Fishing Forum
 Hooked Something Huge While Night Fishing Under Bridges

Fishing Forum Spoprt fishing Topshotfishing Happy Day Today Sailfish


 
Fort Lauderdale Fishing with Top Shot Sportfishing Charter Boat and Capt. Zsak

Two local fishermen from Fort Lauderdale, Cain Elias and Josh Largo, chartered the Top Shot Sportfishing charter boat team to do some deep sea charter boat sport fishing in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Both guys wanted to target Sailfish, so our game plan was to kite fish.

On the way out we stopped at the bait boat and got a dozen live Goggle Eyes. As we headed out of the inlet, we had 4 to 5 foot seas with a steady east wind blowing 15 mph. Within fifteen to twenty minutes we were fishing in 120 ft. of water, 1.8 miles from shore south of Fort Lauderdale. We put out two kites, one on the right and the other on the left, with two live Goggle Eyes from each kite. Kite fishing is a very good way to fish live baits, as they are naturally presented to predator fish such as Mahi Mahi, Wahoo and Sailfish. Once the kites are out, we next constantly adjust the live bait, so that they are just below the water line, then we wait and watch. All of sudden a dorsal fin come out of the water and circled the bait. I could see that the Sailfish was getting ready to feed. He ate the right short bait. As the Sailfish got hooked, he started jumping out of the water, doing 360 degree flips. The first angler up was Cain. He did a superb job angling, and after 20 minutes, he got the Sailfish up along side the boat. The hooks were taken out, pictures were taken and the Sailfish was safely released.

I got the boat back in position and reset the two kites with four live Goggle Eye baits. A repeat of the previous action – a Sailfish came up to the right short bait, dorsal fin up, and started swimming around the Goggle Eye bait. The Sailfish ate the bait fish, and we had a Sailfish on once again. The Sailfish ran off a lot of line until the line got tight and the Sailfish started jumping out of the water. Josh was the angler, and he did a great job reeling in the Sailfish. After about twenty minutes, the Sailfish was along the side of the boat. The hooks were released, photos were taken and the Sailfish was released back into the waters.

It was now time to head back to the dock. What a great job both Cain and Josh did in bringing in the Sailfish. The anglers retired into the a/c salon and enjoyed the relaxing trip back to the dock at Bahia Bar Yachting Center, 801 Seabreeze Blvd. Fort Lauderdale 33316.

For a successful and adventurous deep sea fishing charter in Fort Lauderdale FL for Sailfish, Shark, Bonito, Mackerel, Swordfish, Snapper, Wahoo, Tuna, Mahi Mahi and Grouper, contact Captain Zsak. – 954-309-7457 or email us at tzsak@bellsouth.net Website: www.topshotfishing.com.



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 Hooked Something Huge While Night Fishing Under Bridges

Fishing Forum Christmas Time Fishing in Bonita Beach, SW FL



On Wednesday, 12/20, John and Kim Zitur treated their six-year-old daughter, Carlyn, and their five-year-old son, Quinten, to a catch-and-release trip in southern Estero Bay. The kids had a great time using live shrimp to catch and release a 15-inch black drum, fifteen sheepshead to 13 inches, a sand bream, a 15-inch crevalle jack, a 10-inch mangrove snapper, and a two-pound stingray.

Thursday, 12/21, I headed 22 miles offshore with Al Hauer, his daughter, Elise, and her husband, Kevin. The family used squid and cut-bait to catch twenty-seven grunts, of which they kept fifteen of the largest. They added to the fish box two keeper lane snapper and two fourteen-inch porgies. They released twenty red grouper shorts, one short porgy, and two under-sized and out-of-season triggerfish.


The photo shown is of Mark Huenke with a 36-inch blacktip shark.

Friday, 12/22, seas were pretty clam and, after the early morning fog lifted, conditions were good 17 to 22 miles west of New Pass, where I fished with Mark Huneke and family. They used cut-bait and squid to box fifteen grunts around the 13-inch mark, and three porgies. They released a dozen red grouper shorts, along with a 3-foot blacktip shark.

Saturday, 12/23, I returned to some offshore spots 22 miles west of New Pass, this time with Mark Venturin and family members, Tim, Carter, Bradley, and Scott and Carie. The red grouper bite was on, and the group released more than thirty of those. Unfortunately, the largest was just 1/8-inch short of legal size. But the fish box filled up with twenty keeper lane snapper to 15 inches, along with fifteen 13-14-inch grunts, which were the largest of more grunts caught than we could count! Everything bit on squid and cut-bait.

After Christmas-eve and Christmas Day off the water, I fished on 12/26 in southern Estero Bay, with Mike Rohrbacher and his grandsons, Mike and Matthew. The family used shrimp on a challenging outgoing tide to catch a 13-inch keeper sheepshead, while releasing at least a dozen short ones. They also caught a 14-inch black drum, and released a 15-inch redfish and a two-pound stingray.

Tina Taylor took five young anglers with her on an offshore trip with me on Wednesday, 12/27. The group fished in spots ranging from 17 to 22 miles west of New Pass, using cut-bait and squid. They caught and released two dozen red grouper shorts to 18 inches, and they boxed seventeen lane snapper keepers to 13 inches, along with a few grunts.

Bob Eckle, his sons, Nick and Jason, and their friends, Tyler and Brenna, fished 22 miles offshore with me on Thursday, 12/28. They used squid and cut-bait to release twenty-four red grouper shorts, along with a three-foot remora. They boxed a couple dozen lane snappers to 15 inches.

Peter Halunen and his son, Clayton, joined by niece and nephew Johnny and Emily, fished 22 miles west of New Pass with me in choppy seas on Friday morning, 12/29. We had heavy fog to contend with early on, followed by some choppy conditions, but the group toughed it out, and used squid and cut-bait to catch and release twenty-five red grouper shorts and nine mangrove snapper that were just short of the 12-inch legal size for federal waters. They did box some food-fish, though, consisting of sixteen lane snapper to 14 inches, along with a mess of grunts.

The photo shown below is of John Ziffle with a 16-inch sheepshead , caught shrimp in Estero Bay on a recent inshore trip.

You can view our fishing action videos at http://fishbustercharters.com/fishingvideos.html

Happy New Year to all!



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Fishing Forum
 Hooked Something Huge While Night Fishing Under Bridges

Fishing Forum Adding Weight To Lighter Plugs!


How To Add Weight To Your Plug To Cast Farther!

This has always been an issue when using light weight plugs. How to get distance casting if the lure doesn’t have sufficient weight? You can use braid, the smaller diameter line has less air resistance. It helps but it doesn’t solve this problem. With discussion from my fellow angling partner Wayne Choy this is what we brainstormed last year. It only dawned on me yesterday that it’s just something we do but is shareable to help others.

I’m using a luminescent surface plug for this video that i brought in for myself & Wayne. Works day & night. It glows at night & rattles. We found drilling at an 45 degree angle into the lure, not straight down, can increase the weight up to 3x! Why a angle? It allows the bb’s dropped to make more “rattling” , angles the weight towards the lures backend, & you can get more drill holes into a smaller plug this way.

To figure out the correct weight needed just throw your lure into a bucket of water. Then attach lead sinkers to the hook until it barely sinks. This is your threshold weight. I’m gaging this on salt water usage because salt water is more buoyant. So if adding 35g more will make your lure neutral in fresh water it’ll now be more buoyant in salt water.

After the hole is drilled drop your bb’s into it. Use a “paper punched plastic dot” to place on top of the bb’s with enough room for the bb’s to rattle around. Remember to use a drill bit 1 size smaller in diameter of the punched plastic dot (hole punchers come in 2 diameter sizes) for that friction fit. I then use 5200 marine grade sealant to top it of. Then i cap the top with another “cap” & will color it if necessary.

I already hooked some decent fish using this method. For daytime plugging i like to use a Hammer Bomb for my cast assist. At night i use Hammer Bombs “Flashbomb”. Good luck:)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uquFQKVnccQ



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 Hooked Something Huge While Night Fishing Under Bridges

Fishing Forum : Saltwater Fishing Forum: Saltwater Fishing General: BALLOONING BAITS!


How To Ballon Baited Lines From Shore!

On this day the weather report called for high North winds, which rarely occurs. So i got up at 5am (brrrr) and went to Chocolate Beach. This is my preferred testing area to demonstrate fishing techniques. My friend Junior who works at that area told me the fishing has been bad there for weeks but i just needed to demonstrate how i ballon my baits from shore.

For this i used a 13’3″ Daiwa Ballistic Rod with a Shimano Ultegra 10K spinner loaded with 380yd of 50lb Jerry Brown braid. The main reason to balloon out a rig is to get distance from shore to increase your chances of catching fish. Now if you want to drop a bait instead of having it on the surface you can do it 1 of 2 ways-
1) Use a hard sucking candy with a hole in it (like Life Savers), or drill a hole in a cough drop. Then tie a thread through that hole connecting the balloon to your bait rig. Depending on the candy used (Life Savers will be +-15min) it’ll dissolve & drop your bait.
2) Take a couple squares of toilet tissue & repeat. Roll the sheet into a tube & roll it around to connect the balloon to the bait rig. This time repeated jerks of the rod will cause the bait to break away from the balloon.

Be sure not to use more then 3/4 of your spooled line when ballooning. I usually stop when i loose sight of the balloon. My Ultegra 10K has a line retrieval rate of 40.5in per crank. So i counted 236 cranks bringing in my line. That’d 9,558in. That amounts to 797.5ft or 265.5yd. My reel is spooled with 360yd of 50lb Jerry Brown braid.

The larger the balloon is after inflating means it”ll catch the wind easier & travel faster across the surface. In the past i’ve caught huge Hammerhead & Tiger Sharks using this method. Just got to make sure to keep your back to the wind direction. Also this day i made my most unusual hook-up on my 2nd rig that i used to shore cast with. Snagged a useable 12ft Surf Rod with a large casting reel on it. Still soaking the reel but the rod cleaned-up good!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vsbrq_wvPtA



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Fishing Forum
 Hooked Something Huge While Night Fishing Under Bridges

Fishing Forum How To Cast Plugs At Night From Shore!


How To Cast Plugs At Night FromThe Shoreline!

When i go out at night it can be dangerous. Besides not seeing what you’re doing i also don’t want to get stabbed by my hooks to watching my footing on slippery boulders to transversing lava flows. I try to limit what i’m actually carrying & will pre-fabricate everything ahead of time from leaders to lures.

So when i go plug popping i use my smaller lighter lures. I use a universal monofilament leadering system for all my loose plugs to make it easier & safer. And i try to stay away from trebles, i tend to favor single & trailer assist hooks. Why? Try to fight fish at night with sharp trebles to releasing those thrashing fish without stabbing yourself. Not fun. I use trebles for my larger lures & i pinch the barbs in to make them barbless. You may hook fish easier using trebles but with 2 sets of singles the lures “pop” nicer & the fish you C&R have less hook damage.

I use Hammer Bombs as my cast assist delivery. You can use lead heavy to surface “leadless” to glowing & flashing balls for nocturnal use. And as the name implies they can take a hammer blow & still function. I’ll show how i combine the Hammer Bombs to my lures for easy swapping, even at night. I use a AO Insulated Backpack & a fanny pack for my gear, food, ice & personals. My hands only hold my fishing rod (if i use my rod holder on my fanny pack belt i don’t even need my hands).

This system WORKS. If you’re casting plugs, grubs, or baits it’s a proven way to cast at night.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quBBKUKet0I



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 Hooked Something Huge While Night Fishing Under Bridges

Fishing Forum Weather isn’t helping, but we’re catching fish anyway!


As 2017 was drawing to a close, I had hoped that the good fishing weather we had over Christmas week would hold steady. But on Saturday, 12/30/17, when I fished with Rich Driscoll, Sr. and Rich Jr., joined by son Jack and his cousin, Sadie, sea conditions changed by about mid-day, and got progressively choppier, as the winds changed direction and picked up speed. We had made it out 22 miles from New Pass, and the group used squid and cut-bait to catch and release nearly forty red grouper shorts, along with a few puffer-fish. They had a couple of good battles with shark also, but never got them boat-side, since they broke the line before that could happen. The family boxed a few food-fish, including three keeper lane snapper, some grunts, and a porgy.

Given the choppy conditions of the previous day, despite NOAA’s predictions for two-to three foot seas offshore, I advised Mark Smith, his two young sons, Harry and Charlie, and his father-in-law, Harry Stevenson, to fish inshore in southern Estero Bay on Sunday morning, 12/31. We fished an incoming tide, and the family had good action on live shrimp. They caught nine keeper black drum to 18 inches and a 16-inch sheepshead. They released a dozen shorter sheepshead, a sand bream, and a 20-inch snook.

Chris Pammer, his ten-year-old son, Jack, and his eleven-year-old brother, Jake, fished a chilly and windy mid-morning inshore trip with me in southern Estero Bay on Thursday, 1/4. We allowed the sun to warm things up a bit before we departed at 10AM, but it remained chilly, thanks to this strong cold-front that is visiting us for a few days. The boys had fun using shrimp to catch twenty sheepshead, including four nice keepers to 16 inches. They also released a 16-inch redfish, and a few small black drum.

Friday morning, 1/5, was another chilly, windy one. Isaac Wengerd treated his eight-year-old son, Henry, and four-year-old son, Gus, to a backwater fishing trip in southern Estero Bay. The boys bundled up, and had fun using live shrimp to catch seventeen sheepshead, including five keepers ranging in size from 13 to 16 inches. They also caught a 16-inch black drum, and they released a 16-inch snook and one mangrove snapper short.

Seas were pretty rough throughout the weekend and first part of the next week. Thursday was finally calm, and long-time customer, Ron Musick, was ready for his first offshore trip of the season, joined by friends, Eddie Alfonso and Richard Arnett. The guys fished in various spots from 18 to 22 miles west of New Pass, using squid and cut-bait. They boxed twenty-five grunts to 14 inches, along with five keeper lane snapper and four porgies. They released a dozen red grouper shorts.

Friday, 1/12, was a windy day, just ahead of another strong cold front headed to our area. With four-foot seas offshore, John Thomas, Matt Smith, Craig Sims and Steve McKey traded in their offshore plans for a morning of fishing in the backwaters of southern Estero Bay, where they used live shrimp to catch a conglomerate of over fifty fish. The guys were in town for a conference, and had no need for keeping fish, so they released all, including about forty sheepshead to 15 inches, nine black drum to 16 inches, and several crevalle jacks.

The photo shown below is of John Thomas with a 16-inch black drum, caught on shrimp in Estero Bay.

It was tough fishing in Estero Bay on Monday, 1/15, with the cold front having sucked the water out of the backwaters, and extreme low tides, even at their highest point. Jack Oberlin and friend, Perry, were not interested in keeping fish, since they were on a short stay at an area hotel, so, we’d planned on a catch-and-release trip. The guys used live shrimp to catch and release fifteen sheepshead to 14 inches, and that was the only species biting, so they didn’t get much variety, but at least got some action!

Another cold front arrived on the heels of the previous one, with high winds and seas accompanying it, as well as some pretty frigid temperatures for SW FL! Lokoks like conditions will normalize for the weekend, so I’m looking forward to a planned offshore trip for Saturday.

The photo shown below is of Mark Huneke with a 36-inch blacktip shark, caught on cut-bait on a recent offshore trip.

You can view our fishing action videos at http://fishbustercharters.com/fishingvideos.html



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 Hooked Something Huge While Night Fishing Under Bridges

Fishing Forum Cleaning Fish For Frying & Sashimi!


Cleaning Fish For Frying & Sashimi!

Today i got a call from my buddy Dustin Jed. He had to much fish & wanted to know if i wanted some? First time in years that someone offered me fish. Been giving my fish away to friends & family plus the homeless for years. So i went over & Dustin gave me 2 Trevally, 3 Mackerel Scads & slabs of Tuna. Wahoo! Time to fry fish & dine on sashimi logs.

I’m not a cooking kitchen type kinda guy but thought i’d show how i clean my catch. Been awhile since i give most of my kept fish away for years. I tend to leave the skin on the smaller fish so i scale them because i like fried crispy skin, like my chicken. Also helps to keep the fish fresher.

Note that i mostly use my kitchen shears to clean fish over my fillet knife. And i scale my fish with a scaler that catches the scales (also i scale fish outside the house). I only use my fillet knife for larger sized fish. And i use thick freezer bags to store my fish in. If the fish has long sharp spines then you should cut the spines off during cleaning.

Today i was forced to clean fish at home. I really try not to let fresh water touch a exposed fish fillet, rather salt water from the ocean is better. If you just want to fillet the fish then don’t bother scaling it. For smaller species using a good kitchen shears over a fillet knife leads to less painful accidents. If a knife is needed please be sure it’s sharp.

And lastly instead of buying ice i use used frozen water bottles. I re-fill the bottle slightly less then the original level was which allows the expanding ice more room to solidify without busting the bottle. Cheap alternative to buying ice. I then add salt water when i have fish to create a brine that is much colder then the ice itself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJGcv8dLu0c



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 Hooked Something Huge While Night Fishing Under Bridges

Fishing Forum Spoprt fishing Topshotfishing Happy Day Today Sailfish


Fort Lauderdale Fishing with Top Shot Sportfishing Charter Boat and Capt. Zsak

Felipe Lahersseai and sons Felipe, Mikel, Manuel, Ricardo and Luis chartered the Top Shot Sportfishing charter boat team to do some, deep-sea charter boat sport fishing in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Conditions for the day were cloudy skies with the wind direction out of the east and the seas were 3 to 5 feet with temperatures in the mid 70’s.

We started out the morning trolling in 150 ft. of water with four surface Ballyhoo baits and two deep plainer lines fishing the reef area. We trolled up and down the reef from deeper waters into shallower waters, trying to find fish going over rock structures, reef and wreck structures. I made a turn offshore north of Fort Lauderdale and went out to deeper waters, hoping to find indicators that fish were around, such as birds, floating boards or a weed line. While heading offshore, I spotted a few birds diving, so I trolled our baits over to that spot, As soon as we passed the birds, two lines came down, and we had double header Mahi Mahi’s on the line. The boys grabbed the rods and started fighting the Mahi Mahi’s. The Mahi’s fought hard, pulling drag out and swimming back and forth, jumping and sounding. The boys did a good job and brought the Mahi’s to the back of the transom, where our mate, Marc, gaffed the fish and put them in the fish box.

We went back to trolling and continued searching the area. I headed towards even deeper waters, got out to 500 feet and found a rip line. While working the rip lines, I saw a school of flying fish get out of the water. Two of our rigger lines came down, and two Sailfish were on. Both of the Sailfish jumped out of the water showing their magnificent colors and tail-walking. One of the Sailfish came off the hook, but we still had the other one on. Luis was the angler, and did a great job, fighting the Sailfish. He managed to bring the Sailfish along the side of the boat for picture taking, and the Sailfish was released to fight another day. We went back to trolling the area and worked the rip line for the remainder of the trip with no more bites.

It was now time to head back to the dock. The anglers retired into the a/c salon and enjoyed the relaxing trip back to the dock at Bahia Bar Yachting Center, 801 Seabreeze Blvd. Fort Lauderdale 33316.

For a successful and adventurous deep sea fishing charter in Fort Lauderdale FL for Sailfish, Shark, Bonito, Mackerel, Swordfish, Snapper, Wahoo, Tuna, Mahi Mahi and Grouper, contact Captain Zsak. – 954-309-7457 or email us at tzsak@bellsouth.net Website: www.topshotfishing.com.



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 Hooked Something Huge While Night Fishing Under Bridges

Fishing Forum Fishing Fort Lauderdale Topshotfishing Happy Day Todat Sail/Shark


Fort Lauderdale Fishing with Top Shot Sportfishing Charter Boat and Capt. Zsak

The Sam and Lorraine Evans and their son, Ben, were having a family vacation celebrating Ben graduating from college. They decided to make fishing a part of their celebration, so they chartered the Top Shot Sportfishing charter boat team to do some deep-sea charter boat sport fishing in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

We started out the morning catching live bait, and headed towards the sea bouy in Fort Lauderdale in 120 ft. of water, 1.8 miles from shore. We put out small jigs and caught eight Bullet Bonitos. Next, we hooked the baits up to a wire rig with a single #6 hook and slow trolled the baits, which is another good live-bait method.
The first strike we had ate the bait fish in half and got away. This happened a second time where only the head came back and the bait was ripped in half. We continued slow trolling the Bullet Bonito in 150 feet of water south of Fort Lauderdale. A Shark fin popped up behind the right rigger bait – he ate the bait, and we had this five-foot Shark on for a few minutes, but he got away. We re-rigged and went back to fishing – this happened a second time only the Shark fin was bigger. A seven foot Hammerhead Shark ate the live bait, and the fight was on. First thing we did was clear the lines and then started backing down on the Shark. When you have a big fish with light tackle, it is always best to get as much line back on the reel and help out the angler. After about twenty minutes of fighting, the Shark popped up very close to the boat. Mark, our mate, grabbed the leader line making this an official caught fish. The Shark was not done fighting, though, and sounded for another forty-five minutes. The Shark came up a second time, pictures were taken, and the Shark was released to fight another day.
Next, we decided to try some trolling and put out four surface baits, which were Ballyhoos, and one deep plainer line. I worked the area back and forth looking for signs of life, whether live bait, birds or rip currents, but did not find any, so we decided to go back to live Bullet Bonito slow-trolling fishing. Marc cleared out the trolling spread and put the live baits back out. I started pulling the baits up the reef line, and a nice twenty pound Kingfish ate the bait and jumped out of the water, shook his head and got away. I continued working up to the north of Fort Lauderdale with a second opportunity on a Kingfish, and this time we caught him. We next decided to troll the Ballyhoo over the reef. After an hour, we finally got a bite on the left Ballyhoo rigger bait, and ended up catching a Sailfish. After a great fight, we got the Sailfish in the boat, removed the hooks, took a couple of quick photos, and released the Sailfish.
It was now time to head back to the dock. The anglers retired into the a/c salon and enjoyed the relaxing trip back to the dock at Bahia Bar Yachting Center, 801 Seabreeze Blvd. Fort Lauderdale 33316.

For a successful and adventurous deep sea fishing charter in Fort Lauderdale FL for Sailfish, Shark, Bonito, Mackerel, Swordfish, Snapper, Wahoo, Tuna, Mahi Mahi and Grouper, contact Captain Zsak. – 954-309-7457 or email us at tzsak@bellsouth.net Website: www.topshotfishing.com.



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 Hooked Something Huge While Night Fishing Under Bridges

Fishing Forum Battling winds and tides, but catches are good!


After a few days of cold temperatures, high winds, and rough seas, causing me to cancel a couple of trips, Saturday, 1/20/18, was finally calm enough to get offshore. I fished in spots from 18 to 28 miles west of New Pass with Joe Hahn and his friends, Bob, Mike, David, and George. The guys used cut-bait and squid to catch and release a bluefish, twenty-some red grouper shorts to 18 inches, as well as five sharks, consisting of four blacktips and one sharpnose, all of which were around the 40-inch mark. We also had a huge shark (variety unknown) grab a piece of cut-bait, run, and break off, exploding the water around us. As for dinner, the guys boxed eighteen keeper lane snapper.

Monday morning, 1/22, I fished 22 miles west of New Pass with Frank Dwyer and his son-in-law, Ryan. The guys used cut-bait and squid to catch and release twenty-six red grouper shorts, and to cull ten keeper lane snapper to 13 inches, along with a half-dozen 13 to 14-inch grunts.

Tuesday morning, 1/23, I headed out in a light drizzle with Drew VanWerden and his two young sons. Seas were calm, and we headed out 22 miles, but the rain persisted, at one point turning into a heavy shower. We had enough wet-weather gear to keep us dry, and the boys didn’t mind fishing in the rain and in the fog that followed. They used squid and cut-bait to catch and release a 17-inch cobia, twenty-one red grouper shorts to 18 inches, and lots of grunts to 12 inches. The lane snapper were biting well, and the guys caught twenty-seven keeper lanes to 13-inches.

Winds picked up ahead of another cool front moving into the area, and that produced some choppy sea conditions on Wednesday, 1/24. But, long-time customers and hardy father-son anglers Larry and Chris Baumgartner weren’t intimidated! They fished 22 miles west of New Pass with me in a stiff 20-to-25 knot wind most of the morning, and used squid and cut-bait to catch a variety of fish. They lost one big grouper that swam to the bottom and cut the line, and they released red grouper shorts, an 18-inch gag grouper, and a 14-inch scamp grouper. They also caught five mangrove snapper, three of which were keepers ranging 13 inches to 15 inches. They caught over twenty grunts, and boxed a few of the largest of those, along with four porgies in the 13-to-14-inch range.

Frequent customer Mike Connealy and his son, Clint, had to trade their offshore plans for some inshore, catch-and-release fishing on a very windy Friday morning, 1/26. There were small craft advisories offshore, and even the bay presented some challenges in a relentless wind of about 25 knots. The guys used live shrimp to catch and release thirteen sheepshead to 13 inches, two crevalle jacks that were each about 12 inches, and a 15-inch black drum.

Winds persisted through the weekend. I fished inshore in southern Estero Bay on Sunday, 1/28, with Stan and Jean Dzedzy and their son and daughter-in-law, Dave and Debbie. The family used live shrimp to catch three keeper sand bream, a 15-inch drum, a 17-inch drum, and a 17-inch pompano. They released fifteen sheepshead shorts and two mangrove snapper shorts. The photo shown is of Dave Dzedzy with a 17-inch pompano, caught on shrimp on his inshore trip 1/28/18.

Monday, 1/29, I awoke to light rain and fog, with another cold front expected to arrive over-night and into Tuesday. Seas were choppy first thing in the morning, and it remained misty after the fog lifted, but seas calmed a little by mid-morning. I began fishing at the near-shore reefs with Lee Larsens and his friends, Carey, Jerry, and Rick, but there was very little action there. So, as seas calmed down a bit, we ventured out further to about fifteen miles offshore. Fishing was tough everywhere, and I can’t recall the last time I saw such slow action at several of my typically productive spots. The guys used squid and cut-bait to catch and release two whitings, a few blue runners, one red grouper short, and a few grunts.

With small craft advisories issued for Tuesday, 1/30, and predictions for seas of four-to-six feet, I canceled my planned offshore trip, which had already been rescheduled from the previous week’s rough weather!

By Thursday, 2/1, seas were finally calm enough to get out about 23 miles west of New Pass, where I fished with frequent customers, Ron Musick, Richard Arnett, and Eddie Alfonso. There were tons of little bait fish everywhere, and lots of undersized fish biting, but the guys were able to box some food-fish, consisting of three keeper lane snapper, a 13-inch mangrove snapper, two porgies, and a few nice-sized grunts. They released twenty-plus red grouper shorts and four mangrove snapper shorts. Everything bit on squid and cut-bait.

Friday morning, 2/2, seas were calm when I fished a catch-and-release trip 19 miles west of New Pass with William Connors, Mike Connors, and friends Dan, Mark, and Pat. The guys used squid and cut bait to catch and release twenty-four red grouper shorts, a mess of grunts, and mangrove snapper to 16 inches. The photo shown is of Mike Connors with a 16-inch mangrove snapper, caught on squid on his offshore trip 2/2/18.

Winds picked up on Saturday, 2/3, and we were back to choppy seas offshore, with a small craft advisory issued. So, Roman Jahnke and his dad, Tom, who were treating Roman’s son, Roarke, to a fishing trip for his tenth birthday, traded offshore plans for some inshore fishing on the flats of southern Estero Bay. The family used live shrimp to catch five keeper black drum to 16 inches, and they released ten sheepshead shorts, a crevalle jack, and two stingray that were each about three pounds.

You can view our fishing action videos at http://fishbustercharters.com/fishing videos.html



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