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SUBJECT: SW FL-Bonita Beach: Red Grouper, Snapper & Trout

Submitted by Captain Dave Hanson ( from FLORIDA on

“No oil—No spoil
Our Beaches are Clean—Our Waters Pristine”
Estero Bay was my fishing grounds on Tuesday morning, 7/27, when I fished with Chris Polumbo and his young daughter, Miranda, along with Miranda's two friends, Bridget and Rachel. We caught two 17-inch trout and two keeper mangrove snapper. We released lots of smaller trout and snapper, along with crevalle jack, all on live shrimp.

Wednesday, I headed offshore for the first time in a while. Mark Aldridge, son Colin, eleven-year-old grandson Alfie, and family friend Dave VanDomilan fished 36 miles west of New Pass with me in 76 feet. We had a great day of fishing and landed three keeper red grouper at 21 inches, 22 inches and 24 inches. We nearly had one that was about 30 inches but it cut the line and got away just as we were readying the net for him. Still, the three grouper, along with eight keeper yellowtail snapper, two keeper mangrove snapper, a keeper Spanish mackerel, and a few 14-inch whitebone porgies made for a nice mess of fish. We released lots of smaller mangrove and yellowtail snapper, all caught on shrimp.

Chris Polumbo, who fished with me Tuesday, fished with another set of kids—his son and friends—on Thursday. We tried a different area of the bay this time, toward Wiggins Pass, but there was an abundance of catfish down that way. We moved around a bit and ended up catching keeper whiting and keeper mangrove snapper, on shrimp.

Friday morning, 7/30, I dodged a few scattered rain showers offshore with Richard Sturgill, his wife, and a couple of friends. We fished with live shrimp in 43 feet, out of New Pass, where we caught keeper Spanish mackerel, keeper mangrove snapper and keeper lane snapper. We released red grouper shorts and crevalle jack.

I didn’t fish again until Monday, 8/9. It is definitely slow-time we turn the calendar page to August, we expect a few trips a month, at best, until our seasonal residents begin to return in October.

Monday, 8/9, I fished with Mark and Beth Gittens and their two young daughters, Jamie and Jessica. We dodged several rain showers and the group was happy catching fish, even in a little rain...but when we saw some lightening in the distance, shortly before noon, it was time to head in! The group brought home plenty of whitebone porgies, porkfish and grunts for dinner. We released a keeper-sized Spanish mackerel, and had fun with a barracuda on the line for a while, until he cut the line and ran off.

I got offshore again on Friday, 8/13, with Karl Gawenda and his family. We fished in 43 feet, using live shrimp. We caught two nice mangrove snapper at 16 inches each and released lots of shorts. We also caught ten keeper whitebone porgies to 14 inches, several lane snapper, including one keeper, a 26-inch Spanish mackerel, and grunts. We released yellowtail and red grouper shorts, along with an 80-pound goliath grouper. We had a big cobia circling the boat for a while, but he refused to eat anything.


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