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Trout run hot in some Cape canals

March 27, 2010

In an effort to escape the past week's high winds and to produce fish for clients, I slowly motored my way through a couple of miles of residential canals to one of my cold water, hot spots.

This basin is deep and wind protected and was full of hungry trout as hoped. Many people are in the know about this spot and many folks fish it from shore. When we arrived at least 10 shore anglers were present and catching trout.

My guys started catching trout on popping corks and circle hooks baited with live shrimp. These light wire circle hooks performed perfectly and 99 percent of the more than 100 trout caught were hooked in the corner of the mouth. Simply grab the leader, then grab the hook shank with needlenose pliers, turn the hand over and the fish simply fall off the hook back into the water, untouched. A perfect way to handle or release delicate, fine scaled fish like trout.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

The downside to this was having to watch the shore anglers from teens to grandfathers terribly mishandle every trout caught during the entire time we stayed on location. Every fish-killing release move was time and time again demonstrated, such as the "hop and drag trout over 10 feet of rocks, weeds, and sand, so the Lab can lick and paw it."

The "flop 'em up on the lawn and hold 'em down with your foot method" was popular along with the long distance release tool of "power throw the trout as far out into the water as you can throw it release." The classic "wrap the fish up in a big white spa towel, completely de-slime and de-scale it, unhook it and then power throw it back into the canal" also was popular, as well as "let's see how long this fish can hold its breath before we kick it back into the water release." All in all it was a gruesome display.

Should a two- to four-hour class be mandatory with every new fishing license? Experienced anglers should always take the time to teach conservation techniques to those not in the know, especially kids. Take a minute to educate, to help protect the resource

Capt. Dick May of Easy Rider Charters reports that even though the Gulf waters are still pretty cold the inland bay waters are warming. Trout are plentiful on the grass flats in three- to six-feet of water and are taking live shrimp under a cork and a variety of soft plastics.

My favorite is white three-inch GULP Shrimp. Spanish mackerel are beginning to be caught as well as a few shovelnose sharks. Redfish are still on the short side, but there are more in the slot size each day. With continued warmer days and nights cobia and tarpon should be showing up any day. A few pompano also are being caught. Still about 5 degrees low for fishing to peak.

Capt. Rob Modys reports a great bite in Estero Bay. The Spanish macs have moved in and are biting well near the passes and in the cuts. They are mixed in with lots of ladyfish and a few pompano. Jigs under popping corks tipped with shrimp work best for all of the above.

Jacks to 12 pounds were caught in the north end of the bay and near Hendry Creek using Berkley GULP Shrimp artificials. The trout are still around, but a bit spread out. Redfish are being caught near the mangroves on the higher tides. Live shrimp on a jighead is the key.

In honor of the NFL players and their friend that drowned about a year ago, the 3rd annual Fort Myers Beach Kingfish Shootout now requires all its participating anglers to carry satellite detectable emergency beacons (EPIRBs or Personal Locator Beacons) on board their boats. These devices greatly help anglers and boaters get located in emergency situations.

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



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