As I sat by the dock with the bright Florida sun warming my old bones I listened to my northern buddy moan about the weather in Delaware (Tuesday the beaches were covered in six inches of snow with a sustained wind of 30-35 mph with gusts to 50) a handful of large mullet started scouring the algae infested rocks at the base of the piling.
An angry hand-sized snapper rushed around and seemingly fussed about being disturbed, but the mullet continued grazing unaffected by his display. Soon a 24-inch redfish appeared lumbering along, eyes glued to the bottom hoping for something to chase down and devour. Two smaller snook swam out from the adjacent piling with one coming over to take a close look at the redfish which kept on with his hunt as if the snook were invisible.
Just another especially gorgeous winter in Cape Coral, but our fishing will take a few days to recover from the mid-week cold wind and rain blast from the north. Wind and cold, muddy water accompanied by high blue skies will test any angler's skills but by week's end fishing will improve.
Capt, George Tunison
Here's hoping for good weather and a reminder that the free kids' Fishing Derby sponsored by the Kiwanis Club takes place 8:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Cape Yacht Club fishing pier, ages 5-15, each participant receives a rod and reel. Register at the pier before 8:30. For info call Wally Laumeyer at 239-772-8678.
With reports of tarpon in Boca Grande and activity reported in many Cape canals it's time to dust off the tarpon gear for a fantastic season ahead.
Remember, in Boca special regulations apply - fishing with gear that has a weight attached to a hook, fly or lure so that the weight hangs lower than the hook when the line or leader is suspended vertically from the rod is prohibited. Don't forget that if this gear is on board a vessel while inside the boundaries of the pass, it cannot be attached to any rod, line or leader and must be stowed.
Further, during April, May and June, no more than three rods may be actively fished aboard a boat while in Boca Grande Pass, and no use of "breakaway" terminal tackle during these months.
Keep any tarpon over 40 inches in the water as it's now the law. Actually, the best release of any fish happens when it's left in the water with minimal handling.
To insure this keep proper release tools on board. Speaking of release tools, large single hooks or large trebles deeply imbedded in human muscle can't be cut with standard needlenose pliers. If you happen to throw a mad-as-a-hornet thrashing fish into the mix that's hooked to the same hook or lure that's now in you, things will get ugly quickly. If it's a big brute, like a tarpon, shark or cobia, even worse. Carry small bolt cutters.
Here's a basic tackle box list for the springtime novice saltwater, inshore, spin fishing angler fishing the Cape for snook, redfish and trout.
Gold spoon with a SPRO swivel (35lb test swivel-SPRO brand only)
Pack of DOA plastic shrimp in glow or gold sparkle colors
Pack of DOA Cal paddle tail grubs in glow, white and gold sparkle with jig heads in the 1/16 - 1/8 - and 3/8 oz. sizes
Rapala Skitter Walk top water plug (small and large)
Zara Spook top water plug (small and large)
MirrOdine suspending twitch bait
These six items will cover 99 percent of your lure needs for inshore angling.
Add a few rolls of 20, 30, and 40 pound fluorocarbon leader and a few packs of Owner circle hooks in the 2/0, 3/0, 4/0 sizes.
For line choose Suffix or Power Pro braid in 10 to 20 pound sizes.
Choose longer 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 medium light rods with quality reels.