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Redfish, gags right for a fight

November 6, 2015
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

As you watch line disappear from your reel, which is attached to your deeply bent rod, you wonder just how darn big this redfish is.

Working the mangrove edges with your spoon the hit was hard and heavy as you go to work keeping the boat and fish away from the mangroves.

Suddenly, an overly fat, mottled green colored redfish comes to the top 20 yards away, seemingly only to take a quick break in preparation for the next round. Finally beaten this fat redfish turns into a gag grouper at boat side, here inshore for a fall fling.

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Capt. George Tunison

Inshore fall migrations of gag grouper occur every year at this time and these guys are looking to eat. Spoons, topwater plugs, soft plastics, and a variety of baits will get a green gag's juices flowing. Once on your hook he will always give a good fight.

Don't be surprised if on your next fall snook/redfish outing you meet up with one of these tough-as-nails characters in deep holes in the Cape's canals, on the flats along the mangrove edges, and in and around the passes. Find a deep hole on the flats and it may be loaded. Wise anglers use and understand topography maps.

Snook are on the move practically everywhere from the pass stragglers, to mangrove edge patrollers, the river and associated bridges, especially at night. As always, large live baits on heavy tackle score jumbo females at night around heavy structures. Talking 100-pound leaders on 80-100-pound braid with a big rod capable of slinging a live one-pound mullet or ladyfish just where you want it.

More importantly, being able to turn the monster snook's head away from cover. In this case just like the offshore grouper, guys know it's all about winning those first few moments in the fight that usually determines the outcome.

A 40-pound snook laughs at traditional snook and redfish equipment in and around big structure and current. Once she turns her head and heads for cover it's usually game over unless you're prepared for the fight.

Do these big females a favor, don't try this without the right equipment. You will only get broken off and possibly kill a huge female that supplies us all with future snook for fun and food. If you put in your time you will score. If you do, handle and release with care.

Offshore kingfish action is heating up. The nearshore/offshore angler might think of dragging a large diving plug behind his boat for grouper and kings that live around rocks and reefs from a few miles off to the horizon.

Watch the winds and take your flats/bay boat in and around the passes to score Spanish macs and bonito just a bit further off the beach. Let the diving birds guide you to the action. Bonito on light tackle spin and fly is a great game with long sizzling runs.

With fish seemingly everywhere in the shallows be sure to break out the fly rod for fall fun. Spanish macs in the passes, or better a 10-pound screaming bonito just offshore, or a bulldozer redfish digging for cover, no other fishing technique gives the angler more of a one-on-one fight feeling than the fly rod. It's just more exciting and has to be experienced to really understand the concept.

I've had great interest in my Total Beginners Saltwater Fly course by curious anglers with the typical "always wanted to try fly fishing, but it seems hard" mindset. It's not and these waters are made for it whether it's tossing a big bass bug at a Lake Okeechobee largemouth or a 150-pound Pine Island tarpon.

No equipment required. Just show up and spend two hours one-on-one with a licensed pro to jump start your fly adventures. Call for info.

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



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