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Fly rod is ideal rig for bonito

September 23, 2016
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Nothing like steady weather to get the offshore boats out of port and chasing a wide variety of sport and table fish available on nearshore and offshore rock piles and ledges.

Look for diving birds to help you find concentrations of Spanish macs and kingfish. In this mix, or nearby, find one of my favorite light tackle sportfish the bonito.

An 8 wt. fly rod with a reel that holds substantial backing is definitely light tackle for these incredible little powerhouses of 5 to 10 pounds or better. Considering the fish's power, plus possible windy offshore conditions, a 10 wt. might be a better all-around choice for this duty and still offering plenty of drag screaming fun.

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Capt. George Tunison

Troll or live bait for your kingfish. You can get as fancy as you like with a staggered spread of multiple lures at staggered depths using transom mounted rods as well as outriggers. Or keep it simple and toss a plug or spoon out the back to troll near and around any baitfish activity.

Bait types will use fresh caught blue runners or other sizable live bait to get the attention of a trophy. Wire leaders and stinger hooks are key as fish like wahoo and kings have incredibly sharp teeth.

Let a big king do its thing and run without too much drag pressure or the hooks will pull signaling game over.

Lure choices should include Rapala's, YoZuri's, and MirrOlure (lipped) in shallow and diving models using braided line or mono. Greater depth and strength with braid.

Cobia reports still warrant a rod rigged and ready with a plastic eel or colorful bucktail. A fly rod with the same colorful attractor type fly or a spinner able to cast a live pinfish a good distance should find a place in your arsenal when heading offshore.

A live eel is the primo bait of all, but I've had good luck using a black Berkeley plastic imitation on a stout 1.5 oz. jighead. Cobias do love pinfish and they are a hot backup choice.

Grouper are looking for a fight on your dropped cigar minnow or trolled baits. Mann's Stretch series do the job nicely.

Depth rating is right on the package. Remember you want to just ding the high point tips of the structure not get down in it and lose that $12 hunk of painted plastic.

If you aren't familiar with trolling techniques then practice. Buy a set of trolling lures and stick with them. Find some structure and learn the game.

Learning to really interpret what you are seeing on your electronics displays is vital for the troller. Knowing how deep your lures will dive on a certain test line, at a certain speed, and at how far behind the boat only comes with practice.

The idea is to tick the tops of the structure triggering a strike not losing lures along the way to unyielding snags.

Trout action seems to be of the medium variety with grass beds at the top of Pine Island hosting some interested fish along with grass beds in Matlacha and Pine Island Sound.

Snook are still spread from the surf and passes to inland back waters.

Congrats to visiting Capt. Billy Lewis on a fine fly rod catch, just a hair under 39-inch snook, using a red and white four-inch, self-tied Seaducer fly, on an 8wt. rod he assembled and finished.

With redfish starting their fall fling give the long rod a try this fall. Redfish readily take a variety of flies. Clouser minnows, keel flies, and spoon flies in gold flavor will get the job done.

Find a feeding school and toss a fly rod popper along the edge of the school for a solid topwater strike.

I like an 8 wt. with a heavy front taper fly line and short five-foot leader for repeated shoreline casting.

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



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