“No oil—No spoil Our Beaches are Clean—Our Waters Pristine”
Tim Reid fished near-shore with me, about ten miles off the beach Saturday morning, 7/17. Winds and seas, which were calm most of the week, had picked up quite a bit and seas were a little sloppy, so we decided to stay near-shore and do some shark fishing. We site-casted on the surface, using pinfish strips on a mackerel-rig, and we caught and released fourteen sharp-nose sharks to 40 inches.
Tuesday, Daniel Wallace and friends fished with me. Seas were predicted to be two-to-three feet, but they were much rougher than that. We headed to the reefs and decided not to go any further offshore, due to conditions. We fished with live shrimp and caught a 16-inch flounder, a keeper triggerfish and mangrove snapper and grunts.
Having seen what the gulf was like on Tuesday, I advised Jim Shubert, his son Terry, and grandson, T.J. to fish inshore on Wednesday. We did well with trout and caught fifteen of those, four of which were keepers, ranging 15 ½ to 16 ½ inches. We caught a keeper sheepshead at 15 ½ inches and a keeper redfish at 21 inches. We released a mess of mangrove snapper, all but four, which were keeper size. We used live shrimp and a popping cork for the trout and live shrimp tossed under the mangroves for the redfish and the snapper.
Kevin Coyle and son, Paul, fished Estero Bay with me on Thursday morning. The trout bite was again active and we caught fifteen of those on shrimp, but most were undersized and released. We also caught keeper Spanish mackerel and mangrove snapper. Kevin also caught a 16 ½ inch black drum. We released undersized sheepshead, small snook, and a crevalle jack.
On a drizzly Friday morning, ahead of tropical Storm Bonnie’s arrival, I fished Estero Bay with Dwayne McCoy and his sister, Heather Romines. There was trout a-plenty again—sixteen of them, including four keepers to 17 inches, along with a 20-inch Spanish mackerel, small sheepshead, ladyfish and crevalle jack, all biting shrimp. We released all but the keeper trout.
Saturday morning, the sun was shining and the only remnants Bonnie were some slightly higher than usual winds. I fished inshore with Terry and Lori Dobbs and friends, Tom & Jane, all from Arkansas. We went after trout with shrimp and popping corks and caught a bunch of those, including two nice keepers at just over 20 inches and 16 inches—Lori caught both of those, along with a 15-inch sheepshead. Tom caught and released a twenty-pound stingray, as the group tried to capture its immensity on film. We also released ladyfish, smaller trout and smaller sheepshead. The group got to see some dolphins and a manatee, on our way back to shore.
Monday morning I was back in Estero Bay, this time on a catch-and-release trip with Chris and Lori King and their daughters, Addy, eleven, and Libby, fourteen. We released trout, sheepshead, snapper and snook, all caught on live shrimp.