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Slow down presentation in cold water

December 5, 2014
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

With colder water, a slower presentation is the norm when using lures. Suspending twitch style hard baits, soft plastics, and flies are my winter choices for inshore cold water periods.

Thous-ands of articles have been written about MirrO-lures' instant classic bait the MirrO-dine. Available in three sizes and wide color choices.

This lifelike bait can be fished countless ways, but does best in cold water using a slow, random, subtle, twitch and slowly mend line retrieve, making it die, jerk, flash, then suspend and die again, perfectly imitating a dying baitfish.

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Capt. George Tunison

Only use a proper loop knot on this bait and use the lightest fluorocarbon leader you think you can get away with. Remember everything eats this bait and with light leaders this lure really dances, but going too light ensures a break-off from snook or larger fish.

In really clear water we've been doing fine with 20-pound leaders and smaller snook. On Wednesday's trip we caught countless trout, several jacks, a dozen or so juvie snook on these baits. The smallest model is a trout killer on the coldest days.

That being said, the lure is so tantalizing to fish they really wolf it down, and being small it can really be a fish killer if you plan on enjoying a day of catch and release.

Besides the standard jaw holding Boga Grip style tool aboard most boats today, long nose pliers and a good set of stainless long jawed hemostats are invaluable for delicate release of winter trout. Hemostats will help allow you to safely release most all you catch.

Tip: If you must handle a trout do so with wet hands, never a towel, nor a drag across the rocks or sand. Delicate fish, give them a break.

On a huge school of trout and you can't wait to catch the next one fever? Barbs are the problem tearing flesh. Bend them down, save a bunch of fish and get back in the game faster.

Hooks are cheap and easy to replace and those dull hooks probably needed replacing anyhow.

Please don't be afraid of losing fish with de-barbed or barbless hooks. Steady pressure with a bent rod will do the trick on most trout.

Speaking of hooks, all of the time, effort and expense it takes these days to simply go fishing folks still arrive at the pond with a box full of lures they've had for years equipped with hooks so dull and rusty they couldn't snag and hold a ball of cotton. A $100,000 in the boat, tow vehicle, radar, sonar, space age fishing rods and line ... and dull hooks?

Master the hook file or buy replacement hooks to stop losing fish, the cheapest way to ensure a successful day on the water.

Many tackle stores don't carry exact replacement hooks for the major brands like MirrOlure, but they are available. Ask your local dealer to stock them and any particular lure color you don't see or direct from MirrOlure in a 10-pack. That's 10 hooks and 20 split rings to redo your favorite killer baits.

Tip: Try a MirrOdine C17MR-ECTR C-Eyes Pro-Series and, yes, I know it's pink, chartreuse and silver with spots, but certain times of the year pink is a hot color throughout Southwest Florida.

Catalog available online at

Clients aboard Flying Fins have done really well in creeks, canals, generally deeper waters versus beating the cold and open flats. With this great warm-up flats action should improve.

Sheepshead should be stealing your shrimp soon around structures. Anglers casting lures or soaking bait on the flats are often surprised by a very hard fighting double digit winter Sheepshead patrolling a Matlacha mangrove point.

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



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