Kings, Porgies, Snapper
<p>Monday, 4/7, after a stormy night, seas were unsettled and it was pretty rough fishing with Tom Conrad, teenaged grandson Phil Conrad and Phil's friend, Peter Walspra. It was tough finding anything worthwhile to catch, with blue runners dominating the first three spots we fished. Finally, we managed to catch and release Spanish mackerel, a porgie, a 15 inch red grouper and a small goliath grouper. I was pretty disappointed with that, after the great fishing last week had delivered, but the boys had a great time catching the blue runners and I was glad we at least managed to catch a few other species, even if small. We saw a big kingfish at one point but he just wasn’t hungry, I guess, since he snubbed or bait.
Tuesday, Ron Musick, Hank Sherowski, Justin Baker and Bill Hoover fished with me in 45 feet out of New Pass. The wind was howling in the morning and we fished in three to four foot seas a good part of the day. We used shrimp and cut-bait and had a lot of kingfish action. We kept one of three kingfish we caught to 40 inches and lost about five more of them, including one that was over five foot long. Hank had that one boat-side when it rolled and pulled the hook, but we would have released him anyway so we at least had the thrill of the catch, though we’d have liked the courtesy of a photograph! We also caught a 32 inch Spanish mackerel and large whitebone porgies. We released triggerfish and lots of grouper shorts, along with blue runners.
Wednesday, seas were rough again and conditions were sloppy. All week long forecasts have called for two foot seas but nothing could be further from the truth. I fished with Marty Gmeiner, Bill Murphy and Dick Poterax. We had to stay fairly close-in, due to conditions, and fishing was tough. We caught some nice whitebone porgies, two keeper mangrove snapper, triggerfish and porkfish. We were bitten off once by a kingfish and we released red and gag grouper shorts to 20 inches, smaller snapper, grunts and lots of blue runners.
Peter Burtis and family fished with me on Thursday. Once again, it was a little too sloppy to get out too far, especially with small children on board. We fished a catch-and-release trip with shrimp in 33 feet at the artificial reefs off Bonita Beach, where the blue runners were once again thick. We also released a 20 inch bluefish, porgies, grunts and red grouper shorts.
Friday, fishing in 40 feet about 18 miles west of New Pass with Lyn Harned and friends Bob, Davis and Bob, we released another zillion blue runners, along with about fifty red grouper shorts, some gag shorts and grunts. We caught about two dozen porgies, two keeper mangrove snapper and a keeper yellowtail snapper, all on shrimp.
The kings were back when I fished with brothers Grant and Harry Kurtz and friend, Joe Tompkins on Saturday morning. Nineteen miles west of New Pass, we caught seven kingfish ranging 28 to 35 inches, kept four of those, and got broken off by a few more. We also caught a 28 inch Spanish mackerel, a keeper mangrove snapper and porgie, and we released grunts and blue runners. The kings seemed to like shrimp better than the blue runners this day.
The photo shown is of a pair of gag grouper, 22inches and 23 inches, caught on shrimp on a recent offshore trip.
pair of gag grouper
About The Author: Captain Dave Hanson
Company: Fish Buster Charters
Area Reporting: Bonita Beach
Bio: Captain Dave Hanson is a native of southwest Florida. He has been fishing local waters since childhood, and has been fishing professionally for over fifteen years. He is Coast Guard licensed, and is a member in good standing of the Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce. He has been featured in several national fishing magazines, and he also appears weekly in the fishing reports sections of the Bonita, Ft. Myers, Ft. Myers Beach, and Naples, FL newspapers.