Freshwater Fishing


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Bass Fishing Toads

Toads kick up a topwater frenzy on Florida bass lakes. Most bass anglers are familiar with soft-plastic frog lures. Some would think that a toad would be a similar squatty amphibian-type bait. But, they’d be wrong.

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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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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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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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Customizing Your Spinnerbait

Bent-wire spinnerbaits have been around since the 1950s, and today are available in countless sizes, colors and patterns. And, with the online availability (www.mudhole.com and other sites) of components like skirts, trailers and blades, you have the ability to come up with baits bass have never seen: flashy blades of all sizes, shapes and color. Unlimited skirt colors and patterns. Trailers. Unusual heads and eyes.

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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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Pattern Your Bass

A basic knowledge of bass habits, combined with keen observation, can make for a very productive day. A spot gives an angler a general area to fish. A pattern tells the angler the specific depth and cover situations within that area where his casts need to go—and those areas that can be ignored.

FWRI researcher measuring a largemouth bass collected during a routine electrofishing trip.

Working Over Time

The Fish and Wildlife Research Institute’s Freshwater Fisheries Research section began a Long-Term Monitoring Project for Florida’s lakes in 2006. Our primary objective is to track freshwater fisheries trends over time, using standardized methods that ensure the integrity of the data collected across the state.

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Bass in the ‘Burbs

A streetwise fishing quest amid the sprawling city scape of Orlando. As a 12-year-old in ’62 Orlando, I mostly fished four nearby lakes. Equipped with the normal fascination with any tap transmitted from an artificial worm.

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Shaky Head Fishing for Bass

The shaky head, essentially a Texas-rigged worm-and-jighead combo, is pure dynamite on bass oriented to the bottom, in deep or shallow water.

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Peacock Bass – Florida Butterfly vs. Brazilian Speckled

But how do the butterfly peacocks of South Florida stand up to speckled peacocks of the Amazon Basin? A look at the similarities and differences of the Florida Butterfly Peacock versus the Brazilian Speckled Peacock.

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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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Power Fishing for Bass

There’s something to be said for one big hook. Stick a trophy fish, and you can apply the full pressure the tackle will deliver, muscle it out of whatever cover it was hiding in and bring the fish to the boat quickly

In a recent Forum thread, FS Member spadoc79 contributed this picture of a young lady with a big Lake Jackson bluegill caught on a grasshopper popper. The article is a reprint from our back issues, which we thought appropriate given the time of year.

Bluegill Moon

When the light’s up, bream go bump in the night.

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Crankbaits in Grass

Jerk those lipless crankbaits through heavy cover. It works! Loud, flashy and long-casting, lipless crankbaits are the lure of choice when searching for bass in submerged hydrilla.

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Best Places to Catch Crappie

Crappie are among the most popular freshwater fishes in Florida. Their deep body with nearly symmetrical dorsal and anal fins and a speckled pattern on the body make them easy to distinguish.