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Slow season, but the fishing is good

Capt. Dave Hanson
May 24, 2019
Bonita Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report

Wind, wind, wind, and more wind! That describes our weather pattern lately. Monday, 4/22, was predicted to be calm, after a couple weeks prior of mostly strong winds and rough seas. But long-time customer Roy Mittman and his son, Zack, who headed offshore with me Monday quickly decided that 18 miles would be far enough, since seas were choppy even that close-in. The guys used squid to box a half-dozen grunts and four 11-inch lane snapper. They released two short lanes, along with six red grouper shorts, two ladyfish, and three crevalle jacks that were all around two pounds.

Ann Heck, accompanied by her two young grandsons, Carter and Jackson, and by daughter's boyfriend, Dane, fished 19 miles west of New Pass with me on Tuesday morning, 4/23. Using squid, the family boxed six keeper grunts and two keeper lane snapper. They released lots more grunts, along with a 19-inch goliath grouper, five short lane snapper, and five crevalle jacks that were all around two pounds. Lines were cut twice by sharks, but we didn't get to see what kind they were.

Wednesday morning, 4/24, I fished a catch-and-release trip in southern Estero Bay with LeAnn Russell, her son, Aubrey, and Aubrey's girlfriend, Lindsey. The group used live shrimp to catch and release three sheepshead to 12 inches, three sailcats all about 18 inches, and eight short mangrove snapper. Lindsey had a redfish on, but jerked the line a little too hard, and lost it. Water conditions weren't ideal, muddied by the nearby dredging and a lot of floating grass.

Thursday, 4/25, was not at all what was predicted, and was not a stellar day of fishing. In advance of a weather front approaching the area Friday, NOAA had forecast two-foot seas, but I encountered three-to-four footers, fishing between 19n and 28 miles west of New Pass with frequent customer, Ron Musick and several of his friends and family. Fishing was extremely slow—I am not sure what was going on, but we released close to a hundred squirrel fish, and only caught one 20-inch Spanish mackerel, a keeper lane snapper and some grunts.

At the end of April, nearly all our winter-time residents headed back to their northern homes, and there was little demand for fishing trips. That will likely change for the better as families with children out-of-school for summer begin to head to our beach areas for vacation.

Wednesday, 5/15, was the next time I got out on the water. I fished southern Estero Bay with repeat customer, Gary Hourselt, and his brother, Pete. They used live shrimp to catch three keeper black drum to 17 inches, two keeper mangrove snapper both in the 11-to12-inch range, and a keeper, 13-inch sheepshead. They released a few mangrove snapper shorts and a few sheepshead shorts.

My next excursion was on Wednesday, 5/22, when I headed offshore to 35 miles west of New Pass with Mike Wething, his sons, Mike Jr. and Dave, and friend, Nick Hugher. With squid, cut-bait, and shiners for bait, the guys caught a nice variety of keeper fish. They caught five keeper vermillion snappers, all 11-to-12 inches long, six keeper mangrove snapper to 14 inches, six keeper yellowtail snapper, five keeper lane snapper, a dozen keeper grunts to 15 inches, and a dozen keeper porgies. They released two 17-inch red grouper shorts, nine yellowtail shorts, and eight mangrove snapper shorts.

The photo shown is of Meir Daller with a 16-inch mangrove snapper,caught on squid 33 miles west of New Pass on a recent offshore trip.

Click to Enlarge Photo

You can view our fishing action videos at http://fishbustercharters.com/fishing videos.html

Bonita Beach Fishing Forecast:

It's windy again, and seas offshore might be a little too choppy this weekend for some folks. But, if you are hardy, go for it--the weather and general conditions look good.Of course, to avoid the chop, inshore fishing is an option.

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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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