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 SW FL-Bonita Beach: Good action inside and offshore

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Posts : 246
Join date : 2008-04-04

PostSubject: SW FL-Bonita Beach: Good action inside and offshore   Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:17 pm

Cool Wednesday, 10/5, I had an offshore trip planned with Bryan Smith and friends, Tony and Kevin. There were small-craft-advisories in effect that morning, and seas were forecast to be two-to-four feet. The guys didn't want to fish inshore, preferring to go after some bigger game, so we decided to try some near-shore spots. We had sloppy conditions, with four and five-foot seas even as close as twelve miles offshore. But we caught some ladyfish and Spanish mackerel to use for goliath grouper bait, and we caught and released three goliaths, 30 pounds, 70 pounds and 100-plus pounds. After that, we moved in closer to the reefs off Bonita Beach, where we used live shrimp to catch four grunts, four croakers, and three keeper lanes, so the guys had something to cook for dinner. We released small sheepshead, along with lots of ladyfish and blue runners.

Tuesday, 10/11/11, I fished Estero Bay on an incoming tide with Jim Jambor, Jim Burton, Jerry Klukas and Herb Lethert. We did well with live shrimp, fishing around the islands for reds. We caught five keeper redfish, one 18 1/2 inches, three 19 1/2 inches, and one 20 1/2 inches. We released two 16-inch red pups, as well as a three-pound crevalle jack and a 21-inch snook. The group also caught two keeper sheepshead, 12 1/2 and 14 1/2 inches, and a keeper mangrove snapper.

Wednesday, 10/12, I headed offshore with Purnell and Shana Steiner, and their seven-year old son, Jaiden. Although NOAA's forecast was for two-foot seas out to sixty miles, we encountered three and four foot seas right out of the New Pass. The winds and seas calmed a little over the course of the morning, and we were able to fish about twelve miles west of New Pass, where we used live shrimp to catch seven lane snapper, three of which were keepers, seven mangrove snapper, three of which were keepers, a mess of whitebone porgy keepers, and some grunts. It's fair to say that Jaiden caught the majority of fish! We also caught some ladyfish and Spanish mackerel to use as bait for some goliath grouper fun--We had one must-have-been-huge goliath snap off a 275 braided steel cable. We also got a 300-pound goliath to the surface so Shana could photograph it before we released it. So all in all, it was worth braving some rough seas.

Andy Oliver and Pat O’Neil fished offshore with me on Thursday, 10/13, in 40 feet, seventeen miles west of New Pass. We caught seven whitebone porgies, including two 15-inch keepers, a keeper yellowtail snapper at 12 ¼ inches, a 14-inch triggerfish, and a few grunts. We released two goliath grouper, 80 pounds and 150 pounds, which ate a blue runner and a crevalle jack. We also released a 4-foot sandbar shark, which ate a live shrimp. We sited a huge manta-ray, which was pretty cool.

Saturday morning, 10/15, I headed offshore with a group of six guys. Jim Jenkins, Dave Ewing and son, Eric Ewing, Ken Fiedler, Nick Forte, and Ron Messier were willing to brave some rough seas that morning. Although the forecast was for two foot seas out to twenty miles, I knew better as soon as I awoke to an already brisk breeze. Winds and seas were forecast to increase later in the day. We headed out to about 35 feet and fished with live shrimp in three-to-five foot seas all morning, in a steady wind of about 25 knots. I guess the hogfish liked the weather, though, because we caught six of those, four of them keepers to 16 inches. The group also caught a mess of grunts, two keeper porkfish, and five nice whitebone porgies. They released seven smaller porgies, along with a 16-inch red grouper, a 15-inch gag grouper, and a 3 ½ foot bonnethead shark.

The first photo shown below is of angler, Brian Taylor, with a 9-pound bonito, caught on shrimp on a recent offshore trip.

The second photo shown is of angler, Herb Lethert with a 20 ½-inch redfish, caught on shrimp in Estero Bay, on a recent inshore trip.

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