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Fishing | Deep water red snapper trips possible this weekend

By CAPT. GEORGE TUNISON - Fishing | Oct 19, 2023

Capt. George Tunison

Most forecasts call for decreasing winds this weekend hopefully making a red snapper trip possible for those able to access the 100 to 120-foot zones.

In closer, bonito, Spanish macs, grunts and snapper are willing to bend your rod. If lite tackle, drag burning, “I can see the spool!” action gets you going, then by all means start scanning the skies for feeding birds hopefully leading you to a bonito feeding frenzy often with blackfin tuna underneath. Take along some ultra-lite set-ups in case your crew encounters schools of Spanish on a feeding rampage. Tie spoons on with 40-pound fluorocarbon or light gauge single strand wire if you keep losing lures to razor teeth.

If you wire up, here’s your chance to master the Albright Knot to connect your wire to mono or fluorocarbon, and the Haywire Twist to attach your wire to the lure. See YouTube or the net for tying instructions.

Small spoons like Kastmasters or Clark spoons will work well cast or trolled along the edges for either bonito or Spanish. Small white bucktail jigs also work well for the bonito, but obviously not for toothy macs, and fly rodders can also have a ball with both species. If you can’t get any fly action from the speedily feeding bonito, make a long cast, stick the reel in your armpit, then bring the line and lure in as fast as possible with both hands and hang on. After the strike, quickly clear the windblown line from your around your ankles, feet, deck hardware, trolling motors and any other annoying fly line grabbing gremlin, and get the fish back on the reel.

Offshore fly casters, reduce line management frustrations by using a belt worn or deck-mounted stripping basket because quite often once you pick up a fly rod so does the wind. It’s the way it is, so get used to it and learn to use it to your advantage. Throwing a high, open loop cast with the wind will greatly increase your casting distance while a fast and lower, tight looped cast helps fight the wind. If you’re new to saltwater or any fly fishing, make sure you’re using the right fly line taper for the job.

For most saltwater or bass bug fishing, you’re looking for a “weight-forward” type taper fly line which also fights wind and allows you to cast larger and heavier flies and bugs. There are tons of fly line choices and taper combinations so a little research before you buy that $85-120 fly line will go a long way.

Nothing gets the seatrout bite going better than first cold fronts cooling hot water, so break out the popping corks and shrimp, fly rods and ultra-lights for fast school action. Bend down barbs for reduced damage and never handle these fine-scaled fish with dry hands or towels.

It’s a good bet that a Florida seatrout over 5 pounds, or a “gator,” is a rarely caught fish in these parts and is a real trophy while north Florida anglers don’t get excited unless they reach double digits in weight.

Large solitary seatrout and redfish will often travel the flats with mullet schools and will wolf down a large top-water plug in the early dawn.

Hone your boat polling skills this month as you scan the surface for redfish tails in thin water; approach silently and make the perfect quiet entry cast then hang on as you hold your rod high while the reel’s drag starts singing that sweet tune all anglers love. Try it with a fly rod and gold spoon flies, lightly weighted Clouser’s and shrimp imitations. Reds will also eat surface poppers and bass bugs.

Bridge and dock structure anglers throwing large plugs, and live and dead baits at night have a real chance at a monster-sized snook catch and healthy release this fall.

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