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Tailing reds are special sight

December 8, 2012
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

If Wednesday's charter had been filmed for a TV fishing show it should have been titled "Happy Tails to You."

After a few days of struggling, Wednesday afternoon's incoming tide mixed with overcast skies and a light rain really got the fish active, especially redfish. At one point near sundown, we sat quietly and watched as the boat was surrounded by 11 redfish tails flashing gold in the slowly fading sunlight. They happily scoured the bottom, heads down, for any edibles. This is a special sight for a shallow saltwater angler.

Before leaving the house that day we got the weather forecast which called for a "slight chance of showers." The two-hour steady rain did nothing to dampen our spirits as the pass was alive with diving birds, gulls and dolphins, always a good sign. A quick stop 50 yards from the dock produced trout after trout on small Rapala X-Raps till a trio of dolphins invaded our spot putting a quick end to the fishing and several trout.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Moving on to a large oyster bar, topwater plugs produced more killer attitude bluefish which pound for pound pull harder and run faster than most of our prized gamefish. These fall migrating blues are great light tackle fun in skinny water and a nice diversion from the standard routine. I would like to see a 10-pound blue tied tail to tail with a 10-pound jack and see who wins the tug-of-war as they both sport powerful muscular bodies and large sickle tails meant for sheer speed and power.

Casts off the bar produced instant strikes from jumbo ladyfish which are filling our waters.

As the afternoon wore on and the tide poured in it was time to hunt reds. We pushed back into some very thin, warm, wind protected waters not far from Burnt Store Marina. Minutes later, tails started popping up not 20 yards from the boat and the big loner red, not shark, circled back and joined the picnic.

Making a soft cast to the outside edge of the group my angler was instantly hooked up. Line peeled from the spool all the while showing his experience by keeping nearly still while enjoying the battle so as to try and not disturb the whole school. Over the next hour we pulled several reds from the school before they simply vanished.

When hunting reds in shallow moss or grass with floating weeds on the surface your lure choices are very limited. This is where the soft plastic jerk bait is king as it slides through all the slop without collecting moss or grass, catching snook, reds and trout.

Rig this bait weedless with an Owner TWISTLOCK hook 3/0 in 1/16 oz. These are super hooks that screw into your plastic and won't let the bait slide down curing a common problem with soft plastics and having the ultra sharp Owner brand hook.

Choose jerk baits from Zoom, GULP, DOA, and Exude, in natural baitfish colors or go wild and fish pink gold glitter. Experiment with color till the fish respond. Fish slowly with a 30-inch, 20-pound fluorocarbon leader.

These are great lures to throw at shallow water spooky fish as they land softly, feel and taste right, and are nearly 100 percent weedless.

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



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