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Tarpon will soon start migrating

August 5, 2016
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Time flies. Get in your tarpon licks soon as it won't be long before those fish inclined to winter farther south of here will be heading out.

The resident fish will stay behind happy and content that they don't have to make the long trip and fighting sharks along the way.

These "smarter" fish will choose instead to winter upriver or in a deep canal here in Southwest Florida, enjoying the peaceful easy living and warm waters, dining on trout, lady and catfish snacks.

In the meantime, the current black water summer fish will be scattered throughout the deeper waters of Charlotte Harbor and the mouth of the Myakka River.

Northern Matlacha Pass always had been a proven producer in summer, but for me, not this summer.

There always will be summer tarpon that prefer to live around and hunt in the passes and along the coast/ beaches, but the main body seem to move into the harbor during the hot water period.

The usual live baits, either balloon floated or free lined, will do the trick. Casters will throw a variety of lures like MirrOlures, jigs, plastic swimbaits and artificial shrimp. The best deal is that once in an area of bait and active birds, quietly wind drift through these areas trailing some livies behind while casting artificials from the front deck.

Don't forget that by law any tarpon over 40 inches must not be removed from the water for any reason. Bend down and get a face pic of you and your happy tarpon while he's recovering in the water, but be careful as the fish could explode at any time.

Years ago I was at Robbie's in the Keys watching folks feed their $2 bucket of fish to the resident tarpon that are always hanging out at the dock waiting for tourists.

This school of trained resident tarpon are all arranged according to size, with the biggest closest to the dock and a variety of permit, jacks and other assorted smaller fish hanging in the back of the pack.

A lady bent down low over the water dangling a nice chunk of fish to the pack of hungry, spoiled, resident wolves below her. Calling out, "here fishy fishy."

In a flash the biggest tarpon in the pack, because of his size had a front row seat, came up fast, swallowed the fish and hit her square in the nose with a jumbo lower lip as hard as a rock, nearly knocking her out and badly breaking her nose.

This easily could happen to you so remain aware. By getting yourself sucker punched like this on a release possibly could be the cause of you drowning.

With the heat, try not to overstress the fish. Light tackle and a prolonged fight with a big tarpon in near boiling water can be a deadly combo for a 50-year old fish. Tackle up, get the fish to the boat, and by all means take your time reviving the fish otherwise it will be easy prey for the tons of sharks roaming our waters.

Snook are still biting along the beaches, passes and area docks. Remember, any structure along the beach edge, no matter how small, can hold a monster snook or a whole school. Get out early and walk the beaches casting white bucktails, DOA Shrimp in glow or gold or silver glitter colors into the surf zone.

Pitching live baits to a dock-bound school will wear out your arm as these are hungry fish looking to eat.

Heading offshore, anglers should watch for cobia to appear while hunting grouper, both red and gag, as well as permit, amberjack and snapper.

Snapper action in the passes is easy fishing for everyone. Fish a moving tide with light tackle and shrimp, fresh or frozen. Bottom drift trying to keep your hooks out of the tangle below.

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



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