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Give Cape canal bass a chance

January 10, 2014
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON (captgeorget3@aol.com) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

With all the hoopla over our inshore and offshore salty glamour species, the local bass fishing doesn't get much press.

Officially, I would guess that at least 85 percent of our transplanted salt anglers cut their teeth on freshwater bass fishing which is the most popular angling pastime in the USA. Local bass anglers get the added advantage of being very close to bass heaven - Lake Okeechobee - with one-pound golden shiners and 10-pound bass on their minds for 2014.

Tire sized nests have been swept and should be filled with sow sized largemouths all winter as they try to successfully spawn and later protect their young from nest raiders.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

My first craft was a canoe and when I saved for my first trolling motor and huge battery I felt I had made the big time and should have been wearing bat-wing shades and colorful clothes covered in sponsor patches. Like many others I joined a local BASS Chapter and competed in tournaments on the east coast. Of course my real dream and every other bass fanatic's was a Ranger Boat, fishing with Rowland Martin, and endless miles of spinnerbaiting pads and laydowns in a sacred place like Lake Okeechobee

Forrest Wood, Martin, Dance, Mann, Morris and a handful of other visionaries started bass fishing on a path to incredible heights with half-million dollar tournament payouts and nationwide shrines to the sport called Bass Pro Shops. Superstar anglers like KVD gracing the cover of BASS. I still have my first mint condition copy of BASS #1, which came in a pamphlet format showing the very first early tournaments with everyone competing in those old funky looking, bomber style Ranger bass boats.

Cape largemouth anglers needn't travel to Lake O to score a 10-pounder as it may be under their backyard canal dock right now shoulder to shoulder with a cold-sick snook. Many folks are surprised when catching bass in salty environments, but bass can tolerate and thrive in brackish water as saltwater snook can live in freshwater.

I spoke with a local Cape bass club member last night and he reported catching a 7+ and another member had caught a 10, so they are here. I don't fish bass much anymore, but the times I've fished the Cape canals I've caught fish after fish on the ever popular plastic worm. I've not put in my time to catch a really big bass in the Cape, but if that were my goal I probably would be fishing on a warm summer night, quietly casting and slowly retrieving a big black, musky sized jitterbug near cover.

If the wind's blowing you off your favorite flat or just want a new adventure try exploring the nearly 500 miles of canals and basins and you may find that big old bucketmouth of your dreams without leaving town.

Tuesday, fishing in parkas, and Friday is supposed to be 85? I'll take it! Before you start happily casting and retrieving at summertime warp speed, stop and think slow, slow, retrieves. Pauses, slow suspending lures, subtle movement, lures loaded with scents, slowly stripped undulating flies or shrimp.

Light line and clear fluorocarbon leaders for clear winter waters and sharp eyed veteran fish. Look at your rig, if it contains a huge swivel and marlin sized snaps tied to huge thick mono re-think then, re-rig

A typical 6 1/2- to 7-foot medium rod with matching quality reel fully spooled with 10-15 pound Power Pro or Suffix braid tied with a Uni-Knot to a 15-20 pound fluorocarbon leader, then tied to your lure with a loop knot is a good choice for most flats duties this time of year. Shun swivels and snaps and learn good knots. (NetKnots.com)

It's easy to get into large schools of trout during winter. Give them a chance and bend down your hook barbs.

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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