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Checking out the new lures at a local bait shop

May 17, 2019
By GEORGE TUNISON , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

For Florida anglers that enjoy throwing hard lures at local snook, reds and seatrout, manufacturers have provided a huge variety of new hard baits to pick from.

Stopped in at Capt. Robs Bait and Tackle on Del Prado Boulevard to look for a new rod and was impressed by the store's well organized bright new look and great selection of baits and tackle. (Always friendly advice, well stocked and worth a visit)

What really caught my eye were more new lures from Rapala. Their Coastal Series suspending twitch baits, like the X-Rap Series Twitchin Mullet #8 and the newer and smaller #6 have been hot snook producers aboard my boat already. Rapala also a ton of new long minnow jerk-bait style lures to choose from as well that are bad news for snook and trout.

No question, MirrOlure designed an instant classic when it introduced its suspending twitch baits, the MirrOdine series. This lure has accounted for boatloads of fish and still does. These new Rapala offerings work just as well and are highly recommended.

One thing about some of the lures that many anglers are unhappy about is that after a relatively short while the baits stop rattling. One angler mentioned that he (as well as most of us) still owned Rattletraps and other hard baits decades old that still rattle loudly.

For grouper hunters, remember that the bag limit for gag grouper (not open till June 1) is two per person and four per angler for black grouper. Total grouper per angler or Gulf aggregate bag: four of any species.

Grouper or other bottom species anglers would be well advised to bring some extra crabs with them. It's permit time over rocks and wrecks along Southwest Florida's coast and when you find them, get ready for some arm bending action from these broad bodied fighters. Throw a free-lined, silver dollar-sized live crab into a school of permit for sure bite.

When using live crabs for tarpon or permit, remove the two big claws with pliers before hooking through the corner of the shell. With the pinchers on, often the crab will hold the line ("riding the line") vs. swimming naturally through the water column looking like an easy meal.

It's snook time in the surf and typically the early bird beach stalker or boater will have the best shot. Getting in the water to my ankles and making long casts, casting parallel to the beach works best. Work the surf zone with white soft plastics or bucktail jigs and fluorocarbon leaders. Other good lure choices would be DOA Shrimp and long minnow baits ripped along the shoreline.

Fly anglers will do just fine with most minnow type Deceiver patterns and floating lines. I like a large white Deceiver with flashy chrome Mylar strips tied in.

Don't neglect the nighttime bite as well where a big top water plug worked around the surf may result in a 40+ pound snook hook-up, making you wish for more line on your reel as you sprint down the beach trying to catch up.

With tarpon season here, many clients don't come for the world class tarpon fishery but book me for light tackle inshore shark adventures.

Position the boat on the drop off edge of a flat, hang the chum block on the back during a good tidal flow and soon you will see shark fins cutting through your chum slick.

Put a couple of rods out the back with ladyfish chunks in the chum slick on circle hooks tied to a short wire leader that's attached to your main line with an Albright Knot.

A 50-pound shark on a light rod in two feet of water is nothing but fun and will keep you coming back for more.

Bring proper release tools.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or



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