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Fish the surf for relaxing experience

April 14, 2017
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Dry windy conditions persist so when heading offshore closely monitor the weather. The shallow Gulf can quickly turn nasty making your new 24-foot bay boat feel small as a canoe.

Staying on to catch just a few more with a black sky and increasing winds approaching is a fool's game.

Never overestimate your abilities as captain or your boat's abilities in bad weather. Better to live to fish another day than to become a statistic.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Tarpon and snook will be sharing the spotlight for the next several months. As it heats up, many trophy sized female snook will be caught by simply walking the beach and casting into the surf.

Actually walking out into the water and casting parallel to the beach, not way out into the Gulf, is the ticket as snook patrol the edges of the surf zone. Also, if you are in the water you are less likely to be seen than high up on the beach.

Before you head out wading chest deep along the beach near a pass, stop. I'm talking getting in to your knees or less. We host a great number of sharks of all sizes, especially around our passes. Wading waist deep in dark water early or late in the day is not something you'll catch me doing.

A good lure choice is a plain white bucktail jig using a fluorocarbon leader. It's usually gin clear water and the fish can sometimes be line shy.

Long rods and 15-pound braid will allow you to cover water quickly.

If you can stand it, or if you have a bug suit, walk the beach at night with a big noisy topwater for some explosive action and a good shot at a 30-plus-pounder.

Big chuggers and poppers designed for northern striper or rock fish cast far and draw big strikes.

If casting from a boat, cast all the way up on the beach and hop the jig back into the water. Usually it will get hit within the first 5-10 feet of the retrieve.

Walking along the surf and casting is a very relaxing and pleasant experience. Fly fisherman can get a great shot at a good snook as well.

Inshore lures and flies work great around mangrove shorelines. Topwater lures are snook favorites. Most swimming plugs like the X-Rap by Rapala are always a winner as well as the various Mirr-O-lure models.

Actually, most of your bass plugs will work. Just add some beefier split rings and go up a size or two in saltwater hooks and they are ready for duty.

Never count out the gold spoon and plastic shrimp, such as the old standby, the D.O.A.

First time tarpon fishing and need to decide between mono and braid? Go with mono. Its ability to give or stretch will keep more fish on the hook.

For conventional reels spool up with 30-50-pound good quality mono tied to a 50-120-pound leader depending on if you're fishing open water or around heavy structure like a bridge.

For casting plugs or jigs I favor 60-pound braid tied to a fluorocarbon leader testing 60 to 80 pounds.

When joining thin braid to fat mono you may want to double the braid then tie your knot. Simply double, tie, then trim the excess. Better still, double the main braid line with a Bimini Twist or an easy-to-tie doubling knot called the Spider Hitch, then attach the leader.

The fight to protect our river, beaches and coast continues. As the black water season draws near I urge every resident to protest loudly and at every opportunity, or not complain.

This debacle has gone on for far too long under both Democrat and Republican watch, and continues.

The politician's favorite friend? A silent citizen.

Get involved!

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



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