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Hooks hurt less than needles

October 11, 2013
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON (captgeorget3@aol.com) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Just got back from the Urgent Care before writing this. Standing in my fish room I sharpened a dull jig and within 30 seconds somehow buried it deeply in my index finger.

I pulled and pulled. Nope, buried.

You know what hurts at the hospital? Yep, that needle. Wow!

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Capt. George Tunison

"This will dull the pain."

Sure, I thought while nearly biting through my lip, which hurt about 66 times worse than any hook I've EVER been stuck with, especially when he was moving it in semicircles. I've been gaff impaled and it hurt less.

Anyway, bandaged up and for extra fun a 16-inch tetanus needle. Always carry a sharp set of cutters to be able to cut off lures till you can get help.

The nurse said earlier a man came in holding his head. He told her he had a lure hook stuck deeply in his scalp. She said, "Well, move you're hand and let me see."

"I can't he replied, I got my hand hooked in the other hook while trying to remove the first hook."

Florida's recreational and commercial stone crab claw harvest season opens Oct. 15 in state and federal waters. To be harvested, stone crab claws must be at least 2 3/4 inches in length when measured from the elbow to the tip of the lower immovable portion of the claw in order to increase the likelihood of survival of the crab once released. Females are identified by a brownish/orange egg mass on their underside.

Harvesters are encouraged to take only one claw, even if both claws are of legal size, so that the released crab will be better able to defend itself from predators. The season is open through May 15, 2014.

Better news is crab trap floats, miles of them attended by a great light tackle sporting and eating fish, the tripletail. If you are a trophy tripletail hunter travel to the Coco Beach area where it seems the really big boys (over 20 pounds) like to hang out. (A 37 was caught there).

If you're boating along and see a fish swimming on its side its not dying, it's a tripletail doing its thing. Trips like to hang on structure and are particularly fond of crab trap floats. Slowly motor by a float and you may see a big hand sized dark brown fish sulking below it. The next one may be trash can lid sized.

Whatever the size they are great fighters even somewhat acrobatic and more importantly to many, trips are very tasty.

So you just passed close to a float and saw a 10-pounder looking at you, which means you didn't pass too close. Don't crowd them or they will sink lower in the water column or take off. Now quietly motor uptide, while resting the fish. I use my trolling motor to hold my position while the angler drifts/freelines a live shrimp with the current, back toward the crab float. Others prefer a small cork to keep the shrimp up high in the water. Trips definitely will eat a fly and shrimp patterns are a good starting choice.

If you are lucky the hungry trip will dart out and eat with gusto, you set the hook he laughs, gives you the fin and circles around the rope. PING! Line broke, game over.

The deal is to set the hook and move his weight away from the rope to have a shot at landing this rather odd looking fish. Once free of the dreaded rope he will fight hard, even leap before coming to the boat.

The triple guides I've been with all keep the big motor running and at the hookset hit the gas literally towing the tail away from danger. Otherwise put your back into it then enjoy the fight and the dinner. Long fluorocarbon leaders work best in clear offshore waters.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or captgeorget3@aol.com, or www.flyingfinssportfishing.com.



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