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Throw reds something different

September 25, 2015
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

This year throw those flats redfish something different. Borrow from the Bassmasters and go old school.

Grab your bass baitcaster outfit and spool up with some 15-20 pound braid, a couple feet of leader material, then break out the bass box and think spinner and buzzbaits.

If you enjoy a hard strike from a bass on a spinnerbait like we all do wait till a 10-pound ravenous eating machine redfish hits your spinner. On that first wallop many bass fisherman convert, then and there, to a lifetime of saltwater flats fishing trading their sleek metal flake Rangers in for one of the company's saltwater models.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Standard lure for Louisiana marsh redfish anglers, spinnerbaits haven't really caught on in Southwest Florida saltwater fishing circles. If you haven't tried it by all means arm at least one rod with a blade bait this month. Don't own a spinnerbait? Stop at the local tackle store and look for a Redfish Magic spinner by Strike King Lures. This commercially made redfish lure works well right out of the package, but due to its design allows spinner blade changes as well as jig head and plastic grub changes too, if you like to tinker with your lures.

Great for casting to a school, blind casting and covering water, casting around mangrove openings and other structure. From top to bottom the super versatile spinnerbait will draw awesome strikes from reds as well as largemouth bass in our local waters.

If you've enjoyed the same jolting strike produced by spinnerbaits and have seen how big bass attack slow moving buzzbaits on top then take another rod and tie on a big buzzer for your next predawn redfish hunt. Due to the fact that the mouth of a redfish is far from the tip of his nose like other fish and more on his neck, grabbing topwater prey or lures often results in misses by the fish. Being a bulldog, Mr. Red will continue to attack till he sees the boat or something spooks him away.

A slow moving, steady gurgling, buzzbait on top in the early morning light is a recipe for fun times. Reds will climb all over these things when tunnel vision and hunger takes over. They put on quite a show till they get the hook. Always use a trailer hook on a standard bass style buzzbait or spinnerbait.

Don't be surprised if a jumbo snook or a gator trout joins the party as both are attracted to blade baits. Flash, noise, versatility, spinnerbait style lures have a place in this season's flats tackle box.

By all means this season catch a redfish on a fly rod. Reds are perfect fly rod targets and are glad to eat your gold spoon fly or Clouser Minnow. This is fly rod country and all local gamefish will clobber your offering both inshore and offshore. Inshore an 8 weight rod is a good universal choice.

Constant rains have kept anglers hunting for clean water and fish, which are also on the move looking for the same thing - comfort zones. Huge influxes of fresh water lowers salinity levels putting fish off their usual haunts, often making for a day of run-and-gun fishing.

Rains have plagued offshore anglers as well making it difficult to schedule trips. Grouper, snapper, Spanish macs, cobia, even jumbo redfish will greet GPS number holders and reef raiders heading off to deeper water. Bigger mangrove snapper are still around looking for a prime spot on your grill. Tasty!

Tarpon are still around, but many tarpon types have traded their gear for snook and red tackle after a season of pursuing the chrome giants. True tarpon addicts know that tarpon season is year-round in the Cape-Fort Myers area, thanks to our river and canal systems.

Trophy snook are fattening up for winter.

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



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