Bonita Beach Fishing Report: Fishbuster Charters’ Captain Dave Hanson reported,”Monday, 8/4, there was some rain on the radar, predictions that morning were for one or two scattered showers in the morning hours, followed by heavier storms in the later afternoon. Seas were predicted to be calm. Chris Henderson and his sons, Dallas and Shawn, had planned to fish a full-day offshore with me. I explained that we might not get the full day in, depending upon the timing of the storms. We got as far as the pass, and encountered huge waves splashing over the sandbars—5 foot seas close-in, and no way to proceed safely with our offshore plans. We returned to the dock and tried to save the morning by reloading everything onto the flats boat to fish the backwaters. We got cut a little short, even on that, as the heavy storms began rolling in right after noon, and we returned to the dock just ahead of a big thunderstorm. But the guys managed to catch a 14-inch, keeper sheepshead and two keeper mangrove snapper. They released a couple of stingray, a crevalle jack, and lots of mangrove snapper shorts, all on live shrimp.
I fished the backwaters of central Estero Bay again on Tuesday morning, 8/5, this time with Colin Castner and his twelve-year-old son, Quinn, on a catch-and-release trip. The father and son used live shrimp to catch and release three black drum measuring 14 inches, 16 inches and 23 inches, along with two sheepshead, a dozen mangrove snapper, four of which were keeper-size, and a brace of 20-inch snook.
A.J. LaPrette, his son, Joe, and Joe’s friend, Paul Schnadig, fished inshore in lower Hickory Bay with me on Wednesday, 8/6, morning, using live shrimp. The guys caught a 23-inch keeper redfish and three keeper black drum, at 18 inches, 19 inches and 19 ½ inches, along with a keeper mangrove snapper.
Seas were calm by Thursday morning, 8/7, when I fished with Sean Long, his twelve-year-old son, Aedan, and fourteen-year-old daughter, Alex. The family wasn’t interested in keeping fish—only catching them—so we did a catch-and-release trip 18 to 20 miles west of New Pass. Using live shrimp, the trio caught and released twenty-five red grouper shorts, six yellowtail snapper shorts, a half dozen mangrove snapper to 13 inches, and thirty keeper-sized lane snapper to 13 inches.
Friday morning, 8/8, seas were predicted to be calm again, but a storm about 25 miles off the coast that was moving northward kicked up winds and seas for a while, as I headed offshore with long-time customers Paul Fenwick, his young daughter Emma, and John Priddy and his daughter Jordan, along with her boyfriend, Zach. Seas calmed down some after that storm moved further away from us, and fishing was good in spots ranging 12 to 20 miles west of New Pass. Emma was very proud of the 14-inch lane snapper she caught, which was the biggest of twenty keeper lanes the group culled. They added four keeper mangrove snapper to the box, all about 13 inches, and released fifteen mang shorts, all caught on shrimp. We grouper fished with pinfish, and the group caught and released a dozen red grouper shorts, one of which was just 1/8 inch short of keeper size.
Chris Baker fished with me Saturday morning, 8/9, on an inshore trip, around the islands in front of Little Carlos, where he used live shrimp to land two keeper redfish, both 19 inches, and three 11-inch keeper mangrove snapper. We released a lot of mangrove shorts. We got in just ahead of a rainstorm that moved closer to the coast, after hovering and building offshore all morning.”