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Use glow jigs, lures as ornaments

December 24, 2015
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

This year's unofficial Christmas tree ornament count is at 100.

That's about 50 MirrOlures and another 50 or so glow in the dark soft plastic jigs hanging on the tree, each glow jig perfectly positioned next to a Christmas tree light.

The glow jigs are so amped up from the lights that you can easily read fine print in the living room long after lights out has passed. Neighborhood kids call our place "scary Christmas"

Looking past the tree out to the water, just in time to see a dolphin slam through a school of mullet, then suddenly and gracefully go airborne, arching through the air with a huge mullet dinner held sideways between two rows of grinning teeth.

It's going to be 85 degrees for Christmas. I'll be fishing. It's great to live in Southwest Florida!

With cold fronts soon zipping in and out, coupled with rain and wind events often lasting days, this is the time of year when you have to learn to quickly adapt to changing and often challenging weather and tide conditions.

Learning as much as you can about your intended catch, such as preferred temp range, can add one more answer to solving the "where are they today" puzzle.

Two days of cold front and you're going snook fishing on the flats? Good luck. Your buddy back in the Cape stayed home and is fishing a deep and warmer residential canal catching fish around a dock.

Finding an area just a few degrees warmer can spell success. Move, probe and keep moving. Keep an eye on your temp gauge. Too many anglers get into the "we caught 'em here before, we're not moving" mindset.

Winter is a good time for new anglers that spent most of the warm water period on the flats to learn about our river and canal system. The Cape's nearly 500 miles of canals are a winter refuge for millions of fish escaping our cold, shallow winter waters.

In winter, fishing the Cape's canals expect to score on trout, snook of all sizes, redfish, sheepshead, even a grouper may inhale your bait. Bass addicts can get their fill as well. I've had days catching a largemouth on one cast and a redfish or snook on the next.

Quietly slow trolling winter canals with long plugs like Bombers, especially at night, can put long-as-your-leg whopper snook on your hook.

Fishing deep water canal docks can produce fantastic results and a variety of fish all winter.

Tip: take some time and use your depth finder to probe the bottom of your local canal system. You're not fishing, you're scouting, looking for deep holes and structure. Mark these with your unit or on a map. Once you've located several return in the following days with nice big, live shrimp, small live ladyfish, and shrimp tipped jigs.

While others are poking around the cold fishless flats or fighting the wind, you're on a back yard bonanza. These spots, once found, will produce for years to come.

Upriver at the Franklin Locks you'll find winter tarpon anglers enjoying their sport while the rest of the country shovels snow.

This is prime time to bag a huge snook with a large live bait or trolled lure. Big drum are biting at the bridges on half crabs on the bottom. Trout gets better as it gets colder. Redfish don't care and still bite. Delicious sheepshead will be served for winter dinner as the bite turns on. Fish bridge pilings.

Extra bucks this year? Buy or put together from your stash a good working rod and reel combo. Present it to a young potential angler. Better yet, if you're blessed (or cursed) with a boat vow to take someone less fortunate on the water or round up the neighborhood youngsters.

Have a safe and Merry Christmas!

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



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