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Tarpon migration means sharks will be close by

April 21, 2017
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

With the yearly migration of tarpon, sharks will follow and provide great sport for light tackle skiff fans as well as those choosing to pursue sharks half as big as the boat on heavy tackle.

In the middle we have the surf sharkers that like to do toe-to-toe battle on moonlit beaches, which is pretty darn exciting.

Like tarpon fishing, shark angling is an everyman's big game sport available to the walking angler or those with a kayak or Jon boat.

Sharking requires chum, frozen, dead or in combination. In the Keys, a fresh filleted barracuda is hung over the side, which works wonders as you can see the sharks homing in on the scent from quite a ways off.

Here we anchor and hang a block or two of frozen chum over the front and back and fish rods baited with live ladies or dead ladyfish halves.

For inshore flats sharks of reasonable size, a 7-foot medium heavy spinning rod spooled with 20-pound PowerPro will do the trick.

For bottom fishing on the flats, tie the PowerPro directly to a SPRO swivel then tie a 36-inch piece of 60 to 90-pound single strand wire leader material to the swivel.

Attach the wire to the swivel with a Haywire Twist and tie the hook to the leader with the same knot.

A 5/0 circle hook will do nicely.

For live ladyfish, we tie the braid to a swivel then depending on depth, tie on a length of 60-pound fluorocarbon, tied to a 6-inch piece of 50 to 90-pound wire, then the hook to the wire, with the Haywire Twist.

Attach the wire leader to the fluro with an Albright knot. (

Top it off with a balloon of your color choice tied to the swivel.

Wait and hang on. Often you will get a big hit then nothing. Wait, he will return.

If you are lucky enough to get several competitive sharks in your chum slick then you can cast a plug or large colorful fly to them.

Be sure to hit them right on the nose with your offering for best results.

Always use a quick release anchor system in case you tie into one that will easily spool you.

Prepare your casting or fly line with the same short wire bite wire Albright knotted to your leader.

Top snook lures in my boat this week are MirrOlure suspending twitch baits in chrome. Any top water lure is good. Gold spoons and DOA Shrimp in gold flake as well as 4-soft plastic jerk baits work well.

Typically most snook head to the beaches for an all summer breeding season but many don't choosing to stay in residential canals.

I've seen several big snook in residential canals this week far from the Gulf.

Why some females head to the surf and others don't? I can't tell you.

Redfish are taking shrimp on jigheads casted or still fished with shrimp, pinfish or ladyfish chunks under the bushes.

If you don't get any action, try switching to gold spoons and targeting points with current as well as blind casting mangrove shorelines.

No good? Fish docks by skip casting soft plastics far back and under.

Right now 20 to 25-pound fluorocarbon leaders are a good bet when casting spoons for redfish. I always recommend using tiny, yet ultra strong, SPRO swivels to connect your leader to your main line. They don't completely solve line twist issues but greatly help with the problem created by spoons.

There is no smaller or stronger swivel on the market. Do not use big, cheap, swivels and unnecessary hardware.

Speaking of spoons, which catch all inshore Southwest Florida species, no matter what brand you choose retrieve the spoon so it wobbles on the retrieve, not spin.

If it's spinning, slow the retrieve till it flashes side to side, anything else looks unnatural.

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



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