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As weather heats up, so does fishing

April 29, 2016
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Get out your cold towels from the cooler and slap on the sunscreen. It's oven time.

These last weeks have been a blessing with hungry fish and incredibly friendly weather, but as dear old Dad used to preach, nothing lasts forever.

At the bait store the shrimp get smaller each passing weekend. A sure sign that summer is upon us. The great news being - as it gets hotter so does the fishing, especially for Florida's most sought after inshore tarpon and snook.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Traditional places to find early tarpon coming up from southern parts mostly unknown, is off Knapp's point, the Sanibel Causeway, and near York and Chino Islands. A little scouting and you will see the boats.

Rule one is stay back and observe. Barging into the middle of a pack of anchored boats with baits in the water? Bad form and not likely to make you any new friends.

Farther up into Pine Island early tarpon stage in Captiva Pass and around Captiva Shoals and off the beach before heading north to Boca Grande Pass later in May.

Other groups of tarpon will come up the river and mill around all bridges in the Caloosahatchee. This movement may depend on the volume of contaminated water releases from Lake O.

It's sad to know that one industry and the politicians and managers they support, both locally and in D.C., can hold the fate of two rivers, the Everglades, two economies, and the health of millions of people in their collective pockets.

Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio both vote in favor of the sugar subsidies year after year while Americans are forced to pay more for sugar. American companies are forced to relocate to Mexico and Canada to manufacture their goods, buying sugar sometimes at half the cost.

Keep the pressure on folks. There is only one way for the water to go-south, as intended. Anything else is smoke and mirrors.

The local canal tarpon fishing is red hot with hungry fish. These often juvenile canal fish in the 1- to 20-pound class are my favorite light tackle sport. I look forward to these fish every year. While waiting for steady action on the big migratory fish my clients have enjoyed tossing flies and jigs at these hard pulling acrobats with good success.

That being said, these juvenile tarpon, like all tarpon, can drive you crazy as you make cast after cast to them, sometimes rolling right around the boat. Experienced tarpon hunters understand tarpon tunnel vision. For those not in the know, tarpon often key on one food source and shun all other baits or lures driving anglers somewhat batty.

These juvenile fish often are eating tiny fry or minnows so small lures, especially flies, are the key. A good selection of fly tackle is available locally at Lehr's Economy Tackle in North Fort Myers and an even broader selection is presented at Bass Pro Shops south of us off I-75.

Best success has been using tiny (under an inch) Deceiver style flies and long thin leaders. On spinning equipment small, brightly colored jigs have been putting fish into the air.

On spinning equipment you can get away with a light fluorocarbon leader of 15-pound test. If you are using a highly visible braided line use a long leader for these little eagle eyed gamesters. I'm using five feet of fluorocarbon uni-knotted to my 10-pound main line. Shun swivels as well.

Obviously size your tackle and up your leader strength for bigger fish.

Snook are looking for your cast net baits, topwater lures, spoons, soft plastics, and Mirr-O-lures inshore. Sanibel beach walkers will do well casting white bucktail jigs parallel to the beach.

Redfish, cobia, grouper, and snapper wait offshore.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-440-1621 or, or



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