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Larger sheepshead showing up

February 27, 2009
Capt. George Tunison

Capt. Miles of CT&T Charters reports large sheepshead being caught at the phosphate docks at Boca Grande.

These larger fish always seem to show up there this time of year and some really nice ones are being caught. He also reports that trout are being caught in the usual grass flat locations, but those fish are on the small side.

The typical shrimp and bobber rig, small jigs, GULP shrimp on a cork or on a jig will work as well. Also try plugs for trout, the same ones you use for bass in freshwater work very well, especially the suspending type that on the pause just hang in the strike zone rather than floating quickly to the surface.

The Mirr-O-lure #19 and #17 may be the hottest trout lures in your arsenal. These lures are outstanding on the pause.

Never count out a top-water plug for trout. Year in and year out my biggest specks are taken on a variety of top-water lures. There are dozens to pick from and a Zara Spook or Rapala top-water is always a winner.

Trophy trout hunters use large top plugs. The old fashioned popper is another lure that will catch them on top. The concave face and the noise they make as they are slowly jerked through the water will draw strikes as trout are attracted to the noise just like the old fashioned popping cork.

I like to remove one of the hooks from a popper lure and attach a 12- to 18-inch piece of six-pound test tied to a small jig. You have to lob cast this setup, but you will be amazed what this combo will catch. Don't be surprised when you start catching trout two at a time with this rig.

A good thing to remember with a top-water plug is to pause several times during the retrieve. Sometimes a long 10-count pause will entice a really big fish to your plug.

Get your gear ready

Remember little trout are easy and in these heavily fished waters a trophy trout is no dummy. The fly guys catch their share as trout are suckers for a well-presented fly and a fly can stall, or hang in the strike zone for a very long time, which is a real bonus in the really cold periods. A 3- to 6-weight rod is ideal for trout.

n Lehr's Economy Tackle weighs in with reports of tarpon being taken in the river from the Franklin Locks to the I-75 and RR trestle bridge. To catch tarpon this time of year be prepared to pay your dues as far as the clock goes, but they are usually there attracted by the warmer waters upriver.

Redfish are being caught near the outflow of the Orange River as well as the RR trestle bridge, also being attracted to the warmer waters (72-74 degrees). Most of the reds are being caught by anglers looking for snook, which at the moment are scarce for most fishermen. Lehr's recommends using artificials as well as jigs in green and root beer colors.

Trout are plentiful and last month the bigger fish where being caught. This month the fish are here, but overall a smaller size is to be expected on your next trout outing.

Matlacha Pass is always a great place to start your trout search as the waters are a bit warmer than other open areas. Snapper and sheepshead are being taken in the creeks as well.

Try Punta Blanca Creek. Reports of pompano have slowed considerably.

This is a great time of year to get your gear ready for the upcoming fishing season. Both Lehr's and Cape Tool & Tackle offer expert rod and reel maintenance. Don't skimp on quality mono and braided line. Fishermen can simply reverse their lines and get extra savings.

Generally, the first 30 to 40 yards gets all the wear anyway.

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



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