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.
Florida Sportsman member: Alex from Ga The first third of the float didn’t amount to much catching just trying to avoid all the canoes and kayaks. After the big shoal the fishing started to pick up with a bunch of bass caught. No big ones but some nice largemouth and suwanee 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.
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.
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.
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.
Looking down into water that resembled the crystal clear salt water of the Keys, I had almost forgotten where I was: 60 miles inland of the coast, bass fishing! That was of course until I noticed a 4-pounder swim by. With its gin clear water, cypress swamps and superb fishing, the Butler Chain of lakes has a lot to offer the angler.
The Berkley Lightning Rod has been around for decades, providing anglers an affordable, quality fishing rod. New for 2016, Berkley is releasing the Lightning Rod Combo. Offered in both spinning and baitcasting combos, to cover a wide range of angling opportunities.
Gar range from the Everglades to the Georgia border and west to Alabama. However, for some fast and fun gar fishing, potential gar anglers might want to journey to the rivers of Panhandle Florida and look for gar as they come to the surface to take breaths of air.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is proudly wrapping up Season 3 of TrophyCatch. Since inception of this innovative citizen-science, conservation rewards program in October 2012, nearly 3,000 trophy largemouth bass heavier than 8 pounds have been caught, documented and released in Florida.
When the fish hit, at 8 a.m. Saturday morning, it dove for the bottom, trying to rub the treble-hook loose. After a nice fight, Mayeaux reeled her in, called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and placed her in an aerated tub until fisheries biologist Chris Paxton arrived to verify the species and weigh it on certified scales.
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.
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