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Get out early and fish slowly

August 1, 2009
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Capt. Dick May of Easy Rider charters reports that fishing this week has improved as long as you stay close to the passes leading to the Gulf where the water is cooler on an incoming tide.

Snapper fishing continues to be your best bet and redfish are beginning to be caught. Small to medium whitebait is plentiful if you get out early with your cast net on the flats or later in the day try your net skills near the passes.

Look for Spanish mackerel to soon be showing up in large schools and look for the birds to tip you off to their location. Cut bait and large frozen shrimp fished under a cork or dead on the bottom under docks with shade or under the bushes will catch redfish. Get out early and fish slowly.

A few months back I wrote an article about having seen hooked tarpon jumping into anglers' and observers' boats. I received many emails telling me that basically I was wacky and that only happens in the movies and or in my dreams. I have personally witnessed it three times.

This recent account of a tarpon boat attack comes from Capt. Roy Bennett of Hot One II Charters.

After sixteen years of catching tarpon the unthinkable finally happened today (July 23, 2009). I had an approximately 90-pound tarpon jump into the boat after it was briefly hooked. I always knew it could happen but after jumping probably a thousand tarpon I just didn't give it much of a thought.

My friend Fred hooked the fish and it swam toward the boat, which is not that unusual. When it was along side the boat and swimming toward the stern I yelled for Fred to get to the back of the boat. Before Fred could react this fish decided to jump and when it did it landed right in the boat. We couldn't do anything as it was slamming and slapping and spewing blood and sliming everything in sight.

When it finally settled down a bit Fred and I were able to grab it and lift it over the side and place it back in the water. I held on until I thought it had the strength to swim away and it did.

We were left with a boat that looked like the scene of an axe murder.

We were covered in blood and nasty smelling slime. Thankfully, no injuries to Fred or me were incurred. Additionally, no real damage to boat or tackle occurred. Incidentally, the blood that exuded from the fish's gills is a defense mechanism that is used to deter predatory fish, such as sharks and barracuda from harassing them.

Thankfully, after the boat had been cleaned of blood and deslimed we were lucky enough to hook and boat another tarpon. This is one of the reasons tarpon fishing is so exciting. I have personally landed 265 of them and have several fishing goals left before I hang up my rods.

Good luck Capt. Roy and start wearing your hard hat.

A lot of people have written me asking about how to keep two or more live baits separated when tarpon fishing the bridge from an anchored boat. Typically, most anchored boats fish two rods out the back with a couple floats or balloons to hold up the live ladyfish or other baits. The floats are allowed to drift with the current, back to the bridge, and then stopped so they hold in prime positions usually near the shadow line of the bridge lights.

More often than not the running tide has the floats kissing each other, or worse yet, tangling. I have been experimenting with planer boards to solve this problem with good success. The first person that emails me with a better way to solve this problem will receive a $10 check from Flying Fins Sportfishing.

Submit on or before Aug. 6, 2009.

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



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