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Wide variety of fishing opportunities

August 21, 2015
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

To some, a delicate 4-weight fly rod in hand and a beautiful 8-inch brook trout on their hook is as good as it gets. Others need a four-pac 1,200-horsepower, hi-tech, speed machine to chase down toothy kingfish to get their kicks.

Back river catfishing, fly fishing for permit and bonefish in the Keys, ton-sized black marlin on The Great Barrier Reef, Lake Okeechobee spinnerbait bassing, the angling world offers something for everyone.

After a lifetime of fishing many become specialists deciding to pursue one species or only trophies. Unless it jumps 10 feet in the air with the potential to reach over 200 pounds many local tarpon anglers don't get fish fever till late April.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Push-pole flats rats live for that magic moment in time when a golden rising sun shines on sickle shaped tails suddenly breaking the mirrored surface just a good cast length away in front of them.

For me, night fishing for jumbo snook or tarpon is the ticket. Cooler, less anglers, quiet, all senses heightened, and the biggest, baddest fish in the area on the prowl. The wise old trophies have been hiding from the angling army and heat all day long.

Redfish specialists are in their glory as fall is upon us and schools of reds soon will be invading the shallow flats looking to eat. Burnt Store Bar, Indian Fields, Turtle Bay, these names stir redfish angler's juices.

This usually is easy fishing if you follow a few rules. First: find the fish which is usually the hardest part. If new to the area stop at the local tackle store or consult a guide. Both choices will save time and gas money searching miles and miles of "looks good" yet unproductive waters.

Most good tackle stores are glad to share information, teach you how to toss a cast net, and sell you a bucket of shrimp or the latest guaranteed-to-catch-a-dozen-trophies-a-day lures. Many have house guides that will talk fishing with anyone or the store will recommend a competent one. These folks make a living finding fish and usually are great teachers and storehouses of angling information.

Use area topo maps and look for flats adjacent to a dropoff or channel edge.

Second: If you can, pick an incoming morning tide to fish. Be on site way before sun-up and settle in, which means getting everything in place and getting quiet.

Reds will come up from dropoffs and follow the tide up and across the flats inland to feast on all the backwater crustations and baitfish along the mangrove shorelines. Look for "nervous" water rippling and going all in one direction. During warm months higher tide phases allow simple toss a shrimp under the bush and wait, no-brainer but productive fishing.

As winter approaches, our low winter tides replace the summer's high water so flats, channels, and dropoffs away from the bushes often is the norm.

Third: Once found, quietly get in place and toss an unweighted shrimp or 1-inch ladyfish steak (circle hook) ahead of the moving school and wait. Can't beat a gold spoon cast to the school edges, not in the middle of the school. Hold on.

This year try 8-foot rods to toss light lures a country mile. If you add 20 feet to every cast you've shown your lure to many more fish in a day's outing.

Tarpon and shark fishing are still on in Charlotte Harbor.

Snook spread from the beaches to inland mangrove shorelines and looking to eat livies, spoons, topwater plugs, and soft plastics to fatten up for winter.

Look to the passes for mangrove snapper and to offshore reefs for the bigger guys. Spanish macs in the passes or close by. Watch for birds to tip you off to a feeding school.

Spotted trout fishing will only get better as the waters cool.

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



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