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SW FL-Bonita Beach: Stormy Conditions 1st Day of Gag Season

Capt. Dave Hanson
July 1, 2013
Bonita Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report

Well, anglers awaiting the re-opening of gag grouper season are disappointed here today, with 3-5 foot seas and stormy conditions…let's hope weather improves quickly!

Chris & Jenny Phillips and their three teen-aged children, Emily, Bradley and Ryan, fished 18 miles out of New Pass with me on Wednesday morning, 6/19/13. We used grunts to catch and release some grouper, including lots of red grouper to 18 inches and a 25-inch gag grouper. The rest of our catches bit shrimp and included three keeper hogfish at 13 inches, 17 inches and 18 inches, a keeper yellowtail snapper at 13 inches, a 13-inch keeper mangrove snapper, six keeper porkfish to 12 inches, a 13 /2-inch sheepshead, and a 20-inch Spanish mackerel.

I headed back out to 18 miles west of New Pass on Thursday morning, 6/20, with Shane Malan and his brother-in-law, Matt. The guys battled an 8-foot bull shark that ate a crevalle jack, and released it boat-side. They used live shrimp to fish light tackle for food-fish, and did well with those too. They caught a keeper red grouper at 20 inches, nine whitebone porfies to 14 inches, a 13-inch keeper mangrove snapper, a 13-inch keeper yellowtail snapper, three 11-inch keeper porkfish, and five grunts, all around 12 inches.

After a few days with visiting family, I got offshore on Wednesday, 6/26, with John and Allison Filippone, their son, Vince, and daughter, Lauren. We headed out about 13 miles from New Pass, and didn't venture further as conditions were a little sloppy. The family caught and released ten mangrove snapper just short of keeper size, to 11 3/4 inches, twenty yellowtail snapper shorts, seven red grouper shorts and two gag grouper shorts. They also released a 23-inch ladyfish and a dozen crevalle jacks. They caught some food-fish keepers, including a 20-inch Spanish mackerel, two keeper lane snapper four porgies, all about 14 inches, and a mess of 12-inch grunts.

Friday, 6/28, I fished central Estero Bay with Gary Hested and his two grandsons, Nathan, ten-years-old, and Kaden, twelve-years-old. The boys used live shrimp to catch and release ten mangrove snapper to 11 inches, four sheepshead to 11 ½ inches, an under-sized snook, and one two-pound stingray. They also caught and kept a nice, 22-inch redfish.

Saturday morning, 6/29, NOAA predicted seas of two-to three feet offshore, though local forecasts predicted calmer seas. Given the recent storms that have churned up the gulf, and from the way the gulf looked the night before, I was inclined to believe NOAA and, with a seven-year-old onboard, I advised David Warren and young son, Ethan, to fish inshore. We used live shrimp, and Ethan was happy to catch quite a few fish on his own. The duo caught eight sheepshead, including two 13-inch keepers, sixteen mangrove snapper, including a 12-inch keeper, and released five crevalle jack.

The photo shown below is of angler Emily Phillips , with an 18-inch hogfish, caught on shrimp on a recent offshore trip.

Click to Enlarge Photo


The photo shown below is of young angler, Ethan Warren, with a 13-inch sheepshead, caught on shrimp on a recent inshore trip.

Click to Enlarge Photo


You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link:

www.fishbustercharters.com

Bonita Beach Fishing Forecast:

Rain is in the forecast through at least mid-week, and it has been coming early in the day, accompanied by some bad lightening...so use caution. Seas are 3-5 feet through mid-week, so inshore is the best bet.

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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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