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Pompano put up hard battle thrills

April 21, 2012
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

On Wednesday's charter we saw a lot of fish, including another near four-foot snook. Also streamlined sharks in waist deep water, missed a lot of nice fish, and caught a red or two and some trout.

Not a great day, but any day fishing the beautiful waters of South-west Florida is time well spent. I've heard for every day spent fishing you are granted an extra day of living. If that's so I calculate I will be checking out around 2099.

As we continued to jig for trout the rear angler's rod abruptly slammed down and line screamed from the reel. I watched as the Power Pro cut through the water at warp speed and by the look of the deeply bowed rod I thought he had hooked a nice flats shark or big redfish. After a long tough fight and a few more circles around the boat, the fish finally gave in and came into view.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

"Are you kidding me?" the angler said as the 18-inch chrome pompano came into view. "I expected a 10-pound red or a big snook! What a fighter!"

If you haven't caught pompano by all means fish for them on light tackle, fluorocarbon leaders and small pompano jigs in yellow, pink, chartreuse, or white. Like others in this family, pompano, permit, or jacks of any kind are hard battlers and you definitely will get your string stretched.

Many Floridians also consider the pompano the best eating fish of all. I hunt them along the beach surf zones and sandy mouths of inlets both inside and outside. Make sure your shrimp tipped, pomp jig jumps up and back onto the sand as it's being retrieved, creating a little puff of sand each time it makes contact with the bottom.

You really never know where you may run into these somewhat elusive fish and it's not just at the beach. Wednesday's pomp came from within 200 yards of the Matlacha Bridge out on the grass flats in the same area where I caught a permit last year. If you notice fish jumping high out of the water in your wake as you motor along, stop and quietly turn around and fish that area. Those are pompano exhibiting a curious behavior that gives away their location.

Tough as nails fighters and super for supper, take a couple of hours jigging around Captiva Pass and you may be rewarded with your very own pompano.

While snookaholics pursue their 50-inch dream fish as they head for the beaches for spawning duties, the tarpon army is mobilized, geared up, and catching tarpon. A Matlacha angler just took an 80-pounder on a live pinfish at the top of Pine Island.

There has also been an ongoing tarpon bite upriver east of the I-75 bridges all the way to the Franklin Locks. Soon I will switch to night mode to pursue my tarpon around the bridges up and down the river. A tarpon strike on a big plug at night is simply amazing and should be on every angler's bucket list.

Others will intercept the bright chrome migratory tarpon off Knapp's Point as they make their way north to Boca Grande into the Harbor and Pine Island Sound. Beach anglers will be casting to pods of fish sighted as they move or "daisy chain" close to or sometimes a few miles off the beach. Low tech, but highly successful bottom anglers need only soak a chunk of catfish or ladyfish on the bottom and wait for their 200-pound bite.

I like to fish at least four to eight rods all around the boat for this type of presentation and use mudcat chunks as bait.

Trophy trout continue to bite. Redfishing is good as well on the flats and mostly under the bushes and around oyster bars in any area.

Now is the time to catch that snook of a lifetime.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or, or www.flyingfinssportfishing,com.



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