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Keep an eye out for rolling tarpon

July 1, 2011
By Capt. George Tunison

Tarpon, as they say, are where you find them and right now that could be on the beaches, the river, in or near the passes or more than likely roaming the open waters of Charlotte Harbor chasing the bait pods. If the fish are in the harbor I get out early - no not at 9 or 8, but before it gets light. Get on your spot, quiet down, prepare the tackle, and wait.

As the sun starts to come up I start scanning the surface with binoculars watching for rolling tarpon, bait or birds. If you find all three at once you have nailed it. If you find big bait schools but no rolling fish, chances are if you hang around a bit they may start eating. If after a reasonable time and no fish, then continue your search.

Rolling tarpon are usually traveling from point A to B or feeding and staying in one area and it's important to know the difference. If tarpon are rolling in all different directions in one general area, that means they are keying on some type of forage and will stay till the bait is gone or they get full (or get spooked by a knucklehead driving his new boat right over them). If they seem to be coming almost straight up and straight back down, that's another sure sign there are feeding in that location.

Tarpon rolling and moving rather quickly all in the same direction are obviously heading for new staging or feeding grounds.

Even traveling or relocating tarpon will bite. Determine their direction and get ahead of them. When they approach quietly, present your baits, flies, or lures.

As they say on my street, "If ya ain't hooked a tarpon, you ain't been fishing"

The beach snook bite is still on and if you haven't tried this low-tech fishing, you are missing out on great sport. Get out before sunrise and scan the waters along the surf edge for snook. Don't be surprised to see males weighing a pound or two to near 50-inch monster females.

I prefer a 7 1/2-foot medium action spinning rod, 15 pound braided line and fluorocarbon leaders for the gin clear water. It's hard to go wrong with a quality 3/8 ounce white bucktail. Don't cast discount jigs with cheap hooks for a possible 30 to 40-plus pound trophy. Jigs are cheap and lost trophy memories last (hurt) a lifetime so buy good ones. Think SPRO JIGS.

This is some of the coolest and cheapest trophy snook fishing anywhere. If you are a visitor and you see a man running down the beach holding a deeply bent fishing rod, please get out of his way. If he is a serious snook fanatic and is forced to choose between your safety and that 48-inch chrome beauty pulling him down the beach, you might just get run over.

When using shrimp for redfishing this summer, you will typically lose some of the shrimp in the live well. Don't toss them but remove them and put them in a sealable container or baggie and put them in the cooler. Redfish are about smell and will follow a scent trail quite a ways right to your hook. On a recent trip, a nice red (the only redfish of the trip) fell for the last dead and mushy shrimp in the live well, which, of course, saved the day.

Change the filter

About four times a year I like to remind folks to change out their old fuel/water separating filter cartridge with a fresh one. When removing the old one, pour the contents into a glass jar and let sit for a spell. Examine it later for water contamination caused by Ethanol and look for solid deposits as well.

Filters are cheap compared to repair bills caused by Ethanol, one of the biggest rip-offs of the American taxpayer in decades.

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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