SW FL-Bonita Beach: Nearshore in 25 Knots; Redfish in the Bay
Capt. Dave Hanson
May 3, 2008
Bonita Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report
Ron Musick and Eddie Alfonso fished with me Monday, 4/28, when we were hoping to beat the weather front predicted to arrive late Monday night. We had originally planned to fish on Tuesday but we rescheduled once we heard the forecast. Seas were predicted to be two-to-three feet offshore Monday but that wasn't the case. About the only place that was true was in the bay! We only went out about 15 miles from New Pass and we came in short of a full-day, due to conditions. We managed two keeper mangrove snapper and eight whitebone porgies on shrimp, so at least there was stock for Ron's freezer.
Tuesday, the winds were predicted to howl and the seas predicted to churn offshore. There was also a good chance of rain predicted and I remained in port.
Although NOAA predicted seas calmed to two to three feet, out to 20 miles for Wednesday, I was a little dubious, knowing it usually takes the Gulf longer to calm down after a couple days of rough seas. I checked with my scheduled anglers to see if they might prefer inshore fishing but they decided to try for near-shore, so I headed out with Louis Wolfe and friends to about 30 feet out of New Pass, where we encountered seas of three to five feet. We knew we could expect only worse if we headed further out. Later in the morning the seas did calm a little. We did the best we could, which was two keeper lane snapper, two keeper mangrove snapper, a 24 inch Spanish mackerel, a 14 inch pompano, and a half dozen whitebone porgies. We released grunts and grouper shorts.
Thursday, seas were 3-5 feet again and I didn't venture out. By Friday, the forecast was for 2-3 foot seas within 20 miles again but I knew better. My two anglers, father and son team Terry and Mike Hopkins, wanted to give it a shot anyway so we headed out to 43 feet from New Pass, where we had three-to-fives all morning. When we headed in about 1:00, there were two to threes once we got to within 10 miles of shore. We fished with live shrimp and caught about 20 whitebone porgies to 15 inches. We kept seven of those, along with a 14 inch hogfish. We released the rest of the porgies, gag and red grouper shorts, triggerfish, blue runners and a three-foot sharpnose shark.
Saturday morning, brothers Steve and Howard Potash fished central Estero Bay with me on a decent tide. Baited with live shrimp, we caught three keeper redfish, two at 18 ¾ inches and one at 19 ½ inches, and a keeper mangrove snapper. We released small snapper, a ray and a 22 inch snook.
The photo shown is of a king mackerel, caught on shrimp on a recent offshore trip.
Bonita Beach Fishing Forecast:
Winds are still with us for a few days along with the rougher seas they bring offshore. Su=mmer tides are taking hold in the backwaters, though, and the fishing there should be getting better and better as summer approaches.
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