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Searching for trout when temperatures are fluctuating

February 8, 2019
By GEORGE TUNISON , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Because of on and off again warm weather, be willing to search for trout as they might not be where you found them last week. General rule of thumb: when it gets cold, move deeper back into deep creeks or even marinas. After a couple of days of solar warming, like Thursday when the weather gurus said we may break February heat records, think shallower.

Snook will follow the same pattern to survive. Not nearly as cold resistant, but like schooling trout, snook will seek shelter in these deep creeks which for them can sometimes be a death sentence if the temperature keeps dropping and/or remains cold for long periods as they obviously can't return to the freezing cold flats and can't move any deeper.

The massive statewide snook kill of 2004 caused by prolonged very cold weather was a prime example. My area of Matlacha creeks and canals were filled with massive numbers of trapped, dead and dying snook literally blanketing the surface of the creek.

After a warming trend, pick dark grass-bottomed flats in the 4-5 foot range that absorb warming sunlight. Cover water quietly and efficiently using wind power or pole and you will probably happen upon them. Trout are noise sensitive and a banging deck lid might cause the school to move. The larger the trout, the more noise sensitive.

Using a combo of popping corks and shrimp, as well as casting soft plastics while slowly drifting, will usually produce. If there's no action after drifting a 50-yard stretch, then it's time to relocate. When finally found, quietly anchor or Power Pole down and enjoy catching.

Be aware of size and bag limits for spotted sea trout: not less than 15 inches or more than 20 inches. In Southwest Florida, up to 4 may be kept per day per angler with one kicker fish over the 20-inch mark allowed in the bag limit, which can get confusing after calling for a 20-inch size limit.

The FWC defines total length as, "The straight line distance from the most forward part of the head with the mouth closed to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed together while the fish is lying on its side"

Handle any fine-scaled fish such as delicate sea trout with wet hands only, not wrapped in towels or dragged up on the beach or held down with a size 12 against the bottom of the hull.

With a small snook working the mangrove shorelines, handle these little guys carefully. Fighting cold nights keeps these sub-tropical juveniles stressed enough.

A quick reminder that The Cape Coral Tarpon Hunters will hold their prospective new member meeting Feb. 21 at the Yacht Club in Cape Coral. Open to the public. More to follow next week.

On this week's travelling fishing bucket list, and since money is never a problem for anyone, we'll all board a plane and travel to the Christmas Islands or The Seychelles to walk the flats and throw big popping plugs or large flies on 12 wt. rods. We'll stay on a well-appointed mother ship with skiffs attached to take us out to small islands where we'll walk the flats looking for a certain huge gamefish hunting the flats drop-offs. Making quick casts at passing fish is the game.

Once hooked up, be prepared for smoking runs while feeling you're connected to a freight train. These fish grow to over a hundred pounds; they hunt shallow as well as on reefs and are at times are as skittish as bonefish. They live throughout the oceans near and far and wherever encountered will provide a world class never forgotten fight.

Looking like a cross between a jumbo permit and a really angry looking jack crevalle, the Giant Trevally, or G.T., as most anglers call them, is one mean customer. Usually chrome white, they do come in a black coloration as well.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or captgeorget3@aol.com.

 
 
 

 

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