Lake Okeechobee North End Report: Dec. 2016

Chris Shaw with a 7lb 4 oz bass
Chris Shaw with a 7lb 4 oz bass

It’s that special time of year where even the worst of fisherman can catch fish. It’s called Fall and it is in full swing.

Cooler temperatures bring the first signs of pre-staging bass and in some cases bass may have already made their first trip to the beds. Remember that Bass on Lake Okeechobee start spawning in October and that usually starts on the east side of the lake around the Henry Creek and J & S (Chauncey Bay) areas. Bass that live in the open lake are moving into areas of submerged grasses, outside edges and open trails in anticipation of moving even further into the marsh areas to fan beds and do what comes natural. Just remember this is just the beginning, this will continue up into May, and truth be known, bass have been known to spawn in every month of the year on this lake. However the main timeframe is from October to May with the bulk of the spawn occurring from February through April.  

With the bass fatting up for the spawn, the live bait action has been excellent. Half day trips have produced catches up to forty bass per trip with full day trips boating sixty to seventy fish per outing. We’re also seeing the bigger fish show up, those in the 8-lb to 9-lb range.  Buckhead Ridge, Tin House Cove, Kings Bar and Grassy Island are good places to start your day.  
Artificial fishing on the other hand has had its ups and downs. Topwater early is still your best bet and casting a plastic worm or a fluke after the sun comes up is a good follow-up. Flipping mats and hard edges is also good this time of year if you are looking for that big bite. Eagle Bay and the inside of Kings Bar have some of the best flipping water we have. Flip a 1-oz to 1 ½-oz jig or creature bait to punch through these thicker mats and edges. You may not get a bunch of bites but it will probably be a big one. 

Speck fishing is also picking up. Boats that are drifting in the open lake off of Grassy Island are catching their daily limits. The Specks are ranging up to the 14 to 15 inch class which makes for some fine fillets. Jig fishermen are catching Specks in the grass in a few areas from Horse Island to Taylor Creek. Though they are catching smaller fish, they’re still managing to catch enough to make a fine meal or two. 
Be sure to stop by Garrard’s Bait and Tackle for all your fishing needs, live or artificial bait they have it, or just stop in and say Hi.