SW FL-Bonita Beach: 30-inch gag best catch ( and release!)
Capt. Dave Hanson
December 20, 2013
Bonita Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report
Monday, 12/9, I fished inshore in Estero Bay with long-time customers, Erwin and Millie Metusiak. The couple boxed six nice sheepshead to 17 inches, and released five smaller ones. They also released short black drum, a couple of stingrays, and four crevalle jacks to five pounds.
Tim and Caroline Peterson fished the backwaters with me Tuesday morning, where we used live shrimp to catch seven sheepshead, all 14 to 16 inches, a 14-inch pompano, a keeper black drum, and a brace of 11-inch mangrove snapper.
Low tide and high winds made for some tough inshore fishing Saturday morning, 12/14, when I fished with Greg Starleaf, his son Chris, and his father-in-law, Richard Johnson. The guys caught mostly sheepshead, with three keepers to 18 inches, and eight shorts released, along with a few puffer-fish and a couple or stingray.
Tuesday morning, 12/17, seas were rough at the outset, with winds having blown hard all weekend and into the early hours of Tuesday. Seas calmed down as the morning progressed, and I fished the near-shore reefs off Bonita Beach with Chris Bauman and his sons, Sam and Louie. The guys used live shrimp to catch four Spanish mackerels, all in the 21-to 22-inch range, a 13-inch sheepshead, and a mess of grunts. They released lots of triggerfish to 13 inches, along with small gag grouper.
Wednesday morning, though predicted to be calmer was pretty much a carbon copy of Tuesday. Seas were sloppy, even at the near-shore reefs, where I fished a catch-and release trip with Mike Cilip, Sr, Mike Cilip, Jr., and friend, Gordon Gau. The guys used live shrimp to catch seven sheepshead to 15 inches, grunts, Spanish mackerel and gag grouper shorts.
Thursday's seas began a little sloppy, but calmed down nicely, and I was able to get out about eighteen miles, where I fished with frequent-fishers Ron Musick, Eddie Alfonso, and Bob Deering. The guys used live shrimp to catch and release yellowtail snapper and triggerfish shorts, three mutton snapper to 15 inches, and a dozen red grouper shorts to 19 ¾ inches, just short of legal size. They also released a 30-inch, out-of-season gag grouper. They boxed some grunts, along with twenty-five whitebone porgies to 16 inches to take home for dinner.
Winds picked up again Friday, 12/20, with sloppy conditions even at the near-shore reefs, where I fished with Reiner Neumann and his three sons, Steven, Brian and Christopher. We caught a lot of fish, but only a few were keepers, including a 14-inch sheepshead, a brace of 13-inch mangrove snapper, and a half-dozen grunts. We released eight mangrove snapper shorts, eight triggerfish shorts in the 12-13-inch range, and blue runners.
You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link:
Bonita Beach Fishing Forecast:
Winds have been a problem, kicking up seas offshore, except for a couple of calmer days this week. The forecast continues to be windy for the next few days, but hardy anglers will still be able to fish at the reefs and near-shore spots. Tides are mighty low in the bay, so offshore will be more productive.
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