SW FL-Bonita beach: Nice Hogfish, Red Grouper, Gag, Snapper, Red
Capt. Dave Hanson
July 29, 2013
Bonita Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report
Bob O'Hara and grandson, Kevin, who had fished offshore with me on Friday, 7/12, fished again with me on Monday, 7/15. We headed offshore again, twenty miles from New Pass and had a fun fishing adventure, as well as bringing home some nice fish. The guys battled and brought to the surface a 30-pound barracuda, which bit a blue runner. After releasing and recovering, they fished for food fish, using live shrimp, and caught three keeper-sized hogfish at 13 inches, 16 inches and 18 ½ inches.
We released the 13-inch one, since it was a female, and the two larger ones were plenty for the guys to bring home. They also caught a keeper gag grouper at 25 ½ inches, a half-dozen keeper lane snapper, two 15-inch mangrove snapper, a few grunts and a few whitebone porgies to 14 inches. They lost one big gag that bit a pinfish but got away, and they released six red grouper shorts, all of which bit pinfish.
Wednesday morning, 7/17, with small craft advisories issued for beyond twenty miles, I knew my offshore trip would have to be a near-shore one. Even at the reefs just six miles off Bonita Beach, we encountered seas of three-to-four feet. I fished at the reefs with long-time customer Reiner Neumann and his son, Steven, who were joined by friend, Dennis Hill, and his grandson, Caden. The foursome used live shrimp to catch a half dozen Spanish mackerel to 25 inches, three keeper mangrove snapper, all 12 inches, and one keeper lane snapper. They released numerous mangrove snapper shorts, along with a few triggerfish shorts.
Thursday, it rained all day, and that was followed by some sloppy seas on Friday, 7/19. It wasn't calm enough to get too far offshore, so I fished near-shore with Bob Snyder, his son, Zack, and Zack's grandfather, Buck. The guys used live shrimp at the May and GH reefs off Bonita Beach to catch fifteen Spanish mackerel to 24 inches, five grunts to 14 inches, a 15-inch spadefish, two triggerfish shorts, a few porkfish shorts, and six mangrove snapper shorts, They kept eight of the Spanish mackerel and the grunts for dinner, and released the rest.
Shawn & Lacy Ruhl and friends, Dave and Sharon Emerhiner, fished twenty-two miles west of New Pass with me on Monday, 7/22. The group used live shrimp and caught fifty keeper lane snapper to 13 inches, along with a 15-inch whitebone porgy. They released red grouper shorts. Interestingly, they hooked four squid also, and got two of those to the boat, decided calamari would be a good appetizer for their snapper dinner, and brought those home as well!
Tuesday, 7/23, I fished in Estero Bay on a catch-and-release trip with Steve and Judy Vender and their nephew, Cody Hennessey. The group used live shrimp to catch five keeper mangrove snapper to 13 inches, three sheepshead to 16 inches, a stingray, and a couple of crevalle jacks.
Wednesday, 7/24, I fished 27 miles west of New Pass with Ken Karstedt, his girlfriend, Kathleen Wendorf, Ken's brother, Bill Karstedt, and dad, Kenneth Karstedt. We used grunts and lane snappers for grouper bait, and used shrimp for all our other catches. The grouper did very well with red grouper, landing four nice keepers at 22 inches, 25 inches, 27 1/2 inches, and 28 inches. They also caught fifteen keeper lane snapper and a keeper mangrove snapper at 13 inches. They released lots of red grouper shorts, mangrove snapper, lane and yellowtail shorts. The group also had some fun with a 45-pound barracuda that ate a fish being reeled in, and battled until it finally cut the line, close to the boat. They also had an 8-foot sandbar shark bite a grouper that was being reeled in, and cut the line after a noble battle!
Thursday, 7/25, with seas too rough for the Miller family to take their young daughters, we opted to fish inshore in Estero Bay. Casey Miller, his daughters Megan and Maren, his sister, Mandy, and his dad, Ron used live shrimp to catch a nice keeper redfish at 22 inches, along with three keeper 11-inch mangrove snapper and a 13-inch sheepshead. They released lots of snapper shorts, a two-pound stingray, and a twenty plus-pound stingray.
With a family event on the weekend, I was off the water Friday through Monday.
The photo shown is of angler, Kevin O'Hara, with an 18 ½-inch hogfish, one of two nice keeper hogs caught on shrimp on an offshore trip 7/15/13.
You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link:
Bonita Beach Fishing Forecast:
Seas are calm and rains are back to seasonal afternoon patterns. Heat is intense, but fishing is looking good!
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