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 SW FL-Bonita Beach: Nice Kings, Bonito, Shark, Snapper & Trout

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fishbuster



Posts : 230
Join date : 2008-04-04

PostSubject: SW FL-Bonita Beach: Nice Kings, Bonito, Shark, Snapper & Trout   Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:39 pm

Cool Seasonal business is just beginning to pick up around here, though most of the recently reserved dates are for later this month and into next. I did get offshore Saturday, 10/10 with long-time customers Jerry and Barb Rudan, from Wisconsin. We headed out of New Pass to about 18 miles, but it was slow going heading out in sloppy seas. Predictions were for one-footers, and it did eventually calm to about that, but the trip out was definitely not that calm. We used live shrimp to catch a lot of different fish but many of our catches were frustratingly just short of keeper-size. We released red groupers that were as little as one eighth of an inch short of legal. The same was true of many yellowtails and mangrove snapper. Triggerfish were abundant and would have been keepers prior to the regulation change, which now demands 14-inch minimum, so we released those too, along with lots of ladyfish. On the bright side, we did manage to catch a mess of keeper-sized snapper too—mangs, lanes and yellowtail, as well as Spanish mackerel.

David Koenigsmark, son Adam, and father-in-law, Hubert, fished offshore with me Thursday, 10/15. We had a full-day so we headed out 37 miles west of New Pass to 74 feet. David had fished with me this summer, but we were bayside to accommodate his younger son. This time, he wanted his fourteen-year old son to have some offshore adventure. We caught a variety of fish, some of them pretty good size, which included a 34 inch king mackerel, a 28 inch king, whose tail was bitten off as Adam reeled him in by a huge barracuda, a 3 ½ foot sharpnose shark, a very large stingray, and an 8-pound bonito. We kept the kingfish and released the shark, stingray and bonito. We also caught some good table-fare—lane snapper, mangrove snapper and yellowtail snapper—all keeper-sized, though we released all the lanes and a few mangs, as we already had plenty of fish, and also released lots of grouper shorts. At one point, we spotted about fifteen large mahi-mahi, right beside the boat—we had just arrived and weren’t rigged up yet, and they spooked and swam off.

Sunday morning, 10/18, I had planned to fish offshore with Dan Wampler, son, Barry, and eleven-year-old grandson, Max. The weather, however, had other ideas, as our first real cool-front came through the area, bringing not only much cooler temperatures, but also stiff winds and rough seas offshore. Dan and family decided to brave the cold morning temps and fish in the calmer waters of the bay. We stayed as sheltered from the wind as possible, and used live shrimp along the mangrove shoreline to catch five keeper sand bream and nine keeper mangrove snapper. We released small sheepshead and two small snook.

As the winds continued to be strong and seas rough offshore on Monday, Chester Yanik, son Mark, and friends Jim Basara and Tom Murphey also swapped their offshore plans for two days of inshore fishing in Estero Bay. Monday, we caught a dozen keeper-mangrove snapper out of twenty-five total mangs, and four keeper-sheepshead out of a bunch of sheepies caught. We released the smaller snapper and sheepshead, along with a 16-inch snook. We were fishing with shrimp and small bait- fish along the shoreline, wherever were able to stay somewhat sheltered from the winds.

Tuesday, the same group caught a bunch of trout--about 30 throw-backs measuring 14-15 inches--and they kept three nice trout that were 16 inches, along with keeper mangrove snapper. We released four redfish to 17 inches, an Atlantic spadefish, and a 3 1/2-foot bonnethead shark. We fished mostly in areas behind Ft. Myers Beach, using live shrimp and popping corks for the trout and reds.

The photo shown is of angler Mike Page, with an 18-inch sheepshead, caught on shrimp on a recent trip.
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