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Sharks competing for redfish

April 23, 2011

Redfish, sharks and free-jumping tarpon are everywhere we are fishing. This past week the afternoon redfish bite was pretty darn good.

There must be lots of reds because lots of sharks, from 10 pounds to over 100, are being spotted in knee-deep water chasing everything on the flats and the reds are still biting.

At first it mostly was shovelheads. This week it was bulls, blacktips, bonnetheads and redfish. This is why I don't wade fish and as for swimming, look for me in the safety of my pool.

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Capt. George Tunison

If you want to catch some nice reds this week a shrimp on the bottom is still my go-to for baitfishing

Lure-wise, toss big chrome topwaters all over the flats, have patience and keep casting. Keep the boat noise to very low levels to give yourself a better shot. Don't be afraid to get shallow as I've caught reds all this week in super skinny water.

Time your trips with a tide chart so as not to get stranded back in the jungle with the world's deadliest noseeums and giant black skeeters.

Other hot lures this week were gold spoons, soft plastic jerkbaits and spinnerbaits. Being an old tournament bass fisherman I grew up tossing spinnerbaits till my arms fell off and caught tons of big bass on them. At times reds will eat them up and if you enjoy the thump a big bass gives your spinnerbait wait till a hungry 10-pound red smacks it. Hold onto your rod tightly is my best advice as it's usually a pretty awesome hit.

Reds seem to love them or hate spinnerbaits depending on their mood. Wednesday, I caught 5 reds over 30 inches on spinners in short order. Everyone else caught small reds that day.

On Thursday they hated them and would only eat small spoons or nip at topwaters. Strike King Lures makes a Redfish Magic Spinnerbait, but almost any bass spinner will do. Like the Strike King bait, I like a big, gold, round style blade (Colorado blade) and a gold or white skirt. I always mount a gold sparkle Cal Jig body to the bait mounted upside down for max action and flash.

This bait does it all from shallow to deep by how fast you retrieve it while the big thumper blade really sends out tremendous flash and vibration as well as the flash and vibe from the Cal Jig.

Don't be surprised if a big snook starts dancing on your line, but all in all I've not caught many snook on these baits. These hard pulling lures are best fished with a baitcaster style rod and reel.

Big spinnerbaits are very hard on a typical light tackle spinning outfit and can wear out a reel in short order. I fish these with 20-30-pound braid and a 24-inch fluorocarbon leader on my baitcasting reels.

Typically, spinners are cast and retrieved close to structure for best effect, but all my redfish spinner bites came in open water off the shorelines. Drifting and fan casting an open bay is the way to go if you're not getting a shoreline casting bite.

A 3/8-oz. bait can be cast a mile and a simple medium speed retrieve gets the bites. Hold tight and pay attention while casting or you could very well be one rod short back at the dock.

Monday through Thursday saw a lot of really big trout crushing topwater plugs right in the middle of the afternoon sun. These big loner trout hang out near the reds and are a much different fish than the typical 12-inch schoolie.

Tarpon time is upon us and my goal this year is to catch a really big one on the fly rod.

Along the coast, in the passes, the harbor, the river and the canals of the Cape the tarpon is king

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or, or Flying Fins Sportfishing.



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