SW FL-Bonita Beach: Cobia, Shark, Grouper & Snapper

2017-06-03 13:01:01
Bonita Beach, Florida - Saltwater Fishing Report
Dave Hanson

Monday, 5/15, I headed out to spots fifteen and seventeen miles west of New Pass with Dave and Debra Brinkmann and family. Using both squid and cut-bait, the family boxed twenty-one keeper fish, consisting of lane snapper and grunts. They released fifteen red grouper shorts, along with a 30-inch sharpnose shark.

Brian Hale and friends, Julie and Emily, fished south Estero Bay with me on Tuesday morning, 5/16. They used live shrimp to catch and release several stingray, the largest of which was 15 pounds. They also released six sheepshead shorts and one mangrove snapper short. They kept one 12-inch mangrove snapper and two sand bream. Julie had a big snook hooked, which looked about 25 inches when it jumped, but it threw the hook and got away.

Wednesday, 5/17, winds picked up and so did the seas. I fished offshore with Vince Rosetti and his son, Mike. The guys did well, especially considering we were only 17 miles out, and in rough conditions. They boxed a 24-inch red grouper, ten keeper lane snapper, and a few good-sized grunts. They released twenty red grouper shorts to 18 inches, along with three sharpnose sharks, all of which were in the 30 to 35 inch range.

Friday, 5/19, winds were steady at 15 knots, with gusts to 25 knots. Clint Malikowski and his wife, Ashley, weren't intimidated by choppy seas, and we made it out 15 miles from New Pass. The catch of the day was Ashley's 36-inch cobia, which bit on cut bait. She also had a large shark hooked at one point, but it popped the line. The couple used squid to catch keeper lane snapper, grunts, and a soapfish.

Below is a photo of Ashley Nord-Malikowski with her 36-inch cobia.

The departure of our winter residents, paired with some rough and windy conditions the week of 5/22 made for some time in port. I got out again on Friday, 5/26, after several days of big winds, heavy surf, and some much needed rain. Seas were just beginning to calm down, but were still 3 feet, when I headed offshore 17 miles with John Cory and family. Using squid and cut-bait, the group boxed twenty keeper lane snapper to 15 inches and some grunts. They battled and released three sharpnose sharks, which were all around 35 inches long. They also released a few red grouper shorts.

Monday, 5/29, I fished in spots 22 to 25 miles west of New Pass with long- time customers, Doug Shepherd and his son, Wade. The guys used squid, cut-bait and baitfish for a productive day of fishing. They boxed a 24-inch red grouper, and released twenty-five red grouper shorts. They added to the box thirty keeper lane snapper, the largest of which were 17 ˝ inches. They also caught a few grunts, as well as four porgies that included whitebone, jolthead, and silver varieties. They had fun battling and releasing five sharpnose sharks to 40 inches.

Steve Cooke, his son Kolhan, and Kolhan's girlfriend, Lauren, along with friends Phil and his son, Mason, fished with me Tuesday, 5/30, in various spots 17 to 22 miles west of New Pass, using squid and cut-bait. They caught a total of twenty-six keeper lane snapper and nine grunts. They released fifteen red grouper shorts to 19 inches.

Seas were calm on Thursday, 6/1, when I headed out to fish in spots 20 to 25 miles west of New Pass with long-time customers, Brian and Julie Clark, accompanied by their friend, Rob. The group used cut-bait and squid to box twenty-five keeper lane snapper to 16 inches, along with a half-dozen nice sized grunts. The red grouper were biting, but the twenty that we caught and released were short of keeper size, some by just 1/8 of an inch—ouch! The group also fought and released three sharpnose sharks that were all about 40 inches long.

You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link:

http://fishbustercharters.com/fishingvideos.html

Fish Species: cobia, shark, grouper, snapper, grunts, redfish, sheepshead
Bait Used: live shrimp, squid, cut-bait & bait-fish
Tackle Used: spinning
Method Used: flats fishing and bottom fishing
Water Depth: 1-3 ft. bayside; to 50 ft, gulf
Water Temperature: 80-89
Wind Direction: variable
Wind Speed: variable
36-inch cobia
36-inch cobia

Dave Hanson

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.

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