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Time to get fly rod friendly

October 3, 2014
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Cooling temps will jumpstart the trout bite. Although we've been catching lone semi-gators on inshore bars, the schooling action soon will heat up as water temperatures gradually fall into a comfortable range.

When this happens break out or learn to use the long rod for maximum enjoyment from these very fly friendly fish. If you aren't friends with the fly rod and you love fishing then you are missing out on one of fishing's greatest thrills.

Our area's shallow waters are prime territory for fly fishing. Snook, tarpon, trout, jacks, redfish, everything that swims these waters will readily take a fly. Try it and you may be selling those mechanical winches called spinning reels.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Get out early for incoming tide red fishing. Tons of bait available with cut ladyfish, mullet, or live or dead pinfish great choices to throw up and under the bushes to soak for 15-20 minutes before packing up and moving down the shoreline and doing it all over again. Keep at it and you will score.

Everything is eating pinfish right now both offshore and inshore which means you should be trying it as well on your next outing. Live under a cork, free lined live, or used as dead bottom bait. If used as bottom bait then add the fish to your hook making a few body cuts to let out the scent which should entice a fat 15-pounder out from under the roots.

When the water level and the sun gets high the reds retreat far back under the brush and patrol the roots for shrimp, crabs, and smaller finfish. If you can't skip cast your lure to them it's time for bait to try to draw them out to you. There are several ways to rig for under the shrub reds which can be as simple as attaching a 1/4-oz. jighead to your line and a 1-inch chunk of ladyfish on the jig. Cast under and wait quietly for 15 minutes.

Thread a -oz. slip sinker on your line and attach a small circle hook. Add a piece of bait or small live or cut pinfish and cast under and wait.

Your main line to a swivel, add a small float and a short 12-inch piece of leader material to your hook. Load with a live pinfish or dead bait. Cast to the edges of the brush and wait. The bait needn't be suspended. The cork acts more like a strike indicator, especially helpful for those newbies on your boat with the doubled rod, screaming drag, and the timeless question, "Do I have one?"

Always remember to fight mangrove or brush lined shoreline game in the down and dirty mode. That is, rod tip in the water swiveling and adding power with your hips to clear the fish from under the branches. Holding the rod tip high guarantees a line tangled and broken by the branches.

Now that a lot of snook are starting to return to the backwaters after a summer of sun and fun don't be surprised if a whopper snook eats your dead bait on bottom. Like the majestic tarpon, snook will inhale practically anything from top to bottom, living or dead at one time or another.

Big jacks, tarpon of all sizes, and snook in all canals in the area. Actually if you put in your time and do some scouting you will find Cape canal fishing so good you don't need to go anywhere else.

Fish lighted docks at night, seawalls, rip-rap, corners, brushy shorelines, bridges and associated structure. Downtown Cape Coral canals host monster fish especially around bridges and basically any structure natural or man made.

Spend time locating deep holes in your canal system. Spend an afternoon cruising with your electronics marking potential hot spots to come back to later and explore.

Rain swollen waters are drawing game fish to the weirs and dams in the area.

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



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