Sheepshead gulf & bay, snapper
<p>Mother and son anglers Carole and Kenny Mathis fished Estero Bay with me Monday morning, 2/4, from Barefoot Beach to Wiggins Pass. We used live shrimp to catch three keeper mangrove snapper and a pair of 16 inch whitings. We released small sheepshead and a 22 inch snook.
Tuesday, fishing in 45 feet out of New Pass with Ron Musick, Dick Arnett, Jim Novak and Bob Mayer, we caught two 16 inch hogfish, eight mangrove snapper to 16 inches, a mess of whitebone porgies, all 14 and 15 inches, and three nice sheepshead to 20 inches. We were literally swarmed by bluefish, which we had fun catching and releasing, along with a red grouper just an inch shy of keeper size at 19 inches, all on live shrimp and light tackle.
Wednesday, although seas were predicted to be two to three feet, they were mostly three to four, and it was rougher in close to the beach than out a little further. I fished in about 40 feet out of New Pass with Tom Batcheller, Lee Larsen, Steve Sidlik and Bud Glanzer. We caught five keeper mangrove snapper to 16 inches and whitebone porgies on shrimp, and we released gag grouper shorts and red grouper to 19 inches.
Thursday seas were a little calmer when I fished with Bob Lozier and friends 17 miles west of New Pass. We caught eight mangrove snapper to 15 inches, a 15 inch hogfish, triggerfish and grunts, using live shrimp. We lost a big grouper when it broke a line.
Friday morning I fished in Estero Bay with Mike and Nora Cole, from Wiggins Pass to Barefoot Beach. We caught seven nice sheepshead to 18 inches and released all but two of those. We also released two 17 inch redfish, mangrove snapper and a 20 inch cravalle jack, all on shrimp.
Fishing in 47 feet out of New Pass Saturday with Tom & Noreen Petracelli, Hank & Judy Norman, and John & JoAnne Hoogenden, we caught eight keeper mangrove snapper to 15 inches, whitebone porgies, grunts, triggerfish and porkfish on live shrimp. We released gag and red grouper shorts, a 25 inch goliath grouper and a small hogfish.
The photo shown is of anglers Eric & Tricia Walters and Mike & Bobbie Paquette with a quartet of gag grouper ranging 22-27 inches, caught on shrimp on a recent offshore trip.
gag grouper quartet, 22, 25, 26, 27 inches
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.