The summer is almost over and so are those hot days of catching big numbers of bass until the transition from summer to fall is complete. Just because fishing will slow down a bit, it doesn’t mean you can’t bust a good one here and there. As the water levels rise, it will pave the way for another pattern in the form of some really good flats fishing. As the water rises in the Everglades, fish follow the water back into the swamps or flats where the average water depth is two feet or less. When this happens, many of the fish will vacate the canals. It can be challenging to take your boat on the flats, so be careful. It’s not hard to get lost or stuck out there. I suggest always having a means of charging your cell phone. I always carry a handheld vhf radio as a backup. You can still take advantage of the night bite for the next few weeks. Top water baits such as hollow belly frogs, spooks and chuggers will get your arm broken and you can avoid the heat. You will just have to deal with the mosquitoes, but it will be so worth it. On to the hot spots.
#1 – Lake Okeechobee: Fish are biting on the outside edge, but I have found the better fish to be a bit offshore. The best search baits have been swim jigs with a dipper or craw on them. Chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, rattle traps, Big Easy and Easy Swimmer have been catching their share of fish. Some of the bigger fish have come from slowing way down. Pitching big jigs with your favorite baits are getting crushed.
#2 – Mile Marker 35 or 41: Fishing here is really good right now. Swim big worms through the pads for the chance of getting a monster fish. Try EZ Swimmers, burner worms and Aces fished wacky or Texas rigged. Flukes, Horny toads, Flappin shad and worming the bottom will all work. I like fishing the points as well as dragging a jig. You can flip them here and have good success. Make sure you go really slow around the weirs.
#3 – Sawgrass: I like to use small plastics here. Five inch Aces are working best. Water Management is moving water around. When the runoff from the rain muddies up the water, use dark colors like black and junebug. Metallic flake in plastic worms also helps when the water is dirty. In clean water, use light colors such as watermelon green or green pumpkin.
#4 – Holiday Park: Swim big worms through the pads for the chance of getting a monster fish. Swim jigs will also catch fish. I like to cast to the thickest pads and swim them out. The big fish are in the shade under the pads. I also like to flip a sinko in the pads and let it sink. The best time is early in the morning or at dusk. I have even caught a few peacocks lately in the glades. Remember if you don’t have a boat, they have boats that you can rent.
If any readers ever have questions that I can answer, please feel free to reach out. God bless and ’til next time, tight lines and bent rods!
Capt. Neal Stark
Fishing with America’s Finest, Inc.
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