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.
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Happy New Year to all!