This time of year I'm always trying to catch some catfish hopefully to feed to the local and visiting tarpon on my next outing.
I was rummaging around my fish room, freezer and refrigerator Friday morning looking for something to put on a hook to throw out back in the lake to try to increase my kitty tail stockpile, when I realized that all I had were hot dogs. Why not?
So I did and after 10 minutes or so the rod bowed deeply, the drag screamed and a fat 28-inch snook took to the air pinned to a circle hook and hot dog chunk. I admired my little snook and after climbing down the seawall I gently revived the little pork eater and removed my thumb from his tight jaw lock and replaced it with his chunk of dog and sent him on his way.
Capt. George Tunsion
I'm coming out with a new line of topwater; walk the dog style snook lures, sort of like a soft yet very tasty Zara Spook. To make your own insert a length of 90-pound single strand leader wire end to end through your favorite dog, brat, or sausage. Leave two inches on either end. Make a loop in both ends of the wire and attach split rings. Attach a treble hook to one split ring. Done, go fishing.
They can be fished natural or painted to match the conditions or species and pumped with air for neutral bouncy or weighted to work down deep.
(For those not in the know catfish chunks make great tarpon bait fished on the bottom. Please, always use circle hooks with your cat tails when bottom fishing tarpon to insure a healthy release.)
Yet another beautiful gator trout came aboard on Thursday's charter. Fought like a determined redfish, staying down and not wallowing trout like at the surface. The lucky angler used a CAL Jig in "new penny" color, hopped along the bottom through a school of 12-inch trout which I'm sure this particular gator was snacking on. Week after week other captains and anglers are reporting jumbo trout from Punta Rassa to Punta Gorda with some of the best action here in our own backyard.
So many over-tackle when going trophy spot fishing. I like using little six-foot ultralights with light jigs on 10-pound braid line and long fluorocarbon leaders testing 15-20 pounds. For topwaters and twitch type lures (MirrOlures), a 6 1/2 to 7-foot light action rod with the same line setup.
Let's face it, most trout in our area tend to run small, but if a gator comes knocking the light tackle makes the experience all the more enjoyable.
When the wind allows, I throw my ancient, tiny, Fenwick 3-weight fly rod which makes a two- pound trout seem like a mini-orca and a three-pound ladyfish a tarpon. I like to keep reminding folks that fly fishing is easy to learn and highly rewarding and our shallow fishing grounds are extremely fly rod friendly. Don't miss out on one angling greatest thrills.
No technique I've experienced in fishing can match the one-on-one feel you get when fighting a fish on fly tackle. It's a unique experience, get a video, instructor, or friend to show you or guides like myself typically teach private or group fly instruction at reasonable prices.
A 6-weight rod is a good all-around trout fly rod choice if it's not too windy.
If you can afford the gas the nearshore reefs are lit up with grouper along with stray cobia, mackerel and an army of bottom fish.
Watch out for VW sized Goliaths stealing your prize on the way up or get your biggest, baddest ocean rod and reel setup and drop down anything large and wiggling, strap in and hold on as you could be in for a tug of war you might wish you hadn't started.
Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.flyingfinssportfishing,com.