had fun catching and releasing. Catches included two mangrove snapper at 16 inches and 13 inches, yellowtail snapper to 11 inches, triggerfish to 14 inches, whitebone porgies to 15 inches, a 15-inch Spanish mackerel, a strawberry grouper, red grouper to 18 inches and gag grouper to 16 inches.
The photo shown is of angler Mitchell Metzger, with a 25-inchred grouper, caught on a pinfish on a recent offshore trip.
You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link:
Bonita Beach Fishing Forecast:
After Sunday's storms, today is looking much calmer, with seas of 2-3 feet offshore and with our rain pattern returning to a more normal afternoon pattern.
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