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Annual spring fishing fling under way

April 27, 2018
By GEORGE TUNISON , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The spring fishing fling is on and deciding what species of fish to chase maybe the hardest choice you have.

Tarpon are in the air, snook are at, or still heading to, the beaches and seemingly everywhere we fish including the Cape's canal systems where I've seen some nearly-thick-as-your-thigh jaw-droppers this past week but could not get the big bite.

When beach walking, the early riser gets the bite. Any structure on the beach - wood rock or otherwise - are snook magnets during the summer spawn. A few white bucktails, a long rod with a good drag, bug spray and canteen and you're in business.

Remember, the bite is in the surf right up to the water's edge. Standing in the ankle-deep water and casting down the surf line as you walk is always a good plan. Standing in hip-deep water in the early dawn might not be a good plan but maybe I've caught too many big sharks or keep remembering "Jaws."

If you can't find your snook at home on the beach, good places to check next are in the pass or docks close to or further back from the pass along the ICW and, to the surprise of many grouper gurus, jumbo snook offshore on nearby reefs.

Snapper and king mackerel are offshore with some real monsters here or arriving. If you want a big king, grab a charter or boat down to some of the hotspots off Naples for a chance at a multi-bite big fish day.

Inshore, redfish are scattered but still very much on the chew throughout Pine Island Sound and under the bush in North Matlacha Pass and Burnt Store Bar. Docks along the ICW may hold an occasional bruiser.

Trout fishing is hit or miss for some, on fire for others. Use a three-prong approach for serious trout fishing. Start by fishing the biggest top water lure in your tackle box around oyster bars, especially next to deep water cuts or channels just before and after sunup.

Have choice shrimp dancing in your live well and under your popping corks or substitute with a live pinfish or fresh caught white bait.

Trout love soft plastics from DOA-style shrimp to paddle tail jigs. Use a long, light rod with 8 to 10-pound braided line and a 12-pound fluorocarbon leader for long casts that cover lots of water quickly with paddle tail jigs.

Adding scent to your soft plastic is always a smart move and why GULP shrimp work great on a jig head or under a cork or fished "dead" on bottom, under the mangroves for reds and snook.

True gators or trophy trout are wise and skittish as a Keys bonefish and hard to come by in these parts where a 5-pounder is cause for celebration.

If you are a true trophy trout hunter, then you must take boat noise very seriously, especially early in the morning quiet. In skinny water, a heavy footstep, boat rocking, even loud talking may not scare off a school of juveniles but know your gator trophy has relocated.

Find the tarpon scattered and moved up into Pine Island Sound, some in Redfish and Captiva passes and around Captiva Shoals, as well as off the beach then a short swim north to Boca Grande Pass where they stack up in huge numbers

Other groups of tarpon will come up the river and mill around all bridges in the Caloosahatchee, mingling with the resident tarpon all the way east of I-75.

How good the bridge tarpon bite will be this summer will largely depend on the amount of poison the sugar sweetened Democrat and Republican politicians will let flow down our river, destroying habitat, tourism, jobs and ultimately having an impact on the health of the residents, all to make life easier and more profitable for the sugar industry.

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



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