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Sharp hooks reel in the most fish

November 3, 2012
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

While cruising to your honey hole this weekend if you keep seeing some fish jumping next to and behind your boat, you are in luck!

If you love to eat delicious fish, you have found the best tasting fish in Florida, the pompano.

Stop the boat, turn around and - quietly - return to the area and begin casting. Use small yellow jigs tipped with a tiny piece of shrimp.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Cast out and let it fall to the bottom and retrieve with short hops always keeping bottom contact all the way to the boat. Your jigs should be trimmed short so that the jig hair/material ends where the hook bend starts. These fish are notoriously short strikers, hence the trim job on the jig, and they have superb noses as well.

Shrimp is a good choice to tip the jig with, not a big glob but a tiny bit to keep the jig looking somewhat natural and smelling right.

Use light line and fluorocarbon leaders to fool this permit look-a-like, hard fighting fish. The first one I caught years ago fought like a demon. I was amazed at its small size when I finally saw it. It fought like a fish three times its size.

These guys might show up anywhere, but a good place to start is around an inlet as they like current. Cast your jigs along the sandy edges of Captiva or Redfish Passes in two to six feet of water for a decent shot at your first pompano and a culinary delight.

If you can't find them on your own then check out Andy's Island Seafood in Matlacha or Merrick's in Cape Coral

This past week a client wanted to use his own equipment and favorite lures instead of what I provided.

He first hooked a nice snook and on its second jump tossed the lure almost back to the boat. It happens. Caught a small trout then missed a topwater bite by a big red. The red tried very hard to eat the plug, but just couldn't connect and was lost.

I asked to see the plug and as I suspected the hooks were semi-sharp.

"I just bought a whole box of Name Brand hooks and replaced all my old hooks before this trip!"

I passed him a new Owner hook and told him to compare their sharpness. Night and day.

Many new plugs come with so-so hooks and I replace 75 percent of them before getting the plug wet. When shopping for replacement trebles be picky and don't take the cheap route.

Remember that a packaged plug rattles around during shipping dulling the hook points against the plug body and more of the same as it's displayed and handled before finally making it into your tackle box to be rattled and dulled for months or years before being tied on. Carry a box of replacement hooks. It takes just a few minutes to change them out.

Let's see, you've got 40 to 60 grand invested in the boat, hi-tech casting equipment, obscene gas prices, sonar and electronics so advanced you can see a dime on the bottom a mile down (which seems kind of odd since most of us here fish in 10 inches of water) and more importantly your time, and you're saving money on hooks?

One might momentarily ponder then politely ask, what is the primary and only connection to your fish? If it's a bargain brand hook it may be a short lived connection, especially to that once-in-a-lifetime trophy.

A sharp hook instantly penetrates your rough skin or sticks in your fingernail. Save money on other things.

Changed your water separating filter this season?

The winds are down, the inshore and offshore bite is hot, the weather is right, lets go fishing!

Please remember to vote in the most important election of your lifetime.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or, or



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