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Bonita Beach, SW FL-Fishing action...

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Bonita Beach, SW FL-Fishing action good inshore and offshore

I was off the water for all of September, but fished in southern Estero Bay on a windy morning Tuesday, October 1, with Roy and Derek Brown. The guys used live shrimp to catch and release three redfish to 19 inches. The 19-inch red would have been a keeper, if not for the current moratorium on harvesting reds. The guys boxed four black drum to 20 inches, along with three keeper mangrove snapper, out of ten mangs that they caught.

On Friday morning, October 18, I fished the backwaters of southern Estero Bay with Doug and Jane Lane, joined by their daughter and son-in-law, Kim and Robert Renzi. The family did well, using live shrimp. They caught six sheepshead, including two keepers at 15 inches and 14 inches, a dozen mangrove snapper, including three eleven-inch keepers, and a 16-inch black drum. They released two redfish, one short at 12 inches, and the other a nice, 24-inch, which also had to be released, due to the current moratorium on harvesting reds. They also released two 14-inch mutton snapper.

Business has been slow to start this season, and intermittent bouts of red tide and reports of those in the press havenít helped. Though the red tide is perceptible along the beaches at times, it has NOT affected fishing productivity. I fished in southern Estero Bay Friday morning, November 8, with Jim Kelley and his seven-year-old son, Jimmy. They used live shrimp to catch five sheepshead, three of which were keepers between 13 and 15 inches. They released four mangrove snapper shorts and five redfish to 18 inches, along with a small gag grouper that little Jimmy pulled out from the mangrove shoreline.

Mike Connealy, a long-time, seasonal customer, fished his first trip of this season with me on Tuesday, November 12th. We headed out 35 miles from New Pass, where we fished mostly with squid, but also a few shrimp. We had good action the entire trip. We caught fifteen yellowtail snapper, including three keepers, six keeper lane snapper to 12 inches, an 11-inch schoolmaster snapper, and four keeper porgies. The red grouper were biting well, and we came within a half inch of legal keeper size on several of the fifty-some we caught and released.

I headed offshore again on Monday, 11/18, this time with Bruce Epstein, David Polsky, Kent Kurzer, and Howie Siegal, to fish about 20 miles west of New Pass, using squid and cut-bait. The guys had good action all morning, and released twenty-five red grouper shorts to 17 inches, along with a 4-inch scamp grouper, a 15-inch mutton snapper, five lane snapper shorts, a puffer-fish and a scorpion fish. They boxed four keeper lane snapper and four grunts to take home for dinner.

Mike Conneally, who fished offshore with me last week, fished a catch-and-release trip in the backwaters of southern Estero Bay with me on Friday morning, 11/22/19. He used live shrimp to catch five redfish to 17 inches, twenty sheepshead to 12 inches, a crevalle jack, and three mangrove snapper.

The photo shown below is of angler Engle Merz with a 33-inch cobia, caught on cut-bait and releasedon a recent offshore trip.



The photo shown below is of angler Mark Kostner with a 24-inch redfish ,caught on shrimp and released on a recent inshore trip.


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