SW FL-Bonita Beach: Big Shark & Goliaths; Food-fish Too
Capt. Dave Hanson
June 30, 2014
Bonita Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report
Monday, 6/16, I fished in spots 28 ½ to 35 ½ miles west of New Pass with Paul McConnell and his son, Andrew. They had fished with me the previous Saturday, and had done well with red grouper that day. This time, yellowtail snapper, which had all been short on Saturday, were biting well on shrimp, and the guys caught eleven nice ones to 16 inches. They also did well with mangrove snapper, keeping a half dozen of those, all measuring between 14 and 17 inches. Added to the box were a couple of whitebone porgies, out of the nine porgies to 15 inches that the guys caught, as well as a few grunts. We released twenty-five red grouper shorts to right at 20 inches. We released the 20-inch because it was so close, and shrinkage would have brought it to under-size. The guys also released nine additional yellowtails that were shorts and also a triggerfish short.
Tuesday, 6/17, I fished 18 miles west of New Pass with father and son anglers, Ricky and Tony Castillo. It was rough heading out, as it was coming the day before also. Fishing was tougher than it has been lately, but the two managed to box eight keeper whitebone porgies, a half-dozen 12-inch grunts, and two keeper lane snapper. They released twenty porgy shorts, yellowtail and mangrove snapper shorts, and a half dozen red grouper shorts, along with a 38-inch bonnethead shark and a 3-foot sharp-nose shark. Everything bit on live shrimp.
Friday, 6/20, I headed out in calm seas to 36 miles west of New Pass with Russ Maavich and his three sons, Alex, Brett and Ryan. The guys had a great day of fishing, with a good mix of sport fishing and food fishing. They got to feel the thrill of goliath grouper on the line, as we lured them with crevalle jacks for bait, and the guys released three of those, ranging from 150 to 200 pounds. We also lost one that must have been huge, as it was pulling the boat sideways, and finally pulled the hook and got away. We switched to shrimp for bait for some food fish, and the guys did well with those too, landing eight nice yellowtail snapper keepers to 16 inches and fifteen keeper mangrove snapper that measured 13 ½ to 15 inches. They added to the box a dozen large grunts, all around 14 inches and ten whitebone porgies, including five at 15 inches and one at a whopping19 inches.
Seas were not nearly as calm on Saturday, 6/21, as they had been on Friday. Philip and Judy Arsenault fished with me at the reefs just six miles off the beach, and even there, it was choppy. But the couple did well with a variety of fish caught on live shrimp, including a 15-inch keeper pompano, two lane snapper keepers, a whiting keeper, a flounder keeper, and a few grunts. They released a 24-inch cobia, along with lots of crevalle jacks.
Monday, 6/23, I fished near-shore, about ten miles west of New Pass with Steve Boha, his wife, Davey, and their children, Luke and Jenna. Sharks were abundant, and the group had fun reeling in and releasing fourteen sharks in all, nine sandbar sharks and five sharp-nose sharks, all measuring 35 to 38 inches. They lost four additional sharks that were larger and cut the line. The family also caught ten keeper-sized lane snapper, and kept four of those for dinner. They released the rest, along with fifteen crevalle jacks, some blue runners, and nine red grouper shorts to 18 inches. Everything bit on live shrimp.
Tuesday morning, 6/24, I headed out on a near-shore trip, 11 ½ miles west of New Pass, with Robert Menendez, his girlfriend, Debbie Sardina, Robert's teenaged son Robbie, Debbie's teenaged daughters, Natalie and Nicole, and friend Rosie Balasquez. There was no wind and no current to speak of, along with intense heat, but we drummed up a few nice catches. Rosie landed the only keeper red grouper, at 21 inches. It bit a grunt that had bitten a shrimp. The group released lots of red grouper shorts, along with five sandbar sharks to four feet. The largest of the sharks bit a pinfish; the others all bit shrimp. The group of anglers added to the box a few keeper lane snapper and some grunts, which will provide dinner, along with the keeper red grouper.
Darrin Berloff, his son, Logan, Paul Ratliff and his son, Ryan, and friends, Logan and Parker, were all in town for a softball tournament, and decided to spend Thursday morning, 6/26, fishing with me. The teen boys wanted to have some fun with sharks and goliath grouper, so we headed out to some good spots for those, about 11 ½ miles west of New Pass. Paul released a 90-pound goliath, and the boys lost a few huge ones, one of which dragged the boat by its anchor-line and eventually even snapped off the steel cable on the rig. The guys also released a 3-foot sandbar shark, along with lots of crevalle jacks to two pounds, ten red grouper shorts that were 15 to 19 ½ inches, and a half dozen each yellowtail and mangrove snapper shorts. As for food-fish to bring home, they boxed a 20 ½-inch keeper red grouper, four keeper lane snapper, and a mess of grunts.
The photo shown is of angler, Robbie Menendez with a 4-foot sandbar shark, caught on shrimp and released 11 ½ miles west of New Pass on a recent near-shore trip.
You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link.
Bonita Beach Fishing Forecast:
Winds are a little stronger than they have been--it was dead-calm for several days previously. Seas are 2-3 feet today, still calm enough to head offshore. Gag grouper season re-opens soon. And summer tides are making inshore fishing better too.
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