What a great week of fishing! Even with the windy cold fronts and a couple of beautiful warm days, anglers caught redfish, snook, trout, pompano, ladyfish, Spanish macs, bluefish, and bonita, all on artificial lures.
The top three producers this week were the MirrO-dine 17MR by MirrOlure in the chartreuse back and silver luminescence sides color, the D.O.A. Shrimp in clear/gold glitter, and the Bagley spoon in gold.
Even though the MirrOdine and its cousin the MirrOminnow (19MR) have been out for more than three years I'm still raving about them. If for some reason you have not used these two great lures by all means pick some up and learn to properly use them. These lures are actually called "suspending twitchbaits"
Capt. George Tunison
Rule number one, always use a loop knot to attach these lures to your leader. A Rapala knot or a perfection loop knot is preferred and allows these lures to really come to life. Stay away from snaps and other hardware to attach these lures to your line.
Cast into a shady pocket in the mangroves and let it sit for a two-count and slowly sink. Start your retrieve by pointing your rod slightly down and toward the lure. With subtle twitches of the rod tip, and very slow reeling, make the lure dance left to right, right to left. Remember, slow is the key. This lure looks and acts like a wounded whitebait or shad and is a snook killer (or trout, or redfish, even freshwater largemouth bass).
Of all the artificial shrimp lures on the market I find the original D.O.A. (deadly on anything) Shrimp to be king. It's perfectly shaped and balanced, smells like shrimp, casts well and is very snag resistant. This has to be one of the most versatile lures in salt water fishing. I like casting or flipping this lure into mangrove pockets, skip casting it under docks and overhanging branches, fishing it under a bobber on the grass flats, or fished deep with a jig head. This lure flat catches fish.
In open water, cast out and slowly reel back in a straight line with no added action. Every three feet or so give the rod tip a twitch to make the shrimp hop then fall, just like a scared shrimp. This is another lure best fished slowly. Gold/clear glitter is my go-to color night or day.
If you were allowed only one lure to fish our stained waters for redfish and snook, a gold spoon would be a great choice. This is a super lure for beginner to pro and simply puts fish on the hook. Nothing fancy here, cast it out, retrieve back in a straight line, and hang on. Make sure to not reel too fast making the spoon spin. The best retrieve speed makes the lure wobble and flash, not spin.
Cast under mangroves, around oyster bars, open grass flats. This lure is a classic redfish killer and I recommend the old Key Largo gold hammered spoon (1/4 oz.) now made by Bagley, although almost any gold spoon will work. When fishing in clearer waters near the Gulf, I will switch to a chrome spoon.
Capt. Rob Modys of SoulMate Charters reports a big surge in his trout catches with some 20-24-inch fish being taken. Live and artificial shrimp under a popping cork are the ticket. Sheepshead are everywhere with the biggest specimens taken around mangrove islands in Estero Bay. Lots of undersized reds around. If you catch one there will be others in the area. Try working a plain jig head tipped with a live shrimp along the bottom near mangrove islands and oyster bars.
Pompano are starting to stack up near the passes and the biggest schools seem to be running near the Sanibel Lighthouse area. There are also lots of ladyfish, bluefish, Spanish mackerel and small sharks in the area.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Flying Fins Sportfishing.