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.
The day after Thanksgiving, 11/29, I fished the backwaters of southern Estero Bay with Dianne Hogler and her seventeen-year-old son, Ryan. They used live shrimp to catch twenty sheepshead, including four keepers that were all around 13 inches. They released four redfish to 17 inches and five snook to15 inches.
On Saturday morning, 6/8, I fished fifteen miles west of New Pass with Valoyd Glover. Seas were choppy, but tolerable, and Valoyd had his hopes up for catching something of size-He got his wish when he battled a 300-pound goliath grouper that bit on cut-bait. He released that monster boat-side, with a few photos and two sore arms to show for it! He also caught a 27-inch king mackerel, which he released, along with two lane snapper, ten crevalle jacks to three pounds, and six true red snapper shorts about 11 inches. The latter are usually not around so close to shore, so even though they were small, it was an interesting find.
Wednesday morning, 6/12, I fished the backwaters of southern Estero Bay on a catch-and-release trip with Adam Martin. Using shrimp and pinfish, we released two 16-inch snook, a dozen mangrove snapper to 12 inches, and a two-pound crevalle jack.
Lots and lots of rain fell over the weekend and into the early part of this week. I headed offshore Tuesday morning, 6/18, to fish 19 miles west of New Pass with Tony Costillo, his dad, Rick, and friend, Kyle. We left in sunny skies, but got caught in a thunderstorm mid-morning, which we rode out and continued to fish. But the storm left behind some choppy seas to battle on the way back to shore. The guys used squid to catch and release five triggerfish to 14 inches, six red grouper shorts to 17 inches, and a 20-inch goliath grouper. As for food-fish, they got eight keeper grunts and one keeper lane snapper.
Wednesday morning, 6/19, I fished the backwaters of southern Estero Bay with Michael Quinlen, Jonas Stillman, and Hunter Rohand. The guys did well with live shrimp, and caught four keeper sheepshead, all around 14 inches and four keeper mangrove snapper to 11 inches. They also got what would have been two keeper redfish at 20 inches and 21 inches, if not for the current moratorium on harvesting reds. So they released the reds, along with an 11-inch mutton snapper.
I fished inshore in southern Estero Bay on Friday morning, 6/21, with Brady McFarland, his dad, Lee, and Brady's son, Jaiden. The family did well using live shrimp. They released two redfish at 19 inches and 22 inches, and had a couple more of them hooked, but they cut the line boat-side. They also caught seven keeper mangrove snapper to 12 inches, and boxed the four largest of those, along with a 15-inch black drum. They also caught six sheepshead to 14 inches, including two that were legal size, but they chose to release them all, along with a 1 ½-pound crevalle jack.
Saturday morning, 6/22, I fished 22 miles west of New pass on an offshore trip with Charlie Tobler, his twin sons, and three of their friends. The guys used squid and cut-bait to box a half-dozen grunts and four keeper lane snapper. They released six red grouper shorts and an 8-foot nurse shark.
Gary Hourselt and Melissa Sawin fished 36 miles offshore with me on Monday, 6/24. Using cut-bait and squid, they caught six keeper grunts, ten porgies to 24 inches, six keeper lane snapper all around 11 inches, sixteen yellowtail snapper, including one keeper, a 14-inch keeper mangrove snapper, twenty red grouper shorts to 19 inches, and a 37-inch cobia. They also released an 8-foot tiger shark, after a 45 minute battle.
On Wednesday morning, 7/3/19, I fished miles west of New Pass with Dwayne McCoy and his family and friends. Although seas were predicted to be less than two feet, that was not the case until it was nearly time to head in from our ½-day excursion. But we made it out to 23 miles, hoping for action similar to the last time I'd fished offshore, about a week prior to this trip. Fishing was slow, though, and we didn't get many keepers. The guys boxed three grunts and three keeper lane snapper. They released a bunch of squirrel-fish, three triggerfish (out-of-season), five red grouper shorts, and a 3-foot blacknose shark. The spot where we caught the lanes might have been good for more of those, had the dolphins not decided to invade our fishing grounds! Everything bit on cut-bait and squid.
The bite was not much better when I returned offshore on Friday, 7/5. I fished with Peter and Christina Halunen, their son, Clayton, and Clayton's girlfriend, Isabella. We only ventured out 17 miles from New Pass because seas were a little choppy and there was a visible threat of rain coming from further offshore. Using squid and cut-bait, the group caught and released three lane snapper shorts and three mangrove snapper shorts. We also a reeled in and released a live squid, which had grabbed a piece of cut-bait. Fishing offshore about a week ago, I was encouraged by the improved action and variety of catches, but recent trips have not yielded those results. Fishing action cycles, as all anglers know, and water temps are extremely warm right now. I'm hoping for better action on my next offshore trip.
Jake Heft and five of his friends fished 19 miles west of New Pass with me on Monday, 7/15, using cut-bait and squid. The guys boxed a 14-inch whiting, a 14-inch silver trout, four keeper lane snapper, and a 14-inch grunt. They released eight red grouper shorts and a 4-foot blacknose shark.
Ken Harrison, Jeff Norton, Rich Flaherty, and John Lovezzola fished the backwaters of southern Estero Bay with me on Saturday, 7/20, and had very good success using live shrimp for bait. The guys caught three keeper black drum at 15 inches, 16 inches, and 19 inches, released three redfish (due to a moratorium on harvesting reds) that included two at 18 inches and one at nearly 22 inches, two keeper sheepshead at 13 inches, a sand bream, and three keeper mangrove snapper to 12 inches.
Thursday morning, 8/1, I fished southern Estero Bay's backwaters with the Thompson family: Brian and Cynthia and their son and daughter-in-law, Tristen and Kristen. They fished a catch-and-release trip, using live shrimp, and caught a nice variety. They released a 21-inch redfish, two black drum at 15 inches and 19 inches, six sheepshead to 12 inches, a sand bream, and a 17-inch snook.
Friday, 8/9, I fished 18 miles west of New Pass with Craig baker and three of his friends. The guys used cut-bait and squid to catch four mangrove snapper, including one keeper and six keeper lane snapper. They released a dozen juvenile red snapper and a pair of 12-inch triggerfish. We spotted two cobias, but they weren't the least bit interested in our bait.
Engle Merz and his two sons, Matt and Max, fished in various spots out to 27 miles west of New Pass with me on Tuesday, 8/20/19. Using squid and cut-bait, the guys boxed five keeper lane snapper for dinner, and released a nice cobia at 33inches that was just shy of the 35-inch legal size. They also released a 14-inch almaco jack, two red grouper shorts, several red snapper shorts, and five barracuda.
Mark Kostner fished the backwaters of southern Estero Bay with me on Wednesday morning, 8/28, using shrimp for bait. We had a great morning of good action catching a nice variety of fish. We caught ten keeper-sized black drum to 19 inches, and ten sheepshead, including five keeper-sized sheeps to 18 inches. Mark kept a couple drum and a couple sheepshead for dinner, and released the rest. We also landed five would-be-keeper redfish, if not for the current moratorium on harvesting reds-those ranged in size from 20 inches to 24 inches. We lost an additional two, big reds, which cut-off under the trees. We also released one small mangrove snapper and two15-inch snook.
I was off the water for all of September, but fished in southern Estero Bay on a windy morning Tuesday, October 1, with Roy and Derek Brown. The guys used live shrimp to catch and release three redfish to 19 inches. The 19-inch red would have been a keeper, if not for the current moratorium on harvesting reds. The guys boxed four black drum to 20 inches, along with three keeper mangrove snapper, out of ten mangs that they caught.
On Friday morning, October 18, I fished the backwaters of southern Estero Bay with Doug and Jane Lane, joined by their daughter and son-in-law, Kim and Robert Renzi. The family did well, using live shrimp. They caught six sheepshead, including two keepers at 15 inches and 14 inches, a dozen mangrove snapper, including three eleven-inch keepers, and a 16-inch black drum. They released two redfish, one short at 12 inches, and the other a nice, 24-inch, which also had to be released, due to the current moratorium on harvesting reds. They also released two 14-inch mutton snapper.
Business has been slow to start this season, and intermittent bouts of red tide and reports of those in the press haven't helped. Though the red tide is perceptible along the beaches at times, it has NOT affected fishing productivity. I fished in southern Estero Bay Friday morning, November 8, with Jim Kelley and his seven-year-old son, Jimmy. They used live shrimp to catch five sheepshead, three of which were keepers between 13 and 15 inches. They released four mangrove snapper shorts and five redfish to 18 inches, along with a small gag grouper that little Jimmy pulled out from the mangrove shoreline.
Mike Connealy, a long-time, seasonal customer, fished his first trip of this season with me on Tuesday, November 12th. We headed out 35 miles from New Pass, where we fished mostly with squid, but also a few shrimp. We had good action the entire trip. We caught fifteen yellowtail snapper, including three keepers, six keeper lane snapper to 12 inches, an 11-inch schoolmaster snapper, and four keeper porgies. The red grouper were biting well, and we came within a half inch of legal keeper size on several of the fifty-some we caught and released.
I headed offshore again on Monday, 11/18, this time with Bruce Epstein, David Polsky, Kent Kurzer, and Howie Siegal, to fish about 20 miles west of New Pass, using squid and cut-bait. The guys had good action all morning, and released twenty-five red grouper shorts to 17 inches, along with a 4-inch scamp grouper, a 15-inch mutton snapper, five lane snapper shorts, a puffer-fish and a scorpion fish. They boxed four keeper lane snapper and four grunts to take home for dinner.
June 8, 2019--March 21, 2020
Long-time seasonal customers, Erwin and Millie Metusiak, fished the backwaters of southern Estero Bay with me on Wednesday, 12/4, using live shrimp for bait. The couple caught twenty-six sheepshead, including six keepers, all measuring around 13 inches. They released two snook to 25 inches.
Wednesday, 12/11, I fished 6 miles west of New Pass with Engle Merz and his sons, Matt and Max. The family used squid and cut-bait to catch and release thirty-one red grouper to 18 inches, an18-inch gag grouper, and two 15-inch scamp grouper. They boxed six keeper lane snapper to 12 inches, a keeper yellowtail snapper at 13 inches, ten porgies of mixed varieties that all measured 13 to 14 inches, and a half dozen grunts, all around 14 inches. They released fifteen yellowtail snapper shorts and an equal number of mangrove snapper shorts.
Engle Merz and sons Max and Matt, who fished with me last Wednesday well offshore, decided to do a near-shore trip on Monday, 12/16, in search of some Spanish mackerel. We fished in spots that were between three and five miles west of New Pass, using cut-bait and squid. The family caught three Spanish mackerel that were all around 22 inches. They released two 14-inch bluefish, and then they got into the real fun with sharks! They released nine blacktip sharks, all over 3-foot long, the largest measuring 43 inches. They also released two blacknose sharks, both over three foot long.
Dan Gregory and his young son, James, fished the backwaters of southern Estero Bay with me on a windy Wednesday morning, 12/18/19. Using live shrimp, the father-son team caught a dozen sheepshead, including three keepers at 14 inches, 15 inches, and 18 inches. James also caught and released a 24-inch barracuda, which was an unusual catch in the backwaters.
There were several days of high winds and seas as the Christmas holiday neared, and conditions weren't too good for fishing anywhere. Mitchell Manz and family had to reschedule their gulf trip from 12/23 to 12/27, in order to get out fishing. Even on Friday, 12/27, it was still a little sloppy offshore, and we fished close-in at the reefs off Bonita Beach, using cut-bait and squid. It wasn't as great day of fishing, but the family caught a few lanes and grunts, and released five small gag grouper, half-dozen crevalle jacks, and a bunch of squirrel-fish.
Dale Cruzan and his grandson and wife, Cody and Kate Cruzan, fished 19 miles west of New Pass with me on Saturday morning, 12/28, and used cut-bait and squid to catch a variety of fish. They caught fourteen lane snappers, including two keepers at 12 inches, along with a 13-inch keeper mangrove snapper, and a couple of grunts. They released two yellowtail snapper shorts and six triggerfish, the largest triggerfish being just a quarter-inch below legal keeper size at 14 ¾ inches. They also released twenty-one red grouper shorts to 18 inches. They got a bit of big-game experience when they hooked a big shark that they battled for 45 minutes on light tackle before it finally cut the line, before we could identify what kind it was.
Monday, 12/30, I fished 18 to 20 miles west of New Pass with Teresa Schmidt, her boyfriend, Tim Garling, Tim's son, Carter, Teresa's parents, Mark and Elizabeth Venturin, and family friend, Braden Welleral. The group used cut-bait and squid to catch a nice variety of fish. They boxed three keeper lane snapper, four of the largest grunts they caught, and a 16-inch triggerfish. They released nineteen additional triggerfish, some just shy of keeper size, along with eighteen grunts, four gag grouper shorts, a 23-inch goliath grouper, and twenty-five red grouper shorts to 19 ¾ inches, just short of the 20-inch legal size.
Ian McKinnon and his family had planned to fish offshore on Tuesday, 12/31, but with strong winds and seas upwards of four feet in the gulf, he traded those plans for a morning of inshore fishing in southern Estero Bay's backwaters. He, along with his daughter, Michelle Nichols, and her two children, Jack and Mark, used live shrimp to catch two redfish that would have been keepers, had it not been for the current moratorium on reds. Those measured 18 inches and 21 inches. Jack was very proud of the 19-inch seatrout he caught, but was disappointed to learn that also had to be released, due to the same moratorium. The family also caught a half-dozen sheepshead, including one that was keeper size.
Mark and Elizabeth Venturin and their daughter, Michelle Nichols, all of whom fished offshore with me on Monday, 12/30, 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 have taken 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. Reports are likely to be slim in the next weeks, hopefully not months. We are open for business. Although social distancing is sometimes challenging on a boat, it can be done with smaller parties. We are diligently disinfecting out boats and equipment. The great outdoors is about the only place to be right now. We ask, of course, that if you even have a sniffle, you please remain at home, so as not to increase anyone's risk. We wish all of you well, and look forward to better days resuming. Stay safe and healthy!
On Thursday, 3/26, me and my wife took some down-time to get out on the bay, where we used shrimp to catch and release three sheepshead and a n 18-inch redfish.