SW FL-Bonita Beach: Grouper, snapper, redfish, black drum, sheepshead

2017-07-20 11:14:02
Bonita Beach, Florida - Saltwater Fishing Report
Estero Bay flats and west of New Pass to 25 miles, gulf
Dave Hanson

Saturday morning, July 1, 2017, I fished 22 miles offshore with Barry Hart, his son, Derrick, and Barry's grandson, Baylor. The guys used squid to catch 25 keeper lane snapper, and released fifteen red grouper shorts.

I fished the south end of Estero Bay's backwaters Wednesday morning, 7/5, with Tim Hertaus, his son Bren, and Tim's brother-in-law, Ryan. The guys used live shrimp to catch two keeper sheepshead at 14 inches and 15 inches, along with eleven mangrove snapper, one of which was a keeper. Along with the mang shorts, the group released an undersized snook and a pair of two-pound stingrays.

David and Carly Bernegger fished south Estero Bay with me on Thursday morning, where they used live shrimp to catch a 20-inch keeper redfish. They had a larger red hooked at one point, but it pulled off the hook and escaped. They also caught two keeper sheepshead at 13 inches and 14 inches, and released three stingray.

I fished 17 miles offshore on Friday morning, 7/7, with Scott and April Pace and their children, Leah and David. Using squid and cut-bait, the family boxed a mess of lane snapper to 14 inches and grunts to 12 inches. They released a half-dozen red grouper shorts.

I was back in southern Estero Bay's backwaters on Saturday morning, 7/8, where I fished a catch-and-release trip with Steve and Gayle Repetto. The couple used live shrimp to catch a 15-inch black drum, a sheepshead short, a 14-inch sand bream (striped mojarra), and two would-be-keeper redfish at 22 inches and 24 inches.

The first photo shown below is of Steve and Gayle Repetto, with a 24-inch redfish, caught on shrimp on a recent inshore trip.

I fished 29 miles west of New pass Monday, 7/10, with long-time customer Larry Jack, his son, David, and friends Ernie Morrison and Tony Russo. The guys used squid and cut-bait to box thirty keeper lane snapper and a half-dozen good-sized grunts. They released twenty-five red grouper shorts to 19 inches.

Larry, David, Ernie, and Tony fished again with me Tuesday morning. 7/11, this time in southern Estero Bay's backwaters, where they used live shrimp to catch two keeper redfish at 19 inches and 20 inches, and they released three sheepshead shorts, a 24-inch snook, and a 20-inch sailcat.

I headed 22 miles offshore on Friday morning, 7/14, with Larry Hanshaw and his sons, Larry Jr. and Jeff. NOAA had predicted increasing winds and seas of two-to-three feet. It was pretty calm close-in, but out 22 miles conditions were choppy. The guys used squid and cut-bait to catch and release sixteen red grouper shorts to 19 inches. One of the guys had a bigger one hooked, but lost it in the rocks. As for take-home fish, they boxed a mess of two dozen lane snapper keepers and grunts.

With the threat of thunderstorms ever present on Wednesday, 7/19, Sharon Hale and her two sons, Nobel and Ashton, were pleasantly surprised to not encounter a single raindrop while they fished with me 23 miles west of New Pass, using cut-bait and squid. The family caught a keeper red grouper at 22 inches, and they released at least twenty-five red grouper shorts. They boxed eighteen keeper lane snapper and twenty grunts that were mostly around the 12-inch mark.

The second photo shown below is of Doug Shepherd, with a 24-inch red grouper, caught on a pinfish on a recent offshore trip.

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

http://fishbustercharters.com/fishingvideos.html

Fish Species: grouper, snapper, grunts, redfish, sheepshead, black drum, sand bream
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: 85-90
Wind Direction: variable
Wind Speed: variable
24-inch redfish on shrimp in Estero Bay
24-inch redfish on shrimp in Estero Bay

24-inch red grouper, on squid, 24 miles west of New Pass
24-inch red grouper, on squid, 24 miles west of New Pass

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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