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There are three basic groups of anglers

February 23, 2018
By GEORGE TUNISON - Fish Tales , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

With spring fast approaching, inshore anglers usually divide into three basic groups.

The first group likes to anchor up and relax. Turn on the game, bait the hooks, toss them in and let 'em soak on the bottom.

The second group works hard at the beginning of every trip working with cans of mackerel and cat food enticing baitfish on the flats to come close enough to be captured in a thrown cast net. The captured baitfish are then transported to the reputed hot spot and cast close to shoreline cover and allowed to swim freely in the kill zone till inhaled by a hiding snook or redfish.

The third group just can't sit still. They are the lure slingers and fly casters. Always moving always probing, they prefer to fool their fish with artificial offerings and usually say it's more of a challenge than bait fishing.

Spending my early years pursuing tournament bass fishing, I fall into the third group of lure/fly anglers and just can't stay in one place too long and have to keep moving looking for fish.

Although millions of anglers fish with lures/flies exclusively, never doubt the efficiency of fresh wiggling live bait to put fish in the biting mood.

A good lure angler can fish a 50-yard-long shoreline and on a really tough day maybe get two or three bites or none. The next guy can pull in with a live well full of fresh caught bait, throw a couple of handfuls near the shoreline with a bait-bat and turn on the whole shoreline. (A bait-bat is a plastic baseball bat with the fat end cut off. Add some shrimp or baitfish and from the boat, use it to toss or broadcast bait into the desired fishing area usually along a shoreline to get the fish into a feeding mood).

Now you toss in your live bait hooked through the nose and it's instantly inhaled in the feeding frenzy.

If this highly productive method of fishing interests you, then you must learn how to throw a cast net to collect the baitfish you've enticed to the boat with your secret mixture of baitfish chum (or available at your tackle store).

Some things to consider when buying a cast net - how do you throw it, bait size, mesh size and the cost.

The smaller the net the easier it is to throw. Nets can range in size from 3 to 12 feet with the larger nets collecting more bait for every throw. For general duty, 6 to 8-footers will get the job done. Commercial netters and guides will usually throw a heavier 10 to 12-foot net.

The next thing to consider is the mesh size. If you're going after really small baitfish such a shiners or minnows ,you want to use 1/4-inch mesh net. For larger fish like "whitebaits" or pinfish, choose a 3/8-inch mesh size. To cast net mullet for your next tarpon trip, you might want to consider a 1-inch or larger mesh size which allows the net to sink quickly.

As they say, you get what you pay for and a cheap quality net is just that. Spend the extra money and get a decent net.

Go to YouTube for instructions on throwing a cast. There are many ways to get the job done. The goal is to throw a nice perfect circle. Most local tackle stores that sell cast nets usually have someone on staff that will be glad to show you the basics. After that, take it home and practice.

The other part of the equation is to make sure that your live well set-up is up to the task of keeping a heavy load of baitfish alive -especially in hot weather. Lots of aeration and water exchanging is the key. Serious live wells are round or have rounded corners to prevent bait damage.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-440-1621 or captgeoget3



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