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Big snook, reds strike offshore

October 2, 2015
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Offshore anglers are catching some of the area's biggest redfish and snook along with grouper, snapper, amberjack, sharks, Spanish mackerel and cobia.

On your offshore run be prepared to launch live bait to a southbound pod of tarpon or a curious cobia.

As always watch the weather, start early, and leave a game plan with someone in case you don't show up at the dock at your stated return time or can't communicate to report a problem at sea.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

For those more than content to ply ankle deep waters it's your time to enjoy great fishing and weather. Snook are more than hungry, but are trying to stay out of the way of hungry redfish invading the shallow waters in order to fatten up.

Trips this week aboard Flying Fins produced reds under the bushes on higher tides and along mangrove edges during tide fallout, and on the flats.

Best results are often realized by first consulting your tide chart looking for an early morning low tide. Be on location early at the tide's lowest point. As it begins to rise with the sun you are now in prime tailing territory.

Push-pole anglers have a decided advantage in this situation as stealth is the winner here. On a shallow flat in the dead quiet of dawn one heavy foot step, tackle box slide, loud talking or a slammed lid often sends a whole school of happily feeding, easy catching reds to another zip code. Game over.

Pole anglers access waters too skinny for trolling motors without destroying valuable bottom grasses. Without grass bottom cover we have no fish. Prop scars often never regrow or take up to a decade to fill in. Please respect the environment.

Gamefish forced into deep water when the tides recede leaving the flats too skinny to navigate or hunt, return with the tide following it in till they are chasing crabs and shrimp under the mangroves along the shoreline and the tide once again falls out.

Try getting out of the boat and stingray shuffle to casting distance. Newbie to wading? Wear foot protection! A stingray barb injected into a foot or ankle will leave you with a lifetime bad memory of your Florida vacation.

Waders also should be aware you are in shark territory, from five pounders to ones bigger than a flats boat.

Kayaks and canoes shine in this skinny water and often large bay boats are seen with a yak or canoe attached to get really skinny while leaving the mother ship stationed nearby.

Flat bottom Jon's and Carolina Skiff style flat bottom boats often can access thinner waters than most incredibly overpriced flats boats, often bruising the egos of high end owners that spend too much time bragging that "their boats" go in 8-inches of water, or 7 or 5. The fish could care less.

This past week clients casted spoons, topwater plugs, bass style spinner-baits, and soft plastics along and under the mangroves and on the open flats catching both rat to over-slot sized reds and bonus snook. For clients not crazy about flinging lures all day do the cast-under-the-bushes-and-wait game using pinfish, cut ladyfish in one-inch steaks or shrimp live, dead, frozen or half rotten.

This area is a saltwater fly fishing paradise. Reds love to examine your fly. Nothing fancy, a spoon fly and a few Clousers will seal the deal. An 8 weight rod will do nicely if one rod is all you own. Fly nuts like me usually own multiple rods so pack a 6 thru 9, even a 10 weight to handle most tide and wind conditions you might encounter while red drum fishing here.

If the big moon slowed your daytime fishing it will now pick up. What happens next because of the latest hurricane remains to be seen?

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



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