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Practice might just save trip

February 2, 2013
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

For the last year or so you've hidden away a small sum from each check. You are finally taking that trip of a lifetime and, after all, you've earned it.

After sending the deposit to that world famous Florida fishing guide, its calendar watching time.

The months slowly tick by at work with thoughts of long-as-your-leg snook or blimp-sized redfish eagerly awaiting your lure down in good old Pine Island. Or that giant leaping tarpon with your name on it, at Boca Grande. Time is now the enemy.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

It's February, snowing, grey, and 21 degrees. It's 82 and sunny "Island Time" in Matlacha. Your mood is affected, focus lost. More comfort foods consumed, waistband tighter. Reports are piling up at work and there's tension on the home front.

With home and work, three or four local trips a year with a bud is all you can squeeze in, but you know your day is soon coming.

As you step from the plane the transition from 21 to 82 degrees and the blinding sunlight shocks your senses. So does the realization that you've finally made it.

After sleeping for what seems like 90 minutes it's finally time for the first cast as your guide coaches you to try and get that lure back into that narrow mangrove pocket.

Your first cast is in the trees and your first lesson is learned. Mangroves eat lures. It's a $10 lure so you hopefully are able to retrieve it. Spot ruined.

New spot, next cast, two feet short. The guide warns that if you're not right in the cover, not two feet away or even 10 inches away you won't get that bite. The pressure's on as you recast, short. Recast again, back in the trees, spot ruined. Frustration mounts. Your guide encourages you to focus and so the day goes. Not good.

Whether you've spent a grand on a flight, hotel and guide to fulfill a dream or going out for a day on local water, pre-sharpening your casting skills makes the trip much more enjoyable and, more importantly, productive. Lures along shorelines and structure is more often than not a game of inches as most times that big, old, wise snook hiding safe and secure in the shadows won't come out and chase or attack your lure.

No boat, no water, how do I practice? Get out in the side yard with a plastic bucket and cast till you can drop your hookless plug in it every time. Master that? Switch to a bowl. Be in shape for the trip. Can you cast almost nonstop for hours?

You wanted a snook on a plug but you're arm's wasted after two hours. Bad news.

To fish lures efficiently try to master some basic casting techniques such as the side arm cast and skip cast. Learn flipping and pitching techniques from the bass pros on TV till you can flip a jig into a cup from 25 feet away. Check out the internet for instruction.

Unless your fish are roaming open water more than likely they are under or behind structure. Anglers able to shoot a lure 20 feet back under a dock with a skip cast will score on fish the average angler will never see as his casts will only be placed around the perimeter of the dock.

Sharpening your skill sets before the big trip makes sense.

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



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