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Sometimes hot tips are fleeting

August 29, 2014
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

On inshore trips this past week anglers aboard Flying Fins caught snook, reds, pompano and sharks all on gold spoons, MirrOdines, and top water plugs. Sharks were caught on cut bait and one on a top plug.

Got a hot tip about redfish activity in north Matlacha Pass, but as it turned out the water was the only thing that was hot. Granted it was the tail end of a hot bright day, not my favorite time to pursue summer reds, but we fish when we can. Ideally, I'm looking for an incoming tide at dawn to fish redfish.

We spent an hour casting, probing, quietly moving, and watching. Nothing. No birds feeding, some mullet activity, big high tide slowly falling out. Dead, dark, hot water. If fish were present they were too far back under the trees staying cool and we didn't have time for the tide to fall out enough to make casts to them.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Nor did we have time to anchor and soak dead baits under the trees trying to draw them out by scent. Time to relocate, clock ticking.

New to the area and your hot redfish tip went cold? Look around and as far as you can see it all looks fishy but you know that's never the case. You know the passes are holding fish due to spawning duties and fresh moving water, cooler, deeper, and more oxygenated, but there's no time to get there.

Answer? look for the same conditions inshore. Leaving hot stagnant water in the pass we roared south looking for oyster bars and running water with cooler depths nearby.

Right around and below the power lines there are a series of bars that offered everything we were seeking. Large oyster bars with water moving over them adjacent to a deeper channel. Cooler and oxygenated water, bird activity, jumping bait, it looked right.

My angler was anxious to start casting but since the tide was moving north to south and we were up tide of the bar we took the time to reposition the boat down tide of the bar.

Retrieving in the wrong direction makes for fishless frustrating days on the water.

Seasoned anglers instinctively know to position the boat for casting and retrieving in the right direction (retrieve back with the tide, not against). This is part of understanding or "reading the water" followed by properly positioning before the first cast.

Quietly get in range of your possible hot spot. Shut down. Stop, look, and listen. Current direction? Birds? Bait? Structure? Where should the boat be to maximize my chances?

Sending the Power Pole down we hoped our move from north to south would pay off as this spot looked promising. It did as we caught fish from the very first cast till a hoard of giant black mosquitos drove us away 20 minutes after the sun went down. The bar was full of bait, jacks, rat reds, mangrove snapper, juvie snook, all looking to eat.

Just before we left guest angler Rob McHenry grunted as his rod deeply bent and drag screamed as a powerful fish inhaled his MirrOlure and headed across the flats at warp speed. I thought big jack and after a long run filled fight, the powerful fish gave in and a beautiful bright chrome 4-pound, 11-ounce pompano came to the boat for pictures and a healthy release.

Thoughts of ovens and crab meat stuffing were on my mind, but this big boy was released to pass on those jumbo genes that keep trophy sized fish available for all of us to catch.

The water is hot inshore so try out one of the many bars throughout the pass providing current flow, oxygen, and depth to fire up your end of summer inshore fishing.

Run Snook Run! Sept. 1 opener. The FWC encourages moderation as stocks are still rebuilding after 2010's big freeze.

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



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