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Always thankful to be on the water

November 28, 2009

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone, and almost 24 hours later I'm still groggy from brown bird and stuffing overdose.

The cold front that has come our way will cause some fish to hunker down and stimulate others to feed like crazy. To me, cold wind or not, any day on the water is a cause for giving thanks, and better then sitting in the La-Z-Boy reading fishing magazines

Capt. Rob Modys of SoulMate Charters reported that bait was still thick on the beaches, but running a bit smaller then previous weeks. The good news is the fish don't really seem to care a bit. The Gulf waters have been packed with school after school of Spanish mackerel.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

As always scan the skies for large flocks of birds diving into the water and then fish the area with free lined live bait or any lure resembling white bait. You will be rewarded with bluefish, sharks, and great fighting bonita.

The May Reef is holding quite a few grouper and small cobia. Try fresh cut ladyfish and live white baits. Plenty of trout can be caught in the Estero Bay grass flats using shrimp under popping corks. Snook are still moving in with the best bite being near the passes and around docks.

Capt. Phil Evens of AFishinMission Charters reports that after that cool front a week ago fishing was on fire in Fort Myers and the Sanibel area. Lots of live bait and warming waters had the fish biting. Spanish macs are thick, and if you want action go to any pass and find diving birds on the inside or outside of the pass. Tossing a spoon (a Clark spoon is a good bet) a white bucktail jig, or most any lure with a shiny baitfish profile, will result in a quick hook up.

The teeth on a mac are like scissors and can make short work of mono. A short piece of wire leader will help prevent bite-offs and losing lures. Redfishing has been strong this past week with multifish days the order of business. As always, this time of year the snook are moving inshore from the beaches and passes. Start checking out creeks and back waters for the linesiders. Pompano fishing has been good. Keep an eye peeled for cobia passing through the area.

Dec. 4-6: The first Chix-N-Stix Ladyfish Tournament will be held at Fish-Tale Marina. This is the first tournament of its kind for women. Saturday's competitors will fish for and try to weigh in the heaviest bucket of ladyfish caught. Everyone says this will be easy, but things may not be what they seem. Teams are allowed to weigh a total of 10 ladyfish with a 12-inch minimum length. Contact Lacey Rush at (239) 980-1436. Sounds like great fun.

Speaking of ladyfish, what a great way to introduce a kid or novice to saltwater fishing, as well as top shelf bait fished live, dead, cut up or whole for larger gamefish like snook, sharks, reds, or tarpon. They also are an excellent way for a beginner to hone his fly fishing or ultralight spin fishing skills. A large ladyfish is a powerful acrobat that makes long high speed runs and amazingly high jumps on light tackle and readily strikes a jig, fly, hard or soft lure as well as most live baits including shrimp.

Because of their power and leaping ability they have earned the name "poor man's tarpon." A light fly rod in the 3- to 6-weight class coupled with any flashy fly and a school of always hungry ladys is a guaranteed way to put a grin on your face and heat up a cool winter day when other fish are busy keeping warm.

Any fish that pulls that hard and jumps eye high to someone standing in a flats skiff is fine by me.

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



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