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House Boat Adventure Magazine
Lake Okeechobee, best well known to most of the world as the largest producer of Trophy Bass. This reputation has continued for many years as not only producing trophy size largemouth bass, but also providing notable bluegill, shell cracker and speck (crappie) fishing.
We are not claiming Lake Okeechobee is the world’s best producer of all these species, but I don’t know of another lake that produces or has access to more species of fish like it. A commonality on most lakes is that 90% of the fish are caught by 10% of the fishermen. On Okeechobee, because of the quantity of fish every angler has the opportunity to target, quantity and be one cast away from a QUALITY lunker!
Lake Okeechobee has another unique feature, in that it produces sizable fish all year round. Although November through April are the major spawning months, the rest of the year also produces big numbers; and what’s wrong with catching 3 to 6 lb. bass?
Historically, I believe June brings on good changes; the bass go into a post-spawn pattern and there’s a distinct change of bait for the trophy largemouth on Okeechobee, said Todd Kersey. The wild shiners, which are the chosen bait for many anglers during the spawn, tend to thin out and migrate to the open water, where the bass will follow. This is a good thing, because the lake has also a great supply of shad. The migration of the bass to the open water forces the shad to start seeking cover in the shallower grass beds. We now we have schooling action, as the shad school, so do the bass. It is not uncommon this time of the year to find a school of bass and catch 50 to 80 fish, or to find a school and boat 6 to 8 pounders on top water baits. Now does everyone do this? Absolutely not! Bass Online.com is very fortunate to have some of the most experienced guides on Okeechobee, which allows us to easily keep up with the movement of the schools of fish. So while others are searching we’re catching!
I know what your thinking, “Wow, June has to be hot at this time of the year in Florida”, and you are somewhat right. However, because of where Okeechobee is located, with either the east or west coast of Florida being only 1 to 2 hours away, there is often a nice breeze, which helps to keep the lake comfortable, though strangely enough, there’s always something about fishing, when we’re
catching them we never seem to notice the temperature!
Utilizing the natural food chain as bait that Mother Nature provided, wild shiners or shad are the most productive and easiest way of catching the numbers and size of fish. Catching bass with wild shiners or shad can be very action-packed if done right. The knowledgeable and skilled, wild shiner angler has a variety of techniques upon which to rely on. There are several key steps in making this work for you: anchoring in the appropriate direction, proper handling of the bait, utilizing the correct fishing rods, reels and terminal tackle, and knowing how to hook the live bait and presenting it can be key. Although, setting the hook may be the most important of all!
If you’re an angler who particularly likes to fish with artificial lures, when in a schooling situation, and you catch a bass or two in specific small area, try anchoring. The bass will most likely be more plentiful than just one or two, they are an inhabitant, and travel in groups.
Be sure to pick your lure of choice. What is this, you ask? Well, it’s normally the bait that’s working you for at that moment, right? Wrong! Once the school is located you have several choices, which will lead to different results. For example, if you want to catch lots of numbers from the school, use a Senko-style bait or a Texas-rigged worm. This approach
allows you to pick one fish at a time out of the school without disturbing or spooking the majority of the group. On the other hand, one of my favorites, the full-size Zara Spook, while it definitely will not catch the same amount of fish, it provokes the largest fish in the school to attack.
The sudden explosion of each bass striking and jumping will cause the school to move, but you have to decide. Do you want numbers, or the heart crushing sound of your topwater lure disappearing? Either way, the action on Lake Okeechobee can provide great results.
To contact us go to www.bassonline.com or call 888 629-BASS and email