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Lure-loaded tree full of memories

December 26, 2014
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

In my house Christmas and Christmas tree disasters go hand in hand. Typically, my tree will sport at least 30 MirrOlures, some Rapala SkitterWalks and vintage Zara Spooks along with a few dozen DOA Shrimp in glow color.

Being heavily weighted on too small a stand, the bull whip-like tail of my always very happy-to-be-here and really glad-to-see-anybody rescue dog, has put the tree down twice now and I still have days to go.

I got him for a watchdog, but that's all he does, never barks. Great.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

If you're allowed or want this particular decorating style on your tree make sure you position all glow shrimp next to individual little white lights to absorb as much light energy as possible so when the lights go out, well you get the idea. (Not too close as shrimp infused plastics stink if you heat them too much, I know.)

The top of the tree is reserved for prize collectable vintage lures and retired battle scarred warriors that have seen action from Canada to the Keys. Each one stirring vivid memories of epic battles with angry trophy fish determined to get away in often beautiful and remote locations. Many did get away and I'm okay with that.

Memories of friends and family fishing and laughing in canoes on tiny Mid-Atlantic mill ponds to fishing great rivers and Great Lakes.

Cape Hatteras marlin trips in violent storms so sick, begging for anyone to please show mercy by putting me down by any means handy.

Rounding a blind bend in a small boat in the early morning's dense fog in Nowhere, Ontario, coming face to face with an instantly angry wading moose and her calf.

(Do you know how big an angry moose is coming at you from 35 yards away while sitting in a 12-foot aluminum boat?)

Hundred-pound-plus panicked Cape Coral Bridge night tarpon ripping out 40 yards of line, reversing course, leaping high into the air then landing right in the middle of the boat destroying everything in sight; tackle boxes and coolers flying, only to jump back out moments later leaving you standing there mouth hanging open, thankful that the first-time saltwater fishing clients from Kansas are still alive.

First five-pound bass to fly caught sailfish, trophy catches with friends and family still here some long departed. But the memories, the laughter, after all these years thankfully still fresh like last week.

Here's to the memories and all those who helped create them.

Although you can't invite a snook home for Christmas dinner until the end of February you can still catch and carefully release Florida's premier inshore gamefish. The water temps are still up and snook are still active and hitting a variety of lures.

You can't go wrong with a suspending MirrOlure twitch bait or plastic shrimp fished slowly.

Anglers aboard Flying Fins used bass style flipping and skip casting techniques to cast to the shallow ends of deep water docks using LIVETARGET Shrimp and real shrimp on jigs, slowly bottom bouncing the lures out to deeper pilings catching snook, snapper and redfish.

Anglers looking for trophy winter snook are night fishing docks with hand sized live pinfish or 10-inch ladyfish under floats.

Have patience, be determined, dead quiet, and put in your time. Don't go in under-gunned. Think 100-pound fluorocarbon leaders if you are serious about getting a really big trophy snook out of a dock maze at night.

Take the neighborhood elves and fish a half blue crab on the bottom next to a Caloosahatchee River bridge piling. Put on the kid's life preservers and seatbelts as 40-pound black drum will test their strength.

Happy Holidays to All!

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



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