Florida has gained international acclaim for its exceptional saltwater fishing, but the outstanding freshwater fishing has not yet captured the widespread attention for the same number of visitors. Both casual sportsmen and serious freshwater fishermen are very much welcome and will find that Florida’s freshwater fishing among some of the best across the US.
What’s So Great About Florida?
The state’s warm climate encourages fish to grow quite large, and in many places, there is so little fishing competition that the bass are eager to bite at whatever is in front of them. There’s no doubt that there’s great fishing in Florida. In fact, many lures that were unsuccessful in other parts of the country will work when you use them in Florida!
Topwater fishing is particularly good early in the mornings and just before sunset. It can be thrilling to watch the fish aggressively strike at your lures with all of their might.
Only Mexico and California rival Florida in the quality of bass fishing to be found. Florida bass fishing becomes such an addiction that they will change their lives for the ability to have greater opportunity to fish on Florida’s lakes. For many people who love fishing, there is no better place to call home than Florida.
Some bass fishing enthusiasts have even been known to uproot their entire families, life, home, career and all, just to have the chance to live in Florida. Whether you reach that level of devotion or not, Florida bass fishing is an experience that everyone should try at least once.
The Downside of Florida Bass Fishing
It is important to remember weather concerns when fishing throughout the state of Florida. Hurricane season is a risky time of year and a number of storms have caused great devastation in various areas of state. Whether living in Florida or just visiting, it is crucial that you think about the possible effects of hurricane season.
Even without the threat of hurricanes, Florida weather can be challenging. The state of Florida has more thunderstorms than anywhere else in the United States and fishing when a thunderstorm rolls in puts you at great risk. Boats are the highest things on the water after all, and a bass boat with metal and fishing rods can attract lightning. During this time the fishermen are at serious risk or injury or perhaps even death. When making your in-shore fishing decisions, make sure you factor weather into your plans.
Seasoned bass fisherman may need guidance from local fishing guides and no matter how skilled you may be, it is in your best interest to work with a local guide when you initially begin to fish in a new place. Bass fishing guides don’t just teach people how to fish, they can also help clients locate the best spots to score a great catch.
Bass Fishing in the Florida Everglades
Most anglers agree that bass fishing in the Everglades is a unique and captivating experience. Visitors to this environment expect the stereotypical swamplands of the old black and white movies but what they find is one of the country’s most extraordinary natural formations. Thousands of types of fish, dozens of endangered species and land forms unlike anywhere else in the United States can all be found throughout the Everglades. These surroundings provide some of the best large mouth bass waters in the country; however, anyone who spends time fishing in the Everglades will discover more than just an angling adventure.
Just a short hop from either the Miami International or Fort Lauderdale International airports, Everglades National Park is very easy to visit from anywhere in the world. The park features a number of campgrounds that will accommodate both tents & RV’s and there are a number of “back country” camp sites with elevated platforms which are only accessible by water (boat, kayak or canoe).
If sleeping under the stars is not for you, there are numerous hotels just a short drive way. Depending on which entrance you will use. The main entrance is in the City of Homestead which hosts a number of hotels, restaurants and shops.
The park boasts more than 1.5 million acres of natural terrain and two thousand miles of canals so the visiting angler might be wise to hire a professional guide for at least the first day. Employing a guide means the out-of-state angler doesn’t have to personally purchase a state fishing license as he/she fishes under the auspices of the guide’s licenses. A licensed guide will put the angler just where he/she wants to be – navigating the channels in search of the lushly vegetated flats where literally hundreds of hungry bass are looking for dinner.
Once on the water, even the novice fisherman will find that casting a line generally results in hits not just from trophy size large mouth bass, but also from feisty peacock bass. Large mouth bass over fifteen inches long and weighing in at more than five pounds are not uncommon in Everglade waters.
Although the park strongly encourages catch and release, an enthusiastic angler won’t go home without a trophy of the visit. All that a taxidermist needs to provide a conversation piece are the dimensions of the fish and a good picture. So please handle your catch with care and don’t take more than your fair share.
Additionally, be cautious of the extreme temperatures which can hamper the pleasure and productivity of fishing in the Everglades. Consider early morning or dusk fishing when the water temperatures are cooler, more oxygenated and livelier. And don’t forget to dress appropriately: lightweight shorts, vented shirts, billed caps, polarized sunglasses and lots of sunscreen are a must.
For the angler looking for a one-of-a-kind trip, fishing in the Everglades may be just the ticket. Get in touch with a guide, pack up your gear (don’t forget the sunglasses) and head out today for one of the nation’s true natural wonderlands: The Florida Everglades.
Central Florida Bass Fishing
Fishing in Florida is exciting and fun because there are so many productive places to fish in the state, it’s not stretching the truth to say if you see some water and it’s more than a few inches deep, there’s probably fish to be caught. Pair this with the fantastic weather Central Florida has and you’ve got heaven on earth for many bass fishermen.
Large mouth bass is the best known and most popular freshwater game fish in Florida. Found statewide, large mouth bass have rapid growth rates and central Florida remains an outstanding destination to catch a trophy Bass.
Central Florida offers not only Lake Tohopekaliga (also referred to as “Lake Toho”) which is the most popular lake of the Kissimmee chain of lakes, but the famous Farm 13/Stick Marsh fishery as well as the trophy bass lake “Walk in the Water”.
Lake Toho is relatively shallow 18,810-acre lake that is covered with various types of aquatic vegetation. The most abundant is the massive hydraulic beds that can be found growing to the surface in up to 12 feet of water. The lake faces North/South, is approximately 9 miles long and only a couple miles wide.
For Florida bass fishing, bream fishing, or anything in between, Bass World Lodge is the place to be. Their location on the St. Johns River in Georgetown, Florida gives quick access to some of the most lucrative Florida bass fishing and bream fishing grounds in the United States. Bass World Lodge offers professional guide services, spacious cabins, and fully stocked bait and tackle shops, as well as bass and pontoon boat rentals.
The source of the river, or headwaters, is a large marshy area in Indian River County. It flows north and turns eastward at Jacksonville to its mouth in the Atlantic Ocean. Because the St. Johns flows north, the upper basin is the area to the south that forms its marshy headwaters. The middle or Ocklawaha Basin in central Florida is where the river widens forming lakes Harney, Jessup, Monroe and George. The lower basin is the area in Northeast Florida from Putnam County to the river’s mouth in Duval County.
The total drop of the St. Johns (from its source in swamps south of Melbourne to its mouth in the Atlantic near Jacksonville) is less than 30 feet, or about one inch per mile, making it one of the “laziest” rivers in the world. Because the river flows slowly, it is difficult to flush pollutants.
For example, the water color in the Harris chain of lakes in the middle basin is highly stained. This is a blessing as most bass in these lakes are shallow and hold close to cover. Noisy lures are effective and multiple presentations to the same spot are required to get the fish’s attention.
The biggest problem most fisherman encounter when fishing in the Harris chain for the first time is “look” of the water. Compared to other areas in Florida, one looks at the pea-soup water color and gets the impression that these lakes are not good for fishing. However, don’t underestimate Central Florida as it is a well-kept open secret that many fishermen have failed to discover.
Lake Okeechobee: A True Florida Bass Fishing Paradise
Okeechobee is a Seminole Indian word meaning “great water cannot see other side”. True to its name, Lake Okeechobee is 748 square miles in size and it is the second largest freshwater lake in the United States after Lake Michigan. Much of the lake’s 450,000 acres are hidden from view by the Herbert Hoover Dyke, levees, or trees which screen the shoreline. The lake the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexica via the Port Mayaca lock on the east side of the lake and the Moore Haven Lock on the lake’s western side.
Due to the size of Lake Okeechobee, there is a 150-mile circumference and its invisible opposite shore is more than 30 miles away. The lake itself comprises portions of Glades, Okeechobee, Martin, Palm Beach, and Hendry Counties and has an average depth of approximately 9 feet (the maximum depth is approximately 17 feet). Recharge comes from precipitation and southward flow of water from the Kissimmee River.
Lake Okeechobee’s fishing reputation matches its size as it is renowned internationally for its bass fishing. Since the area is located just west of West Palm Beach and east of Fort Myers, it is very accessible to major international airports. The lake is heavily ringed with tackle shops, marinas, motels, restaurants, etc. You can find rental boats, fishing gear and lodging to make your trip more convenient and comfortable. If you are seeking four and five-star lodging, however, the nearest major hotels are located in Fort Myers or the greater West Palm Beach area.
Local area hotels include:
- Travel Suites by Wyndham Lake Okeechobee
- Days Inn Lake Okeechobee
- Hampton Inn Lake Okeechobee
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites Lake Okeechobee
In addition to the hotel chains, Lake Okeechobee is home to Roland & Mary Ann Martins Marina and Resort which is located in Clewiston on the southwest side of the lake. The resort has everything an angle needs for their fishing trip including boat rentals & marinas, guides, lodging (hotel rooms, condos, cabins, campgrounds, etc.) and dining facilities.
Lake Okeechobee fishing is well-known not only throughout the U.S. but the whole world. Numerous guides service clients who come from all over the world, including Japan and Europe, just to fish Lake Okeechobee. The lake also offers all types of waterway structures to fish – from open water to narrow canals surrounded by hundreds of different vegetation and grasses.
Lake Okeechobee, located in Central Florida, is the most famous big bass fishing lake in the country. For many years, Lake Okeechobee has produced the best large mouth bass, blue gill and speck fishing in the world. It’s renowned for the number of bass it contains per acre and that it also produces more bass over 7 pounds than any lake in Florida and the United States.
Fishing at for bass during late fall to early spring is when Lake Okeechobee is at its best. It has been said that success comes when using large wild shiners or artificial lures of all types. If you want to target a true monster size bass, fishing at Lake Okeechobee is certainly the way to go.