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Sea trout are fired up and looking to eat

December 1, 2017
By GEORGE TUNISON , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Sea trout anglers are happy with cooling weather as it gets the trout fired up and looking to eat.

On days when the wind cancels your offshore bottom fishing plans, grab some kids or a friend and take advantage of Southwet Florida's great seatrout fishing.

What's easier than breeze drifting a large flat with corks and shrimp on an 80 degree winter day?

When all corks are disappearing, anchor and cast plastic grubs, twitch baits, flies or top waters for fast action.

Our spotted sea trout aren't as large as you'll find in north Florida or in Texas, but we make up for it in sheer numbers. Any trout over 5 pounds in these parts is a gator or trophy trout.

Driving four to five hours north puts you in big gator country where a 10-plus is a possibility.

Many angling snowbirds from the Chesapeake Bay, New Jersey, Delaware on up to New York grew up fishing for our southern sea trout's bigger cousin, the weakfish.

This very beautiful, abundant and often large fish was the bread and butter of recreational anglers as well as charter captains, party boats, even illegal Russian factory ships, all fishing for sea trout in the Delaware Bay for many years.

Anglers from multiple states would come to fish there, especially in May when the big female "tiderunners" filled the bay, and a good spinning reel with a 1 oz. white bucktail and plastic worm combo was "the deal."

The party boats that I went on in my youth would allow 20 to 30 anglers to fill their large coolers with as many 7 to 15-pound trout as they could carry off. When the coolers were full the captains would hand out large burlap sacks to fill with these beautiful fish.

Often too much beer, greed and poor judgement ruled the day as the "sportsmen" piled their huge catches into their vehicles at the end of the day.

Sadly, as the beer and days excitement wore off, tons of these beautiful big trout would end up in various Delaware rest stop dumpsters or actually carried home only to be used as garden fertilizer.

Happy customers, happy captains and big tips were the order of the day, till it finally all crashed. Now the bay is in recovery mode with the glory days long gone.

To catch a whopper or gator trout here, a really big top-water plug fished in low light conditions would be a good bet.

With snook transitioning to their winter homes, you might encounter them almost anywhere.

If you are the lure or fly type that loves to beat shorelines, flip casting plugs to shore cover is productive and fun.

First practice at home by standing on something to gain elevation. Now flip cast that hookless lure into a coffee mug at 30 feet, every time. Good. Now you're ready to fish.

Pick a productive stretch of shoreline and slowly and quietly move down it, flipping a floating or suspending your plug or plastic shrimp into every nook and cranny.

Land it softly, let it rest, then slowly twitch it out of the cover, pick a new target and repeat. Stay quiet and focused; try to not rock the boat as you move along.

Almost any lure can be used, even spoons with great success. Personal favorites are small, two hook, original, floating MirrOlures and two hook, floating Rebel stickbaits in chrome or gold.

The key to this technique is your casting ability. Practicing at home will make for a better day on the water with less frustration, lost lures and a real shot at trophies that other "safe" casters will never get.

Once you get your rhythm and start hitting every target as you move along, it's easy to get lulled into daydreaming. Stay sharp as big old snook spend the day hiding from you way back and under the bad stuff.

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



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