Florida Sportsman member: Bass2bucks The key is to find the cleaner water with minimal current. After pre-fishing with minimal success my partner and I got lucky on tournament day and found the mother load. We burned up some gas running over 40 miles before we got lucky and stumbled on these fish.
Chain pickerel, or jack, are the ruin of shiners and fingers, but great fun nonetheless. How often have you heard “Oh, crap! It’s a bass,” from your buddy when his fish jumps in the middle of a dogged battle? That’s right. Not very often.
Besides their willingness to bite when other fish won’t, catfish are crowd favorites at fish fries. The farm-raised channel cats, in fact, are among the few seafood offerings I find consistently satisfying at restaurants. Shrimp, salmon, lobster, and saltwater catches of the day such as mahi and grouper seem to arrive at my table in varying and unpredictable degrees of freshness and doneness—usually over-doneness.
More than 102,000 genetically pure Florida Bass now call Orange Lake home after the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management completed their scheduled released of young of the year bass into the now full lake.
But what happens when they aren’t showing themselves, and the usual spots don’t produce? In these situations, I set my trolling motor to cruise control and cover as much water as I can. Trolling for peacock bass is an excellent way to break the monotony of an unproductive day, and finally get on some fish.
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.
Surface lures are deadly when bass come off the beds. Many anglers consider the spring spawning season the most excit- ing time of the year. But, when it ends, the action isn’t over. The three- month period that follows may produce your biggest bass of the year—especially if you enjoy throwing topwater lures.
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.
Finesse tackle opens the doors to a wide variety of lures, not just the small jig or feather-weight lures required by true ultralight gear. Here are some of my absolute favorites.
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