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Snapper hot item in Boca Grande

April 3, 2015
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Tasty snappers are willing biters in Boca Grande Pass for those unable to head to offshore snapper action.

Take your five fish limit (10-inch min.) bottom bouncing the 35-foot zone using a 3-4 oz. sliding sinker on a fish finder rig (sliding sinker on the main line then tied to a swivel; add a 30-inch leader to the swivel, then the small circle hook). The current strength will tell you what weight sinker to use to stay in the strike zone below. Bait hooks with shrimp.

While in the pass, head to the docks for some end season sheepshead fishing where over 10-pounders are caught.

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Capt. George Tunison

Still in the pass, break out the 300-pound test outfit and lower a live jack toward the bottom around large structures. Hold on. Best done as a team effort. Good to have a partner stand close to grab you if the 400-pounder starts winning and you are heading into the water.

If you have chosen a stand-up harness that attaches to your reel then be sure both anglers have a knife. Keep knives at the ready in case your equipment locks up and you go over attached to a VW-sized grouper now trolling you along the bottom of Boca Grande Pass, home of near-ton sized hammerhead sharks and huge bulls. For that reason alone I'll never use a harness.

A good tactic to try is, after hooking up try and hold on and have your mate slowly back the boat, pulling the grouper away from snags. Sounds easy in print, but you better have eaten a double dose of Wheaties if you're going to try this.

These fish are old and deserve care even though they can be a pain to many offshore anglers. Don't try to catch one without the proper gear. You won't win. You're rod or reel or line will break needlessly letting the giant swallow more hooks, in many cases causing delayed mortality and a meal for the sharks and crabs.

If you do get one to the boat take time to properly revive it before releasing it so it won't become an easy target in its weakened state.

More tarpon reports from various canal, river and pass locations. Tarpon are appearing in shallow flats areas as well. Be out early and get on the poling platform and quietly scan the waters. Any ditch or cut on a shallower flat has the potential to hide a laid up tarpon or three in thigh deep or less water.

Offshore tarpon types soon will intercept them heading north off Sanibel Island using bottom baits. Catfish tails, cut mackerel, shrimp, whitebaits, pinfish, crabs, and the primo bottom bait shad all have their place.

In a few weeks, one of my favorite tactics is to troll very slowly along the beaches pulling two, palm sized live baits on circle hooks with the rods in the holders. Stagger the baits and enjoy the beach scenery, but be ready.

Although resident tarpon inhabit the river and, in particular the bridges that span it all year long, soon they are joined by their migrating cousins and better fishing is the result.

Snook are looking for your lure between Cape Coral and the passes and everywhere in between. Use live baits around docks and bridges, topwater plugs on shallow flats and bars, stickbaits and MirrOlures in the river. Cast net a well full of whitebaits and chum the shorelines with them. Adding your circle hooked livie to the frenzy ensures a solid hook-up.

Don't forget the Kiwanis Free Kids Fishing Derby on Saturday 8:30-11 a.m. at the Cape Yacht Club Pier; kids 5-15. Bring 400 boys and girls to this great free event. No advance registration required. Rod, reels and bait provided. Lots of prizes.

Call Wally Laumeyer at 239-772-8678 for more info.

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



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