SW FL-Bonita Beach: Nice Red Grouper, Hogfish, Kingfish & Snapper

:cool:Monday, 4/15, I fished twenty miles west of New Pass with Richard Pyper and friends, Steve, Craig and Carey. The guys used live shrimp to catch twenty-five lane snapper to 14 inches, a half-dozen whitebone porgy keepers to 14 inches, and ten grunts, all about 12 inches. They released fifteen red grouper shorts to 19 1/2 inches.

Tuesday, frequent fishers, Ron Musick, Eddie Alfonso, and Bob Mayer fished with me in a couple of spots, 20 miles and 29 miles west of New Pass. We used pinfish to catch and release six red grouper to 19 inches. Using live shrimp, the guys caught twenty keeper lane snapper to 14 inches, and five nice whitebone-porgies to 15 inches.

Wednesday was a day off the water for me, to attend to personal business.

Thursday, I headed back offshore and had the best day of fishing in a good while. I fished 19 to 25 miles west of New Pass with Kari Vilamaa, Paul Kikendall, George Dyer, and Gary Wilson. The guys cleaned up on red grouper, catching five keepers in all, two at 22 inches, one at 25 inches, one at 29 inches and one at 30 inches. The two smaller ones were caught on shrimp, and the three larger ones on bait-fish. They released lots of red grouper shorts, as well as a 30-inch king mackerel, a bunch of blue runners, and grunts. They also added to the fish box two keeper hogfish at 15 inches and 16 inches, two keeper mangrove snapper to 14 inches and two dozen keeper lane snapper, which were caught on shrimp.

Friday, seas were a lot rougher near-shore than the predicted two-to-three feet, when I fished the reefs off Bonita Beach with Tom Koontz and his friends, Dave, Paul and Howard. The guys used live shrimp to catch three keeper Spanish mackerel and a mess of grunts, but fishing was tough—nothing like the calm seas and catches well offshore the previous day. The guys released lots of blue runners and some mangrove snapper shorts.

Weather deteriorated over the weekend, and even by Monday morning, the gulf was still all churned up, and scattered showers remained offshore. My full-day offshore trip planned for that day deferred to a day with better conditions sometime in the future.

Gusty winds persisted on Tuesday, but I was able to fish inshore with Vern DeLang, who used live shrimp in Estero Bay to catch a brace of keeper redfish at 20 inches, and two keeper black drum at 18 inches and 15 inches. He released a short redfish at 17 ¾ inches and also a smaller drum, along with two stingrays.

Thursday, 4/25, I headed offshore and fished in spots between 24 miles and 29 miles west of New Pass with Ron Musick, Eddie Alfonso, Bob Mayer and John Ebbrecht. The guys caught a brace of 21-inch, keeper red grouper, on bait-fish, as well as a 30-inch king mackerel. They released lots of red grouper shorts. Live shrimp yielded us two dozen keeper lane snapper to 12 inches, along with fifteen whitebone porgies to 14 inches. Ron got to battle a 6 ½ foot sandbar shark, hooked on a bait-fish and released after photographing.

Saturday, 4/27, I fished 22 miles offshore with Dave & Diane Carey and John and Luann Petterson. Seas were a lot rougher than the two foot seas predicted, but the fishing was good. The group caught two keeper red grouper at 23 and 24 inches, half a dozen keeper mangrove snapper to 14 inches, and a dozen keeper lane snapper to 12 inches, along with a 15-inch whitebone porgy. We used bait-fish for the groupers, and live shrimp for everything else.

The photo shown is of angler Gary Wilson, with a 30-inch red grouper, one of five keeper red grouper caught on shrimp on a recent offshore trip.

You can check out all of our shark and goliath grouper action videos at the following link:


  • RMDRMD Posts: 1,796 Officer
    Nice looking grouper!
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