SW FL-Bonita Beach: Inshore only place to be
Capt. Dave Hanson
January 20, 2014
Bonita Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report
The week of January 5th, 2014, was pretty much a loss for fishing. We had near-freezing temps for a couple of days, thanks to a strong cold front that made it this far south, which is unusual. That front also brought high winds and rough seas, and the wind direction was such that it sucked most of the water out of the back-bays, causing very low-tide conditions that were not optimum for fishing. I wasn't able to take any of my trips out until Saturday morning, 1/11/14, when it was still too rough offshore, but we did, at least, have a decent tide in the backwaters. I fished in lower Hickory Bay, Broadway channel and central Estero Bay with Tom Ricker, Doug Woog, Tom Butcher and Bill Hocking. The guys caught a trio of 17 ½-inch sheepshead, along with another one measuring 16 inches. They also caught a nice trout, just short of 18 inches.
Monday morning, 1/13, with winds still blowing pretty strong, Elliot Russell and friends Kurt and Greg Bowman (father and son) had to decide whether to brave what could be some sloppy seas offshore, or to opt for fishing the backwaters. They decided to fish the backwaters, given the decent tide we had that morning. The guys did very well, fishing with live shrimp in lower Big Hickory Bay, just north of Hogue Channel. They caught ten keeper black drum, four of which were over 20 inches.
They also caught a 15-inch sheepshead and a keeper sand bream. They released ten smaller sheepshead and two crevalle jacks.
The drum and sheepshead were biting well again on Tuesday, 1/14, when I fished in lower Hickory Bay with Robin Latham and Chris Welch. The guys used shrimp to catch eight keeper black drum to 19 ½ inches, along with a trio of 14-inch sheepshead and one keeper mangrove snapper.
Wednesday morning, 1/15, I again fished in lower Hickory Bay's backwaters, as the next windy, cold-front was approaching our area, with predictions for over-night lows back into the forties again. But it was still fairly warm, though cloudy and windy, when I fished with frequent customer Mike Connealy and his friends, Chris Meyer, Kevin Christianson, and Greg Eaton. We fished an out-going tide with live shrimp, and the guys caught four keeper black drum, all between 18 and 19 ½ inches. They released two smaller drum. Added to the box were seven keeper sheepshead to 15 inches, and one keeper mangrove snapper.
Thursday was not a good day to fish anywhere. Winds were gusting to 25 knots, the tide was low and going out, and the wind-chills were in the 3o's. I remained in port.
Friday morning, 1/17, had a chilly start at 39 degrees but, with winds much lighter than they were the day before, it actually felt a little warmer. I fished in lower Hickory Bay and in Broadway Channel with Chris Baumgartner and his dad, Larry Baumgartner. The guys used live shrimp to catch six keeper sheepshead, all in the 15 to 17 inch range, and one keeper black drum at 17 inches. They released shorter sheepshead.
The photo shown is of angler Kurt Bowman, with a 21-inch black drum, caught shrimp on a recent trip.
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Bonita Beach Fishing Forecast:
Today, is relatively calm, with 2-3 foot seas, and afforded me a chance to head offshore for the first time in a couple of weeks. Tomorrow, another front is due to come through in the evening, preceded by high winds and seas. So, it will be all about the time-line on that one. By Wednesday, we will be real chilly again, and probably will have a windy day again, with some rougher seas, which should subside some later in the week.
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