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SUBJECT: SW FL-Bonita Beach: Grouper, Snapper, and lots of rough seas

Submitted by Captain Dave Hanson ( from FLORIDA on

After about six days off the water, due to high winds and seas offshore and shallow, muddy conditions in the bay, I finally got offshore with Ron Musick, Eddie Alfonse, Dick Arnett, Bob Mayer, and Matt Watson on Thursday, 4/26. We headed out of New Pass to 36 miles, where we fished with live shrimp and pinfish. The group caught a keeper, 21-inch red grouper on a pinfish, and used live shrimp to catch two 14-inch yellowtail snapper, three mangrove snapper in the 13-14-inch range, fifteen keeper whitebone porgies, a 14-inch porkfish, nine keeper lane snapper, and a 14-inch triggerfish. They released red grouper shorts to 19 inches and gag grouper to 18 inches. We also had a nine-foot sandbar shark eat a big gag grouper as we reeled it in, leaving us only the head.

Friday morning, Nick Siska and his dad, Fran, fished with me, 22 miles west of New Pass. We used live shrimp, which landed Nick a 22-inch red grouper. We released twenty-five red grouper shorts to 19 inches. The guys also caught eight keeper lane snapper to 12 inches and released king mackerel shorts and blue runners.

I was off the water Saturday, due to a family event and, by Sunday, weather had again deteriorated, with a rainy, windy front that had reversed direction from the beginning of the week, and returned to us as a warm-front. Winds and rough seas persisted into the beginning of the next week, cancelling a planned offshore trip on Tuesday, 5/1. Our fishing schedule is also lighter, now that seasonal residents and tourists have mostly returned north for summer.

It was Saturday, 5/5, before I got back to fishing. I fished 22 miles west of New Pass, in 44 feet, with Nick Blanchard and his two sons, Mike and Brandon. The guys used live shrimp to catch keeper mangrove snapper to 18 inches, a few keeper lanes, a half dozen keeper porgies and a few grunts. They released lots of red and gag grouper shorts to 19 inches.


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