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Continuing success for big redfish

November 7, 2014
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON (captgeorget3@aol.com) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Still enjoying redfish action throughout the area with mostly over-slot specimens brought to the boat for a photo and happy release by arm weary anglers.

This past month we've caught reds on about everything in the tackle and fly box, including a memorable early morning encounter with a tailing 14-pounder that ate my favorite vintage topwater redfish lure, that old bass killer, the Jitterbug.

Right now we are fishing docks and catching some big brawlers. This is low-tech, often boring, snatch the rod out of your hands, instant excitement fishing.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Fishing in Pine Island Sound I'm looking for not just any dock but ones with certain features. Look for docks ending in at least four feet or more of water. Look for older crusty barnacle coated dock pilings instead of newer docks.

Try to locate a dock with current moving under the ends like a dock that ends close to a channel edge or drop-off. Find docks that are close to points, bars, and other structure as opposed to flat uninteresting terrain.

Sit down at home with a good map and find several docks that fulfill the above requirements as closely as possible and plug them into your notepad or GPS. Now you have a pattern to fish instead of wandering around depending on luck.

If there isn't too much current we fish these docks by quietly (bass style) flipping 3/8-oz. jigs tipped with a whole large handpicked shrimp.

Stay back from the structure and flip your jig to the outside pilings, snubbing the line just before touch down for a dead quiet entry into the water and then a semi-slack line freefall to the bottom of the piling. Be ready as the jig can be instantly inhaled as it approaches or as it hits bottom.

Flip the bail closed upon touching bottom with a spinning reel or engage a bait caster reel which is even better suited for this task. Glue your eyes to the line watching for the slightest tick or movement which results in an instant hook set. If no buyers, count to 10 and then give a short and subtle hop or shake with the rod tip, but don't pull your player out of the strike zone. Another 10 count and a few more hops and still no takers, then reel up and flip to the next piling.

The idea is to move quietly and methodically picking apart each dock piling. Keep trolling motor speeds on low and off as much as possible.

Twice this week anglers on my boat got broken off under the docks by over-slot reds while using 60-pound fluorocarbon leaders.

This is not a place for light leaders or toothpick rods. Using 30-pound braid main line to a swivel connected to 36 inches of at least 60-pound test fluorocarbon leader material tied to your jig or hook with a loop knot.

Use med-heavy rods with backbone. Feel the tap, set the hook and get the fish away from the pilings, which is the real challenge. This means putting max pressure on your rod and line without breaking off.

A 10-pounder under a current swept dock doesn't plan on leaving now that he's got your shrimp and will put up quite a battle.

Not a flipper or caster? Then pull up to the first dock on your list, quietly anchor far enough away from the dock and pitch in your baits, live or dead on the bottom or under a float. (Shrimp, cut ladyfish or pinfish.)

Congrats and beginner's luck belongs to 77-year young visiting angler Ida Wilson for her first 100-pound class Charlotte Harbor tarpon release fishing aboard Flying Fins. Taken on a live ladyfish on her first fishing trip in saltwater and in Florida!

Having only caught pond crappies, she was amazed at the strength of the ladyfish till her tarpon ate it and went skyward.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or captgeorget3@aol.com, or www.flyingfinssportfishing.com.

 
 
 

 

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