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Right now, do whatever it takes to get out fishing

October 18, 2019
By GEORGE TUNISON , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Call in sick, take vacation time or quit! Do whatever it takes to get out on the water for some of the year's finest fishing here in Southwest Florida.

Continued warm water has many tarpon staying on and eating in Charlotte Harbor and in the major river mouths, even on a few nearshore reefs, according to a recent report.

I'm also starting to see increased juvenile tarpon activity in the canal systems around the Cape area as well in Punta Gorda's canals.

Right now my focus is on the hot inshore redfish and snook action. For those that like to cast and move, this is the time of year to limber up the casting arm. First look at your lure selection. Carefully inspect and replace those old dull hooks and rusted split rings on your hard wood or plastic lures with needle sharp replacements available by the box at your local tackle dealer.

You've waited all week to fish and now you're finally in that high dollar flats skiff casting an expensive high tech rod and reel combo filled with premium braided fishing line throwing a $12 lure with dull hooks? A guaranteed next lost trophy.

If you're like me and you own as much tackle as your local Walmart, changing out hooks and rings without a good split ring pliers is a finger numbing, time consuming chore and a great way to deeply hook yourself at home. Believe me, I know.

Always carry a small box of premium replacement hooks for when you strike a rock that destroys a single point of a treble hook. But my lure has two treble hooks? That's 6 hook points! Bet this If 5 of 6 are sharp and you're like me and not blessed with constant good luck, there's a real good chance that the 40-inch snook you've waited a lifetime for will bite the bad point and throw your plug on its first or second jump and head shake.

Another good lure habit is to carry a small fine-tooth file to touch up a hook in seconds. I carry one in my shirt pocket and go over any lure that's struck anything that might dull its hooks. Time well spent. If it's a small hook, replacement might be the best course of action.

If you aren't experienced with a file or the filing art, you'll actually end up ruining more hooks than you sharpen. Practice makes perfect and needle sharp hooks penetrate and hold trophy fish.

Lightly slide your hook point across your own skin. If it slides and doesn't instantly try to penetrate, it needs sharpening or replacement.

This past week, there was lots of redfish and snook action along the mangroves, bars and early morning flats. Bait fishing will slow you down so pick a good stretch of shoreline and go to work casting. This is the time of year when at any one time almost any lure might work but there always are a few consistent winners.

Redfish fans should always carry a top water plug, a few spoons and an assortment of jig heads and soft plastic shad tail plastics in various colors with dark on cloudy days and bright on sunny ones.

Fly anglers do great along shorelines with weedless bugs cast to the limbs and then let lightly fall to the surface for a realistic look and explosive strikes from hiding snook and redfish.

Spoons and top waters work great and include the soft plastic jig approach, but be sure to include a few hard plastic twitch baits in your box as well.

One hard lure that's proven to be a snook killer this past week is the Rapala Coastal Series X-Rap Twitching Mullet #6

Cast out and face the lure. With the rod tip almost in the water, use your wrist to give sharp, very short, downward snaps of the rod causing the lure to flash.

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



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