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Bluefish: Sharp teeth, high jumps

October 31, 2014
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Faster than a snook, more determined than a bulldozer redfish, jumps high and often and, if given the chance, will bite the heck out of you with razor sharp teeth. The common Southwest Florida bluefish is a great light tackle spin or fly rod fish.

Get-ting my first salt experience fishing Delaware and Chesa-peake bays for big weakfish, stripers and the ever present wolfpacks of very hard fighting killer blues up to 20 pounds, I quickly developed an appreciation for their fighting abilities and angler friendly attitude.

Bluefish here don't grow as large as their big northern cousins, but on scaled down trout tackle, fight just as hard.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

I understand in other countries bluefish go way over 30 pounds, which would be equivalent to fighting a 30-pound jack with the bonus being the blue, would jump several times during the fight.

Fly anglers would do well to add a short trace of light wire to their leader or use at least 40-pound fluorocarbon. Expensive flys will be reduced to shreds by razor teeth so tie up a bunch of cheaper ones for fishing schools of Spanish and blues that are eating around and near the passes.

Follow the birds to the fishing, stay back and cast to the edges of the feeding frenzy. Never drive the boat through and over the school which usually puts it down and ruins the action for everyone.

Blues love fly rod popping lures as well as spoons and other hard baits. They also eat soft plastics, but cut them up too easily to be practical. Will hit practically anything, but watching them leap from the water to hit a topwater plug is always a hoot.

With the fall bait migrations blues start chomping and are likely to show up not only in the passes mixed in with mackerel and ladyfish, but far inland patrolling bars and channel edges.

Strong tasting on the table, try eating smaller ones for a milder flavor.

Tip: With local ramps getting crowded, when getting ready to launch have everything ready to launch before you ever back into a ramp to release the boat.

Find a staging area away from the ramp. Load the boat, the kids, dogs, picnic, and tackle and prepare the boat to actually launch before getting anywhere near the ramp.

This week it was the classic scene. A Saturday, tourist season in full swing, local weekend warriors chomping at the bit to fish after a long week, and there he was.

Five trucks waiting to launch as he took his turn to back down the ramp. Half way down he stopped, leisurely got out and started gathering food, clothes, fishing rods and tackle one by one and then slowly placed them, one by one, in their perfect spot like he was totally alone on the planet.

Seven trucks waiting, now 15 minutes at the ramp, boat still dry. Searching the truck he finally found his rope and began the slow motion process of actually putting it in the water which was another long drawn out ordeal. On and on, what a disaster.

Fortunately, the other lane was used efficiently and three boats launched during his nearly 25-minute drill.

Unaware? Rude? First time on the water? Who knows, I just want to go fishing. Please, prepare the boat before entering the ramp.

Tip: Have you ever tried backing down a ramp in low light conditions with another vehicle parked at the bottom of the ramp with full headlights on, shining up the ramp and into your mirrors? If you have you know it's nearly impossible to see anything let alone back a boat into the water.

When backing into the water I first unplug the trailer lights and turn off the headlights on the tow vehicle (keeping the parking lights on) so as to not blind another ramp user.

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



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