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Feeding fish hitting high gear

March 25, 2016
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

From the ankle-deep Matlacha backwaters out to your favorite 30-mile GPS number, fish are hungry and ready to fight.

Offshore snapper, cobia, hogfish, grouper, Spanish, kingfish, sharks all will be taken on anything from bottom baits to trolled and casted lures.

The beaches are hosting early snook arrivals so if you are staying at any barrier island beach and want a shot at a monster snook without the boat hassle grab a rod, a handful of white bucktail jigs, and start walking the early morning (or night) surf.

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Capt. George Tunison

Keep casting and moving down the beach. Often snook can be spotted almost belly on the beach so keep casting in the surf zone parallel to the beach, not out in the Gulf.

Walking the beach at night casting a big topwater plug or big long minnow type lure (Bomber, Rebel, and Rapala) or bouncing a traditional MirrOlure around the surf zone can bring monster results if you put in your time and pay your dues. (Bug spray, long sleeves, pants, socks, shoes, gloves, etc.)

That being said I don't want to be responsible for anyone becoming a tasty tourist voluntarily, so my advice is to walk the beach at night, not wade. If you haven't gotten the memo this is a popular resort for sharks of all sizes and descriptions.

Redfish catches are increasing for some and still a mystery to other anglers. If you aren't having luck with your favorite redfish hardware or soft plastics then go back to the basics.

Shrimp, cut ladyfish, pinfish, casted up and under the bushes on a jighead or bullet sinker and hook, or under a float next to the mangroves is the deal. Check your tide charts and if possible plan your trip around an incoming high tide, high enough to get water flooded far back and under the sticks. Pick your presentation style, gather your baits and go to work.

Three things are needed to be good at this time honored method - patience, more patience, and casting accuracy.

If you are the run-and-gun caster type brought up on bass fishing and covering ground, this method will drive you crazy as you sit there waiting, staring at the sun.

If you can sit still long enough quietly anchor and get your baits as close to or just under the branches. Sit quietly and be a line watcher.

It's vital you get the bait as close as possible. Often a foot (or less) away from the edge will result in no fish.

Perfecting your side arm casting is the ticket. A long, slow lob is the method.

When a big or little red decides to munch your offering it happens quickly. In the blink of an eye your hooked red, bait, and line are 10 feet back and under into no-man's-land.

The next sound you will hear while madly reeling and pulling, rod held skyward, trying to play catch-up is a loud snap as your line parts in the evil mangroves.

Pay attention and be ready to try and turn your fish while keeping the rod tip in the water anytime the fish is fighting near wood or branches.

No results? Move 30 yards down the bank and repeat.

Jumped my first tarpon this past week. A 20-inch baby that thought he was five times his size.

I've been very fortunate to have lived on the water for the last 16 years and to be able to watch the daily activity of the resident tarpon.

After nearly a week of near zero activity my area came alive with jacks and baby tarpon feeding heavily in the morning of this past week's approaching cold front.

Inhaling a gold spoon intended for jacks, he made three fine jumps. On jump four the little guy finned goodbye, tossing my spoon high into the air.

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



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