Joined: Jun 20, 2009 Posts: 180 Location: Bonita Beach
Posted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:55 am Post subject: SW FL-Bonita Beach: Fishing pre and post Hurricane Irma
For Craig Seacrest and family, it was a toss-up as to whether to fish offshore or in the backwaters on Thursday, 8/24. The threat of rain was a concern offshore, with its timing uncertain, and with its potential to rough up the seas. The bay was at a low, outgoing tide. The group decided to take their chances offshore. Early on, we hit some rain for a bit, and seas did get choppy. They calmed down a little, but not enough to get out as far as we’d have liked. We ended up fishing the reefs for a while, which were not real productive, then ventured out a little further to twelve miles west of New Pass. The bite was slow everywhere, and the family caught and released a few red grouper shorts, a mangrove snapper that was just short of legal size, some blue runners, and a few grunts. We saw a big shark, as well as a few turtles.
Newlyweds, Brian and Rachel Lavalle, fished southern Estero Bay’s backwaters with me on Tuesday, 8/29. I had feared that the influx of fresh water brought by the tropical disturbance that had hung over our area for days could interfere with the bite, but I was fortunately wrong. Using shrimp, the couple caught eight sheepshead, including six keepers: one at 14-inches, a couple at 15-inches, a couple at 16-inches, and one at 17-inches. They also caught a 20-inch keeper redfish.
Bob and Lisa Gatesy fished southern Estero Bay with me Thursday morning, 8/31. The fish were liking shrimp, and by 10:30 AM, the couple had already caught eight keeper sheepshead to 15 inches and two keeper redfish to 25 inches. They released three sheepshead shorts, and decided to call it a half-day a little early, in order to get out of the heat.
The photo shown below is of Lisa Gatesy, with a 25-inch redfish.
Hurricane Irma hit our area on September 10th, and its aftermath was quite a challenge. We were fortunate to have only minor property damage, along with a lot of downed trees. Our boats, thankfully survived. We were without power for nine days, and were so thankful t for the hard working linemen from all over the country who worked tirelessly to restore it.
As a consequence of the storm, there was very little fishing going on, as locals lost income and struggled to repair their properties, file claims, and the like. It was September 28th before I fished again. That trip was with six linemen in our area, on assignment from West Virginia, Jim Blackstock, Jim Messenger, and four of their friends and co-workers. We fished 25 miles west of New Pass, using squid and cut-bait to catch and release twenty-five keeper-sized lane snapper, twenty-six red grouper shorts, a small amberjack, and twelve grunts.
Brothers, Jake and Adam Sutton, fished 19 miles west of New Pass with me on Saturday morning, 9/30, using squid and cut-bait. The guys caught a 22-inch keeper red grouper and five keeper lane snapper to 12 inches, along with a mess of grunts. They released two mutton snapper shorts at 12 inches and 14 inches, along with a 25-pound goliath grouper.
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