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Anglers can score prized trophy trout

April 1, 2016
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON (captgeorget3@aol.com) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Visiting anglers looking to score on trout in Matlacha and Pine Island should try time tested spots like Two Pines, Jug Creek Shoal, Bull Bay and Turtle Bay.

Captiva Shoal and many spots along the Intracoastal Waterway (near Useppa Island) in PI Sound are hot trout producers.

Quietly poling or drifting the Burnt Store Bar, inside or outside the bar, can produce gator trout, especially for those willing to be on scene long before sunrise. That doesn't mean motoring up, shutting down, and flailing away.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Once you get reasonably near shut down and quietly drift, pole or troll motor your way close to your intended area. Simply shut down and observe and listen. The fish already know you are there. It's shallow and your rocking hull sends out warning waves all across the flat.

One slammed lid, stumble, scraped tackle box, even loud talking and it's likely your trophy trout has exited the flat for deep cover. You still will catch some trout, but not the one you came for.

Word of caution to those that like to wade for their trout - fishing inside Burnt Store Bar can be dicey. Many boaters that leave Burnt Store Marina heading south choose to travel inside the bar rather than outside. I've had early dawn charters with three anglers in the water casting when an over 60 mph high performance flats boat runs between them. The boater never knew he passed between them.

Large surface plugs and slim minnow plugs slowly retrieved on the surface have been consistent producers of trophy trout.

Southwest trophy size trout are wary, noise sensitive and don't come often. Grass flats with potholes and oyster bars are prime areas. Stealth, long casts with light lines, being on scene pre-dawn or fishing at night, patience and paying your dues by putting in your time, will pay off.

New boaters beware. This is shallow water central. Often straying a few yards, sometimes a few feet outside the channel results in a call to your local tow operator. After all a hard grounding without tow membership insurance could cost astronomical amounts of money. What's that? You don't have tow club membership? Membership and studying your maps before heading out are both good plans.

While offshore fishing with grandad, Tommy Elwood, 14, was surprised by the big grouper on his line that somehow had transformed itself into a near 30-pound snook on the way to the surface.

New to offshore fishing? Start by searching out readily available GPS numbers of local reefs and wrecks. Plan to anchor, bottom fish or troll large plugs on or around them. Lots of opportunities for a great variety of fish, from top to bottom.

Redfish? High water under the bushes with dead baits, bars or mangrove islands with potholes and grass flats always are dependable locations. Try topwater plugs early and late with gold spoons, always a go-to bait. Always use a tiny swivel on your line. SPRO brand swivels are tiny yet super strong.

Snook might be found just about anywhere this time of year as they continue to march toward their eventual summer home, the area's beaches, for summer spawning duties.

Look for potholes on mangrove island points, bars with current, necked down areas between island with current flow, docks, lit docks at night, and large structures like the Sanibel Causeway where snook can gang up by the hundreds.

Get reports from guides or shops before taking a river trip as the water releases continue to plague us and change fish and bait locations. Low salinity levels remain.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or captgeorget3@aol.com, or www.flyingfinssportfishing.com.

 
 
 

 

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