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.
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.
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.
It’s not the most glamorous bass tactic, and you’re not likely to see it on the cable TV fishing shows. But there’s a reason why slow-trolling live shiners is the bread and butter technique for bass guides from Lake Okeechobee to Talquin–it works.
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.
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.
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.
Yet, if you dangle a ball of yarn in front of that cat it will take a swipe at it. Toss a ball and the dog will chase it. Bass are hard-wired with the same predatory responses. Given the right stimulus they will strike a lure, even if they are not feeding. Call this a reaction strike. The right lure presentation will trigger it.
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