Just because it's August doesn't mean tarpon season is over by any means, or that fishing is slow for other species.
On Wednesday my client tossed his gold spoon over an oyster bar hoping for a fat redfish when a 20-pound tarpon that had been lying in 15 inches of water came flying out in a violent somersault tossing the lure a country mile.
Right now expect to find them about anywhere. Get out early on Charlotte Harbor to follow bait schools at sun-up always with binoculars in hand. These are great to spot rolling tarpon and should be standard equipment for every tarpon hunter's boat. Also, never forget diving birds as another key to finding bait schools and the action.
Capt. George Tunison
When finding bait schools look for rolling fish and cast to them. A good bait for this is a frisky live pinfish under a small cork. If you don't see them rolling doesn't mean they aren't there. Fee line a live lady fish on just a hook and a pinfish under a cork. One of them might get in big trouble hanging around these glass minnows.
Expect to get bitten off occasionally, or if he doesn't get those razors on your line you may end of fighting a shark from five to several hundred pounds. The area is full at this time. Shark provide great light tackle fun in shallow water or heavy duty sharking near the intracoastal, near any of the passes would be a great choice to set up to try and catch a monster.
The Caloosahatchee has both resident and visiting tarpon right now. These past weeks the river mouth, the Sanibel Causeway and right off the Sanibel Lighthouse are all good choices for tarpon of all sizes.
Also, glass minnow schools have been thick under and around the new and old Matlacha Bridge and a cast there could produce a 150-pound tarpon, a huge snook or jumbo jack. This is a night fishery that bridge-bound anglers are enjoying in an almost party type atmosphere.
Hook the fish and try and make your way to either end over, under, and through five to 15 other anglers all the while fighting a big jumping fish. You think Boca Grande tarpon fishing is crazy, try this experience. Fun to watch, even if you're not fishing.
The other river bridges are still holding mixed migratory and resident fish all the way up past I-75, and best fished at night on a good outgoing tide flow.
If you want the ultimate tarpon challenge try and sneak up on one in shallow water in Pine Island Sound or Matlacha and present a fly, lure or live bait to them. Make sure you're in super sneaky mode. Drifting or poling to the fish is the ticket. Trolling motors sometimes spook fish.
Snook remain on their summer vacations at the beach and will stay on the beach, on the inside, and in the passes. Docks along or near the passes host them as well as any beach structure like downed trees, groins, rocks, etc.
Anglers ask, have all the snook gone to the beaches? The answer is no. We are catching quite a few around Matlacha while redfishing, but the main spawning body is beach bound till the first cooling breezes of fall when they head back inland and up into your canal or backwater.
Redfishing gets better and better. Spoons and topwaters are taking a lot of nice fish. If you're not a lure guy then the old standbys like cut ladyfish, frozen large shrimp, or even cut mullet tossed under the trees during the high tide phases will get the job done. Circle hooks are recommended for these hearty eaters.
Take two or three small hand towels and keep them wet in the cooler. Wear one, cool off then replace with a fresh cold one along with lots of water.
Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.flyingfinssportfishing,com.