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Great time to catch big snook

October 20, 2012
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Snook are prowling everywhere and now is the time to get your once-in-a-lifetime trophy.

Look for them around any structure, docks, pilings, bridges, as well as mangrove shorelines and potholes on the flats. Concen-trate on points.

Fall is a super time to fish weather and fish wise. Big trout, ladyfish, bluefish, Spanish, kings, bonita, stray tarpon and the previously mentioned snook all are looking to eat.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Did I mention the schools of redfish prowling the flats waiting for your spoon? Lure and fly guys as well as bait casters will score big this month.

Although there are beach snook still out there, concentrate on fishing for snook of all sizes making their fall transition to the back country, canals and upriver. This is a great time to catch a big snook on a lure and the different Mirr-O-lures are always a good choice a well as X-Raps, topwaters, jigs and plastic shrimps and jerk baits.

Jumbo live shrimp, ladyfish, pinfish and cast-netted baits all work for the live baiters.

This past week my charters have done really well with the old standard two-hook size floating MirrOlure cast into the mangrove shadows as far as you dare and slowly twitched out to "safety." These old style plugs are getting harder to find in the stores since the MirrOdine and MirrOminnow became such a hit. If you can't find them order direct.

Novices, practice you're casting skills before your snook trip as a treble-hooked plug cast inches too far usually means you just threw a $7 bill into the water. Mangroves love plugs and hate to give them back. On the other hand, these shady shoreline fish are way under the brush and if you can't get the plug to them you won't get results.

Those proficient in the skip casting method shine in these conditions as they are able to get a fake shrimp (or live) or other plastic right in the face of those hidden way back and under. Skip casting means casting your plastic lure sidearm with the rod tip - almost touching the water's surface during the entire cast - causing the lure to shoot low and skip like a flat stone 10 feet or more under the brush where other anglers never cast.

Be careful when that 40-incher inhales your bait and explodes that you don't instinctively raise your rod tip to hook him. Fish Off!

Sweep the rod low (I keep my rodtip in the water) till you can muscle him out to open water.

For those strictly fishing for trophy snook don't go under-gunned for these big females. I prefer to fish a 12- to 15-inch live ladyfish near bridge structures or docks at night. I also like to time my trips so I'm fishing an outgoing tide. I love light tackle fishing, but on these occasions use stout gear otherwise in some case you're just killing fish.

When fishing snag infested bridge areas for a trophy I use 80-100-pound test braided lines attached to a SPRO swivel (or line-to-line) then attach a 6-8-foot piece of 80-100-pound fluorocarbon leader. Hook sizes and types are a long discussion, but generally I use various size Owner hooks for all my needs and a circle hook whenever possible.

Choose to freeline your ladyfish or support it with a balloon depending on conditions or desired presentation. Put in your time and you will be rewarded.

Please, carefully release all snook in water, especially big female spawners.

Remember, the redfish bite is on, so approach schooling reds quietly using trolling motors, wind drifts and push poles. Always pick off fish from the edges rather than from the middle of the school so as not to spook the whole school.

Please be respectful and stay back from a boat that is already fishing a school unless invited.

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



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