Fall brings cooler air which brings down water temps. This lets bass know it’s time to start thinking about mating and moving into the shallows from the open water. Find areas that have bait and you’ll find the fish. In the fall it’s usually shad or threadfin. Bass have been feeding on them for the last month. The bait is now on the move and the bass will follow. Structure on the lakes are always a great place to start. Mixed vegetation can produce results too. Another thing you want to look for is clean water with some current, but you don’t want to be where the water is rushing. Water is starting to get high so it’s easy to get to most places. Lake Okeechobee water levels are at 13.53 feet and water is up in all places named in my forecast. On to the hot spots.
#1 – Lake Okeechobee: The big O is still rocking. Start on the outside edge using spinnerbaits or chatterbaits. Pitch big jigs or your favorite flipping baits. My favorite is a pegged weight with a Gambler Why Not, Flappy Daddy, Mega Daddy or Ugly Otter in the hydrilla on the north shore. When trying to locate fish use a search bait such as swim jigs with a dipper or craw on them. Big EZ and EZ Swimmer baits always catch their share of fish. Fish are being caught in Boy Scout, Pelican, Grassy and North Shore.
#2 – Mile Marker 35 or 41: Fishing is still great here. The best way to catch nice size fish in this area is swimming big worms through the pads and grass. Try burner worms, Fat Aces, flukes, Horny toads or Flappin shad. If the big worms aren’t producing, fish smaller worms on the bottom. Flipping a jig in the bushes is another great technique. Make sure to use caution around the weirs, go slow.
#3 – Holiday Park: The flats are producing some good fish. Be cautious when fishing in the flats. You must fly an orange flag, ten feet above the deck of your boat. It’s the law, so don’t take a chance if you don’t have the flag. If you are not familiar with the flats, take baby steps to become familiar with the area so you don’t get lost. Best baits for this area are swim jigs with a dipper or craw on them.
#4 – Holey Land: Try fishing it first thing in the morning. Use top water spooks and poppers. Fish the bottom with jigs and worms. Fat Ace, Ace, frogs, and flukes will produce some really nice fish this time of year.
#5 – Sawgrass: I like to use small plastics here. Use Aces and Fat Aces in black, junebug, watermelon green, green pumpkin or watermelon with red flake. Make sure not to throw top water baits into the grass because of the exposed hooks as they will get snagged. Another great technique is working worms on the bottom.
#6 – Urban Canals: The urban canals in Broward County are on fire. Peacock bass, largemouth bass, freshwater snook and tarpon, cichlids and oscars are all there for the taking. For the most part, urban canals do get as much pressure, making for a nice outing. Live shiners are your best bet, but topwater, spinnerbaits and swim baits will all produce. Fly fishing in these areas can be a blast! In and around Margate, snakeheads top the list. Use hollow belly frogs to get hooked up.
As always, if you’re not going to eat your fish, please handle them with care when releasing them. It’s up to us to preserve our sport for years to come.
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.