If you owned a survival kit during the war it probably contained a fishing kit with one style lure - a jig.
Why did the armed forces settle on a jig? It catches everything from shallow to deep, in salt or fresh water.
Although I use jigs almost daily and catch reds as well as gator trout - like the near five-pounder I took Thursday - if I had one redfish lure choice only to use in the shallow waters of Pine Island Sound or Matlacha Pass, the old fashioned spoon hands down would be my choice.
It's idiot proof to use (of course when my clients cast theirs, actually mine, fifth, $5.27 spoon into the mangroves to be hopelessly lost forever, I sometimes wonder) and requires no special skills to manipulate. Cast it out and reel it in, but never so fast that it causes it to spin killing the action and twisting your line.
A spoon casts far, has a very high hooking percentage and reds of all sizes eat them with gusto. Everyone has their favorite spoon, like the classic Johnsons Silver Minnow or the Sprite. If the weeds aren't too bad my all time go-to spoon is one called the Wahoo Redfish Key Spoon in 1/4-oz. size.
It used to be manufactured by Key Largo, then Bagley. I take the hook and feathers off and throw them away and replace them with non-feathered Owner ST-66TN 4X treble hooks. Model 566-079. The old light wire hooks have resulted in too many lost trophies aboard my boats, especially after prolonged battles with bulldozer reds, jacks, and big snook. This spoon and hook combo has served me well and is highly recommended.
In heavy weeds I go to the Nemire Weedless or Johnson Spoons. Always use a small strong swivel (ask for SPRO swivels, tiny and ultra strong) at the end of your line and a 24- to 30-inch fluorocarbon leader before adding your lure. Right now for clear winter waters most pros suggest downsizing your leader to 20-pound test or even less.
You will attract more fish with light leaders, but you will also lose more trophy fish to broken lines and knots. Right now I'm sticking with 25-pound fluorocarbon for reds, 15 for trout, and at least 40 for snook.
Old Pine Island Marina tells me that the sheepshead reports have been good. Good action on the Redfish Pass wall and docks. The Boca Grande docks and Roosevelt Channel also are producing good fish. For trout, Rapala Skitterwalks, Heddon Super Spook Pup's, Gulp Shrimp, and Zoom Super Flukes are hot.
It can get depressing when grouper season closes in February for offshore fishermen. You can still practice catch-and-release or better yet, challenge yourself at some species that you may have been overlooking.
The next free fishing seminar is March 16 at 6:30 p.m. Cast net throwing lessons, tarpon fishing in the bay, and Boca Grande pass fishing will be covered. Capt. Cory Mcguire and Capt. Nelson Diaz will be the guest speakers.
Old Pine Island Marina will be hosting the first Blind Fishing Tournament on April 28. They are in desperate need of about 12 boats with a skipper and mate. (Skippers don't need to be a professional.) The tournament will be 4-5 hours long. There will be a barbecue following with awards. Anyone with a boat and willing to give up half a Saturday for a good cause, call Old Pine Island Marina at (239) 283-2548.
The beautiful weather has all boaters on the water these days and the too few ramps are crowded with anglers. Please remember the ramp is not the place to load and unload your vehicle or boat. Prepare your boat. Then and only then enter the ramp to launch.
Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Flying Fins Sportfishing.