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Late summer into fall is a great time to fish local waters

August 24, 2018
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Late summer into fall is one of the best times to fish in Southwest Florida. I'm praying that the summer remains quiet as another bad weather event will only make our toxic water situation much worse.

Finding cleaner water and cooperative fish in Charlotte Harbor from tarpon to trout. I received several e-mails about last week's comments about the "middle holes" in Charlotte Harbor, what they are and how to find them. The MH's are simply the deepest spots in the harbor where fish gang up in summer and it's located directly west of Pirate Harbor. Depth is approximately 20 feet. Consult your local maps.

Tarpon are still in the harbor feeding heavily on bait before heading back south, as well as the big sharks that follow them.

Typically the Peace River bridges are a nighttime tarpon hot-spot but this week be on site before daybreak and start scanning and listening for feeding fish. Suggested lures are Hogy plastic baits on 1 to 2 oz. jig heads depending on current. Try black, silver and white. Another plastic hot bait is the DOA Bait Buster. Lots of opportunities to catch your first tarpon or get your late season tarpon fix on lures or sit quietly fishing dead baits on bottom or live ladyfish under floats.

Snook season opens Sept. 1 and I wonder what the final kill tally numbers will be. An estimated 400,000 died statewide in 2004 due to the big freeze, but they came back strong. I've personally seen quite a few really big females floating and as always it's a sad sight.

With a red tide bloom pushed onto the coast, spawning must certainly be negatively affected this season so look for clean water inshore or venture offshore to reports of snook on the near shore reefs.

While you're out there, chum up your mangrove snapper dinner using light line. The size limit is 10 inches minimum and you can keep 5 per person of these tough fighting but tasty fish.

Fall schooling redfish are on the way and for the inshore flats angler ,that's pure bliss, be it on lure, fly or a simple shrimp.

Typical spots are in north Matlacha Pass, along the spoil islands near Cabbage Key and Useppa in Pine Island Sound and anywhere along the eastern shore of Charlotte Harbor from north Matlacha Pass to Pirate Harbor.

On the western side of Charlotte Harbor, big reds can also be found in Bull and Turtle bays.

These are the little guys to 10 pounds schooling on the flats before heading offshore for adult life and to grow to the nearly 100-pound size in some parts of the country.

Fish the passes for a bull redfish or spot them offshore in massive schools that turn the sea to gold. An amazing sight to be sure.

Definitely worth passing on - a new documentary about toxic algae and the growing scientific evidence that ties it to neurological diseases, "Toxic Puzzle," the work of Paul Cox, biologist and founder of a group that's been searching for a cure for ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, for years.

Key to that search for Cox and others has been establishing a link between the toxin BMAA, found in cyanobacteria, and the risk that high levels of exposure to the toxin could be a factor in the development of ALS, which results in the progressive loss of voluntary muscle action.

Links between algae and ALS have been documented for years. A 2011 Dartmouth University study found that New Englanders within a half mile of waters with frequent algal blooms were 2.5 times more likely to develop ALS than those with normal exposure.

Not good news at all for Southwest Florida, the environment, our health or the economy.

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



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