Wednesday morning was a tough call on gulf versus bay, with the time-line of this windy front uncertain. Jerry and Denise Demars and grandson, Jake, managed to get a morning of fishing at the reefs about five miles off Bonita Beach before it got too sloppy out there.
We caught six keeper mangrove snapper, keeper Spanish mackerel, a 15-inch flounder and large grunts, releasing under-sized triggerfish, grouper and sheepshead.
Angler John Winchester proudly holds up an 18-inch mangrove snapper he caught on shrimp during a recent offshore Fishbuster Charter. Photos courtesy of MARTI HANSON.
Decisions on fishing offshore were made easier Thursday, when seas of three to five feet were predicted within 20 miles. I cancelled my offshore trip for that day, and did likewise Friday, but ended up re-booking the morning for an inshore catch-and-release trip with Gary Mozina, his friend, Mike, and Mike's 11-year-old son, Eric.
There was a stiff wind blowing all morning and the fishing wasn't as good as it had been in the bay earlier this week. We released four sheepshead, a few mangrove snapper and ladyfish.
Saturday morning, seas were relatively calm but there was a good-sized swell leftover from the windy front, so I fished near-shore at the reefs with Rob Wessels, his daughter, Sydney, son, Tanner, and friend, Kristi Whalen.
We did well with live shrimp for snapper and sheepshead, ending up with 14 keeper snapper to 15 inches and four sheepshead, all 17 to 18 inches.
Just ahead of another cold-front predicted to come through our area Monday evening, Bill Oswald and his 8-year-old daughter, Grace, fished Estero Bay with me Monday morning.
We had some gusts of wind, but nothing like the winds expected Tuesday, and it was a generally pleasant and productive morning in the backwaters.
We kept two sheepshead and six mangrove snapper, releasing about an equal number of smaller ones. Grace was keeping score on the number of fish caught and proudly proclaimed herself the winner, with a total of nine.
Staying in port
Tuesday morning, the winds that were promised became a reality.
I had already cancelled an offshore trip for that day, given the predictions. I had tentatively scheduled a backwater trip, but with winds of 25 to 30 knots, fishing anywhere seemed more like an exercise in aggravation than anything pleasant, so I cancelled the backwater trip also and remained in port for the day.