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‘Come on over, the fishing is very good ...’

August 31, 2018
By GEORGE TUNISON , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Like many of us, my fishing fascination started with catching crappies, sunnies, yellow perch and largemouth bass in local streams and picturesque millponds in the Mid-Atlantic States eventually "graduating" to saltwater in the Chesapeake Like and Delaware Bays.

Now living in the bass capitol of the world but guiding for saltwater species there's not much time to get over to one of the greatest bass lakes on the planet Lake Okeechobee and the heart of the algae controversy.

As a guide with unexpected free time, I gave bass central in Clewis-ton a call for a conditions update.

On Thus-day, Roland Martin's Marina said to, "Come on over, the fishing is very good, the water is clear and the lake is algae free but it's been windy." I haven't looked at computer maps to verify their algae claim, but that would certainly be good news on many fronts.

Keep in mind that "windy" on Lake O might mean several different things to different people. The shallow lake is pretty much an open bowl, so uncomfortable high winds can certainly be a factor in your fishing day so stay on top of the weather reports before the trip.

For a nice change of pace, go back to your early days and pull the flats or bay boat over, or cut down on wasted time, relax and hire a pro guide that fishes the lake daily.

If you like the bass flipping and pitching game, topwater explosions or the jolt and joy of a big bass thumping a spinnerbait, Lake O is a short ride away.

If you aren't a skilled flipper or simply don't want to work that hard in the summer's heat, then put up some shade and the ultimate big bass bait to work for you, the jumbo shiner. Available locally or used by your Lake O guide.

With any booked trip, communicate thoroughly with your guide. Explain your goals (and if they're reasonable), what you are comfortable with, equipment and techniques that you are familiar with, what conditions to expect and any special need(s) for the trip. Be clear on price and the times agreed upon. Never feel bad about asking for references or pictures.

Prior to the trip communication is key or I will invariably get, "After Teddy (a tiny 7 year old) catches 3 or 4 big tarpon (in January) he really has his heart set on a couple of those goliath groupers."

Personally, I guide as a full-time paid hobby and feel terrible for young, fellow, hard-working pro guides throughout S. Florida that have house, car, boat payments and young families to support as cancellations come in and once curious tourists don't book. Guides were some of the first real economic causalities of this ongoing ecological disaster as the ripples continue to spread throughout the economy.

Don't feel like travelling to get your bass fix? Don't know how to catch a bass? Don't leave town. Contact a member of the Cape Coral Bass Club for info and check out their website.

We have hundreds of miles of canals supporting bass as well as other species native as well as invasive. Not only canals, but small ponds hidden here and there near fields and some right in Cape neighborhoods, that support big bass.

Nowadays, sadly, many miles of the Cape's canals are algae choked and badly in need of relief. How and when is the question?

When writing this article I did receive a call from a pretty reliable source telling me about a 14-pound bass caught in one of these underfished areas. That is unconfirmed and the location might cost me my life if disclosed. North of Pine Island Road is the best I can do.

With snook season opening remember the law. Not less than 28 inches or more than 3 inches, if you plan on dinner.

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



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