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Warm-up should ease lockjaw

May 23, 2014
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Tuesday's trip to Redfish and Captiva passes resulted in not much more than a nice boat ride with some trout mixed in to save the day.

Beautiful conditions, a nice strong outgoing tide and fairly clear water. Both passes were brimming with bait, yet the snook had a bad case of lockjaw. Cold fronts in Florida really shut it down as many anglers reported this past week.

Reduced winds, steady weather and this week's warm-up should put things right and get the pass snook snapping once again.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Tarpon will show along the beaches this week so get out early and be on station before sun-up in 10 to 25 feet of water. Look for chrome sun reflected flashes to clue in to rolling tarpon locations. Boca Grande anglers will bag their share. If Boca Grande boat bumping crowds turn you off never forget that Captiva Pass can take up the slack and hold a fair number of spring fish.

Traditional spots, such as a mile or two off Sanibel, are always springtime favorites, but I've not heard any reports. Make sure you are in the right boat as it can get quite rough when winds pick up in that location while you are anchored.

If you easily get green around the gills at the mere mention of rocking boats then slowly drag a couple of freelined livies behind the boat a couple of hundred yards off and parallel to Sanibel Island. Stagger the baits so they don't cross and don't hold the rods. Keep them in holders, pop open a cold sweet tea and slowly idle along.

If all goes right soon you may see the silver king airborne behind your boat and a doubled rod screaming for help in its holder. Pick it up and go to work. Don't forget to bow and give line when your tarpon decides to get a case of flying fins otherwise a broken leader or popped hook will be your reward. I've made some impressive catches using this low-tech method.

If you don't own a cast net and need some live baits for your tarpon try a Sabiki rig available in any bait store. Toss out chum and bring them to the boat where if you're lucky you can catch four to eight baits at a time.

Two or three anglers can fill a well in short order. Handle these baits carefully and make sure your well offers adequate aeration. Overcrowding will kill them.

If you refuse to use a cast net and Sabiki is your method you may want to invest in a Sabiki rod, which is hollow allowing the whole rig to be reeled up into the hollow core which keeps the whole mess from tangling wasting valuable fishing time.

Local red snapper anglers get a short window this year as their season opens on May 24 and closes July 14. Here's the rub, you can only keep two fish and only if you are no more than nine miles out. Nine miles out in these parts still means relatively shallow water which certainly limits local catches.

Recreational angling in Florida brings untold millions to the state's economy each and every year, yet more and more, commercial interests, non-fishing Federal bureaucrats along with extreme environmental activist lawsuits trump common sense and the recreational angler always ends up with the short end of the rod.

More and more areas of our waters are closed or access limited along with a nightmarish hodgepodge of science based quota management rules always in the end geared toward commercial interests makes recreational offshore fishing a frustrating experience. On purpose.

The ongoing attack on our recreational fishing, hunting, and private gun ownership rights goes on 24/7 nationwide by a bloated, overreaching Federal government and commercial interests, aided by a neutered print and TV media that sees no evil, hears no evil, and reports the same.

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



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