Capt. Dave Hanson shares tales of fishing adventures
On Saturday morning, March 16, I fished the backwaters of southern Estero Bay with James Partyka and his friend, Stuart. The guys used live shrimp to catch ten mangrove snapper, including four keepers. They released a small sand bream, four sailcats ranging 18 to 20 inches, and five crevalle jack.
Captain Dave’s Fishing Tips
Fishing Tip #1: I sometimes report putting my anglers on goliath grouper. I do this when my customers express interest in experiencing a big fish on their lines. The goliaths definitely provide a thrill; however, it is important to remember that these giants are a protected species, and proper care must be taken to ensure their survival and to avoid stiff penalties. They must be released in the water so, though it might be tempting to try to wrestle them up for a photo-op, often it is impossible to do so without endangering the fish, especially if it is a huge one, like the near 500-pounder one of my clients and I hooked recently. That one put both of us on our rears on the floor of the boat! For these monsters, I use a 9/0 Aftco Star rod with 125# test (Andi) with 250 lb. steel cable, and a small piece of 20 oz. weight. I use a 14/0 Sea Demon hook with big live bait–stingrays and bat-rays work best, but double-baited blue runners aren’t too shabby either.
Fishing Tip #2: Lots of anglers have asked me how I find my “secret spots.” The easiest way to find your own honey holes is to turn on your bottom machine and drive around in depths of 30 to 45 feet. It’s easiest to start at locally known areas, such as those ledges that are marked on nautical charts of the area. From those spots, begin to work your way away. Finding major structure is improbable, as most of the structure around here is less than two-foot high. So just look for differences in bottom depth and structure. If you start catching small fish, hang in there because that is a good sign that the bigger ones are cruising the same area for food.