Best Bets: Brave anglers rewarded – The News

Written by Byron Stout

Anglers braved wild winds, rain in torrents, and traces of red tide to make some pretty nice catches over the past week, all things considered.

In fact, overflow conditions at weirs separating fresh waters from salt produced feeding frenzies of snook, bass and chain pickerel.

Offshore anglers didn’t get too far out, but they didn’t have to for groupers, snappers and a nice mix of panfish.

Spanish mackerel have been abundant all along the nearshore Gulf and larger bays.

Redfish have been biting in all sizes, from north to south.

Trout fishing picked up a tick as the annual (but possibly last) two-month season closure closes in. More info in today’s Fish Tip.

Rising waters in Lake Okeechobee moved bass into the grassy littoral zones in large numbers and large sizes.

OFFSHORE: Naples Capt. Allen Walburn reports anglers on the 12-passenger AB managed strong easterlies well enough on Saturday and Sunday to get out to depths of 45 to 65 feet, about 12 miles offshore, to catch keeper red and gag grouper, lane snapper, plus a 42-pound cobia that hit a tube lure over a Gulf wreck for Piper Hale of Seattle. Walburn also reported good numbers of Spanish closer to the beaches.

Dave and Eric Ewing, Jim Jenkins, Ken Fiedler, Nick Forte and Ron Messier dealt with seas to five feet in 35 feet of water out of New Pass, catching four keeper hogfish to 16 inches, five whitebone porgies, two porkfish and a mess of grunts, plus short groupers and a 3-1/2-foot bonnethead shark on their Saturday Fishbuster Charter.

Last Thursday’s Fishbuster trip with Capt. Dave Hanson produced seven whitebones to 15 inches, a keeper yellowtail snapper, a 14-inch triggerfish, a few grunts and releases of 80- and 150-pound goliath grouper. Anglers Andy Oliver and Pat O’Neil also released a four-foot sandbar shark and sighted a big manta ray in 40 feet of water, 17 miles west of New Pass.

Capt. Mike and Janet Fundock report running past large schools of Spanish mackerel under flocks of seabirds, to 50 feet of water off Captiva Island, where they caught a nice mangrove snapper and a keeper red and keeper gag grouper on Friday. On Saturday, with seas at 4 feet, the Fundock fun lasted only an hour, with another nice snapper, also on pinfish, before they called it quits.

 

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