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Islamorada is perfect for a quick getaway

By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON - | Aug 12, 2022

Have time for a quick summer vacation? How about a close to home truly world class fishing destination featuring off-season rates? Like, hunting tarpon, bonefish and permit on beautiful flats along with sharks and speedy barracudas.

Local bridges and channels, teeming with a huge variety of fish are available to the boater and walking angler alike, both day and night. Off and nearshore reef fishing, dolphin, tuna, sailfish or backcountry trips into Florida Bay for outstanding tarpon, reds and snook angling in shallow bays or along miles of mangrove lined shorelines are also available.

Bring your boat or hire one of the local expert guides to experience the amazing fishing this unique Florida destination offers.

Isla-morada in the Florida Keys is just four hours away and my favorite Keys destination. Known officially as “The Sportfishing Capitol of the World,” the “Purple Isle” offers something for everyone, not just for anglers. Beautiful boater friendly resorts, great seafood, diving, even snorkeling and catching your own lobster dinner await.

Returning to the Cape after three days of Keys fishing, my arms are still a bit sore from catching tarpon, barracuda, grouper, snapper and sharks around bridges and channels as well as a respectable 5-pound, 5-ounce flats bonefish while wading out of the boat.

Close to home, definitely world class fishing and off season rates, Islamorada is a great choice for a quick summer change of scenery.

Summer surf snook will eat a variety of soft plastics but this summer the star of the show has been the Regular DOA TerrorEyz in the 1/4 and 3/8 ounce sizes, especially in the Holo Glitter (Clear sparkle) flavor. Make sure to tie this lure on with a loop knot. Best results come from slow hopping this bait along the bottom making sure to create contact stirring up bottom sediment as you go and don’t be surprised if a pompano gets interested.

The 1/8-ounce Tiny TerrorEyz is also a great bait to hang under a popping cork for trout. Don’t be afraid to try a float over deeper water using the larger models, which works great around deeper bridge and dock structures. Let it drift around the pilings with the tide steering it with your rod tip occasionally jerking or popping the float to give the lure action down below.

While our snook like spending summer at the beach, local redfish hold their big flats get together starting mid-August through early November. This year try some new lures, baits and techniques to put more reds on your line. One lure local anglers don’t use enough is the common bass-style spinner, which is a hot bait in places like Louisiana, the “Redfish Capitol of the World” Almost any bass spinnerbait can be used but lures with a short blade arm and a grub instead of a skirt seem to work best. Both Strike King and Bass Pro’s Offshore Angler offer good dedicated redfish spinnerbaits.

Try soft plastic crab imitations like DOA’s Soft Shell Crab, which can easily be skip casted under cover like docks and allowed to sink. Snook will also inhale them inshore and permit near-shore.

Like sitting still relaxing while your smelly shrimp or ladyfish chunk draws a redfish out from under the bushes but don’t feel like messing with, buying or catching your bait? GULP-scented baits work great or for even less mess buy a few packs of FishBites. These convenient packaged baits can be used in a variety of ways by themselves or added to a lure for scent attraction and really work well.

The nearshore reefs are still lit up with a great variety of fish but with both morning and afternoon rains plan carefully.

It’s blazing hot but always wear that life vest anyway, especially when underway. The Coast Guard reports that among fatal boat accident victims, 75% drowned. Of those drowning victims, 86% were not wearing a life jacket.

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