SW FL-Bonita Beach: If only the winds would stop...
Capt. Dave Hanson
February 18, 2013
Bonita Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report
Monday, 2/4, I headed offshore with Barry Pflueger and friends. I hadn't been offshore in nearly a week, due to rough conditions out there. Seas were still fairly choppy early on, but they calmed down by mid-morning. Fishing was kind of slow although, if it weren't for grouper season closing, we might have brought home a couple of nice ones. But we had to release six gags to 23 inches, and several red grouper too, with all grouper now out of season. We also released a few undersized triggerfish. Fortunately, we caught enough porgies and grunts and a 13-inch hogfish, so the guys had plenty of food-fish to take home.
Tuesday, I fished offshore, 28 to 36 miles west of New Pass with Ron Musick and friends, where we used live shrimp to catch and release lots of gag grouper to 21 1/2 inches and twenty amberjack to 24 inches. As for food-fish, the guys caught five keeper mangrove snapper to 13 inches, twenty keeper lane snapper, and nine good-sized whitebone porgies to 17 inches. Sharks were a nuisance, but we managed to keep most of our catches.
Rudy Dinnocenzo and son, Dave, fished with me on Thursday, about ten miles west of New Pass. Despite forecasts for calm seas, we had three-footers even that close to shore. The guys used live shrimp to catch three keeper sheepshead, all about 15 inches, a keeper porkfish, and a mess of grunts. They released eight smaller sheepshead, a few triggerfish shorts, and two red grouper, which are currently out of season.
Rough seas and high winds persisted into Friday and Saturday, and I remained in port for the weekend. Monday morning, with 4 foot seas offshore, Marshal Swain and friends traded their offshore plans for some inshore fishing instead, in Estero Bay. The group used live shrimp to catch snapper and sheepshead, including an 11-inch keeper mangrove snapper, and four keeper sheepshead to 15 inches.
Tuesday morning, I fished in Estero Bay again in very windy conditions and low tide. Brothers Mike and Joe Dumbrowski used live shrimp to catch fourteen sheepshead along with a few mangrove snapper, and took home two keeper sheepshead.
Wednesday's winds and seas had me back in the backwaters, this time with Troy Buschard and friends, who used live shrimp on a catch-and release trip to catch thirteen sheepshead to 15 inches and a puffer-fish.
Thursday and Friday brought two days of rainóweather not even fit for a duckóalong with persisting high seas and wind, and I had no choice but to cancel trips for a few very disappointed anglers. Saturday, seas were building even more, predicted to reach 10-12 feet by Sunday, when temps will also plummet to the 40's. My customers for Saturday decided to give Estero Bay a try, since fishing offshore, as they'd planned, was out of the question. So I headed out to the best spots I could find, with as much wind-shelter as possible, with long-time customer Stuart Norris, his son, Mike, and grandson, Nate. They used live shrimp to catch mostly sheepshead, three of which were keepers to 14 inches. They also released a crevalle jack. It was far from an optimal morning in the bay, but at least Nate got to catch a keeper sheepshead, and the family enjoyed being together on the water.
Monday, 2/18, it remained too rough offshore for my planned deep-sea trip, and I cancelled that trip and remained in port.
So that's a wrap for nowóWe did the best we could, given what Mother Nature handed us. And, I am sure hoping from some kinder weather for the rest of this month.
The photo shown is of angler Jim Swanger with a 15-inch hogfish, caught on shrimp on a recent offshore trip.
You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link:
Bonita Beach Fishing Forecast:
Winds are calming down some now, and it looks like we might get a couple days of calm seas this week, at the least. The cold 39 degree temps of the past two mornings are over with, and it should be more comfortable on the water. The bay has a bit more water in it than it dis over the weekend. So, things are looking up for both inshore and offshore fishing.
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