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Freshwater Fishing


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Flip Fest Fatties

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.

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Chain Pickerel Fishing in Florida

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.

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Florida Freshwater Catfishing

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.

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Un-Reel, Cane Pole Fishing

Besides that, sometimes it’s just fun to shed the gadgets and drift back to basics. Relax. Kick your shoes off. Set a spell and harken back to a simpler time.

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Bass Fishing at Stick Marsh

If you can’t catch a 6-pound bass on this lake near Vero Beach, something’s wrong. What happens when you rear back into the biggest bass of your life, it dives into a hydrilla mat, and your premium grade hook snaps in half?

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Shining the Way to Your Biggest Bass

Florida-grown livies are still the killers for trophy fish. We’ve got plastic worms, spinnerbaits, topwater toads and all kinds of monster killers, but the closest thing to a can’t-miss is a live wild shiner.

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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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Orange Lake Bass Fishery Gets a Boost

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.

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Trolling For Peacock Bass

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.

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Small Lake Bass

Within minutes we boated a fat 3-pound bass, and that was the start of a steady parade of fish. By the time an early afternoon thunderstorm ended our day, we had tallied over 20 bass. The best was pushing 7 pounds.

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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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Topwater Time of Year

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.

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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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Flippin’ Freshwater Baits

n this Florida Sportsman seminar, Reel Time Host Capt. George Gozdz demonstrates a common freshwater technique of flipping in heavy structure.

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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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Bill Dance Reveals His Four Favorite Ultra-Light Lures

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.