Fishbuster Charters’ Captain Dave Hanson reported, “Monday morning, 5/18, Mike and Casey Calvert fished a catch-and-release trip with me in Estero Bay’s Mound Key area, using live shrimp for bait. The couple caught and released a good variety of fish, some of which were would-be keepers. The couple released a pair of 18-inch snook, a 16-inch black drum, two redfish at 17 inches and 22 inches, two sheepshead to 14 inches, two mangrove snapper to 12 inches, and a 12-inch mutton snapper. The mutton is kind of an unusual catch in the backwaters.
Ron and Betty Bergland fished offshore with me Tuesday morning, 5/19, about 20 miles west of New Pass. Ron caught a nice, keeper red grouper at 24 inches, which bit on a bait-fish. The rest of the couple’s catches were on shrimp, and included fifteen red grouper shorts to just below the 20-inch legal size, thirteen yellowtail snapper, including one keeper at 13 inches, three keeper lane snapper, all about 12 inches, a half-dozen porgies, including one keeper, and fourteen grunts. The Berglands also released a 3 ½-foot blacknose shark and a 9-foot nurse shark.
Wednesday morning, 5/20, John Fiorito and his son, Mike, fished Estero Bay’s backwaters with me, in the area around New Pass. Using live shrimp, they caught four keeper mangrove snapper, all measuring about 11 inches, along with a 12 1/2-inch sheepshead. They released fifteen mangrove snapper shorts and two sheepshead shorts.
Thursday, 5/21, Mark Weikel and son, Zach, wanted to learn about fishing in Estero Bay, and chose a catch-and-release trip that covered a lot of territory. We fished in spots from Mound Key south to the Imperial River, using live shrimp. The guys released three redfish all about 17 inches, along with three sheepshead and a dozen would-be-keeper mangrove snapper at 11 to 12 inches. They also released a short mutton snapper, which is the second mutton I have seen in the backwaters this week—very unusual.
Saturday morning, 5/23, Bob Miller, son Jeff, and thirteen-year-old grandson, JJ, fished 22 miles offshore with me, using live shrimp. The guys caught two keeper red grouper at 22 inches and 24 inches, JJ having landed the larger one, which weighed nine pounds. The group added a 13-inch mangrove snapper to the fish box, along with five keeper porgies to 14 inches. They released about thirty red grouper shorts, along with a three-foot bonnethead shark.”