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Keys tarpon marathon complete

August 8, 2014
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Sitting inside a few days ago watching the rain and the weather forecast I got "the call." My hard core Keys fishing buddy advised me to get my back end south in a hurry.

I told him it was impossible, too much to do, commitments, appointments, no way. I can't pick up and leave this week no matter how off-the-chart the tarpon fishing is. A brief pause, then I heard myself weakly say, "Really biting huh?" I finished lunch.

Passing through Miami at 7 with mixed thoughts of sky walking tarpon and yet another A.C.D. episode (angling caused divorce) I pressed on.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Before midnight we were in his boat, anchored with rods in the water with dead baits on the bottom in a nearby channel. By one-thirty we had jumped three tarpon, bringing two in for release. We slept in the skiff till the cell alarm interrupted an hour before dawn.

In the next two hours we both jumped three fish casting Bomber Long A plugs and nine-inch white pearl Slugo's on 3/4-oz. Owner Jig-heads. We each released two carbon copy 100-pound class fish.

Resting all day we finished the trip that evening in a light rain fishing live mullet and crabs under floats both of us hooking and releasing a big tarpon and a bonus cobia close to 30 pounds.

Back at his house for a quick shower and before long I was once again passing Miami, stiff and sore from driving, old age, fighting tarpon and sleeping in a skiff. Back in the Cape and home in bed by 4 my tarpon marathon complete.

If your tarpon season has been less than stellar this year take a break and treat yourself to a quick getaway tarpon fix. Most folks not in the know think of spring tarpon fishing around the bridges and channels in the Florida Keys, but pass on the all summer action that the locals enjoy.

Whether in the Keys backcountry, in the channels or edges of the flats around most of the islands, Key West, or at my favorite hangout The Bahia Honda Bridge, tarpon fishing from Biscayne Bay to Key West is as hot as the weather.

It's also summer season so rates are lower and many restaurants will cook your catch of the day saving dollars.

For the hard core angler looking for that next big bite or chasing a particular species, Cape Coral is a great place to live and is centrally located. If your particular local species has shut down jump in the car and head over to the east coast for fantastic fishing at Sebastian Inlet or jumbo Jupiter snook. North to Indian River to sight fish 40-pound reds.

Bassman? Lake O's nearby. Huge swordfish and big kingfish off Miami or permit in the Keys? Back country adventures in the 10,000 islands?

The list goes on. Point is if it's not happening here, within one to four hours travel time Cape anglers have year-round access to the finest fresh and saltwater fishing on the planet.

Early risers catch the snook on area beaches on white bucktails and plastics. Not talking about an hour after the sun comes up. Be fishing an hour before it breaks the horizon. Cover ground, cast, reel and move unless you're fishing a time proven productive patch of real estate or beach structure.

Find an assortment of blues, ladies, and pompano around the inlets on shrimp tipped jigs as well as Spanish macs nearby using feeding birds to guide you to the fish.

Strong offshore bite when the weather permits, which in these parts usually means a morning trip. Some big bull redfish being reported by offshore reef anglers. Big mangrove snappers from Boca Grande to offshore. Redfish eating frozen shrimp under the shrubbery on the higher tides.

Tarpon scattered along beaches, throughout Charlotte Harbor and north Matlacha Pass.

Watch the weather!

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



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