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SW FL-Bonita beach: Gulf and Bay...

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SW FL-Bonita beach: Gulf and Bay Catching
I fished offshore for the first time in many weeks on Friday, 10/19/18, when I headed out to various spots out to 26 miles from New Pass with father and son, Daniel and Josh Koppy. The bite was kind of slow, but at least it was improved over the last time I fished offshore, which was at the peak of the red tide. The guys used cut bait and squid to catch and release fifteen grunts, two red grouper shorts, two ramoras, and a 40-inch blacknose shark. Hopefully, with red tide now out of the area, fishing will continue to improve.

On Wednesday, 10/24, I fished offshore again, this time with Patrick Keane and three of his friends. The guys were in town for business, and managed to squeeze in a morning of catch-and-release fishing 22 miles west of New Pass. NOAA’s forecast for calm, two-foot seas was off by a foot or two, and waters were choppy. The guys used squid and cut-bait to catch and release several red grouper shorts, blue runners, and a half dozen grunts.

On Wednesday, 10/31, I had planned to fish inshore, but my trip for the day turned out to be a no-show. Hopefully we got that lack of consideration over with early this season, and everyone else will have the consideration to call and cancel if their plans change ;-)

Thursday, 11/1, I fished the backwaters of southern Estero Bay on a catch-and-release trip with Dave Mercer, Mike Stanbrough, Rod Knudson, and Danny Yanecek. The guys used live shrimp on a good tide to catch and release twenty sheepshead, including ten would-be keepers to 17 inches, along with three mangrove snapper shorts and a 24-inch redfish. Redfish cannot be harvested until at least May, due to their populations having been decreased during this past summer’s red tide outbreak.

Friday, 11/2, I returned to the southern part of Estero Bay to fish another catch-and-release trip with Matt Miller and his young son, Bobby. Using live shrimp, the father-son team caught and released eighteen fish, including a pair of 16-inch sheepshead, a 19-inch sheepshead, thirteen smaller sheepshead, a small snook, and a two-pound crevalle jack.

Saturday, 11/3, the Kilkeary cousins—Jake, Keith, Mike, and Andy-- had planned to fish offshore, but a cool front that came through the area kicked seas up to three-to-five feet in the gulf, with a small craft advisory issued. So we changed plans and fished inshore instead. The guys caught and released seven sheepshead to 15 inches, all of which bit on live shrimp.

Friday, 11/9, I fished 28 miles offshore with long-time customer, Mike Connealy. We used squid and cut bait to catch and release seven blacknose sharks, all about 40 inches, a 24-inch king mackerel, seven red grouper shorts, and five 12-inch grunts, along with some short lane snapper. We did also catch two keeper lanes at 12 inches each, and two 12-inch keeper porgies.

Sunday morning, 11/11, I fished the backwaters of southern Estero Bay with Jacob Robins. We used live shrimp to catch eleven sheepshead to 13 inches, and released a half-dozen mangrove snapper shorts.

Monday, 11/12, I fished 35 miles west of New Pass with Mike Connealy, who had fished with me last Friday. This time, Mike was joined by his friend, Barry Cermak. The guys used cut-bait and squid to catch fifteen yellowtails, two of which were keepers, along with four mangrove snapper, one of which was a 15-inch keeper, six nice porgies to 20 inches, and a 14-inch grunt. They released a dozen red grouper shorts, two remoras, and a 36-inch bonnethead shark.

Friday morning, 11/23, I fished the backwaters of southern Estero Bay with Tom and Alice Hart, and their son and daughter-in-law, Paul and Liz Hart. The family used live shrimp to catch fifteen sheepshead, including four keepers, and released two black drum and a redfish pup.

Saturday morning, 11/24, I fished offshore, 19 miles west of New Pass, with Todd and Jennifer Tinker and their young son, Luke. The family used cut-bait and squid to catch five keeper lane snapper to 16 inches (see photo), a 14-inch triggerfish, a dozen 12-inch grunts, and a dozen red grouper shorts. They boxed the legals, released the others, and went home with plenty of fish to eat!

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