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Father-and-son team complete SW Florida ‘slam’

May 24, 2019
By GEORGE TUNISON , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Sometimes Neptune smiles, and grants anglers and guides lucky lifetime memory days on the water. This past Tuesday was one of those days when a client, 15-year-old Timmy Tyree and his father, Bob, had a banner day starting with Tim hooking and releasing a 75-pound class before dawn tarpon on a soft plastic swimbait. Avid bass anglers, this was their first saltwater fishing experience.

"Skinny Timmy" and the tarpon were about the same size, so it was quite a battle highlighted with some serious near-boat high-flying launches, which young Tim commented on, every seven minutes, for the next five hours.

Seeking a Pine Island or Southwest Florida "slam," we put the throttle down and were soon pitching dead shrimp under the bushes in Matlacha Pass looking for redfish.

On the third pitch, a huge boil erupted under the sticks and a good snook made a bee-line down the mangrove edge intent on keeping his shrimp. Although the snook's nose isn't as fine-tuned as a redfish's is, they have no problem keying in on dead bait and are fine with eating off the floor.

Keeping his rod-tip in the water to avoid the line catching the low hanging bushes Dad put his arms into it and the snook responded by going airborne landing high and dry back in the mangroves. Soon we had the branch-scarred, long-as-your-arm Matlacha fighter back in the water and released. Obviously, not all snook are at the beach.

Continuing this pattern spending 10 minutes here and there, it wasn't long before we had redfish on the line. One, a handsome, unusually deep copper-orange colored, over-slot fish, with two spots on one side and 12 on the other. A tough fighting show off that turned the nose of the skiff and dumped lots of line before the perfectly placed circle hook was removed and he was on its way.

Leaving Matlacha we headed northwest to the Jug Creek area where the duo scored on trout using soft plastics and ultra-light spinning rods.

While fishing for the trout we spotted a lone yard-long cobia wandering near-by and instinctively Tim made the perfectly angled cast. His little jig was instantly inhaled, the cobia headed for a distant ZIP code dumping line from his tiny ultra-lite reel as we followed in the skiff trying to gain back line. Sadly, the muscular cobia was too much for the light line and it finally broke after an epic 10-minute chase.

What a day!! Tarpon, trout, reds, snook and a bonus, almost cobia! If you've ever wanted to catch your Southwest Florida inshore "slam," now is the time. Everything's biting!

It was past time to purchase a new floating fly line for my tarpon outfit and I bought a RIO "Tarpon Quickshooter" line. This line has a short powerful head making quick accurate casts a breeze and handles big flies and the ever-present wind very well. Like most modern fly lines, welded loops are installed at both ends.

By the way, if you decide to start saltwater fly fishing always remember this -- the wind will blow. If you pick up a fly rod, the wind knows you're going fishing and is waiting. Don't be discouraged, that's just the way it is. Get used to it and learn to deal with it.

Rio also offers its same Quick Shooter floating tarpon line with a clear intermediate tip. Both lines are available in 10 to 12 weight and retail for about $100 each.

Clean your fly line in a big bucket with mild soapy water. Rinse and hang in large coils to dry. When it's clean and dry, apply a fly line dressing to keep it in good shape, high floating and slick.

Before it becomes an oven outside, grab your distilled water and a turkey baster and fill those important batteries and clean connections. Don't overfill!

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



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