by Capt. Eddie Perry

With Lake Okeechobee water levels on the rise from recent rains, we could see a level over 16.5 feet above sea level very soon. That being said, the fishing on the lake has been excellent.

Bass are moving in from the open lake and pre-staging in areas for their annual trek to the spawning grounds. The problem is that they are not staging in their usual places. With the lake level high bass have moved past their normal outside areas and are staging farther inside the grass line. What I’m trying to say is, you’re going to have to look for them a bit before you can get into the numbers of fish we have been catching. I recently worked on a six boat group trip and for the two days we fished. We caught a total of 653 bass on six boats, now that’s strong fishing. The best part is we were all doing something different as far as the type of cover we were fishing. Full days you can expect 40 to 80 fish a day on shiners and 25 to 40 on half days. The top water action is starting to pick up again as the water temperatures start to cool. The months of Oct, Nov and Dec are great top water months and your chances for a big fish greatly increase this time of year. The top waters I prefer this time of year are prop baits, Devils Horse, Torpedo’s and Crazy Shad type prop baits are deadly during these months.

With the passing of Hurricane Mathew, the lake has undergone some changes that will help those fisherman who like to flip. Strong winds and high water have created numerous mats of floating vegetation that big bass like to hide under. So grab your 1 ounce weight, a soft plastic craw and start punching mats. You may not catch big numbers of fish but you will catch bigger fish. Kings Bar, Eagle Bay, and Tin House Cove are great places to start your morning on the lake. 
Speck fishing has yet to really get started in the lake itself, but a few anglers are catching specks in the Kissimmee River on minnows. Speck fishing should pick up soon so be ready when they show up. The early wave of specks do not usually last long so catch them when you can.

Be sure and stop by Garrard’s Bait and Tackle for all your fishing needs.