Congrats to W.C. Carter of London on a very successful fly rod multi-species slam and an encounter with one of Southwest Florida's toughest inshore customers - Big Jack.
Over two days this avid fly angler (carp only) caught eight species of inshore fish, including a fat 32-inch snook.
To celebrate his new vacation home purchase here he decided to buy two new high-end fly combos at the local Bass Pro Shops just for the trip.
Rigging the 6-wt. rod for trout duty, he was all smiles as he caught five trout on seven casts. As the fly landed on cast 8 the water erupted as a vicious 15-pound class jack that was patrolling the bar's edge decided he wanted in on the action.
Carter looked at me wide eyed as I poled hard to clear the bar. "Hold on and don't high stick him," I barked. When fighting a big fish on fly use the power in the butt of the rod, but at a low angle to the water's surface. Overhead bass style hook sets or for fighting the fish is a no-no on the fly rod.
No carp in history ever made a run like this. By now 90 feet of fly line and 75 yards of backing had flown through the guides completely overwhelming the tiny drag on the little reel and burning fingers.
In a panic, and nearly out of backing line, he held the rod high overhead and tried to put the muscle to Big Jack, just as I started to yell, "keep the rod down!"
The $300 rod bowed deeply before exploding, the backing ran out and the knot popped as Big Jack stole his $60 fly line, 100 yards of backing, leader and fly.
The floating fly line and backing trailed off at hyper speed, the remaining five feet of rod dangled in the water leaving Mr. C standing there with his near new three-foot long fly rod and very empty, very hot, high-end reel.
In his heavy British accent he turned and yelled, "That was Brilliant! Just Amazing! Are you free tomorrow?"
As we ate lunch I told him about Big Jack's cousins that live on the other side of the peninsula along the Atlantic where a 50-pounder or bigger is waiting for him, the kind that pulls a flats boat over the horizon.
"Brilliant, I'm in! When?"
Looks like we will be pulling the boat over to Jupiter or Stuart when he returns to try and find Big Jack's oversized 50-pound jack cousins on plugs and fly. Scary fun!
With many snook already beachside, or heading there, it's a great time to cast lures at shorelines along their route to the Gulf.
Many shoreline casters go too fast and miss many targets holding trophy snook.
Number one is to be able to cast precisely. Most times a foot away is not close enough to get that reaction strike from a wise old snook that can tell by the hum of your electric if you are running a Motor Guide or Minn Kota.
Be able to skip cast, pitch and flip bass style or you are missing out at least 50 percent of the shoreline or dock fish.
Slow down and pick apart targets of opportunity, such as a downed tree. Stay back and pitch cast or skip cast into every branch connection.
Your pitched or flipped lure should enter the water very softly. If not, practice at home till it does.
Shoreline snook and redfish readily will hit bass style flipped creature plastics in heavy cover.
Slowly retrieving small floating crankbaits, such as a Mann's One Minus or other square billed bass crankbaits, over and into cover, pausing then letting them float back up, then, slowly, continuing till the whole tree is methodically covered will produce some explosive strikes from wary snook and redfish.
Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-440-1621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.