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Drop that last-minute gift hint

December 13, 2008

The season is upon us so if you have not made your holiday fishing gear wish list known and/or available to your mate, partner, children, and friends, I suggest you drop everything and get it done ASAP.

You are running out of time and our local tackle dealers need your support in this frightening economy.

Most stores are running specials and end-of-year inventory closeouts and are worth a look. I have found that the large mail order companies are not that great of a bargain anymore, especially when you add postal charges, Nowadays, most local shops will match their prices anyway to stay competitive.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

As an added bonus, you are able to get up-to-date, expert information, fishing tips and friendly advice from knowledgeable store owners and fishing guides that usually work in these stores, plus live bait. What a deal. You cannot get all that in the mail.

Grouper fishing continues in the passes this week. We are talking lots of fish being caught - keeper fish as well as undersized. Several different methods will work from bottom fishing with pinfish, shrimp, and dead baits, to casting jigs and plugs, and trolling large lipped plugs. Trolling plugs is a fun and effective way to catch these delicious and very hard-fighting fish.

Popular lures are the Mann's Stretch series as well as the classic Bomber minnow bait. A Mann's Stretch 15-foot or 25-foot is my top pick. A good sonar unit will help you find structure. When found, make several trolling passes over and around it with your lures. You need to get close to your target. If you get hung up once in awhile that's part of the game. At least you know you are where you need to be with your offering. I like to use fairly heavy braided lines, such as Power Pro for this fishing.

n Capt. Dick May of Easy Rider Charters reports catches of flounder and plentiful Spanish mackerel. His crew is catching trout on the grass flats and running into pompano while trout fishing. Pompano catches will increase as water temperatures continue to fall. Live bait shop shrimp are big and a good bet for all species. He suggests throwing a #17 MirrOlure and slow twitching it in the area canals for chilly snook.

n Capt. Doug Root of D & D in Matlacha reports "countless grouper" being caught in Redfish Pass on live pinfish as well as on Bomber lures. Redfishing has been a little slow for him this past week, but says to fish Matlacha Bridge and around the Bridgewater Motel for lots of snook action.

Root also says big trout are being caught on the grass flats in south Matlacha, St James City and near the power lines. He has been using lots of soft plastic-type lures.

n Capt. Miles Meredith of CT&T Charters weighs in with reports of upriver snook being caught using artificials, such as Rapalas and MirrOlures. His clients are catching lots of trout in north Matlacha Pass and advises us to fish the area near Bookelia. He also reports outstanding grouper fishing in the passes, especially Redfish Pass. He also is trolling Mann's Stretch 25 plugs for these grouper.

n Lehr's Economy Tackle tells me that flounder are here and a good place to start your search is to head to the Jug Creek Shoals area, as well as the bar out in front of the big fishing pier at Bookelia.

Look for two- to three-feet of water over a mixture of grass and potholes. Using a popping cork rig with shrimp, you will catch trout as well as flounder. Trout and reds in Four Mile Cove on 17&19 series MirrOlures and 18-inch to 20-inch reds on oyster bars in the Shell Point, Reckems Point, and Sword Point fishing grounds.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at, or Flying Fins Sportfishing.



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