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Super sharp hooks put to the test

August 15, 2014
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

When it comes to hooks for all my fishing needs I only speak one language - OWNER.

There are many really good hook brands out there along with the new (to me) TROKAR hooks from Eagle Claw, which I had a chance to check out on last week's tarpon marathon in the Keys.

Eagle's, Lancet TK-4 and TK-5 series circle hooks in 8/0 to 9/0 provided solid deep penetrating hook-ups. These hooks are three sided, each side honed in a surgical sharpening process borrowed from the surgical needle industry. They are super sharp and highly recommended with several configurations and wire sizes, in both fresh and saltwater models.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Used the same series hook in smaller sizes this week on redfish under the mangroves on the east side of Charlotte Harbor using stinky thawed shrimp from the mini-cooler I forgot to put ice in. My angler looked at me like, "oh great, no bait." I quickly calmed his fears assuring him that the redfish will eagerly track down this lovely odor from 30 yards away and wolf it down. With the summer's dark stained waters a little stink goes a long way and redfish have bloodhound grade noses.

As we settled in to let the stink baits work their magic we chatted and he opened a soda. He tried to open one is more accurate because as he did the rod was ripped from his loose grip by unseen forces hiding under the mangroves. A dropped soda and desperate dive across the deck saved my rod/reel combo from being dragged never to be seen again, across the sandy bottom of Charlotte Harbor.

Three reds to 7.5 pounds came to the boat on the stinky shrimp which at that point had become too soft to hook and cast. We switched to DOA Shrimp and cast while I used my bait bat to broadcast the area in front of us with the melted shrimp mess left in the cooler. This overdose of shrimp odor through the area really turned on the already biting small school resulting in instant inhales of our DOA fakes.

This frenzy turned on a big boy and my guest fought his first of over 10 redfish on light tackle and artificial lure. Keeping his head and keeping the rod tip in the water applying pressure he somehow maneuvered this over-slot brute from under the limbs to open water for a clean catch and release.

Remember this tip; when you hook a big red or snook under the branches thrust your rod tip in the water and go to work. Typically the hooked fish will give his all to stay under the cover. With the tip always kept in the water fight the fish swiveling from your hips for power.

We've all been conditioned to raise the rod skyward to set the hook, but savvy inshore salt anglers that fish bushes know a skyward set only instantly tangles the line in the branches guaranteeing a breakoff and lost trophy. Fight your natural urge to raise the rod and keep it under water till your prize is well clear of the branches.

If you don't know a bait bat is a plastic BB bat that has the end cut off at an angle. Drop in a handful of diced shrimp or lively white baits and lob it toward the area you're fishing broadcasting chum over a wide area turning the fish on in a big way. I don't use bait very often, relying instead on lures and flies, but I sometimes broadcast shrimp with my bait bat to get everyone in the mood for a hookup, especially if I'm on a stretch of shoreline where I'm convinced fish are holding but not responding to my lures.

Congrats to Tom Banks for an over 30-pound Captiva surf snook taken on his homemade top water plug.

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



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