Freshwater Fishing


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Fishing a Spinnerbait Early

Explosive bass fishing doesn’t end with the coming of these hot, still days of midsummer. If you can urge yourself out of bed early, there’s a window of fast action to enjoy.

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Fishing Lake Okeechobee

Located in the eastern middle of the state, Lake Okeechobee is truly a huge body of water. Miles of shoreline, bays, airboat trails, grass edges, floating hyacinth islands and a host of other bass habitat await anglers. It seems that every foot of it is prime bass water. The lake also holds stable populations of black crappie, shellcrackers, bluegill, channel catfish, gar and a host of other freshwater fishes.

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Backwards Texas Rig

Hidden in the name is the essence of the concept—a backward Texas rig. Tekisasu—Texas, in Japanese—is phonetically reversed to form sasuteki, just as the weight is placed below the lure to turn the Texas rig itself upside down.

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Bow Mount Sonar

Now, every boat has sonar, and a lot of flats and bass rigs have sonar at both ends. In fact, for those who fish with a trolling motor, a sonar system up front has become pretty much standard equipment—and some of the bass guys even have a couple of big-screens mounted on the front deck.

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Finesse the Pads

Lily pads make great sunshades for late-summer largemouth, but they are difficult to fish without snagging. One solution that works very well is casting small, weedless-rigged soft plastics along the outer edges of shoreline pads.

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Clear Water Bass Tactics

Many of Florida’s rivers and lakes are fed by springs, and the water tends to be very clear year-round. But even on waterbodies fed primarily by surface runoff, late winter and spring can see exceptionally clear conditions, due to the cool water and limited growth of algae. This puts us anglers at a disadvantage.

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TrophyCatch Helps Demonstrate Success of Lake Trafford Restoration

During a recent fishing tournament, John Stewart, 54, of Alva caught, documented and released an 8-pound, 2-ounce Florida largemouth bass on Lake Trafford.

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Florida Chain Pickerel Fishing

Way I see it, there’s not any kind of fishing much more exciting than pulling a buzzbait or weedless in-line spinner across a field of lily pads and having a big pickerel come blasting up to engulf the bait.

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Trophy-Sized Bass with a Past

We (FWC biologists) are offering Florida bass fishermen a revised version of an age-old adage. “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it could be 13…pounds that is.” What we are referring to are largemouth bass, and in particular, one monster that had nearly grown to the 13 pound mark.

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Mexico Bass Fishing: Lake El Salto

Lake El Salto is Mexico’s hottest Florida-strain bass factory. A glimmer of light silhouetted arid foothills as we motored through flooded timber and around a few small islands into the main arm of the big lake.

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Go Small For Big Results

Rigging and fishing little plastics for dug-in fish. Knowing the bass are there is one thing; getting to them is another. Given the opportunity, the largest bass in any body of water will conceal themselves beneath a canopy of grass, hydrilla, hyacinth or other cover.

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Choosing the Right Hook

In this FS Seminar, Rick Ryals tells us what the most important things are to consider when selecting the right hook for the job. Ryals explains which hooks are best for live bait and dead baits, and the key differences and advantages of using j-hooks and circle hooks.

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Swamp Bass

The next morning in Jeff’s truck, he explained what lay ahead of us. Years ago, he discovered a trail into a hidden lake, a long way back through a swamp. He’d even hauled an aluminum boat out there. I asked him how many buddies used his boat. He told me he’d never seen another soul out there. I knew right then that this was going to be very special.

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TrophyCatch Championship Ring Awarded

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) TrophyCatch program awarded the Season 2 Hall of Fame winner, Joseph “Brooks” Morrell from Hampton, with the TrophyCatch championship ring from the American Outdoors Fund. Morrell caught, documented and released a 14-pound, 9-ounce bass to earn the top prize for Season 2 (Oct. 1, 2013, to Sep. 30, 2014).

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Phosphate Pit Bass Fishing

Not too long ago if you wanted to fish for largemouth bass in one of Florida’s reclaimed phosphate pits, you had to be a V.I.P., trespass, or visit Tenoroc. Some new waters have been made available recently, though (see sidebar). If you want to fish in a pit you now have more options than ever. It’s still not a bad thing to be a V.I.P., though.

Some courses authorize, or even encourage, fishing.

Golf Course Bass Fishing

Any way you slice it, golf course ponds can be prime sites for hooking largemouths. I learned to enjoy the best of both worlds long ago as a caddy at the Doral Open in Miami. After lugging around the bag for Julius Boros during a practice round, we small-talked a bit until the conversation swung to our mutual fondness for fishing.