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