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SWFL-BonitaBeach: Fishing still good, but pandemics not fun

East Cape to Englewood

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SWFL-BonitaBeach: Fishing still good, but pandemics not fun

Postby fishbuster » Wed May 13, 2020 1:57 pm

:toast: Frequent fisher, Mike Conneally, joined by his sister and brother-in-law, Rod and Cass Bromm, fished 35 miles west of New Pass with me on Wednesday, 3/18. The family used squid and cut-bait to box nine nice porgies to 15 inches and grunts to 13 inches.. They released thirty-two red grouper shorts to 18 inches, five scamp grouper shorts to 14 inches, two 13-inch triggerfish shorts, five mangrove snapper shorts (all ¼ to ½ inch short of keeper size), one yellowtail short just under 12 inches, and two bluefish. Bill and Terri Tank fished Estero Bay’s southern waters with me on a windy morning Friday, 3/20. They used live shrimp to catch eight sheepshead, including two keepers at 13 inches and 15 inches. They released three crevalle jacks, along with a 25-inch redfish. Fishing was kind of slow Saturday morning, when I fished 18 miles west of New Pass with Don and Kathy Leesman and their daughter and son-in-law, Tom and Kristen McGuire. Using squid and cut-bait, the family released three red grouper shorts to 18 inches, a few bluefish, a half dozen crevalle jacks, a grunt, and a triggerfish short. We have taken a slew of calls from folks needing to cancel advance bookings that spanned from the last two weeks of March through mid-May, due to the outbreak of Covid 19. Some people had to leave FL early to return home, and some cancelled vacation plans to fly into FL. With a state-wide shut-down order now in effect in FL, we won’t be taking customers out fishing for a while. We look forward to resuming business as soon as it is safe to do so, and we wish all of our customers all the best in staying safe and healthy. On Thursday, 3/26, me and my wife took some down-time to get out on the bay, where we used shrimp to catch and release three sheepshead and an 18-inch redfish. On another busman’s holiday Saturday, 4/4, me and my wife fished in southern Estero Bay for a couple of hours, using live shrimp. We did pretty well, boxing two drum 15 inches and 19 inches, along with a 12-inch mangrove snapper. We released an 18-inch redfish and a 23-inch sailcat. With outside business still on hold, we did another family bay outing for a couple of hours on Friday, 4/10. My wife and I used live shrimp to release five mangrove snapper shorts, a sailcat, and a sheepshead. On Sunday, 5/3, we made an offshore excursion out to 30 miles west of New Pass with our friends, Craig and Jan. We used cut-bait and squid to box two keeper mangrove snapper to 16 inches, along with ten keeper lane snapper, two keeper yellowtail snapper, two nice grunts to 14 inches, and four porgies to 14 inches. We released twenty-two red grouper shorts to 19 and 3/4 inches, a scamp grouper short, and a few blue runners, along with two sharpnose sharks and three remoras.
With things beginning to re-open, we are cautiously proceeding with a few charters, but are temporarily limiting total passengers to two on the bay boat and a max of four on the offshore boat, in order to maintain social distancing. Mask use is also encouraged. Everyone stay safe!
You can view our fishing action videos at
The photo shown is of Ed Adams with a 25-inch bonito, caught on cut-bait and released 32 miles west of New Pass on an offshore Fishbuster Charter.
Captain Dave Hanson
Fishbuster Charters, Inc.
Bonita Beach, FL
(239) 947-1688
[email protected]
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