Fishbuster Charters’ Captain Dave Hanson bringing you Bonita Beach fishing report: Monday, 6/16, I fished in spots 28 ½ to 35 ½ miles west of New Pass with Paul McConnell and his son, Andrew. They had fished with me the previous Saturday, and had done well with red grouper that day. This time, yellowtail snapper, which had all been short on Saturday, were biting well on shrimp, and the guys caught eleven nice ones to 16 inches. They also did well with mangrove snapper, keeping a half dozen of those, all measuring between 14 and 17 inches. Added to the box were a couple of whitebone porgies, out of the nine porgies to 15 inches that the guys caught, as well as a few grunts. We released twenty-five red grouper shorts to right at 20 inches. We released the 20-inch because it was so close, and shrinkage would have brought it to under-size. The guys also released nine additional yellowtails that were shorts and also a triggerfish short.
Tuesday, 6/17, I fished 18 miles west of New Pass with father and son anglers, Ricky and Tony Castillo. It was rough heading out, as it was coming the day before also. Fishing was tougher than it has been lately, but the two managed to box eight keeper whitebone porgies, a half-dozen 12-inch grunts, and two keeper lane snapper. They released twenty porgy shorts, yellowtail and mangrove snapper shorts, and a half dozen red grouper shorts, along with a 38-inch bonnethead shark and a 3-foot sharp-nose shark. Everything bit on live shrimp.
Friday, 6/20, I headed out in calm seas to 36 miles west of New Pass with Russ Maavich and his three sons, Alex, Brett and Ryan. The guys had a great day of fishing, with a good mix of sport fishing and food fishing. They got to feel the thrill of goliath grouper on the line, as we lured them with crevalle jacks for bait, and the guys released three of those, ranging from 150 to 200 pounds. We also lost one that must have been huge, as it was pulling the boat sideways, and finally pulled the hook and got away. We switched to shrimp for bait for some food fish, and the guys did well with those too, landing eight nice yellowtail snapper keepers to 16 inches and fifteen keeper mangrove snapper that measured 13 ½ to 15 inches. They added to the box a dozen large grunts, all around 14 inches and ten whitebone porgies, including five at 15 inches and one at a whopping19 inches.
Seas were not nearly as calm on Saturday, 6/21, as they had been on Friday. Philip and Judy Arsenault fished with me at the reefs just six miles off the beach, and even there, it was choppy. But the couple did well with a variety of fish caught on live shrimp, including a 15-inch keeper pompano, two lane snapper keepers, a whiting keeper, a flounder keeper, and a few grunts. They released a 24-inch cobia, along with lots of crevalle jacks.”