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Fishing | Dreams of a new boat, pickup and more…

By CAPT. GEORGE TUNISON - Fishing | Nov 21, 2023

Capt. George Tunison

I was dreaming that since Christmas is right around the corner and I’m currently between boats that I should treat myself right so I walked into my local Pathfinder dealer and plunked down a $140,000 for a new 2600 HPS bay boat.

Happy with my purchase I decided to double my pleasure so I then made my way to the Ranger dealer and bought their top line bay boat rig equipped with a 400HP V-10 for just under a $150,000, tax, freight and dealer prep, of course, not included. With 130,000-plus miles on my present tow vehicle, I finished off the day with a new pickup on sale with my selected options pushing it to just under $80,000. To think I used to pump gas for 17.9 cents a gallon, check the oil, tires, and wash the windshield front and back. What happened?

I awoke sadly realizing that the new Pathfinder, Ranger and pickup weren’t happening this year (or next), which took me to the pages of Boat Trader thinking lightly used was my destiny. The sticker shock wasn’t quite as overwhelming as new prices but I can tell you that especially with season coming, used boats are at an all-time high as well. If your boat is in good shape with low hours, it’s probably worth lots more than you realize. Take care of it.

My only other option was to resurrect my 2007 Old Faithful solid hull with an electrical make-over, new motor and cosmetics. Let’s see, a new 250 HP will run about $25,000. Rewire the whole boat? I hate to guess.

New dual axle trailer around $4,000, plus thousands more in accessories like electric motors and electronics. Hopefully I can come in under $50 grand. With the never-ending equipment price hikes and cost of living increases, I wonder what the future of boating will be for the average family angler. Sometimes makes me long for my old 10 HP Jon boat and a quiet river.

Turtle and Bull Bay and shoreline stretches of both the west and east wall of Charlotte Harbor are good choices this week, producing various sized snook, redfish, trout, whiting, pompano and shark action. Hopefully nice weather and fast action is the inshore game plan for your holidays. Cast and move with heavier and long casting search lures like spoons and top-waters. Another solid bet is to fish long stretches of river docks for snook action with live bait under floats guided around pilings with rod tips and tide or lures expertly skip casted far back and under into the darkness danger zone.

Boca Grande still hosts big tarpon for anglers with patience while little tarpon are still teasing anglers in local canals. Sheepies are showing up around pass structures, nearshore reefs GPS numbers where a huge snook surprise by-catch is a real possibility. Spanish macs from the passes to 15 miles or more offshore are mixed in with their bigger king maceral cousins.

If you haven’t caught a king mac yet and with them now relatively close to the coastline, by all means get out there and give it a shot this week. These are exciting fish to pursue and a huge money tournament fish as well. There are many methods to catch kings like trolling plugs or spoons along with large live baits floated near the surface, free lined or presented down deep. These beautiful and high speed, razor-toothed, eating machines keep moving often migrating from Florida out to Texas and back in a season and can get quite large like the current IGFA all tackle 1999 world record jumbo of 93 pounds! Like all macs, let the birds guide you to the action or spend quality time chumming them within range of your live baits suspended around the boat.

Ramps are getting crowded – think patience and courtesy.

Happy Holidays!

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.