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Let tides be your fish guide

February 7, 2014
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Weekend warrior redfish fans get up early this Saturday and be on site before first light, to look for waving blue edged tails as the sun comes up.

Reds feeding on this low incoming water at dawn easily will show themselves if you're in the right areas during this -0.2 tide, which bottoms out at 5:30 a.m., and becomes fully high at 9:25 p.m. at 1.5 feet.

This slow incoming two-tide day probably signals slower than normal activity for day fishing Saturday, except for a brief flurry at dawn.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Having said that I'll probably get emails and pictures of giant stringers and stories about the best fishing of their lives Saturday, but generally, slow water and two-tide days, if I'm not booked for a trip, I mow the lawn.

If I had only Saturday or Sunday to fish this weekend for early morning reds, do chores Saturday, fish hard Sunday morning as it's a four-tide day with a starting low of -0.2 feet again at 6:33 a.m., but climbs to a high of 0.9 feet at 1:38 p.m., which should provide much better early morning action.

If you're reading this and thinking what this all means, and maybe the author has spent a little too much time alone on the water, here's the deal. More water flow or stronger tidal movements, be it incoming or outgoing tides, provide consistently better fishing on the flats, in the passes, in the river, anywhere salt fish live and feed. Even works for freshwater bass and striper anglers fishing tidal rivers like many of us from the Northeast grew up doing.

If this salt fishing is all new to you your single most important job is to thoroughly understand your tide chart ( and how it affects fishing on the day you venture out in your brand new $75,000 Pathfinder. Understanding this chart and, just as importantly, understanding that tide charts are reliable indicators of tide heights only to a point and that their predictions can be heavily altered, especially by wind.

I learned that hard lesson early on while being stranded most of the night, back in the mangroves with eight million new friends intent on eating me alive. Even though the chart said I would be alright, the wind had a different plan by not allowing the water to fully flood in. This is an experience you won't soon forget and will quickly make you become a tide chart reading expert in short order if you survive your ordeal in the backwaters of Matlacha.

Sunday's high tide at 1:38 p.m. at 0.9 feet dropping to only a 0.8 by 4:41 p.m. probably means tough afternoon fishing as there is obviously little to no water movement.

Take a nap from 2-4, but fish hard from 4:30 till after dark. The incoming has a fairly strong flow (from 4:41 till 10:34 at night).

If it's been warm, don't be afraid to fish into the night as the fish will continue to feed and you may catch the biggest trout of your life long after sunset.

The Fort Myers Gun Show is this weekend at the Lee Civic Center. Attend and go early for the best deals on show specials and bulk ammo purchases. Concealed weapons permit classes will be given both days.

This time of year, and under this anti-gun presidency, the show will be packed once again as folks continue to stock up under the threat of ominous anti-Second Amendment Executive Orders that may be coming from President Obama this year, completely bypassing Congress and the will of the vast majority of millions upon millions of American taxpayers and lawful, responsible, owners and hunters.

If you hear the President say, with a big ole grin, "If you like your guns-you can keep them," well, you already know the rest of that story.

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



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