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Tarpon hunters all geared up

April 11, 2009

The Cape Coral Tarpon Hunters kicked off their season on March 1. Club member Maureen Moll wasted no time in catching the club's first tarpon on March 7. Congrats!

This club was formed after splitting from the Fort Myers Beach Tarpon Club in 1970. This is an active club and some members have more than six hundred tarpon under their belts. That's real dedication and a lot of hard work and long hours, but surely a labor of love.

The club's literature points out famous early tarpon hunters from the '30s, such as resident Thomas Edison and his guests, Harvey Firestone and Henry Ford. Early photographs show them fishing and catching tarpon on the Caloosahatchee River.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

The club states that in 1988 they became a CPR-only (catch-photo-release unharmed) club and all of its plaques and trophies recognize the catch, but also the live release. With today's beautiful fiberglass reproductions there is no real need to kill these ancient fish for an angler to have a trophy on his wall.

These great fish date back 100 million years, according to the fossil record, and a typical adult fish may be more than 55 years old.

This is a well-organized club that has talented women anglers as well as men, and offers several "hunts" each season - men, women, rookies and children's divisions. Light tackle and fly, a picnic, and at season's end a fine banquet.

The highlight of a past season for me was the Special Populations fishing tournament where I was one of the cooks. After the pier tournament, the kids devoured what seemed like a ton of beef and hot dogs as fast as we could cook them. That alone was worth the membership.

If you are looking to get into tarpon fishing and want to learn from some real pros then joining this club is a great start, and a pretty nice group of folks to hang out with. They have a complete rookie program for those new to tarpon fishing and all rookies are paired with an experienced club member for mentoring.

You can get years worth of knowledge in a few short sessions, things that would take several seasons to learn on your own. Check out their web page for info:

Capt. Dick May of Easy Rider Charters reports that the windy and cold conditions kept folks inside earlier in the week, but the weekend looks better. Trout and redfish should recover nicely and are out there waiting to be caught.

Cold weather and water sensitive snook should be biting better after a few days of warm weather. There's a lot of nice whitebait out there right now and the perfect size for fishing.

Small pods of tarpon in the 80-100-pound class are cruising on the inside along the deeper channels between Redfish Pass all the way to Boca Grande. Hopefully, the wind will die down so you will be able to spot rolling fish. Get out there early for tarpon. Take your binoculars

I know I have written a lot lately about swimbaits, both soft and hard, and how well they have been working for anglers all across the country. At $25 each it should make coffee in the morning, but SPRO's new shad look-a-like is one amazing lure. I recently had a chance to test it on a large Georgia reservoir on good sized hybrid and striped bass up to 29 pounds. We caught fish casting, trolling, and downrigger trolling these cool lures.

About four inches long and shad shaped, they should be a hit with snook, big trout, and tarpon this year. Upgrade the hook and split ring for serious salt water duty. If you are a lure guy, check out this new generation of amazing lures.

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



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