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Trout still a favorite of SW Florida

March 24, 2017
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

With many anglers' attention turning to spring tarpon fishing, the popular trout still remains a Southwest Florida favorite. With cool waters and low tides, finding trout can at times be easy.

A trip on Wednesday produced trout after trout on a variety of lures and presentations. The low tide put the trout deep in holes and channels next to the flats and in a competitive mood as they bit everything thrown at them.

The soft plastic bait that stood above the rest was the DOA CAL Shrimp in green Black/silver glitter on 1/8-ounce jigheads slowly hopped along the bottom. This bottom bounce also accounted for two under-slot redfish that wanted in on the action.

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Capt. George Tunison

The tiny size MirrOdine by MirrOlure was just as deadly. So much so, we bent down all barbs saving released fish from the damage caused by barbed treble hooks.

Not to be outdone, my fly guy scored heavily with a two-inch white/Mylar Clouser Minnow that he ties.

DOA's new two-inch shrimp is a great bait for those that like to skip cast under the bushes or docks. This think skips like a flat rock and the trout love it as well.

Trout anglers use a lot of soft plastics and jigheads, which can be pricey. I buy Arkie plain lead head jigs/gold hooks in bulk and hand dip the plain lead heads in a variety of colors, and sometimes glitter, and save a bundle. Whatever jighead you use always attach it to your line with a loop knot for maximum jig action.

When choosing a loop knot use one that has the tag or end of your line facing the lure, not away from it. This will shed weeds instead of collect them.

A sleeper lure for trout is a slim minnow plug like the classic Rapala and Rebel Floating Minnows. These versatile lures can be fished in numerous ways and shine in skinny water.

Jerk and flash, pause and let float back to the surface. Slow and steady,dive, stop and go retrieve, or my favorite a super slow,steady reel and pause on the surface. Deadly on any species in skinny water, but shines for bigger trout.

No hardware, and attach to your line with a loop knot. In this case, as terminal knot kills the fine action of these lightweight lures, although you can upgrade to a stronger, light wire hook for added saltwater insurance. Don't overdo it as this too will kill the action. Fish these on light braid with a leader testing 10-40 pounds depending on the species you seek.

For years I've relied on a four-inch, two-hook, gold, Rebel Floating Minnow to catch spring snook along mangrove edges.

Nearshore to offshore, the bite is on weather permitting, or rather wind permitting. Snapper, hogfish, tripletails, close in to heavy duty amberjack as the 100-mile mark and beyond.

Want to pull on something heavy? Try an amberjack charter. Eat your Wheaties. These things are brutal and will test your tackle, your back and your determination.

Tripletail are still being caught, so keep a sharp eye on floats and channel markers for a hiding leaf fish. Circle back and feed them a live shrimp or shrimp fly imitation and hang on.

Just getting into saltwater fly fishing or want to? Find a deep hole off the flat loaded with ladyfish (mini-tarpon) and get in your practice. This will teach you to cast in the ever present wind, hook setting, line control, and bowing to jumping, thrashing fish which is great practice for when you step up to real tarpon on the fly.

This is salt fly country, so don't miss out. Offshore or inshore, it's a blast! Get a friend to show you, watch a video, or attend my two-hour class for beginners aboard my boat. Everything included.

Please call for reservations.

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



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