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SW FL-Bonita Beach: Red grouper Offshore; Redfish Inshore

Capt. Dave Hanson
May 13, 2013
Bonita Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report

Monday, 4/29/13, seas were supposed to be two-to three feet, out to sixty miles, when I headed offshore with Scott Savaraid and four of his friends. But it was a lot rougher than that, in windy conditions, and we ventured out to 18 miles, where the group used live shrimp to catch fifteen keeper lane snapper, nine whitebone porgies, and a mess of grunts. All in all, they caught about thirty fish, so they had plenty to eat. They released lots of red grouper shorts and two amberjack at 16 and 18 inches. Scott plans to fish with me again on Wednesday, and seas are predicted to be calm that day.

Tuesday morning, the only rain showing up on radar was way south of us, around Marco Island. But, as I headed out with Ron Musick, Eddie Alfonso, Bob Mayer and friend, Ray, a light rain had begun. It got heavier too, but we idled out for a while so as not to get soaked, and finally got through it to clearer skies. We fished between 19 and 22 miles west of New Pass. One of my favorite red grouper spots was invaded by dolphins, which put a quick end to fishing there. But Eddie caught two gag grouper, 23 inches and 28 inches, which we released due to closed season. He also released a 5-foot sandbar shark. The group caught twenty keeper lane snapper and a mess of grunts and porgies, using live shrimp.

Wednesday, I remained in port, due to a last minute cancellation. And, Thursday, it rained relentlessly all day long, causing me to reschedule a backwater trip planned for that day.

Friday morning, I fished Estero Bay with John & Carla Vepraskas. The couple used live shrimp to catch and release a brace of 17 -inch redfish, a couple of stingrays, and three 13-inch black drum. Keepers included a 15-inch sheepshead and a 12-inch mangrove snapper, all caught on shrimp.

I had planned a full-day offshore trip for Saturday, but winds and seas kicked back up, and with three-to-five foot seas well offshore, I deferred that trip to a later date this month.

Monday morning, 5/6, I fished in windy conditions in Estero Bay with Gerry and Jane Loftus. Fishing was a little slow at first, but picked up a little later and we had a productive morning. Jane caught a 24-inch redfish, and Gerry caught a 22-inch red. The couple also caught four keeper sheepshead, all on shrimp. They released some mangrove snapper shorts and two stingrays.

Tuesday morning, I fished inshore again, this time with Bob and Katie Sawyer and friend, Shannon Carpenter. The group used live shrimp to catch and release two 17 3/4-inch redfish (just 1/4 inch short of legal size, some mangrove snapper to 12 inches, sheepshead shorts, and five stingrays.

Thursday, 5/9, I headed out 22 miles west of New Pass with John Stauffer and Joe Colecki. John caught a beautiful, 27-inch red grouper on a pinfish. The guys used live shrimp for the rest of their catches, which included thirty-four keeper lane snapper to 13 inches, and a mess of grunts. They released lots of red grouper shorts, mangrove snapper shorts, and an 18-inch gag grouper short.

Saturday, 5/11, I fished offshore with Randy Buster, his girlfriend, Zeny, and friend, Rodney Drenning. We fished spots between 28 and 35 miles west of New Pass, using bait-fish for grouper and live shrimp for everything else. The group would have had seven red grouper in all, but the sandbar sharks were a nuisance, and they ate four of the seven grouper. Still, we managed to cull three keepers, two at 22 inches and one at 21 inches. One of the shark-bitten groupers was 18-inches even without its back end, so it was probably a nice one! The group also caught fifteen keeper lane snapper, an 18-inch Spanish mackerel, and a half dozen whitebone porgies to 15 inches. They released lots of red grouper shorts, two short gag grouper, some yellowtail snapper shorts, and two 35-inch sharp-nose sharks.

The photo shown below is of angler Eddie Alfonso, with a 28-inch gag grouper caught on bait-fish and released on a recent offshore trip.

Click to Enlarge Photo

The photo shown below is of angler Gerry Loftus, with a 22-inch redfish, one of two keeper reds 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:

Bonita Beach Fishing Forecast:

Winds and seas are picking up today, with small craft advisories in effect offshore. Inshore will be the best place to fish for the next few days. Hoping for calmer conditions by the end of the week.

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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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