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Tarpon are on the move, get going

March 10, 2017
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Had enough wind? Hopefully, we will get a break so the offshore fleet can feed the grouper 20 to 40 miles out and inshore anglers can play with the snook that already are heading for the beaches.

Better get your tarpon gear in order quickly this year. With the warm winter tarpon are on the move.

If you're a novice and recently joined the Cape Coral Tarpon Hunters Club you made the right move and receiving a Grade A education in all aspects of tarpon fishing and conservation of this magnificent game fish.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Another good way to get in the game is to spend a day or half a day with a local licensed guide. You will receive a one-on-one four-hour crash course to jump start your future tarpon adventures.

Better yet, pay for the day's gas and sandwiches and recruit your tarpon friendly neighbor to show you the way.

Tarpon truly are Everyman's big game sport fish. Accessible to the shore angler or those with a Jon boat and 5-horse motor. Take your big rod to the Matlacha Bridge for some real nighttime excitement without a boat.

Just moved in and you're on a Cape canal? There's a good chance that 100-pound resident tarpon has passed your seawall sometime in the last 24 hours.

Tarpon fishing can be as non-technical as throwing out a chunk of freshly caught catfish and letting it soak on the bottom. The mighty tarpon is at heart an opportunistic scavenger.

At the other end of the spectrum is intercepting pods of tarpon off the beaches and presenting a perfectly thrown fly at them in the clear green waters of the gulf.

The two forms of tarpon fishing my clients enjoy the most is casting artificial lures at night around the many bridges in our river system and pursuing juvenile tarpon on ultra-light spinning gear or fly rods in the Cape's hundreds of miles of salty canals.

If you have the fever and need that tarpon fix right now, then head down to the Keys and go out on one of the tarpon charter boats docked at Bhai Honda State Park at Mile Marker 37. (; 305-872-3210). Kayak-snorkeling, also available.

Long boat ride and sea sick? Not a chance. Simply park your car and walk 30 yards to board the boat and then take the three-minute boat ride to the bridge.

How about guaranteed to hook a tarpon or you get a free return trip? Can't beat that! Call 800-241-1975 for current info and booking.

On my last early spring trip the captain dropped the anchor while I threw out a live mullet and was tied to a huge ocean going, strong-as-blazes 150-pound-plus tarpon within minutes. One of four big guys that morning! Talk about exhausted!

Tarpon gather here in huge numbers before heading north to our neck of the woods. It's a great way to jumpstart your season, novice or experienced angler alike.

A friend of mine asked me to come over for a delightful tripletail dinner. If the winds slow, venture offshore with some live shrimp, shrimp imitators, or fly rod and search the crab floats for this prehistoric great tasting oddity.

Expect to see it hanging right below the float, or sometimes swimming on its side on the surface.

Boats with towers have an advantage as you slowly cruise a line of floats looking down to spot this interesting fish.

If you see one circle back quietly and float a shrimp back to the fish. If you spook him he will drop down the anchor line, but later reappear.

If the tripletail takes the bait your first priority is to get him away from the anchor line which he will use to his advantage to cut you off.

Enjoy the hard fight and the taste of this delicious fish.

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



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