Lake Okeechobee North End Fishing Report: April 2016

Fishing on Lake Okeechobee has been about as good as it gets. Whether you are fishing for bass or specks (crappie for you folks from up north) it has been some of the best we have had all year.

Let’s start with the bass fishing. Tin House Cove, The Pass and Eagle Bay have had spawning fish this month and with the next full moon there will be more spawning action. Top water and spinner bait action has picked up and should only get better as we move into spring time fishing. Water temperatures have slowly risen into the high 60s and low to mid 70s which should help the artificial bite get even better. Early morning action before the sun gets up has been fast and furious, but after that the bite tapers off. When this happens switch to a worm or a jig and pitch some reeds, stay on the outside reed lines with your jigs and use a dark color that may mimic a bluegill or a speck this time of year. Bass are feeding on small specks this time of year so why not match the hatch so to speak. The wild shiner action has been very good for the most part with a few tough days due to bad weather. Catches up to 50 bass a day on shiners is not uncommon this time of year and this month has been no exception. Bass in the 7 to 8 pound range have been common with an occasional 9 pounder in the mix. A question I get a lot from customers is how big of a shiner should they use? My answer is, the fish will tell you what they want. So when buying your shiners, get a mixed bag of sizes, take some small, mediums and large so you have what they want, but one thing is for sure, as the water and weather warms up, you can’t take a shiner that is too big. The same goes for when the water is colder, a smaller bait works the best when water temperatures are cold. Another thing to remember as we move farther into spring is, as it warms up bass will move out of the shallows and start schooling in deeper water and on the outside edges, so keep that in mind if you go to where you have been catching plenty of fish and they don’t bite, start moving out.

Speck fishing is still going strong with bag limits caught daily. Drifting or anchored on the edge of the grass has been very good. Jig fishing has slowed a bit but you can still catch them on a jig. My favorite way to catch specks is by pitching a minnow on a slip cork rig into small pockets in the reeds and grass. Use a 10-foot jig pole with an ultra-lite spinning reel with 8-lb test and move through the reeds with your trolling motor and pitch and drop your minnows around the structure and you can catch your limit. Grassy Island, Nubbin Slough, and the Henry Creek area have produced good catches.

Stop by Garrard’s Bait and Tackle for all your fishing needs, live bait or artificial they have it.