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‘No, I’m fine ... you go outside!’

January 5, 2018
By GEORGE TUNISON , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

It was a wet, cloudy and cold afternoon on the third of January 2018 in Southwest Florida.

It's official - my blood has thinned out and I get cold very easily. That's what I was told happens when a Yankee moves south and stays in Florida for more than a couple years.

"Your blood will thin out so you can tolerate the heat."

It's true, after 20 years of living here, I do get cold rather quickly but I'm still waiting for the heat tolerance part to kick in.

This is fireplace time when the dog cracks opens one sleepy eye looks at you and says, "No, I'm fine, I don't want to go outside, I'm going to hold it - you go outside!"

My sister recently invited me to northern Maine for the summer. I'm considering it because it would be a short trip since summer only lasts 4 days where she lives with 361 days of heavy snow the rest of the year. Brrrrr, I don't understand what's wrong with her.

Looking out my window these past Wednesday and Thursday mornings, I was expecting to see my first Southwest Florida snowstorm while sitting cozy and warm inside meditating on palm trees, warm breezes, sleek sail boats and leaping tarpon.

I will admit that achieving calming bliss and enlightenment through meditation is difficult these days. The whole time I'm trying to shut out the world, in the back of my mind I keep worrying that some morning Kim Jong Un might get a bad bowl of kimchi, get upset and decide to "press the button on my desk" and take out Miami or Tampa. His bad reaction would, of course, put a real damper on fishing here for at least a couple hundred years or more and certainly have an immediate bad impact on my charter business.

Right now the old 40-pound snook that miraculously survived the big snook and tarpon freeze of 2010 are telling the young ones to head offshore to deep water and not get trapped back in the creeks and freeze like their grandparents did.

What a sad sight that was. Creeks with bank to bank floating mats of adult snook as far as you could see.

Luckily for all of us, the current forecast calls for near 80 degree temperatures all next week so the 2018 brutal mini-winter will be in the rear-view and it's back to business as usual.

Prey for calm winds to go catch grouper and snapper bottom fishing or trolling plugs and a late season kingfish is still a possibility.

If you're new to Gulf fishing, make sure to get a current copy of offshore fishing regulations and stay legal. Keep updated on regulations as they are subject to review and frequent change.

Find roaming grouper offshore on your favorite pile of rocks or nearshore as they move in close, surprising inshore anglers casting spoons or soaking ladyfish chunks or shrimp for redfish. For whatever the reason, Chino Island in Pine Island Sound has produced several surprise grouper for me over the years when casting lures for redfish and snook along its shorelines.

Large structure usually attracts large sheepshead and some really big ones can be found around docks and pilings in Boca Grande Pass.

Locally, the Matlacha Bridge and Sanibel Causeway both host big sheepies and many don't realize that there are several downtown Cape canal sheepshead hot spots.

Tip: Use your bottom machine to find deep holes and structure in your canal system and don't be surprised if you get a downtown grouper bite or even a huge city snook when dropping shrimp or other baits into deep holes.

Sheepshead will also be encountered on the flats around bars and mangrove island points once again, surprising redfish casters that before had no respect for a big flats sheepie's fighting abilities.

When vertical fishing for sheepshead, a small thin wire hook works best.

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



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