Hope you all had a great summer! I sure did. Let’s talk about what’s going on. Starting down south the peacock bass fishing has been absolutely off the chain. Fish in double digits are being caught. Peacock bass have made a strong comeback since the cold winter of 2010, which killed off many of them. I could honestly see South Florida becoming a peacock haven. The climate and conditions are perfect for them to thrive. Peacock bass are everywhere! Now is the time to tie on your favorite artificial lure and go target some of these beautiful fish. My favorite way to catch them is with jerk baits, topwater baits and hair jigs.
Now on to the Florida Everglades. There is a constant heavy flow of water coming down from the Kissimmee chain up north. Unfortunately, this water contains agricultural runoff full of phosphates and it has created a severe algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee. The toxic water being pumped out of the lake has created havoc on both the east and west coasts of Florida and is killing fish and wildlife. This also is making fishing tough in a lot of places. So what I’ve done is searched for spots with cleaner water making for some good summer time bass. I have been catching most my fish in shallow water with grass or hard bottom. On to the hot spots.
#1 – Lake Okeechobee: Fish are hitting on the outside edge, but I have found the better fish to be back a bit. The best search baits have been swim jigs with a dipper or craw on them. Chatter baits, spinnerbaits, rattle traps, big easy and easy swimmers 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. I also like a naked bait meaning no skirt. Why not, flappin daddy and ugly otter are just a few.
#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 Swimmer, burner worms and aces fished wacky or Texas rigged, flukes, horny toads and flappin shad. I like the points as well. You can flip with jigs there and have good success. Make sure you go really slow around the weirs. A weir in the Glades is passage where it gets very shallow and it connects to bodies of water.
#3 – Sawgrass: More of the same, bass and more bass. I like to use small plastics here and 5 inch aces are working best. Water Management is moving water around and combined with all the runoff from the rain, the water can get muddied up. Here’s the rule. In dark or dirty water, use dark colors like black and june bug. In clean or clear water, use light colors such as watermelon green or green pumpkin.
#4 – Holiday Park: Fishing is improving, but isn’t quite there yet. As the water starts to drop fishing will get better and better. This is a great place to hone your techniques. It offers everything from flats fishing to working deep ledges. Remember that both Holiday Park and Sawgrass offer boat rentals for those of you that don’t have boats but would like to get out on one.
#5 – Holey Land: Stay in the deeper part of the canals and throw to the edges. Work your presentation out of the grass line into the deeper water. All the baits and techniques will work here. Try topwater spooks, poppers, jerk baits, swim baits and worm the bottom. I like to swim big worms through the pads for the chance of getting a monster fish. Swim jigs work great too. I like to throw them in 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.
Til next time, tight lines!
Capt. Neal Stark
Fishing with America’s Finest, Inc.
“Changing Lives One Cast at a Time.”
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American Everglades Guide, Inc.