SW FL-Bonita beach: Kingfish, Grouper, Snapper, Shark
Capt. Dave Hanson
May 25, 2013
Bonita Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report
Monday, 5/13/13, I fished the backwaters of Estero Bay with David Bloomfield and David Price. Using live shrimp, the guys caught three redfish, two of which were keepers at 19 ½ and 20 inches. They also caught two 14-inch sheepshead and a 15-inch black drum. They released mangrove snapper shorts.
Thursday, 5/16, I headed offshore with Jim and Darlene Welch, hoping to get out about 20 miles in the predicted two-foot, calm seas. But seas were anything but calm—three-to-four-feet, in fact, and we plodded out my near-shore spots and fished about six miles off the beach for a while. As the morning progressed, seas calmed somewhat, and we headed out to about 10 miles, then eventually to 19 miles offshore. The couple caught and released a 24-inch gag grouper on a pinfish. Using shrimp, they caught and released red grouper shorts to 19 ¾ inches, along with a short, true black grouper and some yellowtail snapper shorts. They also released a 38-inch sharpnose shark. As for food-fish, the couple bagged a half dozen good-sized whitebone porgies and half dozen grunts to 13 inches.
Friday morning, I fished a catch-and-release trip inshore, in Estero Bay, with Steve Camelin and friend, Brian. The guys used live shrimp to catch and release fifteen mangrove snapper, ten of which would have been keepers if desired, along with a 13-inch black drum, four sheepshead to 14 inches, and a stingray. They had two nice redfish hooked too, but lost one to too much enthusiasm (ie: pulling the hook out of its mouth) and one to snag on an oyster bar.
Dr. Meir Daller and wife, Dr. Rie Aihara (Daller), and their two young sons, Julian and Brenden, fished with me Saturday, 5/18, about 26 miles west of New Pass, in calm seas. The family did well, using live shrimp, with steady action all morning. They caught a 38-inch king mackerel, five keeper whitebone porgies to 17 inches, fifteen keeper lane snapper, and a 13-inch keeper yellowtail snapper. All the red grouper they caught were short of keeper size, and they released thirty of those to 19 ½ inches. They also released five sandbar sharks to 40 inches.
Monday morning, 5/20, I headed out to 19 miles west of New Pass to fish with the Slabberkorn family: Jeff and Tina and their children, Zayda and Max. The goliath grouper were quite the nuisance, swiping a few catches from us, but the family still managed to keep a few. They used live shrimp to catch a half dozen keeper lane snapper, five nice whitebone porgies, and a few grunts. They used shrimp and pinfish for grouper bait, and released fifteen red grouper shorts to 19 1/2 inches, and a 22-inch gag grouper, which is out of season.
Jim Dean and nephew, Ryan Diggleman, fished with me on Tuesday morning. We intended to have some fun catching and releasing some of the big goliaths that were a nuisance the previous day, when I was fishing for food-fish. The goliaths were contrary on Tuesday, though, and refused to bite the crevalle jacks and bluefish we baited our heavy poles with. Instead, two goliaths waited until we had switched to light spinning tackle, then bit the catches we wanted to reel in! The goliaths were too big for light tackle, so we never got one of them to the surface. The guys caught a half dozen keeper whitebone porgies, and released lots of red grouper shorts. They have another day of fishing scheduled for Wednesday, so we'll decide what to go after then.
Jim and Ryan fished with me again on Wednesday, 5/22, and we had better luck with the goliaths then. Ryan caught and released a 170-pound goliath, and Jim caught and released a 75-pound goliath. Both were caught on grunts, about 20 miles west of New Pass. The guys also caught a half dozen keeper whitebone porgies to 14 inches, a keeper porkfish, and a few grunts. They released twenty red grouper shorts to 19 inches, along with ten mangrove snapper shorts to 11 inches and a few yellowtail snapper shorts, all on live shrimp.
Saturday morning, 5/25, I fished the backwaters of Estero bay, on an incoming tide, with Bob and Stephanie Rose. The couple used live shrimp to catch two keeper redfish at 22 inches each, a brace of 18-inch, keeper black drum, a keeper 16-inch sheepshead, and a keeper mangrove snapper. They released five mangrove snapper shorts and a 16-inch snook.
The photo shown below is of angler John Stauffer with a, 27-inch red grouper, caught on a bait-fish on a recent offshore trip.
The photo shown below is of angler Frank Partee with a, 22 1/2-inch redfish, caught on shrimp on a recent inshore trip.
You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link:
Bonita Beach Fishing Forecast:
Winds are up again, with seas of 3-4 feet offshore expected through midweek.--maybe okay for the hardy. Otherwise, inshore fishing looks good, with higher summer tides now in effect.
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