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Be safe when storms approach

April 13, 2013
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The temperature and humidity are creeping up and if you could get out of the wind the fishing has been hot.

Even though this weekend's forecast calls for afternoon thunderstorms with diminishing winds, the bite should be strong.

If you're new to this game and heading offshore monitor weather reports. Don't take chances as our paradise weather can turn nasty very quickly and your 24-footer suddenly can feel really small. Your family or passengers' safety obviously depends on your judgments at sea. Sometimes staying just to "catch a couple more" can have bad consequences.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

If you haven't contracted with a local towing company as a backup don't wait till it's too late. The small annual fee is low (under $200). When that breakdown finally comes you have someone to rescue you.

This week, my charters caught snook inshore using various methods with the biggest linesider (41 inches) taken on a float and jumbo live shrimp. MirrOdine's and topwater plugs tied for second place.

Snook are now very active and can be found in the typical places as they transition to the passes and beaches from the backcountry and upriver. Oyster bars, docks, current breaks, and pointy shorelines, will produce. Now is time to catch and release a trophy and a 12-inch ladyfish under a float or freelined might do the trick. Think 60-pound test leader minimum tied to a 7/0 circle hook. Around concrete, go to at least 80-pound test fluorocarbon.

Soon, beach walking anglers along the Gulf beaches will score casting white bucktails or flies into the surf zones at sun-up all summer.

Redfish are biting just about everything if you can find them. If you can't, wait them out under the bush with bottom fished shrimp or cut ladyfish. Throwing some free diced shrimp or lady chunks helps gets the bite moving. A great device for broadcasting cut chum is available at most outdoor stores. It looks like a fat whiffle ball bat with the end cut off.

Fill with shrimp and give it a throw. It doesn't take long to get quite accurate with it and help fish find your offerings with the hooks in them. On the flats try topwaters, spoons, and soft plastics under a cork or on a jighead.

Most think of topwater plugs early and late in the day, but a nice chrome topwater looks like an easy mullet meal anytime to a ravenous redfish prowling the flats. Angler Lew Busby proved it on a windy Thursday scoring some fat reds on chrome Zara Spooks in bright sun and clear thin water.

The trout bite is on. That same big top plug fished at dawn will put a 5-pound gator on your line. Otherwise the standard trout offerings, including shrimp and corks, are all working well.

Try not to handle trout especially with dry hands. If you are really into a nice school give them a break and bend down those barbs for a clean and easy release of unwanted fish.

Every year its worth mentioning to the uninformed that towel wrapping, sand and rock dragging, holding down with a foot and kicking back into the water, the 5-minute boat floor flop, and the 15-minute picture session method, all kill fish.

Always leave fish in the water and release with the proper tools.

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



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