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Use common sense around other anglers

May 14, 2011

I'm writing this article in the hopes it may stop a very violent attack on another's person or even worse.

Fishermen, I'm told, are very, or can be, very passionate people - the wife's polite phrase meaning stone crazy - and sometimes don't have a lot of spare patience. (She says I have none, but she's wrong because I married her.)

Let's talk about fishing etiquette. Not in general terms, but specifically.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

For example, boat control in Boca Grande Pass. When drifting through the pass with the tarpon fleet there are certain things you do and don't do. You do fish vertically; you keep the motor running for several reasons; you don't shut your motor off and drift around or simply buck traffic, or God forbid, anchor!

Common sense, sit back and watch what's going on. Figure it out. Join in the fun, but for sure there always will be the idiot that will get in everyone's way and act completely oblivious to all the thrown cans and curses. I know, as I'm guilty as sin long ago of being that idiot, but only one time.

At Redfish Pass, get in line with the other boats and drift around the rocks with the current on the outgoing tides. Again sit back and watch the other boats, figure it out, enjoy.

This brings me to tarpon fishing the Caloosahatchee River bridges at night. As I've written, our river hosts some pretty awesome night fishing for tarpon, especially this time of year.

For some reason many are fixated by the Cape Coral Bridge and don't fish the many others, all of which hold big jacks, big snook, trout, cobia and tarpon of all sizes. Many nights I have the whole Midpoint Bridge all to myself while the Cape Bridge is crowded. All the bridges hold tarpon all the way up past the railroad trestle to the Franklin Locks, in my opinion, year-round.

Most bridge fishermen anchor uptide from the bridge and cast or drift live and dead baits back to the structure or shadow lines. Some freeline live baits like ladyfish or put them under balloons or floats and drift them back as well.

The point being that when you come under the bridge and see a long line of boats anchored parallel to the bridge, but back from it, do not think they all heard you coming and all pulled back to create an open lane for your travel along the bridge. They are anchored with baits all the way back to the bridge and you now have 18 lines tangled in your prop peeling off hundreds of dollars worth of braided lines, fluorocarbon leaders, and baits, in mere seconds.

Worse, the wasted time, effort and expense of these fishermen. I've seen it more than once and it can get ugly. The last time, the family finally stopped with everyone screaming at them, but by that time the damage was done. What a mess.

Come under the bridge and quietly go out and behind the anchored boats by at least 50 yards. Go down the line and find your spot and quietly anchor up. Blasting Lynard Skynard and bright lights, hooting and hollering is a great way to blow off steam, but basically you are ruining the fishing for those around you and yourself.

Redfishing continues to be really good with fish of all sizes being taken on the flats on the incoming tide and way under the bush on the high phase. Snook are celebrating summer in the passes, on the beaches, river mouths and docks. Seemingly all over the place.

For lures a Sebile Suspending Stick Shad in mullet color, jerked along under the surface, is a fine snook magnet. Never count out the big walk-the-dog surface baits for reds and snook as well.

The largest spotted sea trout each year generally are caught on big topwaters at daybreak.

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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