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Tarpon are rolling along Sanibel

May 30, 2009

Capt. Dick May of Easy Rider Charters reports "high tides and ultra-clear water were the order of the day this past week."

Good bait is still around. Sea trout have moved out to near the passes and on the outside beaches along with the snook looking to spawn. Spanish mackerel are schooled up in the passes and just inside. Tarpon are rolling just inside the passes more than in the pass itself.

May says to drift live whitebaits for a tarpon tussle. Redfishing continues to be tough. Lots of sharks around and can make your day if you are looking for a real arm-bending fight. Drift with a chunk of fresh ladyfish or mackerel.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Remember, any shark kept for the table should be bled as soon as it has been caught and ICE is the ticket to keep the meat in top shape.

No ice or too little ice? Do not kill the fish.

Capt. Sean Davis of Fishwarrior Charters tells me he has experienced another phenomenal week of fishing. The winds have died down and the bait is plentiful in the bays and on the beaches.

Snook hit whatever you can throw at them. It is a great time to be in Southwest Florida. Tarpon are rolling and tail-slapping their way along the Sanibel beaches with sharks and mackerel bringing up the rear. By the way, snapper are starting to make their presence known around the bay. They are holding on blown-down trees on the higher water.

Capt. Doug Root of D&D Tackle in Matlacha reports tarpon that were in Boca Grande and Captiva Pass have scattered and probably have moved into Pine Island Sound.

Typical shark pattern

His clients have had good luck redfishing around Pineland and the Cabbage Key areas. He is using cutbaits, like ladyfish steaks, to entice the reds into biting on the higher tides. These fish are using the mangroves for ambush points and a "smelly" chunk of ladyfish usually will bring them out to play.

Trout are biting on the grass flats and his clients favor the Burnt Store Bar. Snook are everywhere and local docks in Matlacha Pass are holding yours. He suggests live greenbacks for bait for snook that are spawning and preparing to spawn.

The typical summer shark pattern is in effect and they are willing to eat most live and cut baits. Root also tells me that snapper are under most timber and the docks near D&D Tackle are loaded with them.

Lehr's Economy Tackle weighs in with reports of snook being caught by fly rodders walking the Gulf side beaches of Sanibel and Captiva fishing in the surf zone. They suggest sinking or sink-tip lines for this low cost, low tech, fun fishing.

Reports of a hot tarpon bite in the river at the Franklin Locks, Edison Bridge, and the old trusty RR Bridge. Redfishing has been good, but scattered lately. They tell us to fish the east side of Pine Island Sound, and the hot bait has been Zoom jerkbaits, especially the classic Zoom Fluke in pearl white as well as the D.O.A. fluke in the root beer color.

For dock owners that like to keep their fish close to home, Lehr's is selling a really neat product from the Hydroglow company that beats the typical white snook light that many homeowners use. This is a 42-inch long tube that can be mounted to your dock and can be positioned to shine its bank of LED lights in any direction. So far, the green color is selling best and a blue light is also available.

No one can tell me why these colors are superior to plain white light in attracting fish, but so far the theory seems to hold true. Any biologists out there that can shed some light (yuk) on this subject please let me know.

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



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