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As species return, trout still hot item

April 8, 2016
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON (captgeorget3@aol.com) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

With local attention shifting to tarpon and pass snook, trout fishing is still hot.

Charters this past week produced trout after trout as we drifted and quietly poled the 3- to 5-foot zone over grass and potholes.

Brown water in Matlacha didn't seem to bother the trout as long as the topwater plug was noisy and chartreuse. Rapala Skitter Walks are hard to beat and color, on this particular day, really made the difference in the brown water.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Always trailing a live shrimp (under a float) behind the boat is a great way to pick up bonus fish while casting plugs to catch your trout limit. This backup plan paid off this week on multiple trips, producing bonus redfish, pompano, jacks, snook, and a few small sharks that weren't interested in our lures.

The lone man working rig also produced the biggest trout of three trips with a mini-gator at just over four pounds.

If you are wind drifting an open, relatively weed-free area while casting and don't like the shrimp mess, then pull out a floating slim minnow plug (Bomber-Rebel-Rapala) and trail it 100 feet or more behind the boat instead. Make double sure this rod is secured in a holder as these lifelike plugs wobbling slowly along the surface can entice a big bite.

This paid off last season when a Matlacha flats cobia ate the boat's Rebel plug. This event alone was pretty neat, but it got more interesting as my barefoot client lipped the fish with a gripper and swung it aboard.

Instead of keeping the crazy cobia under control and lipped he promptly released it, in the bottom of the boat. The cobia was still green and full of evil intentions, which was quickly demonstrated when the fish flipped, flopped, burying two hooks deep into the bare foot in a blink of an eye. Soon, the three of us were doing the cobia shuffle as I tried to subdue angler and fish for a quick as possible double release.

Wear shoes in the boat. I've seen hooks stuck in most parts of anglers, including scalps, ears, lips, necks, legs and butts, but most seem to occur in hands or bare feet.

By all means wear some sort of clear glasses for eye protection when night fishing with lures and running the boat.

On foot? No live well in your rig to keep your shrimp alive and kicking? Don't want to carry buckets of salt water in your car to spill on the way to the ramp? No problem, live shrimp don't need water anyway. What?

Take your small cooler and add ice. Buy shrimp and have the bait man put them in a plastic bag that you provide (no water). Put the bag on the ice. Shrimp will still be alive up to two-plus days later.

Small cooler again, adding ice. Place three sheets of wet newspaper on the ice. Place a layer of shrimp on the paper. Add another wet sheet of newsprint over shrimp. The secret is to wet the paper with saltwater at the ramp. Alive up to two days or more.

Laying the shrimp on chlorinated ice without a buffer, such as newspaper, moss, bag, can, or a framed screen, will kill them.

Good weather ahead and fish are hungry both offshore and inshore. Snook are arriving at the beaches for early morning beach walkers to fire jigs at in the surf zone. Snook are on mangrove island points and potholes/docks from inshore to the beaches with some real giants being caught on offshore rock piles by offshore anglers.

Scattered redfish reports coming from Burnt Store Bar, the flats/bars directly southwest of Useppa Island, and various bars, mangroves shorelines, and potholes in Pine Island Sound and Matlacha Pass.

As the big boys are starting to arrive here from their winter vacation tarpon fever is spreading quickly through the Cape's angling community.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-440-1621 or captgeorget3@aol.com, or www.flyingfinssportfishing.com.

 
 
 

 

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