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Fishing in the area still great

June 19, 2010
By Capt. George Tunison

Day 61 and the oil continues to flow into the gulf and I'm really frightened, more so every day. Today, giant plumes of thick black smoke rose in the beautiful blue skies as BP burned off collected oil.

Here on our shores the local fishing remains on fire while a very large oil slick is bearing down on the beautiful beaches of Destin, Fla.

Dolphins, large sharks and fish in general are fleeing the scene in an attempt to stay alive and in many cases being reported unusually close to shore. I'm sure they must be thinking "OK, we give, you win!" that or they are trying to figure how to trade flippers and fins for feet and get the heck out of Dodge.

The TV scene becomes more bizarre every day from growing reports of cover-ups on both sides, watching Kevin Costner selling his machines that clean and separate oil and water, the BP president completely stonewalling Congress and basically saying nothing, all the while in the upper corner of the screen, the underwater cameras continue to document the torrent of oil erupting from the source. How much oil is there? If they don't get it stopped could it go on for years?

Watching clips of angry locals waiting for equipment sitting idle on barges not yet under way to the scene due to red tape. Reports of our country refusing help from the Dutch and other countries shortly after the accident so as not to anger local USA union members. The Dutch have the most advanced oil cleaning ships and equipment in the world.

The one truly saving grace in this debacle is that Friday President Obama announced the creation of yet another committee. It's to be known as his "Oil Industry Watchdog" commission. The purpose is to oversee all aspects of the oil drilling industry especially in the area of safety. The person appointed to head this tough on big oil group, Mike Bromwich, is a Washington attorney with apparently absolute zero oil industry or zero industrial safety experience of any kind, whatsoever. Excellent. God save us, I just want to go fishing.

How do you want your tarpon? Just off the beach at first light or our river bridges at night? On the flats of Pine Island or Matlacha Pass with a fly rod or in the pack at Boca Grande? Whatever technique you enjoy now is the time to enjoy one of fishing's greatest thrills. You need not possess a $50,000 flats boat or a big center console to pursue tarpon. Tarpon are caught from Jon boats, kayaks, and even wading. If you can get on the water you have a shot at one.

Newcomers are highly advised to hire a professional guide to teach the various fishing and fighting techniques, boat control, tackle, bait and or lure selections, and most importantly where and how to find tarpon.

Do-it-yourselfers are advised to throw plugs around the bridges at night. Fish a chunk of catfish or ladyfish on the bottom with a circle hook attached. Slow troll or drift with pinfish or whitebaits suspended under floats and free lined.

If you see a boat working a school of fish, please be courteous. For many this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, please don't ruin it for them. Tarpon usually spook very easily and can quickly disappear.

Red fishing is great right now along with snook fishing as they arrive at the beaches to spawn.

Capt. Dick May of Easy Rider charters says, "Yes, it's hot but so is the fishing."

The red fishing is about as good as it's been in several years. There are still schools of Spanish mackerel in the passes feeding on schools of bait and the larger mangrove snapper are starting to move in. Snook are migrating to the beaches and sharks of all sizes are everywhere. Let's go fishing!

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



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