SW FL-Bonita Beach: Winter Sheepshead are Back...and Big!
Capt. Dave Hanson
December 21, 2012
Bonita Beach - Saltwater Fishing Report
The first week of December was kind of slow around here, which is typical for the few weeks between Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday rush. But I did get out fishing in Estero Bay, on a catch-and-release trip with Dave and Diane Carey on Friday, 12/7/12. The couple used live shrimp to catch twenty sheepshead to 14 inches, eight of which were would-be keepers, along with one keeper-sized mangrove snapper at 13 inches, two puffer-fish and two stingrays.
My next trip wasn't until ten days later, the interim filled with lots of rainy, windy weather. On Monday, 12/17, I fished Estero Bay's backwaters with Greg Sturley, his son, Chris, and his father-in-law, Richard. Using live shrimp, the guys caught ten sheepshead, three of which were 14-inch keepers, along with three keeper mangrove snapper at 12 inches each. They released two 16-inch crevalle jacks, a couple of puffer-fish, and a couple of rays.
Wednesday morning, 12/19, I again fished the backwaters, this time with Robert and Kim Rzepiela. The couple used live shrimp to catch three keeper sheepshead, all in the 13-14-inch range, a keeper mangrove snapper, and a 16-inch pompano. They released ten smaller sheepshead and three stingrays.
Today, Friday, 12/21, I cancelled my offshore trip in the face of 25 knot winds and 5-foot seas. A cold front has made it all this way south, and is predicted to drop our usually tropical temperatures to a chilly 40 degrees tonight.
Happy holidays to all!
The photo shown is of angler Rich Honsa, with a 19 ½-inch sheepshead, caught on shrimp on a recent trip.
Bonita Beach Fishing Forecast:
Right now, there are 25-knot winds whipping seas up to five feet...and by tonight, our usually tropical temperatures will dip to 40 degrees...Low tides in the bay are expected...so, not the best opportunities for fishing over the next couple of days, but by Sunday, conditions should be calmer.
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