Bonita Beach Fishing Report by Captain Dave Hanson

Posted on August 24th, 2013 by Mike

I fished Estero Bay Wednesday with Frank Tota, Frank Witt, and friends, Joe and Jim. Strange as it might sound, we caught and released a seventeen inch bonefish. I have never seen, much less caught, a bonefish in this area, and I believed them to be a Keys/Caribbean fish. We caught this one on a live shrimp, on an oyster bar in the middle of the bay. Using shrimp, we also caught two keeper sheepshead and two keeper mangrove snapper, as well as one redfish. We lost two other nice reds, when they ran around the back side of the trees, and cut our lines. We also released a 17 inch snook.

Thursday, fishing with Arnie Roberts and son, Bill Roberts, in 35 feet out of New Pass, around rocky bottom, we used liver shrimp and pinfish to catch Spanish mackerel to 22 inches, triggerfish to 14 inches, and yellowtail snapper to 15 inches. We released two small goliath groupers.

The photo shown is of a 50 + lb. goliath grouper, released on a recent offshore trip.

Monday, I fished with live shrimp in 40 feet, 19 miles out of New Pass, with Ernie and Tim Moffet. We caught four keeper yellowtail snapper, and released three smaller ones. We also caught porgies, triggerfish, mangrove snapper, a small hogfish, a flounder, and lots of gag shorts, which were fun to catch and release. We used a blue runner to catch and release a 50 pound goliath grouper.

Charles and Frances Goehle and their two grown children fished Estero Bay with me Tuesday, using live shrimp. Fishing under trees, around oyster bars, and pot holes, we caught six redfish, one of which was slot size. We also caught three keeper mangrove snapper, and released three large stingrays and cravalle jack.

Tom Budzynski and family fished in 40 feet out of New Pass with me on Saturday. We released a 50+ pound goliath grouper, and had our lines broken four times by larger goliaths. We also caught a 30 inch king mackerel, triggerfish to 14 inches, and released snapper and red grouper shorts. We used live shrimp for all but the goliaths, and hooked those on blue runners.

The photo shown is of a 5 pound cravalle jack, released in Estero Bay on a recent backwater trip.

Monday, I fished the west wall of Estero Bay with brothers Tom and Kevin Connolly. We used shiners to catch three redfish, two of which were keepers, and an 18 inch trout. We released a 21 inch gag grouper and a cravalle jack.

After a couple of rainy, windy days, I fished Estero Bay again on Thursday, with Sally Faust and friends, Todd and Brenda. We used live shrimp to catch and release two redfish, mangrove snapper, and cravalle jacks.

Saturday, fishing Estero Bay was kind of slow, but J.R. Gardner caught and released mangrove snapper and cravalle jacks, fishing with live shrimp around the tree lines and oyster bars.

*The photo shown is of a 23 inch redfish, caught on a recent backwater trip in Estero Bay.

I fished Monday in 35 feet out of New Pass with father and son Dan and Eric Harper. Using live shrimp, we caught keeper Spanish mackerel, a nice yellowtail snapper, keeper triggerfish, grunts and porkfish.

Daniel McAuliffe fished with me Tuesday morning at MAY Reef. We were chased in by a brief lightening storm about 11AM, but we caught plenty of fish before then. We caught ten keeper lane snapper, but released all but two for Dan’s dinner. We also released keeper-sized triggerfish and about fifteen two-pound cravalle jacks, all on live shrimp.

Chris and Jaclyn Agee fished the west wall of Estero Bay with me on Thursday. We used live shrimp to catch keeper mangrove snapper to 12 inches, and a few keeper sheepshead. We released smaller sheepshead and small black drum.

With a family reunion planned for the weekend, I am off the water until Monday.

*The photo attached is a close-up of a 200 + lb. goliath grouper, caught offshore on a recent trip. It took all my energy to haul this one to the surface