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It’s time to adjust equipment, presentations

November 17, 2017
By GEORGE TUNISON , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

With cooling weather and dropping water temperatures, anglers especially inshore anglers, need to adjust their equipment and presentations.

Start by slowing down and using lighter lines in clearer, colder, winter waters.

As the temps drop so should your retrieve speeds. Reel slowly. Changing from fast-er straight retrieve lures such as spoons to suspending twitch bait style lures like the MirrOlure MirrOdine that can be fished tantalizingly slow and kept in the strike zone for long periods, will pay off.

Switching to a lower gear ratio reel can help you slow the pace if you find yourself summer speed reeling. It really is hard, almost impossible to slow down for some anglers, especially visiting clients raised on run and gun bass fishing.

With winter comes bigger shrimp and everyone likes shrimp. There are many, many choices of plastic shrimp on the market with most quite effective year-round but especially in winter's chill. The key is to fish them slowly on clear fluorocarbon lines and always attached to your leader with a loop knot.

Use a longer leader in winter's clearing waters especially with slow baits like twitch baits and fake shrimp. With these baits. a 36-inch leader is a minimum with 48-inch or more a better choice.

Fishing warm winter flats, downsize to 15 to 20-pound test, good quality fluorocarbon and, of course, up it when fishing around structure.

The plastic shrimp can be fished under a popping float just like a livie or can be fished several other ways. Here's a few.

Retrieve ultra-slow through a grass bed by letting the shrimp settle into the grass then with a sharp (don't over-do it) twitch of the rod tip, pop it up out of the grass then, let it once again fall back to bottom, all the way back to the boat.

Retrieve by crawling it slowly across the bottom with no extra action.

Retrieve in a slow straight line on the surface over bars or in very shallow water creating a tiny wake. Every four feet let it drop to bottom.

With plastic shrimp and with twitch baits, learn to be a line watcher.

A fish can inhale, mouth, taste, chew and spit out a lure without you even knowing it happened, especially big fish and especially with fake shrimp.

Good line watchers pick up on these subtle pick-ups and line twitches and set the hook. Talkers and daydreamers go home empty with bad fishing reports.

If you're not sure, set the hook.

I remember seeing old films by Berkeley showing bass inhaling crankbaits with two sets of treble hooks then spitting them without the angler above feeling anything or the largemouth getting caught on one of the six hook points.

Local largemouth bass anglers must have loved the recent NatGeo special on breaking the record for largemouth bass where three dedicated anglers fish daily on small California lakes with great results. One caught a bass fairly close to the standing world record of 23 pounds and change, caught in Georgia in the '30s.

This California fish had a distinctive black birthmark on its gill plate. The fish was released unharmed.

Later another of the trio caught the exact same birthmarked bass but this time it weighed 25 pounds beating the world record.

Sadly for the angler, the bass was foul hooked on the lure and did not count under the rules and was once again released unharmed and still growing in that small lake.

Seems California reservoir bass attain such huge size due to the fact that they eat stocked trout which is a high protein/high fat fish.

Local angler Roy Bennett likes to catch his grouper offshore on practical inexpensive baits. Why feed them pinfish, shrimp, or expensive frozen baits when he scores with ladyfish heads lowered to the bottom.

Remember to take a tripletail rod on your offshore trip and check those crab floats.

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



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