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 SW FL-Bonita Beach: Mixed Bag Offshore

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Posts : 245
Join date : 2008-04-04

PostSubject: SW FL-Bonita Beach: Mixed Bag Offshore   Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:04 pm

Cool “No oil—No spoil
Our Beaches are Clean—Our Waters Pristine”

After a rainy cold-front pushed through the area on Wednesday, 12/1, seas were rough through Thursday. Predictions were for 15 knot winds and 2-4 foot seas on Friday but, when I headed offshore with Greg Bauer and friend, Jim, we hit three-to-four-footers a mere six miles off the beach. Greg and Jim are pretty hardy anglers so we continued out to about 17 miles, where we fished in steady four-foot seas, with a few fives mixed in, as the wind howled 20-27 knots. But the grouper bite was on, and Greg caught a nice 28-inch gag on a grunt. We lost two or other nice ones that cut our lines, and we released lots of red grouper shorts. We also caught four keeper mangrove snapper and a mess of large grunts.

Saturday morning, seas were calmer, when I headed out to 19 miles west of New Pass with Bob Rose and Stephanie Oberlie. We had a lot of grouper bites, but no keepers. We released small snapper as well as a bunch of grouper shorts. We also lost a couple of bigger ones that broke off in the rocks. We caught a dozen keeper whitebone porgies, all 13-14 inches, a 14-inch keeper mangrove snapper, and a mess of grunts—plenty for the fish-fry the two had planned for evening.

Monday morning, 12/6, brought temps in the forties, strong winds, and small craft advisories offshore, with seas of 4-6 feet. Long-time customers Erwin and Millie Matusiak traded offshore plans for a morning of flats fishing in Estero Bay, after which we were all ready for some shelter from the wind and a cup of cocoa! The Matusiaks kept a couple of 14-inch sheepshead for dinner, and released a 20-inch bluefish, an 18-inch trout, as well as lots of smaller sheepshead and ladyfish. All were caught on live shrimp.

No one braved the conditions to fish on Tuesday and Wednesday, with near-freezing temps and brisk winds. Thursday, we added rain to the mix. But by Friday, 12/10, it was looking like SW FL once again. Despite a chilly start, we warmed up to the low 70’s by afternoon, and our winds calmed somewhat, with 2-3 foot seas making it possible to venture offshore about 15 miles. I fished in 43 feet with Chris Ernberger and his twelve-year old son, Carter, along with Carter’s grandfather, Jerry. We caught a mess of nice-sized grunts, keeper mangrove snapper and keeper porkfish, all on shrimp. We released smaller porkfish, triggerfish shorts and grouper shorts.

By Sunday, 12/12, another cold-front was pushing through, bringing wind-gusts to 40 knots by late Sunday into Monday, seas of 12-18 feet offshore, and cold temperatures. With a little luck, conditions might improve by the end of the week, when I hope to get back out on the water.

The photo shown is of angler, John Hornell, with a 16-inch hogfish, caught on shrimp on a recent offshore trip.
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