On Wednesday, 2/7, Craig Royal and family fished 24 miles west of New Pass with me, where there continued to be lots of small bait fish around, and keeper fish seemed scarce, despite steady action. The group released a couple dozen red grouper shorts to 18 inches, along with two big lizard fish about 19 inches each. They did box three keeper lane snapper and a dozen grunts, all of which bit on squid and cut-bait.
Roy Mittman fished in various spots out to 25 miles west of New Pass with me on Monday morning, 2/12. Once again, the red grouper bite was active, but yielded no keepers, and we released over twenty shorts. Keepers included lane snapper and grunts, which bit on squid.
Tuesday, 2/13, I spent the morning fishing the backwaters of southern Estero Bay with John Pompeo and his son, John, Jr. The guys used live shrimp to catch ten sheepshead to 15 inches and a 16-inch black drum.
Bob Ellis and his friend, Tim, fished about 15 miles west of New Pass with me on Wednesday 2/14, where they used cut-bait and squid to release four red grouper shorts and two gag grouper out-of-season shorts to 21 inches. They boxed a 15-inch sheepshead, a keeper porkfish, and three grunts.
Eddie Alfonso, Kay Daugherty, and Liz Condos fished 17 miles west of New Pass with me on Thursday, 2/15, using cut-bait and squid. The group released red grouper shorts to 18 inches, along with a would-be-legal (if in season) gag grouper, and a 16-inch triggerfish. They caught a mess of grunts, so fish tacos were still on the menu, even with having to release the other catches.
The photo shown is of Liz Condos with a 24-inch, out-of-season gag grouper, caught on cut-bait and released.
After a couple of days off the water, due to a family event, Mike Bochman and his friend, Kevin joined me to fish 20 miles offshore on Monday, 2/19. Seas got progressively choppier throughout the morning. The guys used squid and cut-bait to release fifteen red grouper shorts to 19 inches, along with a 15-inch scamp grouper. They loaded up on grunts for fish tacos.
Mike McCarthy and friends, Ken, Tim and Eddie, fished in various spots out to 35 miles west of New Pass with me on Tuesday, 2/20. We had steady action at the 35 mile spot, where the guys released over thirty red grouper shorts to just short of 20 inches, inches, five gag grouper to 22 inches, several yellowtail snapper shorts, and a few banded rudder fish, all around 18 inches. They loaded up their cooler with lots of 15-inch porgies and 15-inch grunts. Everything bit on squid and cut-bait.
Mike McCarthy and friends, Ken, Benny and Timmy, fished in various spots out to 35 miles west of New Pass with me on Tuesday, 2/20. We had steady action at the 35 mile spot, where the guys released lots of red grouper shorts to 19 12 inches, five gag grouper to 22 inches, several yellowtail snapper shorts, and a few banded rudder fish, all around 18 inches. They loaded up their cooler with lots of 15-inch porgies and 15-inch grunts. Everything bit on squid and cut-bait.
Seas were choppier than predicted, with some rain off Naples, on Wednesday morning, 2/21, when I fished 18 miles offshore with Mark Dutkewych and his young son, Nick. The guys caught and released a dozen red grouper shorts and a dozen or so grunts before calling it a morning.
Wayne Geall and friends, Tucker Seabrook, Carm, and Clay, fished the backwaters of southern Estero Bay with me on a windy Thursday morning, 2/22. Using live shrimp, the group caught sixteen sheepshead, including one nice keeper at 19 inches. They also released two mangrove snapper shorts, a spadefish, three black drum, and a brace of two-pound stingrays.
The photo shown is of Tucker Seabrook with a 19-inch sheepshead, caught on shrimp in Estero Bay.
It was another windy morning in southern Estero Bay on Friday, 2/23, when I fished a catch-and-release trip with Bob and Mary-Lou Schwartz and their grandchildren, Hannah and Tyler. The family used live shrimp to release a 17-inch black drum, two would-be-keeper mangrove snapper at 11 inches each, a lady fish, nine sheepshead shorts, and a 22-inch sailcat.
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