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Unlocked? Easy pickin’ for thieves

September 4, 2015
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Another friend just lost a stainless prop and a near-new and expensive sonar unit to thieves in the night.

The boat sits on his lift in a nice neighborhood. No one saw anything and he had not installed a lock on his propeller. He also had forgotten to take in or lock up the easily removable fish-finder. Too late.

Like many in my small town we never locked our doors. My how the world has, sadly, changed. Boat theft is on the rise, especially in Florida, and being just a little proactive might save your prized craft.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Traveling, or sitting home on the trailer, easy-to-install prop locks are cheap insurance for $300 to $600 propellers. I lost two last year at my home in the North Cape while I was away.

Anymore, especially in South Florida, it's not unusual for a boat owner to wake up to find his trailered boat next to the house has vanished.

Wheel locks? Wheels chained together? A simple hole dug in the yard filled with concrete with a couple eye bolts and a chain going around the axle? At least you had a hitch lock? None of the above? Bye-bye!

Shop for marine boat alarms that sound off when a boat is moved, started, etc. Install secret location GPS tracking devices to track your baby if it's stolen. Some companies offer all-in-one type monitored alarms that not only sound an alarm but also can be programmed to call your phone, text, and send an email if movement is detected or the engine is started.

Disable electric power to your lift when away. Light and sound are thief deterrents. Light your dock with motion sensors and spend the money for loud boat alarms.

A few years ago thieves were stealing boat trailers in Matlacha Park in broad daylight, easily taking trailers with no hitch locks. Install locks on spare wheels.

Tarpon are still on in and around the passes as visiting angler Tommy Cannon can tell you. A bluegill and crappie pond light rod specialist, Cannon got a workout on his first tarpon with almost nothing going in his favor. Drifting for a few hours produced little action till we happened upon birds and some bait activity.

The float suddenly disappeared and a nice tarpon cleared the surface in a classic gill-rattling majestic leap. After a clean hook-up and a line dumping run a gull flew right into the line almost tangling itself as the wide eyed angler kept cranking on his first monster.

Within minutes the tarpon frantically leaped again, this time trying to escape a big bull shark hot on his tail. Slamming the reel into free spool and controlling any overrun with his thumb the tarpon escaped as this brand new "tarpon pro" followed directions perfectly instead of freezing up with tarpon fever.

Pictured and cleanly released, I'm sure Tom smiled all the way back to Canada.

Trout slowly getting better as waters cool, but will take a bit longer to score consistently on gator-sized trout.

Same story with redfish as a mix of rat reds and overslot fish start to invade the shallow flats. Cooling water will get this action into high gear over the coming weeks as larger schools form and the competition for food and lures gets strong.

Snook fishing is and will continue to be in high gear with snook of all size looking to fatten for the winter freeze. Hot water still puts snook almost anywhere from beach stragglers to those on mangrove points working their way inland after a summer of spawning duties beachside.

As always, time spent floating a 10-inch ladyfish around high current docks with stout equipment can produce a longer than your leg monster. Think 100-pound braid and 100-pound leaders around serious structure for serious fish.

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



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