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Some remarkable occurrences on teen brothers’ first saltwater adventure

September 6, 2018
By GEORGE TUNISON , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Zak and Robert are two very competitive, hard core, 15-year-old twin brothers from Maine who simply live to fish as well as being crack-shot competitive target shooters winning lots of recognition and trophies. In between fishing and competitive shooting, they manage to squeeze in time to study and are both honor students.

With Dad on business here in Fort Myers and the boys dying to catch some saltwater species, I got the call and by the next morning they were aboard the old Action Craft casting like well-oiled machines while I poled along the mangroves.

Meeting, guiding, just spending time with these two young go-getters was a treat but what was really remarkable were the lucky things that happened during their first saltwater trip.

On Zak's first saltwater cast down a promising shoreline, his Skitter Walk topwater lure was blasted into the air by a nice snook with bad timing only to be snatched from the water by a small gull, which took the lure skyward then dropped it. Upon hitting the water, it was instantly snatched by a 10-pound class fired-up jack, causing the drag to scream as Zak held on with eyes as big as silver dollars. His biggest fish before this trip was a 4-pound smallmouth bass; needless to say he was pumped. What a first cast!

Luck runs in the family and Robert soon demonstrated his by tossing his MirrOdine plug a little too far, hanging a branch. I cautioned him to not pull tight but to jiggle it which he did causing the lure to fall the 12 inches to the surface below resulting in an immediate and violent blow-up by a deeply hidden 31-inch snook that fortunately ran for open water. It was Rob's first snook and the biggest of their trip. Big smiles and a healthy, release.

As a long-time angler, hunter and guide, I've seen my share of luck, especially beginners luck and odd things happening on trips. These things are usually rare occurrences happening once or twice a year. Not with these two.

Later the boys made a cast, by mistake landing within a foot of the other. A couple of turns of the handles and Zak hooked up and at nearly the same moment Robert did as well.

The boys pulled mightily and the fish fought hard but something was very strange. Both lines entered the water at the same point and looked as if they were both fighting the same fish. They were. The redfish had eaten both spoons, one right after the other.

With some trout to finish the trip, the boys were happy and making plans for a return. It seems dreams of Maine's smallmouth bass have been replaced by Florida snook, reds and big mean jacks.

My latest reports indicates red tide breaking up 7-10 miles offshore and clear sailing beyond that with all the reef species eating including the chrome warrior of the jack family, the permit. Nothing beats a small crab for a hungry permit so pack some with you on your next offshore run.

Fishing in Charlotte Harbor is steady with reports of redfish action in Turtle Bay as well as on the east wall along the Burnt Store Bar extending up to Pirate Harbor.

The harbor is clear and still holding tarpon and sharks in the middle holes as well as occasional hook-ups in the passes. Look for schools of minnows and or ladyfish to lead you to tarpon. Don't run over bait schools, stay back and fish the edges of them.

Trout are in the harbor as well as north Matlacha Pass which also is hosting reds and snook in the areas where I've been fishing.

Prepare for the redfish run on our flats. This year try a really long medium action rod (8 8.5 feet) with 15-pound braid to make super-long casts to cover water.

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



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