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Fishing when the weather is not the best

By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON - | Apr 22, 2022

Unfortunately, I had to fish this past Tuesday while facing some very tough inshore conditions. The never- ending spring winds obviously limited the near and offshore game as well. A big moon the night before, high winds and muddy water made for a more than tough, shallow-water outing. Being a “fish master,” I’d like to report that we still caught a bunch, but I’d be lying.

Earlier in the week, even with the constant blow and muddy conditions, redfishing had been good on bottom baits, but trout have been very scattered. Snook are on the way or at the beaches, but heavy wind kept many small boaters away as well as keeping many others from hunting tarpon along the coast, out running crab traps for tripletail or heading offshore for reef dwellers.

What do you do when faced with an inshore, triple whammy wind, mud and moon event like that? Stay home and choose a better weather window? Yes! But what if it’s your only day to fish? Then, like any other day on the water, fish hard and cover water quickly, using long casting search lures, and change locations often or, post up and get out the smelly bottom baits. Try moving closer to the Gulf looking for cleaner water or get out on the beaches if the wind allows. In other words, there is no magic cure when conditions turn against you.

As they say, “shut up and fish!” or stay home and do those maintenance chores you’ve been putting off, like performing one of the most important, inexpensive, only takes 15 minutes maintenance chores that you can easily do yourself. Performing just this one, easy-to-do maintenance item can and will save you many hundreds of dollars at the repair shop plus down time. Replace your fuel/water separating filter every 50 hours of run time. Mark the filter can with the date and engine hours.

Most of us have caught the usual fish but many locals still haven’t caught a permit, the little pompano’s hard fighting and big brother. Many think permit are strictly a Keys or exotic destination fish, but lately our local nearshore reefs have been quite productive. Permit, like tarpon, love small crabs for bait.

If you’ve been around boats, marinas and boat ramps long enough, you’re bound to have seen some unusual, often hilarious things, even ramp rage that sometimes becomes physical.

New boaters jackknifed sideways in the ramp on their 15th attempt at backing in. I’ve seen pickups of all varieties, vans, Jeeps, service trucks, cars all underwater at various ramps from northern Canada to Key West, including a custom painted, metalflake green Cadillac with a tow hitch that five of us tried to save as it slid backwards down a super slick, algae-coated ramp, and into the Broadkill River.

A half dozen times I’ve watched solo boaters drive the boat onto the submerged trailer, hop out and winch it up tight, then jump in the truck and take off, with the outboard still running, the skeg scraping concrete.

Always fun to watch unless you’re waiting in line to launch are the completely oblivious and dreaded, ramp campers. The folks that finally back down the ramp then suddenly stop halfway to unload safety gear, coolers, kids, dogs, cats, umbrellas, tackle and another couple hundred pounds of stuff they won’t ever need, as 10 hard core anglers that have worked hard all week wait in line to launch on a Saturday morning.

These types of things — stress, heat, often alcohol — can lead to ramp rage sometimes resulting in arrests which I’ve witnessed more than once

Yes, if you’re around boats and boaters you will eventually see some odd things but the funniest thing I’ve seen lately was a clip of a small boater, slowly making his way across the lake, still tightly strapped to his trailer. Still trying to figure that one out!

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