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Sight fishing adventures a team effort

November 11, 2016
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Guiding or poling a client to their first sight fished snook, tarpon or redfish on the fly rod is a special experience for both guide and angler alike.

Definitely a team effort.

Spotting the fish, closing the distance, boat positioning, the final approach, the cast: Some times it goes easily, usually with a total beginner.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

The fish is spotted close by. A tangled mess of a cast is made and for some reason the stupidest fish in the world eats the fly, then comes to the boat without too much fuss. Pictures, happy, go home.

Typically this isn't the case. Usually the fish is spotted some distance away with the wind always blowing against the direction the boat is being poled. Often, by the time the distance is closed, the fish has moved and the chance lost.

Other times the guide will pole his heart out to reach a distant fish only to have a pelican fly over and spook the whole school, sending them off to another zip code.

In a recent case I spotted the fish in time and made a quiet approach while the angler prepared his backcast. The redfish was head down, tails up happily vacuuming the bottom. The wind was right. The redfish had no clue we were even close. Everything was perfect.

The back cast was started and the fly line extended out behind us. On the forward cast the fly was driven into supersonic speeds by the angler's brand new 10 wt. rod and into the back of my scalp, or should I say skull.

In another recent case (that happens too often), after poling like mad a fair distance against the wind power boats either cut across your path with a big smile and wave not realizing they have just ruined your shot, or try to spot and get to first, the fish that you are obviously after.

Visiting anglers that aren't used to seeing poled boats need to understand the work that goes into poling a loaded boat a great distance to a spotted fish. If you see someone on the platform poling a boat with an angler in the front ready to cast please stay as far away as possible.

You could be that angler visiting from far away, spending lots of money on transportation, lodging, food and guide services while looking for that one special fish. It's a real big pond out there guys, give your fellow angler a break.

Local angler Roy Bennett reported catching grouper in 90 feet of water and on another recent trip, this time with his daughter, caught lots of trout, a 14-inch (inshore) snapper and a 15 pound redfish that after an overly long fight turned into a nice cobia. All fish caught in the mouth of the river area.

Spanish mackerel are here in the passes and off the lighthouse on Sanibel Island. There is no better family fish especially for kids with short attention spans needing a fish a minute to stay interested.

If you are new to chasing Spanish mackerel try one of these methods, but first you must find the fish. Your best friends are birds and binoculars. Scan the area with binoculars looking for birds diving into the water.

The mackerel are under the school of baitfish driving them to the surface and the birds are taking advantage of the easy pickings on or near the surface. That is where you need to be.

Once you arrive on scene try trolling a few small silver spoons, such as the Clark Spoon, behind the boat and around the edges of (not through) the school.

If you prefer to cast light tackle bring frozen chum. After finding the fish by trolling or bird watching, anchor in the area and chum the fish to the back of a boat for fast action, light spin or fly tackle fun.

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



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