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SW FL-Bonita beach: Lots of rain, but...

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SW FL-Bonita beach: Lots of rain, but fishing is good when able to go

On Wednesday morning, 7/3/19, I fished miles west of New Pass with Dwayne McCoy and his family and friends. Although seas were predicted to be less than two feet, that was not the case until it was nearly time to head in from our Ĺ-day excursion. But we made it out to 23 miles, hoping for action similar to the last time Iíd fished offshore, about a week prior to this trip. Fishing was slow, though, and we didnít get many keepers. The guys boxed three grunts and three keeper lane snapper. They released a bunch of squirrel-fish, three triggerfish (out-of-season), five red grouper shorts, and a 3-foot blacknose shark. The spot where we caught the lanes might have been good for more of those, had the dolphins not decided to invade our fishing grounds! Everything bit on cut-bait and squid.

The bite was not much better when I returned offshore on Friday, 7/5. I fished with Peter and Christina Halunen, their son, Clayton, and Claytonís girlfriend, Isabella. We only ventured out 17 miles from New Pass because seas were a little choppy and there was a visible threat of rain coming from further offshore. Using squid and cut-bait, the group caught and released three lane snapper shorts and three mangrove snapper shorts. We also a reeled in and released a live squid, which had grabbed a piece of cut-bait. Fishing offshore about a week ago, I was encouraged by the improved action and variety of catches, but recent trips have not yielded those results. Fishing action cycles, as all anglers know, and water temps are extremely warm right now. Iím hoping for better action on my next offshore trip.

Jake Heft and five of his friends fished 19 miles west of New Pass with me on Monday, 7/15, using cut-bait and squid. The guys boxed a 14-inch whiting, a 14-inch silver trout, four keeper lane snapper, and a 14-inch grunt. They released eight red grouper shorts and a 4-foot blacknose shark.

Ken Harrison, Jeff Norton, Rich Flaherty, and John Lovezzola fished the backwaters of southern Estero Bay with me on Saturday, 7/20, and had very good success using live shrimp for bait. The guys caught three keeper black drum at 15 inches, 16 inches, and 19 inches, released three redfish (due to a moratorium on harvesting reds) that included two at 18 inches and one at nearly 22 inches, two keeper sheepshead at 13 inches, a sand bream, and three keeper mangrove snapper to 12 inches.

Thursday morning, 8/1, I fished southern Estero Bayís backwaters with the Thompson family: Brian and Cynthia and their son and daughter-in-law, Tristen and Kristen. They fished a catch-and-release trip, using live shrimp, and caught a nice variety. They released a 21-inch redfish, two black drum at 15 inches and 19 inches (see photo), six sheepshead to 12 inches, a sand bream, and a 17-inch snook.



Friday, 8/9, I fished 18 miles west of New Pass with Craig baker and three of his friends. The guys used cut-bait and squid to catch four mangrove snapper, including one keeper and six keeper lane snapper. They released a dozen juvenile red snapper and a pair of 12-inch triggerfish. We spotted two cobias, but they werenít the least bit interested in our bait.

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