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Good advice for fishing new water

September 9, 2016
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Tremendous amounts of fresh water and stirred-up bottom material have made it tough for inshore anglers seeking to play with their favorite species.

Tarpon reports were understandably less than sunny this past week. Many are stowing the big rods for a fall snook or redfish outfit.

If you were on an early fall redfish bite and storms or high water chased them off, keep returning. Something drew them there and they likely will reappear when conditions are right (unless the food source completely dries up.)

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Most experienced local anglers have secret and not-so-secret redfish spots or holes they reliably return to year after year where a combination of food, depth, cover and current keeps bringing them back.

One confusing and frustrating thing facing anglers new to the area is it all looks so darn good. There must be a fish under every branch! Soon they find out that just like on any new body of water, it ain't necessarily so.

Reading info columns, such as this, talking with tackle shops and listening to dock chatter often points you in the right direction. Spending a half day with a local licensed guide is money well spent and will jumpstart your search while giving you a crash course on tackle and techniques suited for the area.

I take my own advice and always hire a guide on any new body of water I'm fishing, especially if it's a far flung expensive trip. The alternative is spending lots of time looking and probing that eats up the vacation clock.

The old saying about 90 percent of the fish are in about 10 percent of the lake is often true. Looking through the 90 percent of dead water to get to them is the vacation time killer.

With fall redfish schooling activity about here, one thing to try this season is a longer spinning rod.

A few seasons back I started using a Shimano Teramar medium action rod rated for 8 to 17-pound mono line. This nearly eight-foot long rod coupled with a quality spinning reel loaded with 10-pound braided Power Pro line will cast a 3/8-ounce redfish spoon from the Matlacha Bridge to Two Pines. Well, not quite, but you get the picture.

Who cares? If you like casting and catching reds on the flats, you should.

Size matters! An 8 to 8.5-foot rod adds several yards to each cast allowing me to not only reach out to distant targets, but to stay far back from feeding schools so as to not disturb them and still allow me to pick off fish from the edges of the school.

If you are near a school of actively feeding redfish don't cast into the middle of the school then retrieve and fight the fish back through the school as this generally will shut down fishing or the whole gang will change zip codes.

Cast with a friend using a standard 6.5-foot rod and watch him squirm every time your lure lands much farther than his allowing you to cover as much as 20 percent more water in the course of the day.

Covering water is the key. Keep moving and casting. The longer your lure is in the game and working for you the better your chances of a hungry red or snook eating your fake.

Longer rods also allows for better lure control allowing me to better steer the lure around cover on the retrieve. These rods also provide better fish control especially at boatside where your 15-pound mini-bull wants to charge and stay under the boat.

Extra length rods work great up close as well for close in flipping and pitching techniques without going to a specialty rod.

Often the shoreline caster will find the longer length unsuitable for close in run-and-gun casting and will switch to a shorter six-footer.

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



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