Fishing Forum
 Hooked Something Huge While Night Fishing Under Bridges

Fishing Forum Good Riddance to Red Tide


Fishing was tough Saturday morning, 8/11/18, when I headed out 24 miles west of New Pass with Darren Rachman, his brother, Mark, and a couple of their friends. I fished in spots that had been productive several times this week, but the bite was pretty slow everywhere we went. There were some rain storms around us, but we managed to stay mostly dry. The guys used cut-bait and squid to catch and red grouper shorts and a lane snapper.

The bite was a little more active on Tuesday, 8/14, when I fished 18 miles west of New Pass with Mark Lenhart, his son, and two of his son’s friends. The group used squid to catch and box ten grunts, all measuring between 12 and 14 inches, and they released red grouper shorts.

After two weeks off the water, with this entire area suffering from red tide, I ventured out Monday, 8/27 to explore the waters and check conditions. Red tide was bad in close-in waters, with dead fish abundant out to five miles. The further I went out, the less dead fish were evident, but red tide was still visible as far out as 26 miles, and fishing was, well, not really fishing at all, since there was absolutely nothing biting. I had hoped for better conditions out that far. All we could do was wait it out, hoping our state and federal officials would do all that is possible to alleviate this problem, or hope for some early cold-fronts to rescue us.

Meanwhile, my wife and I planned a trip to Colorado to visit family, returned, and endured more red tide, until signs that it was starting to dissipate cheered us up and brought us some fishing trips. When Hurricane Michael roared through the panhandle, the winds we got here helped push the remaining red tide away from us. We also realize that our red tide issues were nothing compared with what the residents of Panama City and surrounding area had to deal with.

On Thursday, 10/4, I fished inshore in Estero Bay’s backwaters with Don Lubbehusen, his son, Ben, and friend, Justin Bayer. The guys used live shrimp to catch and release fifteen crevalle jacks to 13 inches, ten mangrove snapper to 11 inches, a 20-inch snook, and four sheepshead to 15 inches. It was good to see clear water and fish biting, at long last.

Saturday, 10/6, I fished in Estero Bay’s backwaters, from the lower bay to Wiggins Pass, with Derek Spradling and his friend, Kurt. The guys used live shrimp to catch two black drum at 14 inches and 17 inches, a dozen mangrove snapper including two keepers at 11 inches, and three keeper sheepshead to 13 inches. The best catch of the day was a 27 ½-inch redfish, which we photographed (see pic included) and released. We also released ten crevalle jacks to 18 inches, a 16-inch snook, and a two-pound stingray.

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



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Fishing Forum
 Hooked Something Huge While Night Fishing Under Bridges

Fishing Forum Red tide hasn’t stopped offshore fishing



Scott Shinke, friends, and family fished with me on Friday morning, 7/6/18, 22 miles west of New Pass, using cut-bait and squid. They boxed fifteen lane snapper to 13 inches, along with two Spanish mackerel 22 inches and 23 inches. They released twenty-five red grouper shorts, and also battled and released a nine-foot nurse-shark. They cited a good-sized sandbar shark also, but that one did not take the bait.

Greg Carlson and Brent Bixby fished with me on Monday, 7/9, in 70 feet, 36 miles west of New Pass. There were plenty of red grouper to catch, but no keepers–keepers have been very scarce lately and, even in 70 feet, that did not change. We also caught and released an 18-inch gag grouper. The guys battled a shark that was either a blacktip or a spinner, most likely a spinner–it finally wrapped the line and got off, after four runs and five jumps. Greg also caught and released a 35-inch blacknose shark. Another release was a six-pound crevalle jack. As for food -fish, the guys boxed a dozen keeper lane snapper, two yellowtail snapper at 14 inches and 15 inches, a 13-inch mangrove snapper, and a porgy.

Monday morning, 7/16, I fished a near-shore catch-and-release trip with Daniel Blaiser, Karin Junc, and Sven Junc. The group just wanted to catch and release any kind of fish, so we used squid and cut-bait to fish for whatever was biting about twelve miles west of New Pass. We released twenty-three red grouper shorts to 18 inches, a dozen lane snapper to 11 inches, and two dozen grunts. Sven hooked a large Mantis shrimp, which was an interesting catch! Those are dangerous to handle, and are commonly called “thumb splitters.”

Wednesday morning, 7/18/18, I fished 22 miles west of New Pass on a catch-and-release trip with Christopher Worley, his teenage son, Sam, and his teenage daughter, Izzy. The family used squid and cut-bait to catch and release twenty keeper-sized lane snapper to 14 inches and two dozen red grouper shorts to 18 inches.

Matthew and Julie Stanford, along with their son, Luke, and Luke’s grandparents, Cornelia and Dan Vellenga, fished 25 miles offshore with me on Friday morning, 7/27, using cut-bait and squid. The family boxed twenty keeper lane snapper to 14 inches, and released twenty-five red grouper shorts, one of which was just an eighth of an inch short of keeper size.

Nate Binder and his friend, Mr. Mernacki, fished offshore with me Monday morning, 7/30. There was a light drizzle when we headed out, and weather predictions were for that light rain to be mostly along the coast, and to move through the area quickly—wrong! We had rain most of the morning, and had to delay heading out to our farthest spot for a bit, since we encountered a few storms that contained lightening. We eventually got out to 25 miles, though the ride wasn’t smooth, in sometimes four-foot seas. But the guys had a good time using squid and cut-bait to box fifteen keeper lane snappers and a Spanish mackerel. They released two yellowtail shorts, six mangrove shorts, and thirty red grouper shorts to 18 inches.

Seas were far rougher than predicted on Thursday morning, 8/2, when I headed offshore with Chris Heil and his son, Mike. NOAA’s prediction was for two foot seas, but we had steady four-footers, with a few waves even topping that. It was tough fishing 18 miles west of New Pass, but the guys caught and released red grouper shorts and grunts, which bit on squid and cut-bait.

Chris Heil fished with me again on Saturday morning, 8/4. Seas were a little calmer than Thursday’s were, but far from smooth. We used cut-bait and squid to box six grunts to 14 inches, five keeper porgies, and a half dozen keeper lane snapper. We released ten red grouper shorts to 17 inches, 19 miles west of New Pass.

Monday morning, 8/6, I fished 19 miles west of New Pass with John King, his son, Chris, and several other family members. Seas were a little choppy heading out, but calmed down and were the calmest they have been over the past several days. John and family used squid to box six keeper lane snapper to 14 inches, a 13-inch yellowtail snapper, and a dozen grunts in the 13-to14-inch range. They released twenty-five red grouper shorts.

Wednesday morning, John King fished with me again, this time with a couple of other family members, Jack Coffman and Kelley. Using squid and cut-bait 22 miles west of New Pass, the group boxed fifteen nice sized grunts all between 12 and 14 inches, along with a keeper lane snapper. They released at least fifty red grouper shorts to19 ½ inches, along with a half dozen mangrove snapper shorts and a half dozen yellowtail shorts.

Friday morning, 8/10, I headed offshore to fish with Scott Fata, Daniel Austin, and their friend, Tom. The wind had changed direction and was blowing some of the red tide and dead fish our way, from Sanibel, so we headed out a few miles further to get out of that. Fishing 22 to 24 miles from New Pass, the guys used squid and cut-bait to box six nice lane snapper keepers to 15 inches, along with a few grunts and an 18-inch Spanish mackerel. But the exciting catch of the day was a 50-inch barracuda, which Daniel reeled in on one of his first casts. It was too dangerous to handle the big ‘cuda for a photo in hand, so we photographed him on a gaffe, and immediately released him.

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



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Fishing Forum
 Hooked Something Huge While Night Fishing Under Bridges

Fishing Forum Snapper bite is hot; red tide is a bummer


Red tide has been lurking around our area for weeks now, but had not impacted fishing until this week–Fishing offshore is still great, when seas are calm enough. But bay fishing right now is pretty much off the table until this red tide dissipates. We have been in a windy pattern for a good while around here, but seas were only supposed to be two-to-three feet on Thursday, 4/12, when I headed offshore with frequent fishers, Ron Musick, Eddie Alfonso, and Richard Arnett. The actual seas were three to four and a half feet most of the day, though it calmed down nicely in the late afternoon. The guys used cut bait and squid in spots ranging from 12 miles to 22 miles west of New Pass to catch sixteen lane snapper, including six keepers, along with a mess of grunts. They released a dozen red grouper shorts to 19 inches, along with a 13-inch triggerfish. The highlight of the day was when a 10-foot tiger shark bit on a blue runner, and ran Eddie around the boat to the point of exhaustion, before finally breaking the line!

Saturday morning, 4/14, seas were still choppy, so a near-shore trip sounded best for Ted and Marla Bachrach and their young daughter Kate, along with Jeff High and his young son, Sebastian. We fished about 12 miles west of New Pass, using cut-bait and squid. The group loaded up on grunts, boxing eighteen of those to 12 inches. Marla was lucky enough to catch a nice, 18-inch flounder to add to the box. The group released a few squirrelfish. They also got to see a tiger shark, estimated at about eight feet long—It bit a small grouper that was being reeled in, but light tackle was no match for that big boy! We tried hooking a blue runner on a heavy pole, but the tiger shark showed no interest in that, choosing to attack the small grouper we were reeling up instead. He finally broke the line and headed out. The kids also got to see some leaping dolphin, so they were happy with the fishing and the sightseeing. The photo shown below is of Marla Bachrach with the 18-inch flounder she caught.

Seas finally calmed sown after a few days of small craft advisories and cancelled trips, and I fished in spots 22 to 24 miles west of New Pass on Wednesday, 4/18, with Brad Cornell and Tony Stincon. The lane snapper bite was on, and the guys used squid and cut-bait to catch 40-some keeper-sized lanes, but released about ten of those, since they had no need for that many fish. They also released twenty-two red grouper shorts to 18 inches, a 20-inch gag grouper, and one true black grouper. They also battled and released a 40-inch blacknose shark.

The lane snapper were still biting well on Thursday, 4/19, when I fished 22 miles west of New Pass with John Abernathy and his son, Ryan. They boxed two dozen lanes to 14 inches, which bit on squid and cut-bait. They released several red grouper shorts and blue runners.

On Friday, 4/21, John and Ryan Abernathy brought Ryan’s sister, Becky along to fish a catch-and-release trip in the backwaters of southern Estero Bay. The tide was going out all morning, and there was a good bit of red tide in the Wiggins Pass area. The family used live shrimp to catch and release two crevalle jacks, each about 3 pounds, along with a black drum and three sheepshead.

After a few days off the water, as busy season winds down, I fished offshore 22 miles from New Pass on Tuesday, 4/24, with Roy Mittman and Scott Fritz. Using squid and cut-bait, the guys boxed nineteen keeper lane snapper to 16 inches, and released fifteen red grouper shorts.

Ron Musick, Eddie Alfonso, and friends Michael, Lou, and Lou’s dad, Bill, fished 35 miles west of New Pass with me on a nice, calm day, Thursday, 4/26. The guys caught a cooler full of snapper, using squid for bait. They boxed forty+ lane snapper keepers, fifteen vermillion snapper keepers, five yellowtail snapper keepers that were all around 13 inches, and one 13-inch mangrove snapper keeper. They added a half dozen nice- sized grunts to the box, all around 14 inches. They also released thirty-some red grouper shorts, and Eddie battled and released an 8-foot sandbar shark.

The photo shown is of Larry Pflederer with a 17-inch sheepshead, caught on shrimp in Estero Bay on a recent inshore Fishbuster Charter.

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



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