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Time to pull out the fly rod

January 31, 2009

A Lefty's Deceiver, a Mushmouth, Clouser, SeaDucer, even a Woolybugger, just for fun.

If they are deeper than that I will go with a Deep Minnow Clouser or any number of Clouser flies that I tie weighted for different zones. Large nymphs in dark colors are outstanding at times as well.

These are all names of flies I will be using this week, or any week, for specks, or spots, gators, or just plain trout.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Never overlook topwater flies for trout.

Trout readily take a fly and the way they hang in the strike zone, eye-to-eye with a trout, with near neutral buoyancy, really gets the fish mad and biting on the coldest of days.

On those mornings, a very slow, subtle retrieve is the way to fly. If that does not produce then slowly speed up your retrieves till the fish tell you what they want. Mix it up. As a guide I see many anglers that are unwilling to adjust themselves to the conditions at hand, figuring, well, if it works back on Long Island, it will work here. Often on really cold starts letting a fly just hang around the strike zone near some likely looking real estate will produce hits.

A well-tied fly even at rest, breathes and undulates with the current movements. Fish have good eyesight in our clear winter water and see these slight body movements making the fly look like a weak, easy to pick off morsel.

This is the time of year I fish my smallest gear. My 3-weight fly rod is my weapon of choice which turns a trout into A BIG TROUT! I see so many over-tackle for trout.

Fly rods are sized by a number or weight system, with a size 12 rod being for tarpon, sailfish or other big game, down to a 3-weight rod which is designed for delicate presentations to wary freshwater trout. A, 3-4-5 weight rod is the way to really enjoy these guys.

For those that don't know, a 3-weight rod is a tiny, wispy little rod and on the flats surrounded by trout, ladyfish and an occasional red or snook, or heaven forbid a jack, all of these fish feel like a trophy's on it.

Catching a five-pound leaping, shaking, somersaulting, sprinting ladyfish on a tiny fly rod is almost as thrilling as a real tarpon at the bridge on larger tackle. I said almost.

If you have never taken the time to learn to fly fish what are you waiting for?

Captain Rob Modys of SoulMate Charters reports beautiful bonito a couple miles off the beach near Lover's Key. Bonito will smoke your reels, so clean and lube them. Again, a bonito is a powerhouse on light reels and your drag will be tested. If you have not caught one on light tackle by all means do it, it's a blast.

Also, he reports good trout fishing on shrimp and corks on grass flats, and reds and sheepies in Matlacha Pass.

Capt. Miles Meredith of CT&T Charters tells me he is still working reds off Cayo Costa and his pothole plan is still holding strong. He's using cut fish (ladyfish steaks) for this fishing. Look for trout at the river mouth near Picnic Island and hit the flats with shrimp and corks as you drift till you find them. Also reports scattered bluefish action.

Got a good report from D&D in Matlacha. Capt. Doug Root tells me his customers are catching snook at Burnt Store Marina on greenbacks that he is collecting near the Bokeelia Bar. Reds off Useppa, fishing the oyster bars and outstanding trout fishing on Matlacha grass flats.

D&D is selling some giant bait shrimp and the reds are chewing them up.

If you fish in any marina, (if legal) please be cautious and courteous around other vessels.

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



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