SW FL-Bonita Beach: Plenty of Grouper in Closed Season!
Capt. Dave Hanson
February 4, 2013
Bonita Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report
After cancelling six consecutive fishing trips, due to weather conditions offshore and red tide in the bays, I finally got to fish again on Thursday, 1/24.I headed out about 18 miles from new Pass with Ron Musick, Eddie Alfonse and Jack Dee. Fishing was a little slow, perhaps due to the cold nights we experienced for a week, as well as some churning seas over the past week. But the guys used live shrimp to catch and release a bunch of red grouper and gag grouper shorts. They also got six keeper lane snapper to 12 inches and three nice mangrove snapper to 17 inches, along with five whitebone porgies to 15 inches. Sharks were a nuisance, and robbed us of a couple fish.
Friday, I was happy to see a second consecutive day of calm seas, and I headed out 19 miles with Wes Bentrude and his grandson, Brandon Bentrude, on a catch-and-release trip. The guys used live shrimp to catch a brace of 18 ½-inch sheepshead, eight mangrove snapper shorts, two 14-inch triggerfish, six red grouper shorts, and four gag grouper to 27 inches and eleven pounds. (see photo)
I was back offshore again on Tuesday, hoping for more calm seas just ahead of yet another front, due to pass through on Wednesday and Thursday and predicted to bring high winds and seas. It wasn't quite as calm as I'd hoped, even on Tuesday. But Leonard Tatum and four friends toughed it out and caught a good variety of fish on live shrimp. They released fifteen gag grouper, three of which would have been keepers to 25 inches, had they been in season. They also released twenty-five red grouper to 19 ¾ inches, just short of keeper-size. They bagged six nice mangrove snapper, all about 16 inches and six yellowtail snapper, all 14-to-15 inches, along with fifteen assorted porgies (jolthead and whitebone.) They released twenty additional porgies, having no need for them, along with twenty-five small amberjacks to 20 inches.
Wednesday and Thursday provided no fishing opportunities whatsoever, with high winds and seas, as well as a good bit of rain on Thursday. I cancelled both trips. Friday morning, 2/1, I fished inshore in a very windy Estero Bay with Robin Latham and friends, Rick, and Dave Ricardi. The guys used live shrimp, as we tried our best to fish spots with decent action that were somewhat sheltered from the wind. They caught a brace of 17-inch black drum, a 16-inch trout, a 14-inch sheepshead, and an 11-inch mangrove snapper. They released an 18-inch snook.
Winds were a little calmer Saturday morning, which was still too rough to head offshore, but the lighter winds and warmer temps certainly made the inshore fishing more pleasant for Dick Hall and family. They used live shrimp to catch two nice trout, 16 inches and 18 inches, along with an 18-inch black drum, a 14-inch sheepshead, and an 11-inch mangrove snapper. They released lots of ladyfish and smaller sheepshead.
You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link:
Bonita Beach Fishing Forecast:
Winds are finally calming down this week and temps are moderating, and fishing should be good all week, both inshore and offshore, unless we get hit with another strong cold front.
More Fishing Reports: