Lake Okeechobee Fishing Forecast – June 2013

Greg Addio from Pennsylvania with a nice bass caught on a shiner. Photo credit: Capt. Mike Shellen.
Greg Addio from Pennsylvania with a
nice bass caught on a shiner. Photo credit: Capt. Mike Shellen.

Temperate weather conditions have warmed the lake water, which leads to terrific fishing in ideal conditions. Bass receive the most acclaim of all the fish species in Lake Okeechobee. If you have fished the big lake, you already understand why. Guided shiner fishing trips are providing large catch numbers, in some cases, anglers with very little or no experience are catching 25 to 40 bass per morning. The Pass area is flush with bass; there is however a large amount of underwater vegetation which can intimidate anglers. It is necessary to find the openings in the vegetation to fish shiners efficiently; another option is an artificial bait that can be fished above or thru the heavy vegetation. Grassy Island, Eagle Bay and the J&S area are all holding good numbers of bass and depending on the wind direction one or more of these areas will provide all the bites you desire. Try your favorite top water bait during the very early morning, or on cloudy days. Swim baits, flukes, spinner baits and a Senko will also draw strikes when fishing the grass lines or underwater vegetation areas.

Although not as highly touted, the bluegill and shellcracker fishery of the Big “O” is immense. Pan fish can be found in abundance throughout the entire lake. Blue gill and shell cracker are great table fare and can be caught using many different methods. A fly rod with a popping bug or floating spider can provide fast action when the fish are willing to rise to the top and strike. Many anglers use a spinning rod and reel with light line to cast to the bedding areas of the fish. A small bobber and tiny hook with a cricket or a red worm is all that’s needed to complete this rig. Many anglers prefer to use a bream buster pole which in effect is a fiberglass replica of a cane pole. Once it’s equipped with light line the length of the rod, a tiny hook, small sinker and a small bobber, this rig can be placed into spots where even the best cast has difficulty reaching. Once the use of the long pole is mastered, placing your bait in the strike zone is quite easy, and when a fish strikes all that is necessary is to lift, swing the fish into the boat, unhook it, toss it into the live well, and put another bait on your hook, and your back into the water ready to catch another chunky pan fish. The local canals, the Kissimmee River and the grass lines in the lake are all viable places to start your search for pan fish. With liberal limits and ease of catching, pan fish are great fun for anglers of all age and skill levels, and they provide tasty filets for a family fish fry.

FORECAST BY: Capt. Mike Shellen
Shellen Guide Service
Phone: (863) 357-0892