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Cold fronts often follow cold fronts

November 21, 2014
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The worst part about passing cold fronts in Florida, and their negative effect on fishing, is that after passing they often are followed by another front in a few days.

Thursday's sunshine followed by increasing temps should put chilled flats fish in a biting mood by the weekend. There's a 50 percent chance of rain on Saturday, clearing Sunday, which could all change radically at any moment. Last Tuesday the news warned of afternoon/evening tornados around Cape Coral and Lee County.

Great reports of mixed bag fishing around the passes and reefs not too far off the coast. If the winds are manageable Saturday expect to find bull redfish, cobia, grouper, tarpon, kings, bonito, who knows what, eating on your favorite near/off shore pile of rocks.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

This time of year bonito often come close to the passes where even flats boats can safely access them on calmer days. Follow the birds and if you're lucky you'll soon see acres of these little speedsters eating bait driven to the surface.

Please don't drive through the school. Stay back and cast to the edges of the feeding frenzy. Driving through the school puts them down and ruins the fishing for others fishing the frenzy.

If you've never caught bonito you are in for a treat. These fish are a light tackle spin and fly rodder's dream. Hard fighting, blinding speed, and screaming drags are the norm.

A 7 1/2 med. action spin rod with full spool of 15-20 pound braided line tied to a 20-25 pound fluorocarbon leader completes the outfit. (Use a Uni-knot, no swivels)

Take a handful of 3/8-ounce to 1/2-ounce white bucktail jigs and loop knot one to your leader material.

If the bonito are all over the surface cast out and speed reel your bucktail across the surface as well for a smashing strike.

Fly rod guys sometimes have to cast out then tuck the rod under their armpit, using two hands to rapidly (FAST) pull fly line toward the boat to speed swim their fly. This is a blast, but I recommend a light glove to protect fingertips from damage when 15-pound Billy Bonito sucks in the fly at 40 mph.

After the strike take up the slack line, let the fish run and enjoy the great fight.

Before the front we were doing very well on over-slot reds around structures, like deep docks using hand-picked jumbo shrimp on pitched and flipped jigs. This method should continue to pay off in the following weeks.

Cold water and slow presentations are a natural during the cold water period. I'm a big plastic shrimp fan in winter as they are super versatile lures that can be fished deadly slow in cold water and still promote strikes.

Great under a rattling cork or casted on light lines using 20-pound test leaders the DOA Shrimp or a ton of other imitators are a wise choice for winter snook, reds and trout.

Plastic shrimp can be rigged in a variety of ways to accomplish specific tasks. I usually fish them backwards, so upon retrieve the game fish sees my shrimp violently jumping backwards to avoid being eaten, which is how a real shrimp reacts when threatened.

Experiment with your own rigging and retrieve methods. A great idea source is YouTube. Type in "DOA Shrimp" and watch clip after clip of great rigging and presentation ideas.

Tip: Always tie this lure to your leader with a loop knot. (

Tip: Always use a loop knot that leaves the tag end facing the lure, not away from the lure. Loop knots with tag ends facing the angler collect grass and weeds fouling the lure, ruining the cast.

All rigging methods shown can be used with large live or dead hand-picked shrimp as well when they won't eat a fake.

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



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