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Catch Pine Island slam even in cold

November 27, 2014
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Hopefully, the sun returns for Thanksgiving and stays around through the weekend to warm frigid shallow flats.

Even luckier if the winds lay down for a quick offshore trip to top secret GPS coordinates.

In the meantime, today is your only day to fish and you need a Pine Island Slam to make your week. That's a redfish, trout and snook. For a super slam add a tarpon to the mix.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Just because a giant cold front is moving through, the water temps have plummeted and it's murky and weedy from the wind, which is still blowing, and cold, you still can catch your slam. Stop crying and put a plan together.

First fish to hunt? A rising tide in the morning means a redfish would be the first target as the water temps have not dropped to winter levels quite yet and redfish don't mind a little chill.

If the wind's not howling sight fishing a red on the flats would be a distinct possibility in the early morning with poling or drifting the boat providing quiet stealth. Long casts with light leaders required.

Lure of choice after spotting tailing reds? A large Texas rigged, live/dead shrimp on a circle hook cast near the feeding fish and allowed to sit on bottom. Hang on.

A limber 7 1/2 medium rod with 10-pound braid and 20-pound leader (no swivels) will allow long casts to spooky shallow water redfish.

If no flats action or too windy then move to deeper canals, creeks, marinas, or basins and fish shrimp, cut ladyfish/pinfish, or live baits on bottom. I am a big dock fisherman because something always lives around docks.

Now that you've bagged that redfish it's on to number two, the trout.

In cold water once you've found one trout you've probably found more than a hundred as they often tightly school in colder water.

Begin your search on deeper grass flats with soft plastics or shrimp tipped jigs slowly hopped along bottom or the old standby, the popping cork and shrimp.

No action? As with the redfish move into deeper waters. Trout like to school along channel drop-offs. Fishing along the ICW near Useppa Island (Captiva Pass) or fish the channel running through Matlacha Pass. Fish Jug Creek or any Pine Island creek.

Trout pack into marinas and Cape canals by the thousands and will be the easiest of the three fish on the slam list. Small jigs or shrimp will catch all you need.

Now it's on to find the prize to finish our slam and get home to the warm easy chair and a turkey, dressing, and cranberry sandwich.

It's later in the day and the water has warmed a few degrees, but that big old snook is still cold and lazy. He does not plan on chasing anything too far today if at all. He may not eat for days. Good luck.

Look for deep shorelines, points with mangroves and you might find snook still moving inshore, but you'll probably do better by moving into any canal system in Pine Island or the Cape.

No wind equals warmer water and a better chance for a bite. Fish live/dead baits around docks or dead baits on bottom. Have patience.

Slam complete, happy angler. Turkey time!

I'm starting my beginner saltwater fly fishing school again Dec. 15 as it was a great success last year.

Our area is blessed with an abundance of productive flats and countless miles of shoreline perfectly suited for fly fishing.

This is fly country and if you're not salt fly fishing you're missing out on one of anglings greatest thrills. Please email for info.

With nearly 500 miles of fish filled canals here there's always a place to get out of the wind and catch fish. Happy Thanksgiving!

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



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