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 SW FL-Bonita Beach: Snappermania!

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fishbuster



Posts : 232
Join date : 2008-04-04

PostSubject: SW FL-Bonita Beach: Snappermania!   Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:21 pm

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

By Wednesday morning, 12/29, though still frigid first thing, there was a warming trend in force and, best of all, seas were only two feet. I headed out to 43 feet, west of New Pass, with long-time customers Dennis and Jamie Riddell, daughter, Robin, and son-in-law, Kerry. We caught about twenty mangrove snapper, but only six of them were keeper-size. Those six were nice ones, though, to 17 inches. We also caught a 15-inch sheepshead to throw in the box. We released grouper and snapper shorts, grunts and porgies, having caught everything on live shrimp.

Thursday morning, as the chill of the past week began to wane, I headed out to 43 feet of water, west of New Pass, with Brad Hayes, fiancé, Lisa, Lisa’s son, Joey, Lisa’s daughter, Katie, and Katie’s boyfriend, Walker. Brad has fished with me many times, the most recent being just two days before this trip. But the group he had with him this time had fished offshore only once ever. The group had fun catching snapper and sheepshead mostly. They kept six nice mangrove snapper, two lane snapper to 14 inches, and a 17-inch sheepshead, all caught on shrimp. We released smaller snapper and sheepshead, along with red grouper shorts.

Friday morning, temps were much milder. Seas were calm, at two feet out to twenty miles. I headed out to 43 feet with Gary Schwandt and his twelve-year-old grandson, Graham. My fourteen year-old grandson, Cody, who was visiting for the weekend also joined us. There were many boats out, as it was the beginning of a holiday weekend and the first warm day in a long while. We managed to find a couple of good snapper holes, even in the crowded waters, and we used live shrimp to catch eight keeper mangrove snapper to 17 inches (see photo), along with some grunts. We released grouper shorts.

I was off the water for the holiday weekend. Monday was one of those rare (thank goodness) times when a captain gets stood up by a party who has reserved a date--not a great way to start the new year but, since it only happens once a twice a year, maybe it is over with for this one. It is unfortunate, though, that someone else didn't get to enjoy a warm, calm day offshore.

Tuesday morning was even warmer and calmer than Monday, and Norman Miller and his fiancé, Jessica, enjoyed fishing with shrimp in 43 feet so much that they decided to extend their half-day trip by about an hour. They caught a total of 35 mangrove snapper, a dozen of which were keepers to 15 inches. They released the rest, along with some grunts and some red grouper shorts.

Wednesday was another calm, warm day offshore, and I spent the morning fishing about 17 miles west of New Pass with long-time customer Mike Connealy and his daughter, Paige. The grouper bite was on, though they are currently out-of-season, and we released about 15 gags and red grouper shorts, along with one nice, 26-inch gag that would have been a keeper, were it not for grouper season being closed. We also caught six keeper mangrove snapper to 14 inches, some grunts, and a 15-inch hogfish, all on shrimp.

I had planned two consecutive full-day offshore trips for Thursday and Friday, but the weather got in my way. Another cold-front approached Wednesday night into Thursday morning, bringing rough seas for both Thursday and Friday, building to 4-6 foot seas by Friday and persisting into Saturday. Both Friday and Saturday were beautiful days on land, and I had to question NOAA’s forecast for offshore. But, the forecast consistently and persistently warned of 4-6 foot seas, small-craft advisories and high-surf conditions, and I had to take that forecast at face-value. Sunday offered a slight improvement and, perhaps a window of opportunity to get offshore, but neither of my cancelled trips were available to go out that day. And Monday brought more high winds and 3-5 foot seas, so I remained reluctantly in port.

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