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Life’s not so bad in SW Florida

January 3, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR! May all your resolutions come true.

For me, however, this week is a bad start to a new year. I'm sitting here in a beautiful home on a hill, surrounded by mature trees. I'm looking out the large windows, the home situated right on the 7th hole of a very exclusive golf course and country club. It's a very pleasant and serene view. The club has busy comings and goings with tennis and golf pros and lessons, golf carts, as well as assorted shops and trendy people set, some very wealthy, others like most of us, deep in debt.

Problem is its 34 degrees and 30 miles north of smog-choked Atlanta. It's grey, cold, wet and, I've been told, been this way for three weeks.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

The local fishing hole is "drawn down" and drought stricken. To be able to see for thousands of yards nothing but dry lake bed is a unique experience for a structure fisherman, albeit a depressing one for all fishing types.

Also, I don't play golf or tennis. Wonderful.

If I could, instead, I would be found just about now pulling up to the back of Bert's at Matlacha, in my flats boat, wearing bare feet, a tan and shorts. Hungry, thirsty, but WARM. Sitting there on the back porch, trading the stories of the day's catch. Watching the sun go away, once again sitting there like I have many, many, times. A way of life ruled by weather, water, and tides, and dreams of "big ones."

Island time. A fishing way of life. I like that.

I just returned from an appointment in Atlanta. On the way home I was in a 4 mph bumper-to-bumper race, on a six-lane expressway, with people still trying to jockey for position and blowing their horns in smog-filled air, on a grey, dark, rainy day.

Do not mess with me as I'm pretty stressed out. NEVER tell me how bad ANYTHING is in Southwest Florida. Ever, EVER!

Capt. May of Easy Rider Charters tells me about an offshore trip this week to the 40-foot area. He prefers light east winds and 3- to 4-ounces of lead to get to the bottom. A variety of fish caught on shrimp, squid and live baits. He reports slower action on inshore reds this past week and looking forward to a great trout year.

Capt. Rob Modys of SoulMate Charters reports hot trout action on bobbers and shrimp on grass flats, near the power lines in Pine Island Sound. Top water plugs also producing, all day, but on moving water.

Bulls, bonnets, and blacktip sharks aplenty near shore, drawn by the Blind Pass dredging operation. Fish chunks of ladyfish for a solid hookup and ride. Please release Mr. Shark carefully. Pompano are off the Sanibel Lighthouse and Bridge area.

New Saltwater Fishing Classes starting Jan. 14 at Bass Pro Shops. Call for info.

D&D in Matlacha reports the pass is doing well - trout, jacks, snappers, sheepies, and small reds. Shrimp is the ticket for live bait folks.

Lehr's Economy Tackle weighs in with trout reports up and down the river, Four mile, the trestles to Fort Myers on the east side. Reports of flounder, on minnows and corks, all around Burnt Store Bar area. Pompano at Bunch Beach for waders on the beach and being caught at the lighthouse fishing grounds as well.

Florida Sports Show at the Civic Center on Feb. 7-8. Always good, with great live fishing demonstrations. Well worth the ticket price. Bring the children.

Heard Anglers Outlet closed and just wanted to say thank you to all the fine folks there. Capt. Tom took me under his wing a long time ago and showed me the ways of the river tarpon. I will never forget it. Good luck and thanks to all.

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



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