Saltwater Fishing in SW FL-Naples, Bonita, Ft. Myers Beach
Fishbuster Charters, Bonita Beach, FL
Cap't Dave Hanson
"They hatch 'em--We catch 'em!"
Who Ya Gonna Call? Fishbuster!
copyright: Fishbuster Charters, Inc. (Marti Hanson)
Multi-Month Fishing Report
Sushi at its freshest! (just kidding)
(239) 947-1688 (8AM--8PM daily)
Click on any species link below to view pics of that particular species. Click on recent pics to see a variety of catches over the past three months.
January 2, 2020--June 30, 2020
Mark and Elizabeth Venturin and their daughter and son-in-law, Michelle and Scott, fished the backwaters of Estero Bay with me on Thursday morning, 1/2/20 , joined by Michelle's husband, Scott Nichols. The family used live shrimp to catch thirteen sheepshead, including three keepers to 17 inches. They also released two redfish at 17 inches and 21 inches, along with two mangrove snapper shorts.
Dale Cruzan, along with his son, Cody Cruzan and his wife, Kate, had fished offshore with me on 12/28/19. They wanted to try a backwater trip also, so we fished southern Estero Bay on Friday morning, 1/3/20, using live shrimp for bait. The family caught seventeen sheepshead, including nine keepers to 15 inches. They released two small snook.
Saturday morning, 1/4/20, was a windy one, but the tide was good in Estero Bay's backwaters, where I fished a catch & release trip with David Dunbar and his girlfriend, Emily Eiteljorg. The couple used live shrimp to catch a dozen sheepshead, four of which would have been keepers in the 13 to 14 inch range. They also released a crevalle jack, a 26-inch sail-cat, as well as two redfish at 17 inches and 19 inches.
Long-time customer, Mike Connealy, fished spots 23 to 35 miles west of New Pass with me on Wednesday, 1/15, using squid and cut-bait. We released forty-one red grouper shorts to 18 inches, along with eight scamp grouper shorts, all of which were about 14 inches. Mangrove snapper were abundant, but the two dozen of those we caught were all around 11 to 11 ½ inches, short of the 12-inch keeper size. Mike boxed five 14-inch porgies and eleven keeper lane snapper that were all around 12 inches. He released six additional lanes that were shorts.
John Abernathy, joined by his son, Ryan, and by Becky Vogrin, fished southern Estero Bay's backwaters with me on a very windy Saturday morning, 1/18. They used live shrimp to catch fourteen sheepshead, including four keepers between 13 and 15 inches. They released a 17-inch redfish and eight small snook.
High winds and seas and cold temps converged upon us the week of 1/20, and I had to cancel a couple of offshore trips. The winds and the cold even made it a little tough fishing Estero Bay's backwaters, which I did on Wednesday, 1/22, with Tim Gustin and his son, Chase. But we had an incoming tide, which helped, and the guys used live shrimp to catch four keeper sheepshead, two at 13 inches and two that were between 15 and 16 inches. They released two redfish shorts to 18 inches and two small snook.
Seas finally calmed down enough by Friday, 1/24, to allow me to go offshore, where I fished in spots 28 to 35 miles west of New Pass with Tony Mengwasser and Mark Harrington. Using cut-bait and squid, the guys released twenty-five red grouper shorts to 19 inches, fourteen scamp grouper, all in the 14 to 15-inch range, two bluefish, two yellowtail snapper shorts and one mangrove snapper short. Keepers included a dozen lane snapper, a 13-inch mangrove snapper, and three porgies.
Winds and seas were on the rise again by Saturday morning, 1/25. I fished inshore, at the south end of Estero Bay, with Jim Pizzo and his daughter, Maria. They used live shrimp to catch thirteen sheepshead, including two keepers at 13 inches and 14 inches. The eleven shorts they released were mostly just under legal keeper size. They hooked a couple of redfish, but lost those before they could get them to the boat. Maria also caught and released a 20-inch snook.
Tuesday morning, 1/28, I fished southern Estero Bay's backwaters with Paul Olef, Sandy Mintz, and their friend, Howard. The guys used shrimp to catch ten sheepshead, including two keepers to 18 inches. They released a redfish short and a half-dozen mangrove snapper shorts.
John and Holly Lischer, along with Cruz Holt, traded in their offshore plans for a morning of fishing southern Estero Bay's backwaters on Friday, 1/31, since seas offshore were in excess of three feet. The group used live shrimp to catch seventeen sheepshead, including two keepers at 14 inches and nearly 17 inches. They also caught and released a 20-inch ladyfish, five mangrove snapper shorts, and a 16-inch snook.
Paul Stanek, joined by his sister, Rose, and her husband, Frank, fished a catch-and-release trip in southern Estero Bay with me on Wednesday, 2/5/20. They used live shrimp to catch eleven sheepshead and one small Spanish mackerel.
Mike Wickman and Tom Weinstein fished the southern end of Estero Bay's backwaters with me on a very windy Friday morning, 2/7. The guys used live shrimp to catch ten sheepshead, including two keepers at 16 inches and 14 inches. They also released a 21-inch seatrout, due to the current moratorium on harvesting trout.
Ed Adamezyk and Brian Runevitch fished offshore with me on Monday, 2/10, in various spots out to 35 miles west of New Pass, using squid and cut-bait. We moved several times because of sharks intruding on our fishing spots, but the guys caught lot of fish. We lost count of the red groupers we released, but those numbered somewhere between 40 and 55, to 19 inches. The guys boxed five keeper lane snapper, all about 12 inches, one keeper mangrove snapper at 13 inches, three Spanish mackerel all around 20 inches, and one 14-inch porgy. They released five short mangs, along with one yellowtail short and a 25-inch bonito.
Ed Thompson and his family fished offshore with me on Tuesday morning, 2/11/20, 18 to 20 miles west of New Pass. The family used squid and cut-bait to catch and release five red grouper shorts to 18 inches, along with a bunch of blue runners and sand perch. They boxed four grunts and a porgy for dinner.
Long-time customers Craig and Jan Royal, joined by Craig's dad, Ron, fished offshore with me on Wednesday, 2/12, in various spots 30 to 36 miles west of New Pass, using squid and cut-bait. They released forty-eight red grouper shorts to 18 inches, along with a dozen small scamp grouper. The family boxed fifteen porgies to 14 inches, two keeper mangrove snapper to 13 inches, and two keeper lane snapper.
Roy Mittman and Richard Borghatti fished Estero Bay's southern backwaters with me on Thursday, 2/13, where they used live shrimp to catch six keeper sheepshead to 18 inches. They released an 18-inch redfish and a crevalle jack.
Jeff and Beth Heimlich, with their son, Tanner, and daughter, Maddie, fished 30 miles west of New Pass with me on an offshore trip Friday, February 14th. The family used squid and cut-bait to catch and release thirty-four red grouper shorts to 18 inches, a gag grouper short, and two triggerfish at 15 and 16 inches. They boxed a nice mangrove snapper at 16 inches, along with four keeper lane snapper and three grunts. They also got a good look at a big tiger shark that ate our free-lined bait right down to the hook, before he cut off and swam away.
Joe Hahn, Mike Jansen, Mike Reichart, David Jahner, and George Vanderlinden braved five-foot seas heading offshore with me Saturday morning, 2/15. The forecast was for winds and seas to subside later in the morning, so they decided to tolerate the slow ride out and make a day of it. We fished in several spots 30 to 36 miles west of New Pass, using squid and cut-bait. Red grouper were everywhere but, as has been the case recently, they were all just undersized. We released over a hundred of those to 19 inches. The guys boxed eight nice porgies to 17 inches, a keeper yellowtail snapper at 13 inches, a keeper mangrove snapper at 13 inches, eight keeper lane snapper, and eight nice-sized grunts to 14 inches.
Drew VanWerden and his son, Gabe, fished 19 miles west of New Pass with me on Sunday morning, 2/16. It was a little choppy heading out again, but it calmed down shortly after we got anchored. The guys used squid and cut-bait to release a dozen red grouper shorts to 18 inches, along with five triggerfish to just short of 15 inches. Triggerfish are out of season until March so, even if they had met the 15-inch legal size, they would have had to have been released. Boxed fish included five grunts and a 14-inch mangrove snapper.
Mike Bochman and his friends, Jay and Kevin, fished 36 miles west of New Pass with me in calm seas on Monday, 2/17. Once again, the red grouper were everywhere, and the guys used squid and cut-bait to catch and release seventy-five of those to 19 inches. They also released a dozen scamp grouper shorts, all 14 and 15 inches, along with three 14-inch triggerfish and forty-eight bluefish. We also hooked and released an eight-foot sandbar shark, was kept things exciting for a while! As for food-fish, the guys boxed six porgies and two mangrove snapper, 13 and 14 inches.
Mike Bochman, who fished with me offshore Monday, left his buddies home on Tuesday morning, 2/18, and fished solo in southern Estero Bay's backwaters. The bite was a little slow, despite a decent tide. Using live shrimp, he caught five sheepshead, including a pair of 13-inch keepers, and released a crevalle jack. He nearly had a pompano, but that skittish fish escaped before it could be boated.
Young angler, Jimmy Cox, had fun fishing a catch-and-release trip in southern Estero Bay's backwaters with his dad, Pat, and his grandpa, Jim, on Wednesday morning, 2/19. The family used live shrimp to catch three keeper-sized sheepshead to 15 inches and a 17-inch pompano.
Mike Connealy and Rob Young fished 36 miles west of New Pass with me on Thursday, 2/20, on a slow tide. They boxed four 13-inch grunts and six nice porgies, and released four 14-inch triggerfish and a dozen red grouper shorts to 18 inches. They battled a goliath for a while, until it cut the line and broke off.
Paul Stanek, who fished with me earlier this month, fished southern Estero Bay's backwaters, along with his brother, Rich, on Friday morning, 2/21. It was a windy day, with a cold front moving in, but the wind was blowing the right direction for a good tide, and the guys had a productive morning for their catch-and-release trip. Using live shrimp, they caught nine sheepshead, including two keeper-sized at 14 inches, along with a couple of mangrove snapper shorts, and three redfish to 19 inches.
Winds howled all week, and seas offshore were too rough to go out. Friday morning, 2/28, with winds still strong, and temps beginning in the forties, Mike Connealy, joined by friend, Bob Walz and Bob's son, Bobby, fished southern Estero Bay's backwaters with me, using live shrimp. The sheepshead were biting well, and we boxed seven of those that ranged from 13 inches to 17 inches, and released five shorts. We also released a short mangrove snapper and a puffer-fish.
Chuck Collins and his dad, Steve, were weathered out of a planned offshore trip last month, and rescheduled for Monday, 3/2. The winds were blowing hard, and seas were rough, but they opted to fish near-shore in the Gulf, rather than in the backwaters, since they had not fished offshore before. Using shrimp and squid at the near-shore reefs, the guys boxed ten Spanish mackerel between 22 and 24 inches, along with a lone grunt. They released a small gag grouper, a dozen crevalle jacks, and a dozen blue runners.
Lee Larsen, with friends, John and Mark, decided to fish the backwaters Tuesday morning, 3/3, since winds were still strong, and we expected rough conditions offshore. The guys used shrimp in southern Estero Bay to catch and release twelve sheepshead to 14 inches, two ladyfish, one short mangrove snapper, and three crevalle jacks.
I spent a windy Friday morning, 3/6, fishing with Mike and Bethany Lischer in southern Estero Bay, on a catch-and-release trip, using live shrimp for bait. The tide was good, but the water was muddy, following the weather-front that moved through the area overnight. The couple released twelve sheepshead, a ladyfish, a few puffers, and an 18-inch redfish.
With winds continuing to howl all weekend, I fished the backwaters od southern Estero Bay again on Monday, 3/9. Bill Urban and three of his buddies used live shrimp to box five keeper sheepshead to 14 inches, and they released eight shorts. They also released four mangrove snapper shorts, two ladyfish, and a crevalle jack.
Wednesday morning, 3/11, I fished southern Estero Bay with repeat customers, brothers Paul and Rich Stanek, joined by Rich's wife, Jill. The family caught fifteen sheepshead, including three keepers at 14 inches, 18 inches, and 19 inches. The group also released a 17-inch redfish, two pufferfish, and a crevalle jack.
Rick Marginault and two of his friends fished offshore with me,18 miles west of New Pass, on a catch-and-release trip Friday morning, 3/13. The group released five red grouper, all in the 18 to 19-inch range, two 14-inch triggerfish, and a few nice-sized grunts, all caught on squid and cut-bait.
Jeff and Kristen Easter fished a catch-and-release backwater trip with me on Monday morning, 3/16. They used live shrimp in southern Estero Bay to release thirteen sheepshead to 13 inches and an 18-inch seatrout. They had a couple of big fish o their lines, but they pulled off before they could be identified.
Linda Latham, her son and daughter-in-law, Chris and Ann, and their three young children, Courtney, Morgan, and Will, fished fifteen miles west of New Pass with me on Tuesday, 3/17, using squid for bait. We started out at the near-shore reefs, but there were mostly dolphin there, which kept the kids from catching much of anything. So we went a little further out, and the family boxed seven grunts that were to find their way into fish tacos for dinner. They released two red grouper shorts and several blue runners.
Frequent fisher, Mike Conneally, joined by his sister and brother-in-law, Rod and Cass Bromm, fished 35 miles west of New Pass with me on Wednesday, 3/18. The family used squid and cut-bait to box nine nice porgies to 15 inches and grunts to 13 inches.. They released thirty-two red grouper shorts to 18 inches, five scamp grouper shorts to 14 inches, two 13-inch triggerfish shorts, five mangrove snapper shorts (all ¼ to ½ inch short of keeper size), one yellowtail short just under 12 inches, and two bluefish.
Bill and Terri Tank fished Estero Bay's southern waters with me on a windy morning Friday, 3/20. They used live shrimp to catch eight sheepshead, including two keepers at 13 inches and 15 inches. They released three crevalle jacks, along with a 25-inch redfish.
Fishing was kind of slow Saturday morning, when I fished 18 miles west of New Pass with Don and Kathy Leesman and their daughter and son-in-law, Tom and Kristen McGuire. Using squid and cut-bait, the family released three red grouper shorts to 18 inches, a few bluefish, a half dozen crevalle jacks, a grunt, and a triggerfish short.
We took a slew of calls from folks needing to cancel advance bookings that spanned from the last two weeks of March through mid-May, due to the outbreak of Covid 19. Some people had to leave FL early to return home, and some cancelled vacation plans to fly into FL.
On Thursday, 3/26, my wife and I took some down-time to get out on the bay, where we used shrimp to catch and release three sheepshead and an 18-inch redfish.
On another busman's holiday Saturday, 4/4, my wife and I fished in southern Estero Bay for a couple of hours, using live shrimp. We did pretty well, boxing two drum 15 inches and 19 inches, along with a 12-inch mangrove snapper. We released an 18-inch redfish and a 23-inch sailcat.
We did another family bay outing for a couple of hours on Friday, 4/10. My wife and I used live shrimp to release five mangrove snapper shorts, a sailcat, and a sheepshead. We wentout for a few hours again on 4/23, and used shrimp in southern Estero Bay to catch and release two mangrove snapper to 11 inches, one sheepshead, and a couple of sailcats.
On Sunday, 5/3, I took an offshore excursion out to 30 miles west of New Pass with Craig and Jan Royal. We used cut-bait and squid to box two keeper mangrove snapper to 16 inches, along with ten keeper lane snapper, two keeper yellowtail snapper, two nice grunts to 14 inches, and four porgies to 14 inches. We released twenty-two red grouper shorts to 19 and 3/4 inches, a scamp grouper short, and a few blue runners, along with two sharpnose sharks and three remoras.
On Saturday morning, 5/16, I fished the backwaters of southern Estero Bay with James Partyka and his friend, Stuart. The guys used live shrimp to catch ten mangrove snapper, including four keepers. They released a small sand bream, four sailcats ranging 18 to 20 inches, and five crevalle jack.
On Monday, 6/8, I fished in southern Estero Bay on a catch-and-release trip with John and Jill Merrick. The couple used live shrimp to release three redfish to 18 inches, two small snook, three sheepshead, and two mangrove snapper.
Thursday morning, 6/18, I fished the backwaters of southern Estero Bay with father-and-son anglers, Joe and Jonathan Namath. They used live shrimp to catch three sheepshead to 19 inches, a 15-inch black drum, a 22-inch black drum, and a dozen mangrove snapper shorts, which they released, along with an 18-inch redfish.
Steve and Amy Morin and their teenaged sons, Ethan and Nathan, fished southern Estero Bay's backwaters with me on Saturday, 6/20. They used live shrimp to catch twenty-three mangrove snapper, including three keepers. The seventeen shorts released were just under 10 inches. They also released three sheepshead shorts.
Roy Mittman and Vince Tomlinson had a productive day offshore on Tuesday, 6/30, fishing with me in various spots from 30 to 35 miles west of New Pass. Using squid and cut-bait, the guys boxed six keeper lane snapper, three porgies, a brace of 14-inch grunts, a 21-inch red grouper, and a 41-inch, 25-pound cobia. We thought we'd lost the cobia when it popped off but, fortunately, it returned to be caught again. We released thirty red grouper shorts to 19 inches, along with some short mangrove and yellowtail snappers.