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Cold weather brings hungry predator fish

October 27, 2017
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Recent cold fronts pushing through our area will put predators in full feeding mode and hopefully on the end of your line.

Any beach-bound snook still cruising the Gulf or the passes will head east to join the rest of the gang moving inshore to warmer protected waters. Many of these snook typically winter upriver and will face very poor water quality issues as they swim east through the ongoing Lake O discharges.

Best snook fishing occurs during periods of fast moving tides, especially outgoing tides where snook ambush small fish and invertebrates flushed out of the back country. Points of islands are always a good spots to look for snook as well as docks and lay-downs that have stronger currents passing by them.

From now till next May, many huge female trophy snook will reside in the Cape's canals seeking warmth with a backyard 40-pounder a real possibility.

If you haven't got your redfish fix this year, don't keep waiting as many that have reached the 30-inch size will start heading offshore never to return to these flats. Traditional places to scout for reds would be the Burnt Store Bar, Indian Field and Smokehouse Bay in Matlacha, spoil islands along the Intracoastal Waterway, Captiva Rocks and any small island in Pine Island Sound like Demere or Terrapin key.

You might find a bigger redfish hanging around the walls and rocks of the passes like at South Seas or further north at Boca Grande.

Be very aware of tide chart predictions when fishing the shallow flats of Pine Island Sound. It might be two feet deep now as you enjoy some great early morning sight fishing but soon you might hear the dread sounds of fiberglass scraping bottom as the tides has now fallen and you are stranded till the next tide change, hours and hours away.

Only hope is to get out and pull and hope you did it soon enough. Luckily the skiff still floats as you walk/pull to deeper water and hopefully don't step on an upset ray along the way.

Always have good footwear onboard to deal with a scenario like this or for having to walk on a razor sharp oyster bar in an emergency.

Baits for reds would include live pinfish, ladyfish steaks, mullet chunks, crab pieces and the standby, shrimp. Put them on a hook or jig head and cast under green bushes. Sit quietly and let the redfish's nose do the work. Fish for 20 minutes then move on if no takers.

Best lures would be spoons and top-water plugs thrown to the edges of feeding schools.

Fly anglers can push pole in shallow waters or get out and wade to keep a lower profile. Put the skiff on a leash and pull it along with you.

Trout fishing will definitely get a boost with the chill winds lowering temperatures a bit. Soft plastics as well as shrimp under popping corks will get the job done. Our trout aren't usually too big so ultra-light rods, 6-pound test braid with a light leader will get the job done.

Spanish macs will be looking to eat all in sight this month with big kingfish not far behind so keep a large live bait out behind the boat while bottom fishing.

Bluefish are still cruising bars in Matlacha Pass and Pine Island. Great light tackle fun on spin or fly rod. These guys love fast moving top-water plugs and will definitely take the paint off your lures with their razor sharp dentures.

Look for inshore gag grouper to grab your redfish spoon especially in Pine Island Sound this month and look to catch various snappers and grouper on your favorite GPS bottom numbers weather permitting.

With crab floats come tripletail. Look for fish swimming on their sides on the surface or suspended under the crab float as you slowly cruise by.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-440-1621 or



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