Best Bets: Anglers find good catches despite tough winds – The News

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Saturday’s Fishbuster trip to nearshore reefs off Bonita Beach was a catch-and-release adventure for Scott Severaid, Brian Matlock, Tim Brunkorst and Tom Thoms, who caught a 28-inch gag grouper, five keeper-size sheepshead to 19 inches, and lots of small sheepshead and snapper.

Last Thursday on a Fishbuster trip, Tony and Tim Rolli and Ken Boemer released three keeper-size, but out-of-season gag grouper to 24 inches, plus lots of short gag and red groupers, while boxing three mangrove snapper to 16 inches, whitebone porgies averaging 15 inches, a keeper hogfish and a mess of grunts, 19 miles west of New Pass.

Estero angler Ken Levine and brother Ray, of Worcester, Mass., racked up five little tunny to 9 pounds, casting small chrome spoons on light tackle at the GH Reef off Big Carlos Pass last Wednesday.

Lehr’s got a report from anglers who caught 13 species, including sheepshead to 5 pounds, undersize cobia and Spanish mackerel on nearshore reefs off Sanibel, including the JayCee.

Nancy Cunningham hauled in a nice red grouper Saturday, 20 miles west of Redfish Pass aboard the Largo.

King Fisher offshore trips this week included a flurry of a half-dozen Spanish mackerel encountered in 35 feet of water south of the Boca Grande Bar. Nearshore reefs off Boca Grande also have been producing three or four nice sheepshead, plus a mix of mangrove snapper, porgies and the aforementioned gazillion grunts.

Lake Trafford anglers offered proof to accolades bestowed by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission this week on the Immokalee lake, as one of the 13 best crappie fisheries in Florida. Lake Trafford Marina Campground reports Kentuckian Gary Brewer and Mr. Bill culled 20 nice specks from their catch of 72 caught jig fishing in the cattails. And also Wednesday, Jason, Jordyn and Jaydyn Collins of Lehigh Acres took home 33 crappie, culled from 47 that hit minnows on the shoreline.

LAKE OKEECHOBEE: Ryan Eckman of Roland Martin’s Marine Center in Clewiston reports he and friends have caught three bass of 8 pounds and one 9, flippin’ and pitchin’ Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver and Bruiser Intruder creature baits on 1-1/2-ounce tungsten weights ($7 each). They’ve been fishing outside bulrush lines and punching through floating mats between the East Wall and Cochran’s Pass on Observation Shoal.

Eckman also noted Ron Veale won last weekend’s Gambler-only tournament with a dandy five-fish bag scaling 35 pounds, including a 9-pound, 14-ounce toad, by flipping junebug and black-and-blue flake Gambler Ugly Otters.

A sharp increase in minnow sales indicates crappie anglers have been doing well fishing lily pads in five to seven feet of water along the Rim Canal, and along the edges of the dynamite holes off the Rim Ditch southeast of Clewiston.

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