What a wild and windy week of great fishing!
I just finished a six-day stretch of inshore fishing and each day presented different challenges depending on the wind and the abilities of my clients.
Warm-ing water temperatures, bait, moving tides, and the wind itself really got the fish biting this week. In Matlacha Pass big snook and 5-8-pound redfish seemingly were everywhere cruising the shorelines or sunbathing.
Several times this week we quietly wind drifted shallow shorelines and came up on huge snook just sunning themselves in the mid-day sun. The ones not cruising or relaxing were busy chasing our MirrOlures, especially the instant classic 17MR MirrOdine. If you learn to fish this lure slowly with pauses and subtle twitches, you will catch fish.
Using 25-35-pound fluorocarbon leaders, always tie the lure to the leader with a loop knot. This lure may be the best inshore twitch bait ever produced. Its brother, the MirrOminnow, is a hot lure as well, but the MirrOdine is my favorite.
Visiting Delaware angler Lew Busby, a gold spoon fanatic, took my advice and finally tied on a MirrOlure. I directed him to cast to a current-swept mangrove point with an overhanging tree. Classic snook ambush territory. A few subtle twitches of the lure, a big silver flash, and a 10-pound snook came roaring out with the lure pinned to its mouth and quickly powered its way toward the branches. After a wild fight in this small canal and three huge jumps, a beautiful healthy snook came to the boat for a quick and careful release.
A short while later I had the same result on a wind-blown dock with a slightly smaller fish. Busby, who recently prefers to be called "King Snook," suddenly now owns several MirrOlures.
If you are fishing this week you probably will catch a snook as they seem to be everywhere. It's wonderful to see so many big, healthy big snook after the tragedy of a few months ago. It's also interesting that during this past six days, I have not caught or seen one small snook.
Please release these fish carefully as they are the future of the fishery and are on the way to the beaches to spawn. Try to release the fish in the water with minimal handling and remember the snook season is closed, which was a sound decision under the circumstances.
Capt. Roy Bennett of Hot One II Charters writes ... I wanted to share this with you. A couple months ago I signed up with Capt. John Bunch's operationopenarms.com program where guides and many others are listed on a website to take out soldiers and their families while they are home on leave. Well, Sunday I took out my second open arms charter.
Home on leave from Afghanistan until April 15, Tom McRoberts, who lives in Michigan, accompanied me along with his brother, Brian, and their wives to tarpon and shark fish. John went first and landed a small blacktip shark. Then the others also enjoyed catching their first sharks.
With Tom up next a rod in the bow starting bending and my prayers were answered. All I had asked for was for them to experience the excitement of seeing the majestic tarpon jumping out of the water trying to spit the hook. The fish was big, probably 110 pounds. Tom did everything right and remembered the hints and must-dos to land a tarpon I had given him. We released the fish to live another day.
This was one of the proudest days I have ever had on the water. Giving a day to this more than grateful family when Tom has spent months on the front lines for me in another country, I feel this is the very least I can do. THANK YOU! My season is made.
Check out operationopenarms.com and thanks to all veterans active and inactive!
Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Flying Fins Sportfishing.