Lake Okeechobee: July 2020

John Slipek and his brother from New Jersey had a phenomenal day on the lake catching 20+ on artificial.

By Capt. Nate Shellen Contributing Writer

The Big “O” is settled into a summer pattern. Longer daylight hours and water temperatures in the low- to mid-eighties are mainly responsible. This time of year, many savvy anglers realize the importance of being on the water at daybreak. At first light, bass can be seen and heard as they chase bait along the Kissimmee Grass lines that surround the lake. Schools of shad and other baitfish are prevalent around the edges of the cover areas. Nearly any lure presented will result in jarring strikes as the fish misidentify your fake offering as a live food item. To catch as many of the marauding bass as possible in a short time, we start with a bait that can be cast and retrieved quickly, allowing us to cover larger areas and make quick accurate presentations to hungry, feeding bass. Topwater plugs draw vicious responses from feeding fish. But the multiple treble hooks can lead to difficulty in unhooking fish in a hurry and getting it back in the water. A spinner-bait, however, has a single hook and is relatively weedless and provides for an easy and quick catch and release.

When casting into the Kissimmee grass beds, an angler must start their retrieve as soon as the bait hits the water, which gets the double willow leaf blades turning and also keeps the bait from sinking deeper into the thick grass where it will often hang up. The bass are cruising the grass and are looking up to find baitfish silhouetted against the sky, as the spinnerbait comes overhead the bass will lunge up from underneath and attempt to inhale the lure passing by. It is a very exciting and rewarding way to catch a large number of fish in a short amount of time. Each day varies, but on a day when the bite is on fire, it is possible to put 25 to 40 bass in the boat in a short time. Once the sun gets well into the sky the shad disperse and the fish move deeper into the grass, making a slower presentation necessary to continue catching. Soft plastics work well for this style of fishing, a Senko, fluke, or plastic worm will work just fine, lightly weighted and dragged slowly through the grass it is possible to continue having success throughout the morning.

The north shore area is lined with Kissimmee grass all the way West to Harney Pond. As the lake turns south around Point of the Reef and further down along Observation Shoal the grass continues. It is a huge area to cover but the possibilities are endless. Watch the wind conditions and plan accordingly so that when windy conditions prevail you can launch your boat and fish in an area where the wind will not impede your day of fishing. Call Today to book your trip!

Capt. Nate Shellen

Shellen Guide Service

Okeechobee Bass Fishing Guides/Charters

(863) 357-0892 •