SW FL-Bonita Beach: Big Sheepies, Bull-Red, 8-Ft Shark
Capt. Dave Hanson
February 17, 2014
Bonita Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report
Tuesday, 2/4/14, I headed out 35 miles from New Pass to fish with frequent customers, Ron Musick, Eddie Alfonso, and Dick Arnett. We used live shrimp to catch four snapper—one huge lane snapper at 19 inches and three mangrove snapper all 15 to 16 inches—along with a keeper hogfish at 14 inches, and fifteen whitebone porgies to 15 inches. The guys released lots of red grouper shorts to within an eighth inch of legal size, along with three 19-inch gag grouper. An 8-foot sandbar shark provided a fun battle when he bit one of the porgies that was being reeled in—we got some pics and video of that, and released him.
Brothers, John and Jim Huss, accompanied by their two brothers-in-law, Mike Laine and Scott Hutchens, fished in lower Hickory Bay with me Wednesday, 2/5, and had a good, productive morning. The catch-of-the day was Jim's 30-inch redfish, a beauty that we photographed and released, since slot-size maximum is 27 inches. The guys also caught nine keeper mangrove snapper, all around 11 inches, a brace of 15-inch black drum, and a 15-inch sheepshead. They release five smaller sheepshead.
Monday, 2/10, I fished between 18 and 26 miles west of New Pass with John Pound and friends, Dan and Ryan. Live shrimp worked well on red grouper to 20 inches—the guys released twenty-five of those, along with a few triggerfish shorts. They also caught ten keeper lane snapper, all around 11 inches, a half dozen grunts and a mess of whitebone porgies.
Tuesday morning, 2/11, Justin Badger and his father-in-law, John Schlashauser, fished lower Hickory Bay with me, baited with live shrimp. The guys caught a really nice pompano, at 20 inches, along with a brace of 14-inch sheepshead and three 11-inch mangrove snapper.
Wednesday, 2/12, was kind of a strange day offshore. There was a weather front approaching, not due until the evening hours, but seas were sloppy heading out, and the tide was low, so it was slow going getting out to where we were headed, about 25 miles west of New Pass, where I fished with long-time customers Jim McGrath and Bill Crockett. Seas calmed down later in the morning, but the bite was slow, and all the red grouper we caught were shorts—the guys released about thirty of those, along with an equal number of small porgies. They ended up with enough food-fish, including a 14-inch mangrove snapper, seven keeper lane snapper all about 11 inches, and four 14-inch grunts. By the time we headed back to shore, winds were beginning to pick up, ahead of the approaching front that brought high winds and seas on Thursday, cancelling out my offshore trip for that day.
Friday morning, Valentines' Day, I fished in lower Hickory Bay with Russ and Teresa Marquart. The tide was low, but the couple did well, using live shrimp to box six keeper sheepshead measuring between 14 and 17 ˝ inches. They released five smaller sheepshead, along with a couple of stingray.
Saturday, 2/15, I again fished in Hickory Bay, this time with brothers Robin and Irv Latham. They used live shrimp to catch a 15-inch black drum and three keeper sheepshead at 14 inches,16˝ inches, and 17 inches.
The photo shown is of angler Jim Huss, with a 30-inch bull redfish, caught shrimp and released 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:
This week's forecast looks ideal: calm winds and seas, temps a bit warmer each day, with most days to cross the 80-degree mark. Seas should be calm offshore, and both inshore and offshore fishing should be productive.
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