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SW FL-Bonita Beach: Shark Battles, Yellowtail & More

Capt. Dave Hanson
April 19, 2008
Bonita Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report

Monday, 4/14, I fished Estero Bay in the area of Wiggins Pass, with Court Newman, Joe Desiata and John Curtis. Joe caught a keeper redfish at 19 inches. John caught a 13 inch sheepshead and the trio also caught a couple of keeper mangrove snapper, all on shrimp. We were glad to be fishing the backwater instead of the Gulf, with strong winds all morning that were forecast to kick offshore seas up to about 4 feet.

The seas worsened overnight with the cold front upon us and the forecast for gusty winds and 3-5 foot seas prevented any thought of fishing on Tuesday. Wednesday, other than sunnier skies and gradually warming temperatures, the marine forecast was no better than it had been last Tuesday, so my anglers rescheduled their trip for the following week.

Thursday, the party fishing with me wanted to fish inshore, with two small children aboard, ages six and three. Seas offshore were still predicted to be two to four feet, so with children that age, I agreed that the bay was a much better choice. I fished Estero Bay from Wiggins pass to Barefoot Beach with Kansans Travis and Amber Stebbins and two of the cutest little girls ever, Lakly, age six, and Chloe, age three. We caught a 16 inch trout, a thirteen inch sheepshead and two eleven-inch keeper mangrove snapper. We released smaller sheepshead and snapper.

Bill Newland, Chris Borger, Dave Kobachs and I had a good day of fishing Friday out to 36 miles from New Pass. We started fishing at the Spring about ten miles out, then changed spots a few times, moving further and further offshore on the first day this week that allowed me to do so. We caught fourteen nice yellowtail snapper to 17 inches, an 18 inch mangrove snapper and a half dozen mangs around 14 inches, a couple keeper lane snapper and some large grunts. We released lots of gag grouper to 21 ˝ inches (just short of keeper-size) and red grouper to 18 inches. We had a couple of unusual and exciting moments too. One was when Dave caught an 8 foot nurse shark on a 30 lb. spinner and a butterfly-jig that he'd been using for grouper. Then, I hooked a 7 foot sandbar shark on my 360 Penn spinner—He ate a shrimp and, with 17 lb. test and 30 lb. leader, I expected him to break me off pretty quickly but instead I reeled him all the way to the boat—I released him there and will remember him for a few days with every ache in my back!

The first photo shown is of a 31 inch cobia, caught on shrimp and released on a recent offshore trip.

The second photo shown is of a 23 inch snook, caught on shrimp and released on a recent inshore trip.

Click to Enlarge Photo

Click to Enlarge Photo

Bonita Beach Fishing Forecast:

Winds are calming down now and should be calm at least through the middle of next week...this should allow for some good fishing further offshore.

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Private guided saltwater fishing trips, inshore and offshore, around Ft. Myers, Naples and Bonita Beach. Native guide with over 30 years local experience. Good species variety. Reasonable rates. Half and full-day trips offered. We book well in advance throughout the winter months, and slightly in advance during the summer months. Families welcome, and anglers of all ages and experience levels will have a good time.

Contact Info:

Fishbuster Charters, Inc.
Bonita Beach
Bonita Springs, FL 34134
Phone: 239-947-1688
Alt. Phone: 239-947-1688
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