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Red tide hasn’t been an issue for fishing - yet

October 25, 2019
By GEORGE TUNISON , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

With the lack of summer rains this year, we were spared another Lake O algae disaster but unfortunately we're now suffering from a late season attack of red tide from the Gulf, which will hopefully break up soon and be gone.

On Thursday, Capt. J. Nottingham of D&D Tackle in Matlacha reported good fishing along the east wall of the lower harbor and no red tide sightings through upper Matlacha Pass.

On charters this past week, my clients also caught reds and snook from the power lines in lower Matlacha Pass all the way to Burnt Store Bar on lures, flies and bait without any sightings.

Reported concentrations of red tide were seen in lower Pine Island Sound and the river mouth. Of course, this is an ever-changing situation as it's moved by tides and wind.

In fall most local anglers pursue redfish schooling on the early morning flats or later hidden under the mangroves when the tides flood the backwaters and bushes.

Recently, Fishing Franks just over the bridge in Punta Gorda has been reporting big schools of redfish just feet off the beaches moving along the coastline especially around Cayo Costa and Boca Grande Pass.

These are bigger redfish that are averaging 35 inches and are willing biters. I haven't been out there in the last week and don't know what the red tide has done to these big schools of beach-bound reds.

With big schools of ladyfish still in the harbor and continued warm water, you can bet there are plenty of tarpon and sharks still waiting to bend your rod before heading for Miami.

Spanish macs are schooled up so look for birds diving and the water boiling. Driving through/over the schools puts the fish down and stops the action for everyone. Approach the school quietly and pick fish off the edges.

Huge schools of ladies and Spanish mackerel on light spin tackle offers fast paced, high jumping fun for everyone including younger folks with cell phones in hand or children with very short attention spans.

For toothy macs, use a short 40 lb. test fluorocarbon leader or a short piece of light gauge single strand wire knotted to your main line with an Albright knot and the other end tied to your lure with a simple Haywire Twist knot.

YouTube is a great place to learn to tie important knots that should be in your line management arsenal.

Trout fishing is far from on-fire and cold weather might improve the situation. Two Pines and along the Burnt Store Bar up to the flats in front of Pirates Cove are good starting points for trout as well as other traditional areas like Jug Creek at the top of Pine Island.

Drift and fan cast the area with soft plastic jigs on ultra-lights or break out the popping cork and shrimp and cover water till you find them.

In fall, find snook of all sizes making their way inland that are quite hungry looking to put on winter reserves after a relaxing summer at the beach.

Fishing live ladyfish and mullet with big equipment, around big structure can pay off with a possible 40-pounder. I don't often see many locals fishing snook this way compared to east coast snookers that toss big live mullet along seawalls and docks quite regularly catching monsters.

Your fuel tank not only holds gas but actually breathes as it's vented to the outside atmosphere. Ethanol added to today's gasolines is attracted to water. As the air temperature fluctuates between day and night, humidity in the air is drawn in as tanks expand and contract ending up in the fuel and can cause major contamination problems in the fuel system meaning expensive trips for repair.

Regular changing of your fuel-water separator filter at home is a cheap and easy way to help filter out ethanol/water sludge compared to repair costs.

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



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