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Turn left to nab bush-bound reds

By Staff | Oct 10, 2014

Capt. George Tunison

I always remind anglers that when fishing under the bushes and after getting the big bite to stick the rod tip in the water keeping the line out of the brush, then to power the fish out from under to open water with your hips.

Now that redfish are biting I get emails from anglers saying they are still getting broken off.

Some-times I forget to add the things that come naturally to anyone fishing a long time.

Your rowboat or flats special is pointed directly at the shoreline. You cast straight ahead to the edge of the bushes and soak your bait. You get a bite. Step one, get the rod tip in the water. But which side of the boat? Left or right? Very important, so decide now!

When a 14-pound red eats then takes off at warp speed, running hard left under the bushes, I immediately turn my body left putting the tip on the left side of the boat using my rod to pull left against the fish (away from the shoreline) trying to coax him out from under into open water.

Most are right handed. In the above scenario, with the fish running left, it’s natural for righties to turn the body right and pull hard right against the fish. Wrong choice. All you’ve done is help push him farther back into the gnarly stuff where within a second or two you will experience an angling phenomenon known as Slack Line Syndrome. You will yell things like, “Ahh Man!!” in disgust only because we anglers are a truly civilized bunch and never swear.

Try these two tips when bush angling for powerful snook and reds. Yes, you will still get beaten, but playing the right angles will up your odds of success.

Well, I’ve done it! I’m pretty sure I broke a SeaTow record Wednesday night. Launching the boat at Burnt Store Marina we spent the evening chasing birds and bait pods fishing for Spanish mackerel all across Charlotte Harbor as the tide was falling. Returning at dark I approached the two islands that mark the beginning of the channel into the marina.

Since I’m an old pro and have been in and out of BSM countless times I confidently motored ahead putting the boat right up on the sand. Way up on the sand. On the wrong side of the island. Where the water is three inches deep. I had completely misjudged where I was in the darkness. Please don’t tell anyone, it’s embarrassing.

To my credit, in 15+ years of fishing this area, when getting a “little stuck” at night I’ve always managed to get the boat floating again. Not Wednesday. My little 18-footer was high and dry in the moonlight. Pulling, pushing, rocking, and even exclaiming, “Ahh Man” several times had zero effect.

Flats anglers like to mindlessly crow, “My boat will float in six inches!” “That’s nothing, mine will float in five inches.” I, on the other hand, guarantee my flats boat will not float in three inches with the tide running out.

I purchased a SeaTow membership three weeks ago. I called in the Cape and they routed me to the captain in Charlotte Harbor whose SeaTow boat is stationed in Burnt Store Marina. He drove from home, got in the boat at BSM, turned on the flashing emergency lights and covered the full 150 yards from the marina to our site. Tide still going out I thought it was hopeless.

He threw the rope, I hooked it up then getting behind my boat ready to push as he pulled. He gunned it and it slid off the sand like it was on grease. We were amazed.

Great service and communication from start to finish. Our rescue cost for a 20-foot pull, without a membership? $900! Join today!

Thanks SeaTow!

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or captgeorget3@aol.com, or www.flyingfinssportfishing.com.