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Hurricane fishing — what a ride

September 8, 2017
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

There are many positive sides to hurricane fishing. Long casts come to mind. Let her rip and that normal 50-foot cast is now, a good 50-yarder and man-o-man talk about covering lots of water!

Save up to 50 percent on weekend fuel costs. Drive upwind as fast as you dare and as far as you want, turn the motor off and fish.

When done fishing you can return home just as quickly, but no fuel costs. Don't forget the high speed trolling options on the return trip.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

When I decided to leave Delaware in 1999 and relocate to Florida, I chose the southwest coast because cities and I don't get along and hurricanes, traditionally, "always go up the east coast."

"No hurricanes here since 1962," the realtor confidently boasted. Sounded good to me as violent weather sometimes occur in my little home state, but not often. Something we watched on TV and was always freighting.

Lots were dirt cheap in the Cape so I built on the water's edge with tarpon in my backyard, fulfilling a dream I had since reading my first Florida Sportsman Magazine on a snowy February night as a teenager many years ago. Not long afterwards, I caught my first tarpon in the Keys. I was hooked, gut hooked for life and in Florida. On the "safe side."

During my first major hurricane in 2004, I tried calling that realtor, but just got a message, "due to the hurricane we are out of town."

Local reports called for a 13-foot storm surge coming up the Spreader Canal to where I'm safely located at nine feet.

To make matters worse (if there IS anything worse then four feet of water and sea life in the living room), I was now in my small guest bath peeking out between a crack in the hurricane shutters watching my large bay boat and small flats boat, both fixed to their trailers, skid around in wild random patterns across the six open lots that separate my house from my closest neighbor.

Keep in mind, way before the storm I confidently prepared my boats by triple strapping them to their trailers. I nearly flattened all trailer tires. All live wells filled with water.

I used three anchors driven into the ground with a sledge and tied ropes from them, two off the transom at wide angles from each other and one off the front. I prepared both boats like this and parked them in close to the house, side by side.

It meant nothing as the intense wind broke ropes and uprooted anchors letting both break free to begin their wild dance across the field, thankfully never turning over.

At that point it was 1:30. Direct hit time, and the house started vibrating as the wind howled outside.

Howling much louder from the tiny closet was my female companion. She somehow had pulled herself and a small mattress into a tiny bath closet and was covered up cocoon-like uncontrollably sobbing and yelling for me to, "DO SOMETHING!"

Between being nearly freighted to death, her shrieking hysteria, the house now shaking and the roof creaking, watching the boats zip around the field as if two unseen hands were playing with them like Tonka Toys. I knew my time on the planet might soon be over.

The next day, the winds rested and the sun came out. We were alive, with a roof overhead. The bay boat rested right-side up halfway between the houses with the smaller flats boat's nose tucked under the bow point without touching.

The field was now filled with wild random skid marks and circles as both trailered boats had apparently wandered and skidded most of the night without flipping or ever touching each other during their wind driven dance.

Good luck to Cape Coral and all that live here!

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



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