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One cast, one lure, three fish!

January 11, 2019
By GEORGE TUNISON , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

A good hunting or fishing guide naturally wants his or her clients to catch fish or bag game as well as providing friendly companionship, coaching and teaching as needed during the trip experience.

I've been with guides that seemed more interested in catching their fish rather than in me catching the ones I'm paying the guide to put me on.

Typic-ally, I never fish with clients unless asked or to demonstrate a technique to help them. Over the years I've caught some of my personal best fish after being asked to fish by clients on their trip. Sometimes it's a bit embarrassing especially if they are having a not so successful trip.

Article Photos

George Tunison

Two of the three jacks hooked at the same time on the same lure.

On New Year's morning, we struggled. My client made countless casts as I poled, wind drifted; troll motored and tried countless presentations trying to find fish for him without much success. The pressure was on as this nice man had travelled far and wide and paid the fees to be here.

While taking a break, he asked me to fish. I made my very first long cast to the bar's edge. The water exploded around my topwater plug. The water boiled and thrashed first left then zigging right. Hard fighting then, no fighting? What had I hooked?

I finally towed the mystery fish to the boat. Finally we saw not one, but three crazed jacks connected to my plug. While trying to get this dangerous circus onboard for a picture one dropped off.

My client just shook his head in disbelief. "Sorry" was my sheepish reply.

Winter winds call for caution when going grouper fishing this month. Plan carefully and don't forget that gag grouper are closed to harvest. Other grouper species - red and black grouper - remain open with a 24-inch size minimum for black with a limit of four per day per harvester. Red grouper maintain a 20-inch minimum limit with two per harvester. Both black and red grouper are open to harvest year-round in Gulf waters.

Inshore, sheepshead fishing is taking off at a bridge, oyster bar, mangrove point or docks near you. Some amazing sheep fishing takes place in downtown Cape Coral. Use those electronics to probe the canal systems for sheepshead holding structure and you will probably find quite a few willing to bite. A 12-inch size limit and each person can keep up to eight fish per day.

Catching quite a few rat reds and bonus snook on the flats. Pole or quietly wind-drift these large, open, shallow, potholed bottomed areas in a foot or two of water (wearing quality glasses). The fish are scattered over the flats with the reds forming loose schools feeding and enjoying the sun along with the snook.

We've seen several jumbo snook on the flats that were more interested in sunbathing than eating, which is fine as it's better to not harass these big female spawners as they are already under big-time stress from the cold water.

We are seeing quite a few sharks up to 3 feet in really skinny water so wire leader a snook rod and have shrimp/ladyfish chunks on standby just in case. Sharks in thin water are plain fun; very fast and powerful.

Tie your 40 lb. test single strand wire leader (6-12 inches) to your fishing line with an Albright Knot.

The elevated flats angler often sees more fish before the fish sees the angler, so spot from your poling platform or your stand-a-top cooler to put the odds in your favor.

The top lure on my boat for probing the open flats for reds, trout and small snook this past week was the DOA CAL plastic body fished on a 1/4 oz. jig-head using ultra-light outfits and lite 10 to 15-pound fluorocarbon leaders. Experiment with colors as it can make a day and night difference in this clear water. Making long casts really helps.

Snook and redfish are still closed to harvest till further notice.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or



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