Both waterways terminate at Lake Okeechobee, arguably the world’s most famous largemouth bass fishery. But if your idea of bass fishing is pitching soft plastics through hydrilla mats, drifting huge wild shiners and zooming home with 250 horses at your transom, you’re in for an awakening.
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.
When you hear the word bass, most think of sparkly boats, baitcasters and big tournament payouts. But for fisherman in South Florida, the peacock bass is the staple in the local freshwater systems. With their aggressive eats, strong runs and beautiful colors, these fish have become prized gamefish.
There’s something that just doesn’t compute for me when it comes to tying a $50 bill on the end of my line and throwing it out there for the Fates to intervene. But for a growing number of bass anglers, the opportunity of hooking a lunker largemouth is worth the risk.
You can do a lot more with this lure than just cast and reel it. There are a lot of ways to use a spinnerbait, and a number of different retrieves that can make it more effective. Here are three retrieve methods that can increase your catch.
The time to catch a monster shoal bass and set the mark for a new state record is right now in the Chipola River, located 50 miles west of Tallahassee.
There’s room to explore on these largely unfished Osceola County lakes. It’s The Rodney Dangerfield Chain O’ Lakes. Right alongside the magnificently named and fun to say Tohopekaliga, it dares names like Coon, Lizzie, Center, Trout for God’s sake, and Alligator, like that’s a species you don’t often find in lakes.
It’s by no coincidence that an angler’s day, during the summer months, starts early. Cooler morning temps make it favorable for bass to cruise the shallows in search of prey. This is where most fishermen concentrate their efforts because of the visual clues. Fallen trees, lily pads and other emergent vegetation offer cover for fish and casting targets for anglers.
Florida Sportsman member: RealSeabee The day was not over by a long shot. We kept catching them at a steady pace until about 9:20. When we finished, we had 10 bass each and Steph came away with the big girl. To my surprise we ended up with five fish over four pounds.
When bass are tight to cover or buried beneath it, getting a lure in front of them can be difficult. Plugs with treble hooks are suited for nibbling around edges of cover. If fish are active such an approach may work well. However, when bass hunker in places inaccessible to most lures, as they often do, a weedless offering is a must.
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.
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.
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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