Craig and Jan Royal and their son, Dan, along with Craig’s dad, Ron, fished southern Estero Bay’s backwaters with me on Monday, 2/4/19. The family used live shrimp to catch four nice, keeper sheepshead, two at 14 inches and two at 17 inches. They also caught a keeper, 12-inch mangrove snapper.
Gary Zwicky and his friend, Shocky, fished the backwaters of southern Estero Bay with me on Tuesday morning, 2/5. They used live shrimp to catch four sheepshead, two of which were 15-inch keepers, along with one keeper mangrove snapper.
I fished offshore for the first time in a good while on Wednesday, 2/6. Scott Cooper and Gary Haugen used squid and cut-bait 36 miles west of New Pass to catch a good variety of fish. They released thirty-eight red grouper shorts to 19 inches, along with a 20-inch gag grouper, a yellowtail snapper short, and a brace of 15-inch triggerfish. They boxed a half dozen nice sized grunts, along with six porgies in the 14-inch to 15-inch range, and two keeper lane snapper. They also caught and released a two-foot long remora that was hitchhiking on a shark that ate a fish we had on the line.
Craig Kinnick and two of his friends fished 24 miles west of New Pass with me on Thursday morning, 2/7, using squid and cut-bait. The bite was a little slow, but they caught enough grunts to take him for fish tacos, and they released several red grouper shorts and a lot of baitfish, such as sand perch and squirrel-fish.
Friday morning, 2/8, long-time customers, Robin Latham and Chris Welch, fished southern Estero Bay’s backwaters with me, using live shrimp. They caught four sheepshead, including three keepers from 13 inches to 18 inches, and released a ladyfish.
Neil and Jayne Muschett fished near-shore with me, thirteen miles west of New Pass, on a windy Monday morning, 2/11. The couple used squid to box fifteen good-sized grunts, perfect for the fish tacos they had planned. They released two red grouper shorts, along with a brace of five-pound goliath groupers.
Danny and Mary Walter fished 24 miles offshore with me on Tuesday morning, 2/12. They used squid to box sixteen large grunts, and released half a dozen red grouper shorts, before the winds and seas kicked up and we called it a day.
After a rainy day on Wednesday, 2/13 that cancelled out my fishing plans for that day, friends, Daniel Prischmann, Sharon Johnson, and Lyle Crider fished the backwaters of south Estero Bay with me on Valentines’ day morning, 2/13. The group used live shrimp to catch eleven sheepshead, including seven keepers to 16 inches.
George and Diane Van Der Linden, jointed by their son and daughter-in-law, Drew and Amanda, fished near-shore at the reefs with me on Friday morning, 2/15. We used frozen shrimp and squid, and caught mostly small stuff for a while, including some grunts, lane snapper, and bait-fish. We were thinking it was going to be kind of a slow morning when, all of a sudden, something big grabbed George’s shrimp. That turned out to be a 40-inch cobia, the first one I have seen in a good while, and good for many nice cobia steaks.
George Sloan II, his son George III, grandson George IV, and family friend, Mark Sommerville, fished in southern Estero Bay with me on Saturday morning, 2/16. The guys used live shrimp to catch a dozen sheepshead, including seven keepers in the 13 to 16-inch range. They also caught a 24-inch Spanish mackerel, and released a 14-inch bluefish.
Robin Latham and his seven-year-old grandson, Dylan, fished southern Estero Bay with me on Monday morning, 2/18. They used live shrimp to catch sixteen sheepshead, and kept the ten largest of those, all between 14 and 18 inches. They also released four ladyfish, a crevalle jack, and a 17-inch redfish.
Danny and Mary Walter, who fished offshore with me last Tuesday, decided to try some backwater fishing on Tuesday morning, 2/19. The couple did very well using live shrimp to catch nine keeper sheepshead to 18 inches. They released eight smaller ones, along with four ladyfish. They also caught two nice pompano, both about 17 inches.
Roy Mittman, who usually fishes offshore with me, fished southern Estero Bay’s backwaters instead, along with his friend, Rich Borgatti, on Wednesday morning, 2/20. Seas offshore were forecast to be three to four feet, so the bay seemed like a much better option. It proved to be fruitful: The guys used live shrimp to catch fifteen sheepshead, including six keepers to 19 inches. They caught a 17-inch pompano, and they released a 19-inch redfish (due to the current moratorium on harvesting redfish.)
Long-time customers, Craig and Jan Royal, joined by their brother-in-law and his wife, Curt and Barbara Claassen, fished 31 miles offshore with me on Thursday, 2/21. We had a great day—the best offshore day in a while—and the group caught a nice variety of fish. Using shrimp, they caught seven keeper mangrove snapper to 16 inches, along with fifteen yellowtail snapper that included a 14-inch keeper. Using cut-bait, they caught a mess of fifteen grunts, all around 12 inches, one keeper-sized sheepshead, and five nice porgies—unfortunately a shark helped himself to the biggest porgy, leaving us to reel in only its head. The group also caught two keeper porkfish, including the biggest porkfish I have ever seen, at 17 ¼ inches.
Gary Hourselt and his dad, Richard, fished southern Estero Bay’s backwaters with me on Friday morning, 2/22. Using live shrimp, the guys caught a dozen keeper sheepshead, with two of the largest measuring 19 inches. They released eight smaller sheepshead, along with a nearly 19-inch redfish.
Dr. Meir Daller, his wife, Rie, their two sons, Julian and Brenden, and a friend of the boys’, Joey, fished 33 miles west of New Pass with me on Saturday. They used frozen shrimp and squid to catch a brace of 15-inch porgies, a 13-inch mangrove snapper, and a dozen good-size grunts. The winning catch was a 50-inch, 60 pound cobia, which bit on a small grunt. There were three cobia around the boat, and Meir managed to land the largest of the three (see photo below.) We also released an 8-foot sandbar shark.
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