With all the rain storms over the last several weeks, water levels are high. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report the water levels at Lake Okeechobee are a little over 14 feet. This can affect fishing and not in a good way. With canals and waterways having higher water levels it gives fish more areas to move into, making it tougher to find and catch them.
Bluegill, also so known as sunfish are spawning now. Smaller bluegill hang around the beds to feed on the eggs of the more mature bluegill. Bass are known to hang around the beds also to feed on the smaller bluegill that are trying to dart in and out of the bed eating the eggs. Bluegill make a popping sound when there are feeding. This also attracts bass. A great lure to use when targeting these bass is a hollow belly popping frog which makes a popping sound when retrieved. It has a similar sound to the feeding bluegill which attract the bass. There are many frogs on the market. Some of the top brands are Booyah, Live Target and Strike King. Try a few to figure out your favorite. Here are a few ways to work the frogs. “Walk the dog” or you can chug it by pulling your rod with short jerks or hop it with short pauses. Frogs can be very effective for hunting bass in thick and matted vegetation because they are weedless. I recommend throwing them on 7′ to 7′ 1/2 rods, heavy or extra heavy with a fast tip and braided line. All hollow belly frogs have dual hooks that come up by their legs and they come in a variety of colors. Frog fishing is a technique that works all day long, especially in the summer.
The peacock bass bite is on again. Look in your favorite urban canal system for them.
They’re everywhere! I’ve recently had some really big ones and a whole lot of them. The easiest way to catch them is using live bait, but if artificial is your thing, topwater and jerk baits are the way to go. Now on to the best places to get out and throw some topwater baits.
#1 – Mile Marker 35: Throw big worms to work lily pads. Swim baits, burner and hollow belly frogs, senkos and flukes will all work.
#2 – Everglades Holiday Park: Throw along and into the pads, points and anything that looks fishy. Other top baits that are working are big worms, swim jigs, swim baits, crankbaits and senkos.
#3 – Sawgrass Recreational Park: Sawgrass is still producing fish in good numbers. Some of my favorite baits are jerkbaits, senkos, burner frogs and worms.
#4 – Holey Land: All the techniques and lures mentioned above will work.
#5 – Lake Okeechobee: The water here is so dirty! They keep spraying to kill invasive vegetation, but it seems to be killing all the vegetation. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t catch fish. Fish slow with topwater, hollow belly frogs, popping frogs, swim jigs and bladed jigs. Senkos tossed to base of the reeds will get them in the boat.
Be safe out there. Summer storms are here along with high temperatures and scorching boat decks. Pay attention to the daily weather patterns. Watch for alligators.
Till next time, bent rods and tight lines.
Capt. Neal Stark
Fishing with America’s Finest, Inc.
“Changing Lives One Cast at a Time.”
501(C)(3) Non-Profit Organization, FEIN #45-5494005
American Everglades Guide, Inc.