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October choices are abundant

October 17, 2014
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Standing at the ramp ready to launch, decent boat fully stocked with gear, I was facing a very tough decision. Life is all about choices, often hard ones.

Mid-October is undoubtedly one of the best months to go fishing in beautiful South-west Florida. Whether for food or sport, now's the time. Fish are eating, shallow to deep.

Today was my day to fish and explore new waters. I was rigged for tripletail to tarpon, snapper to snook, redfish, bluefish, ladyfish, trout, shark, you name it, and I was ready. I was overwhelmed with choices. What a problem.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

About, to launch the boat onto the waters of one of the top, shallow saltwater fishing destinations in the world, with a possible trophy on every cast, I felt fortunate to be able to experience another day on the water. The weather had been less humid, warm, and simply beautiful.

The day before I saw a few snow white but red-faced folks coming out of Publix who were swigging from water bottles, still looking like they were losing a pint an hour in the blistering, high noon, 83-degree heat.

I overheard him snort to the wife, "This is nuts, how can anyone live here? It's almost Christmas!"

I remember that exact feeling from years ago. Now its scarfs and mittens at 70 degrees.

October is fishing opportunity month, so I'll start in the early morning by doing one of two things - chasing birds and fishing the huge schools of bait across Charlotte Harbor for mackerel, blues, cobia, tarpon, or sharks.

Cast shiny spoons, lures, jigs on 40-pound test fluorocarbon, or light wire leader around mac schools (edges), or troll Clark spoons around bait. Have a big rig set up for casting to tarpon or cobia. Or, anchor and deploy chum blocks and draw mackerel schools to the boat for fast action.

Sharks are plentiful in skinny water, in the passes, and open harbor. Pick your passion, day or night, and gear up accordingly. Sharks from two pounds to over 1,500 swim here every day.

Or, read your tide chart and pencil in an early morning, low incoming tide day. Work? Appointments? Do whatever you have to do, but in October with the redfish bite in full effect, my advice is to be on-site before sun-up, scanning for tails as the light slowly increases.

Stand on (secured) coolers and quietly scan the surface for clues. Pole the boat silently for your best shot at a flats red. Keep quiet, try not rocking the hull sending out pressure waves across the flat.

Often skittish, but often so focused on grubbing along the bottom that I've been able to get so close as to be able to poke them with a rod tip.

Plenty of pinfish available right now and everything is eating them.

Tarpon in the passes and along the beaches, many moving south. Still some in the harbor near bait schools.

Fish live pinfish under floats or freelined and the same drill with a live 10-inch ladyfish freelined or floated near bait schools. Scan for possible early morning rolling tarpon. Watch the birds and let them lead you to the baitfish action. Where's there's bait, there's predators.

Snook is in full swing as they start to transition inland to wintering locations. Live baits, lures, flies, it's on! Trophy time as everyone fattens up on the abundant food resources nature provides before the cold weather period ahead.

Inshore shorelines, points, and still some beach bums in the passes and surf. All canal systems in the Cape hold big snook. Fish a live ladyfish on heavy tackle at night, around big structure, with moving current for a 50-pounder.

Try trolling near-shore reefs for grouper and bull redfish. Mann's Stretch series is a proven winner.

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



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