Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Staff Contacts | Home RSS

No-see-ums, low tides can ruin outings

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

What's worse than a mouthful, earful, hair full, nose and eye full, even underwear full of Matlacha November no-see-ums? Nothing!

If you've been on the water this past week on a calm day and near the mangroves, say around five till seven, you probably have the battle scars to prove it.

If you start your fishing out away from the jungle it's a sure bet that a lone flight patrol will spot you and radio in alerting millions to your location. Once found it's all over but the dancing, swatting, and trying to cast till they finally break your will and you have to leave.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

I mixed a concoction of OFF, Skin-So-Soft, and Cutters and applied it liberally to all exposed surfaces. Within minutes I was feeling woozy from the chemicals and completely engulfed in a huge black cloud of new no-see-ums drawn by the obviously irresistible odor I'd created.

Hopefully this cold snap killed a bunch, but I doubt it. It probably just stunned them making them more angry and hungry.

Caution - when planning a deep backcountry trip in Southwest Florida fully understand your tide charts, especially during winter's extreme low tides. If you misjudge the tide you can easily become bone dry stranded at night in the mangrove jungle for hours, trying to find a way to fit into your live-well or cooler to escape the torture of millions of nasties trying to devour you.

Sea-Tow can not come to your aid. Always pack a small bag with long clothes and socks, a bottle or two of water, repellants (maybe not) and flashlight and stow it away for special occasions like these.

Never forget that tide charts are fairly accurate predictors, but local weather patterns, especially winds can greatly alter the stated tide heights for that day. Putting both factors together yields accurate information.

Putting the boat in the water several times this week at Matlacha, the ramp and surrounding waters were slick and shining with oil and gas products from boats. I watched sadly as the receding tide pulled the surface contaminants from the ramp out into the pass and into the ecosystem. My ankles were ringed with oil from launching the boat in the contaminated water.

It's been my personal experience that these polluters 95 percent of the time know their engines or other equipment are dripping oil yet ignore a fix for either financial reasons or they simply don't give a damn.

What to do? Ramp monitors? Probably not. Self enforcement? Certainly works for responsible folks, but they aren't the problem.

I suppose now with six major floating and slowly decomposing plastic poison trash masses on the world's oceans - like the one off Hawaii that I read is larger than the state of Texas - why get upset about a little oil in Matlacha?

The poisoning of the Caloosahatchee and the slow death of the Everglades allowed by Big Sugar influenced politicians, both Democrat and Republican, using our tax money to foolishly subsidize the industry that is the cause of the problem.

On a brighter note I'm always looking for a new angling thrill in shallow water. Fall brings in one of my favorite light tackle species.

What fish sprints at warp speed when hooked on the flats? Pound for pound fights harder than a snook or redfish, jumps like crazy, loves to eat lures, and if you get too close will really bite you? Yes, Mr. Bluefish is here looking for your spoon or topwater plug.

Typically these are bluefish in the 3 to 6 pound class that on light tackle will fight as hard as a jack, plus jump. Look around current influenced bars.

Another light tackle spin or fly fall winner is the bonito. Tuna strong with incredible runs. Lure and fly friendly. Just off the barrier islands and passes to several miles out.

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



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web