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SUBJECT: SW FL-Bonita Beach: 11-Pound Red Grouper; 20 Pound 'Cuda

Submitted by Captain Dave Hanson ( from FLORIDA on

Dave Flemming and friends and family were in town to attend his grandmother’s 85th birthday the weekend of 10/22, and Dave and five others, Rob, David, Tom, Brad and Al, decided to work in a catch-and-release fishing trip on Saturday, before catching their flights home. There was a small-craft-caution in effect offshore, so we stayed close in and fished at May Reef, where seas were every bit of three-foot, accompanied by a strong, 15-20 knot wind. We used shrimp to catch two nice flounder, 16 inches and 17 inches, along with a pair of 23-inch Spanish mackerel, sheepshead, mangrove snapper and gag grouper shorts.

Monday, 10/25, I fished with long-time customers Chester Yanik, his son, Mark, and friend, Tom Murphey. We headed out to 65 feet, about 28 miles west of New Pass, where we fished with live shrimp. Chester caught a nice red grouper that weighed 11 pounds and measured 28 inches. It ate a jumbo shrimp. We released about 50 more red groupers that were short of keeper-size. Mark also released a big barracuda, about 40 inches long and 20 pounds. It tried to eat one of the porgies we caught. In fact, the goliaths and the ‘cudas ate the biggest of the fifteen porgies we hooked, but we kept a half dozen nice ones to 15 inches. We also caught two keeper, 14-inch yellowtail snapper and fifteen keeper lane snapper to 12 inches. We released a short hogfish and small mangrove snapper.

Another long-time customer, Herb Guarascio, fished near-shore with me on Tuesday, along with his wife, Renee, son Joe, nephew Ryan, and friend, George. We fished with shrimp 8-12 miles west of New Pass and caught five keeper triggerfish to 14 1/2 inches, four Spanish mackerel to 25 inches, five whitebone porgies to 13 inches, a 12-inch lane snapper, and a 13 inch mangrove snapper. We released smaller mangs and short red grouper.

Chester Yanik, Mark Yanik and Tom Murphey, who fished with me Monday, did so again on Wednesday, when we headed out 36 miles to about 70 feet. We caught a keeper red grouper at 21 inches, which bit a pinfish. The rest of our catches were on live shrimp, and included a dozen keeper yellowtail snapper, two 14-inch keeper triggerfish, and a half dozen keeper whitebone porgies. Mark released a 100-pound goliath grouper, and we also released lots of triggerfish-shorts and grouper-shorts.

Monday morning, 11/1, I fished 19 1/2 miles west of New Pass with John and Bud Hornell. We used live shrimp to catch a 16-inch keeper hogfish, a keeper yellowtail snapper, eight whitebone porgies all about 14 inches and eight nice-sized grunts to add to the table-fare. We released lots of mangrove and yellowtail snapper that were just short of keeper-size, along with lots of red grouper and triggerfish shorts and one smaller hogfish.


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