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AM/PM is right time now to fish

June 10, 2016
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

With hot water under the boat, lethargic fish and a blazing sun overhead you now wish you had set the alarm clock for two hours earlier. You should be finishing up by now and heading back to the dock.

This is early morning or night fishing time and the early bird gets the best bite.

Boat ready for night fishing? Lights and safety equipment in good order? Always tell someone where you are launching the boat, a general idea of where you are going, and what time you expect to return to the dock.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

If you run the boat at night and fish at night (especially with lures) one of the best investments you can make is to buy a pair of lightweight, clear safety glasses and keep wearing them.

Anglers spend hundreds of dollars on overpriced plastic and glass name brand glasses to protect their eyes from the sunlight, yet fail to use a $5 pair of safety glasses at night when eye accidents are more likely to occur.

A human trait is taking things for granted. Your vision should not be on that list.

If anchoring while tarpon fishing isn't your style then try this technique. Every year at this time I slow troll live baits, with the rods in the rod holders, up and down the beaches of Sanibel Island. Big pinfish or white bait, medium mullet and ladyfish all work as targets and have produced year after year. Troll very slowly parallel to the beach, starting before sun up in about 10 feet of water.

If it's calm I'll often use the electric motor or idle along with the big motor in heavier current or weather conditions

When dragging a second live bait run one on a short line and the second further behind. Experiment. Sometimes putting a float on the long line works great, especially when shifting in and out of gear to let the freelined short bait and the float bait settle down into the water column looking for trouble, also helping to trigger following fish.

How you arrange your baits, hooks sizes, floats, etc., will be guided by the size and species of the bait you're using.

Whenever possible, using larger baits like mullet, always try to bridle them instead of putting a hole through the bait fish's lips. With bridling, and the hook now fully exposed, your hook-up ratio will skyrocket and the bait stays alive and kicking.

Look on YOUTUBE for instructions.

Put the rod in the holders, grab a sandwich and drive. Start your trolling run in the 10-foot zone then turn around and stay in the 15-foot zone on the way back. Repeat.

Again, slow trolling means going slow. I always use circle hooks and, most importantly, keep the rods in the holders.

If you are holding the rod and a tarpon crashes your bait your first instinct is to set the hook! Two problems with that are you don't "set the hook" with a circle hook and you're not really sure if the fish has the bait swallowed as you yank it out of the strike zone. Panic time. Game over!

In the words of famous South Florida tarpon guru Capt. Bouncer Smith, "Let Rodney hook em, then and only then, pick up the rod and go to work."

Kayaks and Jon boats to fancy flats rigs, this is low tech fun fishing with beach scenery as an added bonus. Don't be surprised at the by-catch of cobia and other surprise fish.

With this past week's rains you're inshore honey hole might not be so hot. Best advice is to cover water and hit lots of spots.

Beach snook fishing is in full swing whether on foot or by boat. Any structure will congregate the fish along the beaches. True heavyweight snook are in the passes and on nearshore reefs.

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



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