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The good and the bad when fishing a few local spots

June 9, 2017
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

On days off from fishing, I often find myself on foot exploring (fishing) five very small isolated canals and assorted spillways near my home.

Heavy rains and cancellations freed up some time and soon I was back on foot catching snook, assorted large cichlids and a bonus 30-inch tarpon.

One spot has a tiny pond with lilies and big saucer shaped bass beds, but no bass. Instead each bed was patrolled by a mad as a hornet jumbo aquarium escapee from South America know as a cichlid.

Like an Oscar or other common freshwater aquarium fish (tilapia) that now sit next to grouper on today's menus, these aggressive fish, some at the 3-plus-pound mark, had completely taken over this mini-pond, violently chasing anything away that got remotely close to its huge bed.

With a 3 wt fly rod and a few tiny floating flies, I was into an hour or so of big fun with these aquarium bruisers. If the fly floated within three feet of a nest, they just had to kill it.

I believe I may have caught most of the fish there - some more than once. Overcast and drizzling ... no other person in sight. Peaceful, nice.

Not far up the road at spot two and with less than 10 casts invested, a high flying tarpon jumped eye high to me standing on the bank. His violent head shakes and many high jumps did nothing to dislodge my small jig hook that had luckily found softer jaw tissue.

Spillways produced a variety of willing snook, nothing big, but fun as they ate small plastic free-lined shrimp with gusto.

This, throw a few rods in the back of the truck and take off for some quality alone time, was as good as it gets, for me anyway.

Sadly the whole event had a downside.

Of the five spots I fished that day, four of them where trashed. Beer bottles, cigarette packs, fishing line all over the ground and strung through the trees, plastic food wrappings, plastic bait containers, even a ripped to shreds old cast net laying next to the water.

At the first stop, I picked up the cans and debris before I left and continued to do so, the whole time feeling I was trying to stop the ocean.

Arriving home, I filled nearly two trash bags with junk from my truck bed.

State/county installed garbage cans at all fishing locations? That does help as most folks do use them, the pigs never will and, of course, the pigs always remain the problem.

Pick up what you can, try to educate the young folks but with less interest in the outdoors by the young, what's the future?

Recalling the recent TV show special about worldwide overfishing and species depletions, commercial, outlaw and subsistence overfishing, commercial shark fining and explosives fishing, plus already knowing that vast areas of the world's oceans are filled with hundreds of miles of floating and dissolving poison plastic garbage is awfully upsetting. World, national and local fish commissions or boards, fully slanted towards commercial interests, or own ongoing Lake O yearly rain season river poisoning, coupled with what I've observed about my fellow human greedy pigs during my time on the planet, we might be in big trouble.

Correct that, we actually are in big environmental trouble, worldwide

On the brighter side and before the "Great Rain" event, snook fishing was hot as a firecracker. Reds and snook throughout Charlotte Harbor and tarpon action good, especially at night under the lights and bridges.

Cobia around so always keep that bright colored jig or plastic eel rigged and ready to throw while you're under way.

On foot anglers are taking to the Burnt Store Road spillways for some tarpon and snook action due to rain run-off while deep reef anglers wait for a weather window to catch any number of off and near shore reef species.

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



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