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Nice Trout; Keeper Mutton
By Capt. Dave Hanson
Bonita Beach - 11-09-2017
Gary Wilson, Larry Jones, and Kevin Scully fished 19 miles west of New Pass with me on Monday morning, 10/16/17, in calm seas. The guys had a productive morning of fishing, using cut-bait and squid. They boxed a dozen keeper lane snapper to 16 inches, a keeper mutton snapper at 18 inches, and 18 grunts to 14 inches. They released one short mutton snapper, and 18-inch gag grouper short, a dozen red grouper shorts to 18 inches, and a 30-inch bonnethead shark.

The photo shown is of Larry Jones, with an 18-inch mutton snapper, caught on squid 19 miles west of New Pass.

Trips have been scarce in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, and the next time I fished was on Thursday morning, 10/26, in southern Estero Bay’s backwaters, with Rich Kern Sr., Rich Kern, Jr., and Steve Kern, along with friend John Ziffle. The guys used live shrimp to haul in a nice catch of sheepshead and black drum. They boxed five keeper sheepshead to 16 inches and three keeper black drum to 16 inches. They released smaller sheepshead and a few mangrove snapper shorts.

With a tropical depression in the gulf, meeting up with a strong, approaching cold-front on Saturday, 10/28, Dave Carr and friends, Steve and George, tried to squeeze in a morning of fishing offshore with me, ahead of the deteriorating weather. We managed about three and one half hours before the increasing winds and seas, along with a bit of rain, forced us back to shore. The guys used squid to catch some porgies, three of which were good-sized and went into the cooler. They released red grouper shorts, a couple of mutton snapper shorts at 14 inches and 15 inches, and some yellowtail shorts.

Walter Leap and Tom Krum fished the backwaters of southern Estero Bay with me on Wednesday morning, 11/1, using live shrimp. They caught eight sheepshead, including three keepers to 14 inches, eight mangrove snapper, including one keeper, and a nice trout at 20 inches. They released four stingray, all between two and three pounds.

Cody Sturgess fished offshore with me Thursday morning, 11/2, 22 miles west of New Pass, using squid and cut-bait to catch a variety of fish. He met his 20-fish bag limit of keepers, comprised of nine lane snapper and eleven grunts. He released two banded rudderfish shorts, fifteen red grouper shorts to 18 inches (three of which were previously caught and tagged), fourteen additional grunts, a 13-inch triggerfish, and a few blue runners and puffers.

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