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 SWFL-Bonita Beach: Snapper & Sheepshead Offshore; Reds &Trout Inshore

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Posts : 246
Join date : 2008-04-04

PostSubject: SWFL-Bonita Beach: Snapper & Sheepshead Offshore; Reds &Trout Inshore   Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:39 pm

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

Tuesday, 1/11, I fished a catch-and-release backwater trip with Mike Hubble and Mike Richards, who had escaped the snow up north and just wanted a warm day out on the water. We released three redfish to 17 inches, fifteen trout to 17 inches, 15 sheepshead and 30 ladyfish, all caught on shrimp in central Estero Bay.

Wednesday was a cold morning with brisk winds, occasionally gusty. Alene Haug and family decided to give bay-fishing a try, and we released snapper and ladyfish before the group decided to cut the trip to half-time and get out of the cold winds.

Thursday brought freezing temperatures and backwaters so shallow that it would have been foolhardy to even attempt to take my scheduled bay trip out into muddy Estero Bay. We rescheduled that trip for later this month.

Friday, seas were calming but it was still rough first thing in the morning, when I headed to the near-shore reefs with Chuck Schmitt and his friend, Dick. We used live shrimp to catch four keeper sheepshead, all about 15 inches, a keeper flounder, some grunts and a whiting. We released lots of smaller sheepshead.

Monday morning, 1/17, I headed to the reefs, ahead of an incoming rainy weather-front that was due to arrive sometime after noon. Bob Eckle, his three teen-aged sons, Clark, Jason and Nick, and the boys' grandfather, Hugh, were finishing up their visit to our area and due to head home on Tuesday. Seas were 2-3 foot close-in at the Bonita reefs, and they built to 3-4 feet later in the morning. But we managed to catch some fish and get back in about 1PM, just as the first rumbles of thunder could be heard and the first drops of rain began to fall. We used live shrimp to catch fifteen sheepshead, and the group kept three of those that were about 15 inches long. They released the others, even though they were keeper-sized at 12-14 inches, since they needed only enough for dinner tonight. They also kept one mangrove snapper and a large grunt, and released all the smaller ones.

Tuesday, after some early morning fog cleared, we had nice conditions, with warmer temps, sunshine, and much calmer seas. I fished in 43 feet with Fred Lance and Hobie Fleetman. They caught six keeper mangrove snapper, about 14 inches, and released smaller mangs, red grouper to 19 inches, gag grouper to 21 1/2 inches, triggerfish, porkfish, porgies and grunts.

Wednesday morning began with fog and some rain. But the rain was of short duration and pretty localized, so I managed to work around it when I headed out to 38 feet to fish off Naples with Roy Mittman and son, Zack. We caught about 20 mangrove snapper, 4 of which were keepers, a keeper sheepshead at 14 inches, some whitebone porgies, and a mess of large grunts, about two pounds each. We brought in seventeen fish and released the rest, including nine gag grouper to 19 1/2 inches.

Thursday, I headed out in calm seas to 30 miles west of New Pass to fish in 65 feet with long-time customers Ron Musick, Dick Arnett, Eddie Alfonse and Alan Zunk. The snapper bite was on, and we caught sixty mangrove snapper to 17 ˝ inches, of which we kept twenty-five. We also caught fourteen yellowtail snapper to 17 inches, and kept eight of those. We released twenty gag and red grouper to 18 inches, along with five bluefish to 13 inches.

Friday, I cancelled my scheduled trip, as a front rolled in with dense fog, rain showers and rough seas. On-land winds were calm Saturday, but offshore, seas were still rough, with a 15 knot wind out of the northwest, so I didn’t reschedule for that day.

The photo shown is of angler, Paige Connealy, with a 26-inch gag grouper, caught on shrimp and released, due to closed grouper season, on a recent offshore trip.

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