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City folks blown away on 1st trip

March 4, 2016
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Tuesday's charter was a thrill for my New York City clients as we probed the backcountry looking for reds, snook, and trout.

The weather was fantastic, the fish were biting, and it was their first trip to Florida and boat/fishing trip ever.

City dwellers to the core, they were experiencing a mental overload of sorts as they tried to take it all in at once. To say they were in a state of semi-shock would be more accurate. The amount of wide open space was almost overwhelming.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Never in a boat, never on the water, hardly ever out of the city as we slowly drifted across a shallow, sun-warmed mullet-filled back water and right up to a trio of huge manatees sunning themselves.

I spotted the manatees several minutes before and said nothing as I continued to quietly correct our wind drift with the trolling motor to come close to the big guys without spooking them.

A deafening scream that could be heard all the way to NYC, if not at least to Jersey, pierced the air as the biggest of the pod slowly lifted his massive tail from the water four feet from the wife's chair. Stretching, the biggest one nudged the closet saying, "Move over a bit will ya?" as my city crew watched in jaw-dropped awe.

After this episode it was trout after trout as the new anglers quickly caught on to tossing a cork and bait in the intended direction without catching each other (4x) or hooking water birds (1x).

Maybe even more exciting was the young dolphin that was hunting in the same mullet-filled bay that suddenly appeared from nowhere to wolf down my clients' first trout release at the side of the boat.

The bird phase of the trip was also a real thrill for all aboard as the unfortunate gull peeled line as it flew toward Sanibel Island attached to a now semi-hysterical woman with a death grip on my five-foot ultralite rod.

Thankfully, the light braided line held and after a short flight the gull grudgingly came aboard, accompanied by a combination of screams, sobbing, and pleading of, "Stop! Stop! You're Hurting It!" Now, the really hot gull had had enough and went into fight or flight mode becoming intent on pecking out one remaining good eye.

After a successful release we all sat back in the shade to rest. Sea monster scares next to the boat, discovering the joys of fishing, live kite flying, being on the water in a boat, open space, they were exhausted.

A whole list of lifetime never-forget memories, talked, thought of, and dreamt about for years to come, all in just 2 1/2 hours.

We sat quietly and regrouped as I watched them marvel at the beautiful aerodynamics of locked wing gliding pelicans.

Suddenly a lone cork disappeared and a near 10-pound jack headed for parts unknown as a mad scramble ensued as line peeled and I barked directions.

Starting the motor we followed trying to regain line and pull in the biggest fish they had ever seen. Ear-to-ear grins all around as the big jack was pictured and released.

Next time you head out take a few minutes to really appreciate what we sometimes take for granted living in our little slice of Southwest Florida paradise.

Bigger trout this week hit my not-so-secret two-hook Rebel bass lures in gold and or chrome. These freshwater lures are a trout killer. Fish them on eight-pound braid and a light fluoro leader. Always, loop knot your leader to the lure by taking off the split ring on the lure's nose.

These lures dive on retrieve and can be made to come to life in a variety of ways from top to bottom. Don't be surprised if a snook inhales it.

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



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