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Between a knot and a hard place

March 31, 2017
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

My favorite tarpon time of the year is about here. Target juvenile tarpon on ultra-lights in the many canal systems and cast for night-time heavyweights around all the bridges crossing the Caloosahatchee River.

I've never caught a ton-sized black marlin and probably never will, but to me there's nothing more exciting than launching a plug or jig into the blackness of the night then reeling it back waiting for a 200-pound silver prehistoric monster to inhale it.

Sometimes they strike way out in the darkness at the end of the cast. Other times, five feet from the rod tip. Scary fun. Sometimes I forget to breathe while winding.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

What knots do the average angler need to know? For general fishing the easy-to-tie Uni-Knot or back-to-back Uni system is a must when tying terminal tackle or for joining lines to leader, etc.

If you don't know the best way to add a small piece of wire leader to your fishing line by all means master the Albright Knot. This knot looks hard but after several practice sessions it's easy to tie and a must for Spanish and king mackerel fishing.

Go to for instructions on tying this proven knot. is a great animated knot tying site that allows you to watch knots being tied and explains in detail their uses. Being an animated site you can watch your new knot being tied over and over so you can learn at your own pace.

Another great knot that should be mastered by novice anglers is one of the many variations of the loop knot. I use the Perfection Loop. I tie all jigs, hard lures and even flies with this knot. The loop knot allows your lures to perform to their fullest.

Remember the tag end of the knot should face the lure. If not, the tag end will collect weeds and ruin your presentation.

The improved clinch knot is called the "fisherman's friend" and is a great terminal knot. Add some spit and don't pull on the tag end very hard as you cinch the knot down tight.

For those daring to go into Bimini twist territory it's well worth the effort to double your main line before adding a leader to it.

For some, the Bimini twist is a real puzzle and not to be learned. If you still want to double without going the Bimini route then double your main line with the spider hitch.

Once your main line is doubled then add your leader to it with a No-Name or Yucatan knot.

This is a great line set up for offshore trolling as well as tarpon fishing with bait or lures.

These last weeks smaller "rat" reds continue to bite on oyster bars on the incoming tides and under the bushes on higher tides. Although some bigger reds in the 6-pound class are being caught, most reds are still on the small side.

Shrimp on a jighead retrieved slowly along the bottom, or shrimp on a circle hook with a small piece of shot to help with casting is the ticket.

I'm a big fan of ladyfish steaks on a small circle hook for redfish in any water temperature, but right now live shrimp or even stinky, left in the sun frozen shrimp,will still draw a look from any redfish within 30 yards or so.

Looking for that trophy super-gator trout? Get out way before the sun is up and motor to your hot spot, then let things settle down. Keep dead quiet and make long casts with light lines. Wind drift or pole.

Use the largest topwater lure or floating swim bait in your box. Do not be afraid of the lure being too big. An 8-pound gator trout easily will inhale any plug in your box, after all this guy wolfs down 12-inch mullet.

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



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