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Fishing with lures in dirty water

June 22, 2018
By GEORGE TUNISON , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

With dark water conditions, lure fans might do well by upsizing their offerings and choose baits that rattle to help fish zone in on them.

At times color can be everything and make the day, other times not so much. In stained water, I like gold or plain white often mixed in with a bit of chartreuse.

Being a fan of DOA Shrimp lures, I like to tinker with them. Adding tiny ball bearing glass rattle cylinders to them (Bass Pro Shops) as well as scent improves an already classic and deadly lure and makes it more visible in dirty water. As the name says, DOA - Deadly On Anything.

Slow your presentation making it easier to find. Also a big fan of suspending twitch-baits like Rapala's newest Coastal Series X-Rap Twitchin Mullet, which comes equipped with super sharp single hooks instead of the standard set of trebles. These lures can be twitched in a heat stupor-affected snook's face begging for a fight and usually tripping their trigger.

Don't be afraid to add scent to hard lures as well as soft plastics. I load the split rings with a generous amount of the thicker jelly attractants in stained water or when the bite is slow.

If dirty water bothers you on your night tarpon hunt, head up to the Peace River Bridge in Punta Gorda for some action.

The ramp there is first class with plenty of room for nearly any sized boat. Opens at 5 a.m. and closes at 1 a.m.

On a recent trip we hooked three tarpon on plastic swimbaits and Hogy eels on strong jig heads. This bridge has two spans for tarpon and snook fans and the wood structure by the hotel offers sometimes amazing snook action as well as the many docks leading west to the harbor.

Fishing bridges for night tarpon is a team guessing game. If you are anchored fishing live baits under floats, usually two things happen when you hook up; if you're unlucky the tarpon heads straight through the bridge and is now jumping 100 yards on the other side of it. If you're lucky, the fish heads away from the bridge into open water and a fair fight.

If you are new to the nighttime tarpon game, make sure you have some basics. When you finally hook up and the tarpon races through the bridge, you need to follow him otherwise the line will rub and break against the bridge pilings as he jumps and fights from the other side.

There will be no time to pick up yards of anchor line, an anchor, plus start the boat, turn it and race through the bridge as by then the fish will be long gone. You'll need a quick release anchor with a large float attached to the line. When the fish hits, the mate quickly unties the rope from the cleat and with the ball, throws everything over while the captain is turning the boat to run under the bridge and also getting the angler up front to fight the fish without getting any slack in his line during the transition.

Make sure that you carry enough rope and chain as the current flow can become very strong at times in our tidal rivers and your whole trip will be ruined because you're anchor set-up is too short to hold bottom.

For the tarpon bridge lure angler, GPS controlled trolling motors are great, as having to try and cast, keep the boat straight, control the speed, etc., during a heavy current flow with a hand control bow mount, is hard work and very inefficient.

Expect to keep the trolling motor running full time. Twenty-four or 36-volt motors have the edge as a 12 volter can go down quickly after hours of a full moon fast current.

Plan your offshore snapper trip carefully and arrive home safely.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-440-1621 or captgeorget3@aol.com.

 
 
 

 

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