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Despite the cold, trout and redfish will continue to bite

December 14, 2017
By GEORGE TUNISON , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Inshore, cold fronts will pull fish off the flats and into deeper water creeks, channels, holes and canals only to reappear as the afternoon sun warms the shallow waters.

Prolonged cold will locate the fish to deep water creeks, basins, deep canals and marinas and keep them there.

For-tunately, two of our more popular inshore game fish, the sea trout and redfish, are cold tolerant and will continue to bite.

Winter also brings thousands of tasty sheepshead to inshore rock piles, docks, bridges and even on to the flats, especially around bars.

Although sheepshead fishing is usually associated with vertical structure fishing using shrimp or fiddler crabs, redfish, anglers are often shocked by the fighting ability of a 10-pound flats sheepies that just ate their redfish spoon.

Wear gloves and use an electric knife to clean your sheepies then cook and enjoy. Lightly fry or stuff with scallops and crab meat then bake for a delicious taste treat.

Trout fishing in these parts is best enjoyed with light or ultra-light tackle. Rods in the 5 to 6-foot range labeled for use with 1/16 to 3/8 oz. lures using 6 to 10-pound test lines are best along with an assortment of fly rods in the 57 weight class.

Six to 8-pound mono works great or light braid in the 6 to 10-pound class works even better and is stronger and even thinner for longer casts.

If you fish a lot of soft plastics jigs for your trout, you know that line watchers catch more fish as sometimes the bite is very subtle, just a twitch of the line. Using high viz yellow, especially with fine lines, will improve your hook-up ratio on sneaky biters and fish are not turned off by it. A great help for old eyes as well.

When fishing ultralight lines, I like to double about 6 inches of the end of my main fishing line before attaching it to my heavier fluorocarbon leader.

Several knots can be used to double both mono and braided lines. The best is the Bimini Twist, which most refuse to learn or the much easier to tie, Spider Hitch. (

Attach your now doubled main line to your clear leader with a regular back to back Uni-knot or a No-name knot.

If you're experiencing line failure, the obvious question is, is my line old and need replacing? Hold it up to the light. Discolored, pale and frayed? Yes, change it, or if you're like me, take it off the spool and reverse it. New line!

If old, frayed and nicked line is not the problem, then by all means inspect your ceramic line guides for cracks and chips.

If you have old eyes, get out the magnifying glass for a better look. Dark ceramic eyes seem to hide fine cracks and chips both of which destroy braid and mono.

Drop a rod? Check the eyes before fishing and losing that monster snook due to line failure.

Basic trout boxes must include soft plastics, top-waters and suspending twitch baits.

Monster trout like hitting top-water plugs so throw the biggest in your box around oyster bars or a big school of mullet early in the morning for a true gator. No top-water in your collection is too big for a big trout that can swallow a 1-pound mullet.

Trout and fly rods are made for each other and with the thousands of willing biters around, now is a great time to fly fish. If you've never tried saltwater fly fishing, you are missing out on some of angling greatest thrills.

For several seasons I've offered my salt fly fishing school for total beginners. It's a one-on-one, fun, 2-hour, on the water, inexpensive course that will have you fly fishing in short order. No equipment required, everything provided. Please call early to reserve a spot as it filled fast last year.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-440-1621 or captgeoget3



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