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Conditions are great for a weekend fishing adventure

By CAPT. GEORGE TUNISON - | Apr 14, 2023

Capt. George Tunison

Ramps and restaurants a little less crowded, tarpon and snook coming on strong and even some much needed rain to freshen things up for hopefully a great weekend, in and offshore.

With Saturday’s negative low tide bottoming out just after sunrise to a slow moving high of only 1.2 feet around 2:15, sharp-eyed morning sight anglers might want to take a shot at poling or drifting up on some tailing reds in their favorite skinny water hunting grounds.

If I spot feeding groups of twos or threes, I’m going for finesse lures like a DOA Shrimp or a fly softly dropped about three feet in front of their line of travel and let it sink. If it’s a full school of reds, the fish become very competitive and I’ll probably toss a top water plug just to watch the fun as two or three try to nail it.

For many, spotting tailing fish in the distance, efficiently and quietly closing the distance with your push pole, putting yourself or your angler in the perfect position to make the right presentation, then actually fooling the fish with lure or fly is one of inshore anglings greatest thrills and truly addictive challenges.

While you’re out there enjoying your day, please give push pole powered skiffs some room. It takes a lot of effort to push a boat, gear, gas and people in the summer heat, especially at my age. It’s a big pond with lots of productive spots. Learning to find your own hot spots by reading the water, understanding tides and seasonal movements — all help make you a much more efficient and successful angler.

If you’ve got a bad case of Boca Grande tarpon fever, this Saturday a low tide occurs a 4 a.m. with a dead high just after noon. If you are new to boating and tarpon fishing in Boca Pass, I would highly recommend hiring a guide for your first trip to show you the ropes. It can become crowded and quite competitive in the pass with boats drifting through, some fighting tarpon as they go, others motoring back out to the Gulf for the start of another drift through the pass.

Be sure to take whatever time necessary to revive a caught tarpon and while doing so it’s always a good plan to have as many sets of eyes on the water as possible to warn you of a grey submarine approaching your position. Boca Grande Pass is not, I repeat, a good place to fall out of the boat, especially this time of year as it’s heavily patrolled by some big and nasty razor-toothed sea monsters there for their spring tarpon picnic.

Using tarpon tackle heavy enough to get the tarpon to the boat quicker than later makes for a faster and much safer release and less unnecessary predation by the numerous sharks.

While many wait all year for the spring tarpon fling, I get just as pumped knowing I’ll be chumming shallow water sharks to the back of the boat for some of the most exciting spin and fly tackle fishing of the year. A 50-pound shark in 3 feet of water on a 10-weight fly rod or your big snook outfit, the fish flying across the flats at warp speed melting your drag as it dumps line, is a blast, and something most anglers want to do year after year. If you need to, pull anchor to follow the fish, get close and apply maximum pressure to subdue it ASAP. Too big? Having it drag you around for an extended period especially in hot water is bad form and likely to kill these important predators.

Weekend beach walkers might find the snook of a lifetime in the surf while pompano anglers will do well around the pass aprons.

Trout, grass flats and corks inshore while red grouper, Spanish mackerel and snapper wait offshore.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. You an contact him at 239-282-9434 or via email at captgeorget3@aol.com.