Fishbuster Charters’ Captain Dave Hanson reported,”Monday, 6/30/14, Matt Siebert and friends Matthew, Jim and Steve, had planned to fish a full-day with me offshore. The dead calm seas of the several preceding days had picked up somewhat, but the NOAA forecast was for two-to-three foot sees out to sixty miles. As soon as we got out to New Pass, we knew that wasn’t the case, with seas as high as 5 feet close-in, as the winds picked up throughout the morning. So, we decided to stay near-shore, and fish for sharks and goliaths. The guys caught and released two goliath grouper at 80 pounds and 120 pounds, along with two 40-inch sandbar sharks. Two other good-sized sharks were hooked, but cut the line. The group also released crevalle jacks and a 14-inch mangrove snapper. We headed in at the half-day mark, everyone having had enough heat, rough seas and goliath-grouper-induced muscle soreness for the day!
Tuesday morning, 7/1, I fished between 8 and 12 miles west of New Pass with Chris Morrow and his son, Alec Bayer, Fred Morando and his son, Freddy, and Mike Conrod and his son, Vinny. The father son teams used live shrimp and pinfish to catch a variety of fish, including a 20 ½-inch keeper red grouper, a 13 ½-inch triggerfish, and a 13-inch lane snapper. The group released lots of red grouper shorts to 19 inches, a couple of gag grouper shorts, lane snapper shorts, grunts, a 25-inch cobia, and an 8 ½-foot nurse shark.
John Liebenow and Nick McAllister fished about 18 miles west of New Pass with me on Wednesday, 7/2, where they used live shrimp to catch nine nice mangrove snapper to 16 inches. They released smaller mangs, yellowtail shorts, and red grouper shorts. Two big groupers, one gag and one red, snapped the circle hooks on our snapper rigs and got away before they could be boated.
Winds and seas began picking up Wednesday afternoon, as the soon-to-be-hurricane, Arthur, hugged the FL coast for a bit before veering into the Atlantic and northward. I advised Dennis McGorry, his wife, Marnie, and their two young sons, Nate and Josh, that seas would be too rough in the gulf, so the family opted to fish the backwaters with me Thursday morning, 7/3. The group did well, fishing with live shrimp in lower Hickory Bay, where they caught a keeper 21 ½-inch redfish and eight keeper mangrove snapper to 12 inches. They released lots of mang-shorts, along with three sheepshead to 11 7/8 inches and a couple of crevalle jacks.
I was off on the 4th of July, and Saturday, the 5th, brought early rains to the area.”