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 SW FL-Bonita Beach: Finally Fishing Weather on the Horizon!

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Posts : 246
Join date : 2008-04-04

PostSubject: SW FL-Bonita Beach: Finally Fishing Weather on the Horizon!   Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:42 pm

Cool The week of 2/7 was not very angler-friendly. There were rough seas and gusty winds offshore and low-tide conditions in the bay, as consecutive weather fronts moved through our area. I finally got to fish in the bay on Friday, 2/11 but it was a chilly, rainy day. The rain that was predicted to be light and brief ended up persisting throughout the morning. But Art Mader, his son and his son-in-law stuck it out for the opportunity to fish. Using live shrimp, the trio caught seven sheepshead, three of which were keepers to 17 inches. They also caught two whitings, one of which was a keeper, and they released a 14-inch sea trout.

Long time customer, Leon Dargis, son Brett, and Leon’s two young grandsons had hoped for a morning of fishing offshore on Saturday, 2/12, but the rough seas prohibited that so the group decided to give bay fishing a try instead. We delayed leaving to allow for some warm-up, with temps beginning in the 40s. By 9:30, it was only a couple of degrees warmer, but we headed into the bay. The winds were blowing about 20 knots, making the wind-chill pretty severe. The boys did more shivering than reeling and, after catching and releasing a few, decided they’d rather head back to shore and warm up.

On Tuesday, seas were two foot out to 60 miles, and Ron & Susan Musick asked me to captain their boat, with their friends Eddie Alfonse, Bob Mayer, Fred McNeil and Liz Condos joining them for some fishing about 18 miles west of New Pass. We fished with live shrimp in 43 feet, and caught a pair of 16-inch-hogfish, six mangrove snapper keepers to 15 inches, porgies and grunts. We released smaller mangrove snapper, gag grouper to 21 inches, and red grouper to 19 inches.

Thursday, I fished in 43 feet again, this time with Rick McGrath and friend, Bill. We caught five keeper lane snapper to 14 inches, a keeper mangrove snapper, and four whitebone porgies. We released lots of small and out-of-season grouper.

Jerry Casey, Jerry Everling, Steve O’Connor, John Gaworecki and John’s two sons, fourteen-year-old Jake and twelve-year-old Luke, headed offshore with me on Friday morning to fish with live shrimp in 38-45 feet. The group caught three hogfish, two of which were nice keepers at 17 inches. They also caught about fifteen mangrove snapper, and kept one that measured 15 inches, along with seven keeper lane snapper, whitebone porgies and grunts. The group also released red grouper shorts.

Saturday morning, the gulf was flat and the bite was active, but with few keeper-sized catches, when I fished in 43 feet with Bob Meyer and his grandson, Shawn. The duo did keep some grunts and porkfish to eat, but most of our many catches had to be released, and included twenty-five mangrove snapper that were all 11 to 11 ˝ inches, gag grouper to 21 ˝ inches, red grouper to 19 inches and triggerfish shorts.

The photo shown is of angler, Blair Austin, with a 17-inch hogfish (yum!), caught on shrimp, on a recent offshore trip.
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SW FL-Bonita Beach: Finally Fishing Weather on the Horizon!
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