SW FL-Bonita Beach: Red Grouper Gulfside; Big Sheepshead Inshore
Tuesday, 11/20, I fished inshore in Estero Bay with Al Tooley and his thirteen-year-old son, Aiden. The guys caught a 20-inch, keeper redfish, along with five keeper sheepshead to 15 inches, all on shrimp. They released seven smaller sheepshead and two stingrays.
Wednesday morning, I again fished central Estero Bay, using live shrimp, this time with Tim Fox, his son, Eli, and his father-in-law, Alan Zeilinger. The sheepshead were abundant and biting well, and the trio caught fifteen of those in all, including nine nice keepers to 16 inches. We had one sheepie boat-side that was about 20 inches, but it snapped the line at the last minute. The guys also released three crevalle jacks, all about 5 pounds, along with four stingrays and two puffer-fish.
Ron & Janet Farqueherson fished a catch-and-release trip with me Saturday morning in Estero Bay, using live shrimp. The couple caught and released a brace of 17 ½ inch redfish, along with two keeper-sized sheepshead to 16 inches, five keeper-sized mangrove snapper, a brace of 16-inch black drum, and two puffer-fish.
Monday, 11/26, I headed out to fish with Todd Flemmin and Eddie Alfonso, 28 to 35 miles west of New Pass. We had live shrimp and squid, and used both with good success. The guys caught three keeper red grouper at 21 ½ inches, 22 ½ inches and 23 inches. They released about twenty shorter ones. They also caught nineteen beautiful mangrove snapper, all of which were in the 15-inch to 16-inch range, as well as three nice yellowtail snapper that were 13 inches each. The whitebone porgies were large and plentiful, and the guys kept four 15-inch porgies, out of twenty they caught. They also caught nine large grunts, and kept four of those that were 16 inches. They released two gag grouper that were 21 inches each. All in all it was a very productive and beautiful day on the water.
Long time customers, Erwin and Millie Metusiak, fished with me Tuesday morning, about 18 miles west of New Pass, using live shrimp. The couple caught three keeper mangrove snapper to 12 ½ inches, and kept six whitebone porgies to 18 inches, out of about twenty caught. They also caught a keeper hogfish at 15 inches. They released three 21-inch gag grouper, ten red grouper shorts, a 15 ½ inch scamp grouper, six triggerfish to 13 ½ inches, and blue runners.
Saturday morning, I fished central Estero Bay with Rich and Nancy Honsa, using live shrimp. The sheepshead bite was hot, and the couple caught fifteen nice ones to 19 ½ inches. They only wanted enough for a meal, so they kept the biggest one and released the rest. They also released five keeper-sized mangrove snapper to 11 inches and two puffer-fish.
The photo shown is of angler, Eddie Alfonso, with a 23-inch red grouper, one of three red grouper keepers caught on shrimp on an offshore trip 11/26/12.