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Results can be better than planned

October 16, 2015
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Sometimes the best laid plans don't work out, but often the unexpected results are better than what you originally hoped for.

Yesterday's redfish trip was a prime example with an eager client looking to get in on the current hot redfish bite and "just catch some fish."

Over the years, and like most of us, I've found my consistently producing hot spots through long hours, years of being on the water. Holes for winter trout, points for snook, deep holes for tarpon. These spots being productive only during certain times of the year and dead most other times. These usually producing go-to spots are a guide's bread and butter and something for the weekend angler to dream about all week at work.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Typically, folks fish reds two ways. Casting, be it fly, spin, or baitcasting a variety of spoons, flies, soft and hard plastics on the flats or along mangrove edges. For folks not looking to cast till their arms fall off, disabilities, casting skills not up to par, anchoring and fishing mangrove edges with dead or live bait is the norm.

A client from NYC had little casting experience which made my choice easy. Go to the bushes, soak bait, catch fish. These past 10 days I've fished a handful of always reliable October redfish spots with one in particular gave up rat reds one day, over slots the next.

After anchoring we pulled out frozen and live shrimp, baited up and cast as far up and under as possible.

New to the game? Find green bushes along the shoreline on a higher tide where you just can't get a lure to the fish you hear feeding back under the bushes. Quietly anchor a good cast length away. (Twenty- to 30-pound braided line, 40-50 pound fluoro leader attached to a small circle hook. Only use circle hooks as a greedy red, big and small, will swallow hooks and die.)

Put one-inch ladyfish pieces, dead or live shrimp, pinfish live or dead, cut mullet chunks on your circle hook and try and cast as far under the mangroves as you can.

I fish two rods. One rod with a small weighted float with a foot of line and hook below it cast to the edges. It's used in no current and in current situations.

The other line is rigged differently. It gets a bullet shaped sliding sinker (1/4 3/8 oz.) on the leader line first, pointed toward the rod, then a tiny soft plastic glow bead or red bead is slipped on the line to protect the knot. Then the circle hook is attached. It's simply cast to the mangrove edge and leave in place on bottom till a hog size red smells it, wallows over and inhales it. Be a line watcher as this all happens in a blink of the eye.

After 15-20 minutes and no redfish, relocate and repeat.

The float equipped rod makes a great strike indicator for newbies in dead current situations, but also allows you to cast up current when the tide is moving. By hand controlling your line as the current takes it along you can present your live bait (pinfish/shrimp) for 20 yards or more all along, under, and around gnarly, big fish holding cover just by mending and/or letting out line as the float passes the cover. Pay attention because as soon as you look away your eyes will be back searching for a float that's now 10 feet back and under.

My redfish hot spot was void of reds, but for over an hour he caught a total of 17 snook that inhaled the current driven float/hook as it probed the "redfish" edge. Moving to a close bar just past sunset his fourth cast into a group of mullet completed his day. A fat over-slot red inhaled his topwater plug in a showering explosion.

Happy camper.

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



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